Must see attractions in Antarctica

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cape Evans

    Terra Nova Hut

    Scott’s hut from the Terra Nova expedition is steeped in an incredible feeling of history. Here, dog skeletons bleach on the sand in the Antarctic sun, evoking thoughts of Scott’s death march from the Pole. Stand at the head of the wardroom table and recall the famous photo of Scott’s final birthday, with his men gathered around a huge meal and their banners hanging behind.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cape Royds

    Shackleton’s Hut

    Shackleton erected this structure on his Nimrod expedition in February 1908. Fifteen men lived in the hut, which is much smaller than Scott’s at Cape Evans, and the feeling inside is still very atmospheric. All of Shackleton’s men left here alive (unlike at Scott’s hut), and apparently they left in a hurry: when members of the Terra Nova expedition visited in 1911, they found socks left hanging to dry and a meal still on the table.

  • Top ChoiceSights in South Pole

    Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

    The South Pole station was built in phases, so the first group of occupants was able to take up residence in January 2003, and it was officially inaugurated in January 2008. Full summer operations began in October 2011. The 6039-sq-meter, elevated station stretches 128m, facing the prevailing winds with an aeronautical design that helps scour snow from beneath it. The complex accommodates 150 people in summer and 50 in winter.

  • Sights in Cape Adare

    Borchgrevink’s Huts

    In February 1899, four years after Kristensen’s landing here, Borchgrevink was back at Cape Adare as the leader of the Southern Cross expedition. It took the men two weeks to erect two prefabricated structures, the remains of which can be seen today just back from Ridley Beach, which Borchgrevink named for his mother. These two huts are the oldest buildings in Antarctica.

  • Sights in South Georgia

    Whalers’ Cemetery

    Shackleton’s grave is the highlight of the whalers’ cemetery at Grytviken. ‘The Boss’ is buried at the left rear of the graveyard. On the back of the granite headstone (engraved with the nine-pointed star that Shackleton used as a personal emblem) is one of his favorite quotations, from the work of poet Robert Browning: ‘I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life’s set prize.’

  • Sights in Pram Point

    Scott Base

    Compared to McMurdo’s ‘urban sprawl,’ just 3km away by gravel road, New Zealand’s Scott Base looks positively pastoral. An orderly collection of lime-green buildings, Scott Base – named for Robert Scott – was established in 1957 by Edmund Hillary as part of Vivian Fuchs’ Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE).

  • Sights in Port Lockroy

    Bransfield House

    Britain beautifully restored the original station building, Bransfield House, the main building of Base A, in 1996. Displays on the station’s history hang inside. Artifacts include clothing from Operation Tabarin, a clandestine 1944 radio transmitter, a wind-up HMV gramophone with Noel Coward 78rpm records, and wooden skis purchased from the Grytviken Whaling Station Stores on South Georgia in 1957. A scientific highlight: a restored ‘Beastie’ (an early apparatus for upper-atmospheric research).

  • Sights in King George Island

    Eduardo Frei Montalva Station

    Chile constructed this station, known as Frei station, in 1969 on the nearly ice-free Fildes Peninsula at the island’s southwestern tip, and 10 years later it added Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin station less than 1km across the peninsula. Frei has since incorporated Marsh, and thus the station’s name appears as either Frei or Marsh on charts. Together with the Escudero base, Frei/Marsh is one of the Peninsula region’s largest and most complex stations.

  • Sights in Hut Point

    Scott’s Discovery Hut

    Scott’s National Antarctic Expedition built this hut in February 1902 on aptly named Hut Point. The prefabricated building, purchased in Australia, is of a type still found in rural Australia, with a wide overhanging veranda on three sides. It was originally painted a terracotta color, but wind has scoured it bare.

  • Sights in Anvers Island

    Palmer Station

    Palmer was built in 1968 on the island’s southwest coast to honor American sealer Nathaniel B Palmer, who in 1820 was one of the first to see Antarctica. The new station replaced the prefabricated wooden huts of ‘Old Palmer,’ established in 1964 about a kilometer across Arthur Harbor from the present station. Old Palmer itself superseded Britain’s Base N, occupied from 1955 to 1958 (no longer in existence).

