Our experts list their favorite Arctic books. Whether you are dreaming of a trip to the Arctic or are preparing for an Arctic cruise, our Arctic reading list will help you prepare for the adventure of lifetime.
Our Arctic book recommendations are perfect for travelers to the Arctic, North Pole, Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, Northwest Passage, Canadian Arctic. This Arctic reading list will enhance your travel with an impressive understanding of Arctic animals, natural history, Arctic exploration and more. Arctic and North Pole maps help you plan and track your adventure.
Best Books About the Arctic – Essential Reading
An essential reading list for anyone traveling to or interested in the Arctic. Our experts recommend their favorite books about Arctic natural history, wildlife and human interaction in northern lands.
This book is a practical, portable guide to all of the Arctic’s natural history—sky, atmosphere, terrain, ice, the sea, plants, birds, mammals, fish, and insects—for those who will experience the Arctic firsthand and for armchair travelers who would just as soon read about its splendors and surprises.
by Barry Lopez
This New York Times–bestselling exploration of the Arctic, a National Book Award winner, is “one of the finest books ever written about the far North” (Publishers Weekly).
National Geographic Magazine
This single issue magazine will open your eyes to modern arctic challenges. A must read, especially aboard a National Geographic trip.
Whether or not you ever plan a trip to the Arctic, A Woman in the Polar Night offers thoughtful reflections on isolation and the place the natural world holds in the human psyche.
Mowat’s account of the summer he lived in the frozen tundra alone-studying the wolf population and developing a deep affection for the wolves (who were of no threat to caribou or man) and for a friendly Inuit tribe known as the Ihalmiut (“People of the Deer”)-is a work that has become cherished by generations of readers, an indelible record of the myths and magic of wild wolves.
Inspired by the spiraling shape of a reindeer-horn bangle, she travels counterclockwise around the North Pole through the territories belonging to Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, marking the transformations of what once seemed an unchangeable landscape. As she witnesses the mounting pollution concentrated at the pole, Wheeler reckons with the illness of the whole organism of the earth.
Almost 200 historical maps, many never before reproduced, from collections around the world, illustrate all the significant Arctic explorations from the sixteenth century until well into the twentieth. Readable yet scholarly text informs the maps, as each double-page spread tells a story in itself. An out of print favorite, sometimes used copies are available.
Best Books About Arctic Exploration
Books about Arctic Exploration are favorites of adventure travelers. Read tales of extreme conditions and hardship from the comfort of your small ship cruise or your couch. Arctic exploration books are sure to inspire a greater appreciation of the land and the people who first ventured into it.
The most feted explorer of his generation, Amundsen counted the discovery of the Northwest Passage, in 1905, as well as the North Pole amongst his greatest achievements.
New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides returns with a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age
Juhu Nurminen, Matti Lainema
Filled with rare illustrations, this book on Arctic exploration tells stories of triumph and tragedy in the search for the fabled Northwest Passage and the race for the North Pole. An out of print favorite, sometimes used copies are available.
Driven by the desire for scientific discovery and adventure, ten naive young men ventured north to the nearly uninhabited, ice-covered island of Spitsbergen in 1951. Scientific progress ensued, but so did misfortunes wrought by calamitous weather, an unworthy ship, and an entertaining but ill-informed approach to arctic survival.
Roald Amundsen’s The North West Passage: Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship Gjöa 1903-1907
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.
Capturing a crucial moment in the history of exploration—the mid-nineteenth century romance with the Arctic—Andrea Barrett’s compelling novel tells the story of a fateful expedition.
Arctic Animal Books
Books about Arctic animals are essential to any successful Arctic trip. Find our top Arctic animal books about polar bears, field guides, birds and more to enhance your next trip. Learn about polar bears, birds, whales and wildlife of the arctic.
Renowned Polar bear scientist Dr. Ian Stirling compresses 40 years of research on these iconic mammals into a new and comprehensive natural history. In accessible language, he explains their evolution, life history, behavior, how they are researched, and the current threat to their very existence.
The polar bear is the largest terrestrial carnivore in the world, uniquely adapted to thrive in the harsh environment of the Far North. In The World of the Polar Bear, renowned nature photographer Norbert Rosing follows the polar bear through each season of the year.
An engaging and beautifully illustrated full-colour guide to some of the most exciting wildlife in the world in an area about to see a significant increase in visitor numbers as a direct result of changes in the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean. Bradt’s Arctic Wildlife is an ideal companion on board and on shore.
The Arctic Guide presents the traveler and naturalist with a portable, authoritative guide to the flora and fauna of earth’s northernmost region. Featuring superb color illustrations, this one-of-a-kind book covers the complete spectrum of wildlife―more than 800 species of plants, fishes, butterflies, birds, and mammals.
Wildlife of the Arctic is an accessible and richly illustrated pocket-sized photographic field guide to the birds, land and sea mammals, and plants and lichens of the northern polar region–including Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, and Russia.
This is the ideal guidebook to the wildlife of the Arctic, which is undergoing such a perilous change. Polar expert Richard Sale describes the ecological and human dynamics of the Arctic as a whole, with detailed information about the peoples of the region and their history.
Arctic Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Animals & Plants of the Arctic and Subarctic Regions
James Kavanagh, Raymond Leung, Waterford Press
This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species. Laminated for durability, this lightweight, pocket-sized folding guide is an excellent source of portable information and ideal for field use by novice and expert explorers alike.
Arctic Travel Guide Books
Arctic travel guide books are full of interesting references and information and can be a great resource for Arctic travelers. Our experts hand picked our favorite Arctic guide books.
Andreas Umbreit, James Proctor, Roger Norum, Anika Paust
The Bradt guide to Svalbard, including Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Land and Jan Mayen, is a unique, standalone guidebook to this evocative Arctic archipelago
Etai O’Carroll, Mark Elliott
Kayak past towering icebergs, dog-sled frozen tundra to picture-postcard villages, marvel at the midnight sun or dancing northern lights – Greenland and the Arctic are the perfect backdrop to an unforgettable experience. Whether you crave quiet solitude or bold adventure, this inspiring and practical guide takes you to the heart of the cold north.
Practical travel guide to Iceland with a free eBook featuring points-of-interest structured lists of all sights and off-the-beaten-track treasures, with detailed colour-coded maps, practical details about what to see and to do in Iceland, how to get there and around, pre-departure information, as well as top time-saving tips, like a visual list of things not to miss in Iceland, expert author picks and itineraries to help you plan your trip.
This thoroughly updated fourth edition of Bradt’s Lapland is the only standalone guidebook in English to this wintry wonderland, a region spanning the northernmost fringes of Norway, Sweden and Finland where there are as many reindeer as people, it never gets dark in summer and never gets light in mid-winter.
Arctic maps to help you understand the polar region or track your route as you travel. Our experts have selected the best Arctic maps for your next trip.
Ocean Explorer Maps
Old school travelers like to track their route on a paper map. This one is great. This map covers the Spitsbergen Arctic archipelago now more commonly referred to as Svalbard. The map includes useful annotations; on the reverse there are excellent biographical summaries of 27 noted explorers plus brief descriptions and color photographs of the more common plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals.
Natural Resources Canada
This bilingual map shows the geography of the northern circumpolar region, north of approximately 55 degrees, at a scale of 1:9 000 000.
National Geographic Maps
Let National Geographic’s Iceland Adventure Map guide you as you discover the pristine nature and unique scenery on this Nordic island. The expertly researched map, with its accurate and detailed information, is designed to meet the needs of adventure travelers.
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Have a favorite Arctic book that is not listed here? Have a question or comment about our Arctic book recommendations? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.