The Arctic is a huge area. There is no clear agreement on its extent, no simple geographical or even political definition of its territory.

The Arctic has stunning coastal scenery and a wealth of wildlife, from narwhals and belugas to glaciers and tundra, and not to mention polar bears and gyrfalcons. The permanent home to only a handful of hardy creatures, it is an inhospitable place for much of the year. But come summer, the region explodes with life.

Plankton flourishes to support fish, seals and whales, a huge number of shorebirds and waterfowl arrive to take advantage of flourishing insect life. For a few short months there is endless daylight and a parade of wildlife delights. At risk of climate change and industrial exploitation, it needs all the help it can get.

Tony Soper, author of The Arctic: the Bradt Guide

Related books

Related articles

Longyearbyen Svalbard polar night by ginger_polina_bublik Shutterstock

Plunged into darkness: experiencing the polar night in the Arctic Circle

It is, quite simply, magical.

A whale of a time: the world’s best whale-watching destinations

Want to spot a whale in the wild? Then these are the destinations for you.

A history of Arctic exploration

Expert author, Tony Soper, uncovers the history of the pioneers of Arctic exploration.

Lost and Found in the Arctic

In this extract from Beastly Journeys, Kelsey Camacho tells of travelling through an Arctic blizzard with a pack of huskies in Svalbard.