  • Sights in Snow Hill Island

    Nordenskjöld Hut

    The Swedish South Polar Expedition’s prefabricated black-walled hut, the Antarctic Peninsula’s oldest remaining building, is a protected historic site. This dwelling, in which five Swedish and one Argentine scientist spent an unplanned two years, sits on a fragile beach terrace easily eroded by footsteps. The 6m-by-8m hut contains three double bunks, a kitchen and a central living room. Two large metal signs in Spanish describe the site’s history, as do leaflets in English inside the hut.

  • Sights in Schirmacher Hills

    Novolazarevskaya Station

    Located at the southeastern tip of the Schirmacher oasis and on the shores of Lake Stantsionnoye, Russia’s Novolazarevskaya Station is named for Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev, who was second-in-command of Fabian von Bellingshausen’s expedition of 1803–06, and captain of the supply ship Mirny. The station is 80km from the Lazarev Sea coast, but only 4.5km east of India’s Maitri Station.

  • Sights in Hope Bay

    Esperanza Station

    Argentina built this base in 1951, though a naval post was established here in 1930. Esperanza was significantly expanded in 1978 and women and children began to reside year-round as part of Argentina’s efforts to establish ‘sovereignty’ over Antarctic territory.

  • Sights in Vestfold Hills

    Davis Station

    Named after Captain John King Davis, master of ships used on expeditions led by Shackleton and Mawson, Australia’s Davis Station is a colorful collection of buildings overlooking the sea and numerous islands. Opened in 1957 on the edge of the Vestfold Hills, Davis can accommodate 100 people, but usually there are about 70 in summer and 20 over winter.

  • Sights in Adelaide Island

    Rothera Research Station

    The UK’s Rothera, built in 1975, occupies a small peninsula on Adelaide’s southeast coast. A 900m gravel airstrip and hangar were added in 1990–91, making Rothera a regional logistics center for British Antarctic operations using Twin Otter aircraft. The station is also resupplied by ships using the 60m Biscoe Wharf built in 1990–91. Rothera accommodates up to 130 people in the summer and an average of 21 in winter.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Central Peninsula

    Lemaire Channel

    This steep-sided channel – just 1600m (5250ft) wide – runs for 11km (7 miles) between the mountains of Booth Island and the Peninsula. So photogenic that it's been dubbed 'Kodak Gap,' the passageway is only visible once you're nearly inside it. The channel was first navigated by the Belgian de Gerlache in 1898 and named after a Belgian explorer of the Congo.

  • Sights in Argentine Islands

    Academician Vernadsky Station

    This Ukrainian base, which accommodates 24 people, is located on Galindez Island. Transferred from the UK in 1996 for £1 (look for the actual coin embedded in wood between the taps at the station bar), it was previously called Faraday (after Michael Faraday, the English discoverer of electromagnetism). The station now commemorates Vladimir Vernadsky, first president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.

  • Sights in King George Island

    Bellingshausen Station

    Russia set up Bellingshausen station in 1968 and it is now separated from Frei base by a small stream. After a fuel-tank farm was established, Bellingshausen became a major fuel depot for the Soviet Antarctic fishing fleet. The station underwent a remarkable cleanup in 2002, with more than 1350 tonnes of scrap metal and other waste cleared from the beach in front of the station and removed to Uruguay and the UK. Every season since then, small additional amounts of waste have been removed.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Stanley

    Christ Church Cathedral

    The great peat slip of 1886, a landslide which killed two people and damaged numerous buildings, wiped out Stanley’s Holy Trinity Church. The foundation stone for its replacement was laid in 1890 and the new, massive brick-and-stone Christ Church Cathedral opened in 1892. With its brightly painted, corrugated-metal roof and attractive stained-glass windows, the cathedral is the town’s most distinguished landmark.

  • Sights in Snow Hill Island

    Emperor Penguins

    On the fast ice about 400m from the low ice cliffs on Snow Hill Island’s south coast is Antarctica’s northernmost (and most accessible) emperor penguin rookery. First sighted from a small aircraft in 1997, it was finally visited in 2004 by a Russian icebreaker carrying tourists. The colony is estimated to hold more than 4000 breeding pairs.