• Adelie penguin, Antarctica

When to go to Antarctica and south georgia

The Antarctic season is relatively short, from mid-October to March, which means that careful planning is required to ensure that you visit at the right time and book early enough to secure your place on these limited-availability expeditions. Broadly speaking, there are three different periods within the season, each one offering a different experience from both a landscape and wildlife perspective. The temperatures you can expect to experience range from -16ºC to +10ºC (3ºF – 50ºF) throughout the duration of the season. 


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When to go

Click on a month to gain an overview of Antarctica's varying weather conditions. This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. 

When to go to Antarctica if you want to see…

Penguins: The prime penguin hatching season is late December to January. To see courtship rituals, the best time is mid-October to beginning of December.

Seabirds: The courting season for Antarctica's seabirds lasts from November to December, making this a good time for birders to visit.

Seals: Elephant and fur seals start to mark their preferred territories from mid-October to the beginning of December. To see seal pups on South Georgia and the Falklands, travel between mid-December and January. Towards the end of the summer in February and March, fur seals are more abundant on the peninsula.

Whales: Late January to early March is the best time to see whales such as orcas, minkes, sperms and humpbacks.


When to go to Antarctica by season

Mid-October - early December 

This is the debut of the season in Antarctica, which means that the dry landing sites appear more pristine, the pack ice starts to break up and melt, and you’ll experience a clear, white landscape. The melting ice also enables the expedition vessels to navigate the Antarctic waters more easily. In addition, this is a great time to catch the entertaining courtship rituals of penguins and seabirds, while fur and elephant seals begin to mark their preferred territories. Early on in the season is a good time for excursions on the Antarctica Peninsula such as ice trekking, as there is less wildlife to see but more opportunities to experience the stunning icebound landscapes. October is the best time of the year for photography, with fewer expedition ships in the waters, snow and ice at their most pristine, and fantastic wildlife encounters in South Georgia and the Falklands in particular. Spring flowers also begin to emerge in the latter two locations during this time.

Read more about each month on the following pages:

Late December - January 

This season sees the longest periods of daylight – in excess of 20 hours - combined with the warmest temperatures, making it a popular time to visit. It also provides great lighting opportunities, even at midnight! This is also prime penguin hatching season, starting in the Falkland Islands, and latterly in Antarctica. At the same time, you can start to see seal pups taking their first brave steps onto the ice floes in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Whale watching season also begins at the end of this period, with sightings on the increase throughout January. 

Read more about each month on the following pages:

February - March 

This is the end of the Antarctic summer and the receding ice allows for much easier access to the southernmost regions. It is also during this time that whale watching is at its best, particularly orca and minke whales and the best spot is around the Antarctic Peninsula. During this time adult penguins start to moult, whilst the chicks leave their rookeries. The Peninsula generally also sees more fur seals during these months. 

Read more about each month on the following pages:

Wildlifeand flowers, Falkland Islands

When to go to Antarctica if you want to experience…

Spring Flowers: In October and November, the spring flowers start to emerge in South Georgia and the Falklands. 

Untouched Landscapes: The season for visiting Antarctica starts in mid-October. At this time, the wildlife isn’t at its best on the Peninsula, but adventures into scenic landscapes are because you will be the first guests to the continent after the winter and can enjoy the pristine unblemished views. 

Long Days and a Perpetual Twilight: December and January have the longest periods of daylight and at night the sun is just below the horizon, never truly setting, providing a stunning twilight view. These months have the best lighting for photography.

Midnight sun landscape, Antarctica
Antarctica, Kate Waite

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on travelling to Antarctica.