If you're looking for magnificent scenery, untouched natural beauty and fascinating wildlife, the best time to visit Antarctica is from December to March.
The White Continent is full of opportunities for adventure. From kayaking past icebergs to unique wildlife expeditions, Antarctica is for explorers.
When is the best time to go to Antarctica?
The best time to visit Antarctica is usually between December and March, due to the milder temperatures and greater likelihood of spotting penguins and whales. However, the first journeys down there usually begin in November, so you can go anytime from then until April. December and January see the longest days and February and March are best for whale spotting.
Sunlight and wildlife
December and January are the most welcoming of months in Antarctica. The days are long (with over 20 hours of sunshine) and the weather averages -26F. Wildlife is most active in these warmer months, so you’ll have the chance to see some spectacular native animals, especially newborn seal pups and penguin chicks. In February and March the ice starts to recede, but temperatures remain relatively high, so you can still pay a visit without experiencing the unlivable conditions for which Antarctica is known!
November is usually the best month to catch a glimpse of the penguins (around 17 species of penguins go there to breed), as this is when they come to shore to court one another. The landscape tends to be more pristine and undisturbed in November too, so it can be a very special time to go - especially for keen photographers. The penguins usually stick around until March before heading home.
February and March offer the best chance to spot whales like orcas, sperm whales and humpbacks; they head to the south during the summer to feed on krill, and humpbacks and orcas travel in huge pods which can be an awe-inspiring sight. Around march they usually head back north to seek out warmer waters in which to breed and give birth. Other animals, however, may start leaving the peninsula during these months to avoid the dropping temperatures (average temperatures start to dip to about 29F).
What is Antarctica like?
“What’s really special about Antarctica is the adventure, the unknown, the unpredictability. It’s like being on another planet. There’s no scenery, no colours – no sounds, really, unless you listen intently. You’re completely disconnected from everything, and you’re entering this whole new world. You’re surrounded by imposing, powerful landscapes – but you just realise how fragile everything is.”
Avoid April to September, when it is physically impossible to reach the continent.