Visa and entry requirements Antarctica:
Passport required
No visa is required

Antarctica includes all areas around the South Pole, i.e. Antarctica as a continent and the Southern Ocean, with all land areas and waters. The entire mainland of Antarctica forms the largest ice desert on our planet.

The Antarctic Arctic Circle zone consists largely of water and very small parts of the Antarctic Peninsula's land.

The continent of Antarctica is slightly larger than Europe, although the exact area of the Antarctic mainland is not known due to the permanent ice cover.

The land areas closest to Antarctica are the Tierra del Fuego archipelago off South America, Cape Agulhas in South Africa, the Australian island of Tasmania and the island state of New Zealand.

The Antarctic ice, with an average thickness of over two kilometers, is the largest compact ice mass on earth and almost completely covers the Antarctic continent. In some places it can even reach a maximum thickness of five kilometers.

Completely typical of Antarctica are the huge icebergs that break off the ice shelf or glaciers at regular intervals. These can then float around on the sea for years until they have completely melted.

The Antarctic pack ice zone developed into one of the largest ecosystems in the world due to the oxygen-rich water.

Therefore, Antarctica is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as fish, squid, whales, seals, seals, penguins and various sea birds.

A total of 20 penguin species live on the seventh continent, some of which only occur in Antarctica. The best known include the chinstrap penguin, the gentoo penguin, the emperor penguin and the Adelie penguin. However, the last two mentioned are the only ones that also breed on the Antarctic ice.

There are also various marine mammals in Antarctica, such as seals, blue whales, minke whales, orcas, humpback whales and other whale species.

Although the icy climate of Antarctica is almost life-threatening for people in the long term, more and more tourist trips are being offered there these days. However, traveling to this region is quite expensive due to the high regulations, the enormous remoteness and the extreme weather conditions, so it is not reserved for everyone. There are now several commercial offers for cruises, with various shore excursions to the mainland or offshore islands also being offered. Tourist flights to the ultimate South Pole, the American Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, are also possible for around 50,000 euros.

In the southern summer months of November to February, almost 40,000 visitors now travel to the seventh continent every year, mainly starting in the southern Argentine port city of Ushuaia. After two days on the high seas, you are already on the Antarctic Peninsula from Ushuaia, via the nearby Drake Passage.

In January 2018 the time had finally come and I started my long-planned trip to Antarctica. I took a two-week cruise to the seventh continent on the cruise ship “Celebrity Infinity” from Buenos Aires via Ushuaia.

However, my first and only ship trip so far was quite expensive, so there were practically no age groups between 20 and 45 on board.

Unfortunately, after my friend and planned travel partner didn't show up in Buenos Aires due to illness, I had to go on my first cruise alone. The only advantage of the resulting single room quickly revealed the numerous disadvantages.

For the first three days I felt completely lost on the ship and somehow didn't know what to do with myself. After the third day, after the chance meeting of two Canadian women and two good-humored English men, of course at one of the many bars, my lack of plans was over. From this happy point onwards, I really enjoyed the trip, in contrast to the first three days, which I had spent almost exclusively at the bar.

Because due to the low temperatures you could only spend the first and last day of the trip outside on deck, this was not a conventional ship trip. On the second day at sea, the temperatures dropped to a maximum of 10 degrees Celsius and after that everything took place below deck. On this day the water from all swimming pools was completely drained.

After I had already tried out all the bars for the first three days and spent hours in the casino, there was time for some more useful things. Thanks to the many excellent restaurants and cafes as well as the extremely varied entertainment on board, the four full days on the southern Atlantic passed relatively quickly.

When we finally arrived in Antarctica, it was simply incredibly breathtaking and so fascinating to observe the impressive, sometimes huge icebergs, the jumping penguins and the countless whales. The legendary Antarctica was my home for a total of three days, it was very difficult to put into real words at that point, just somehow untrue.

The Antarctic midsummer was actually quite merciful with its fluctuating temperatures of -5 to 2 degrees Celsius, but it still felt really cold.

In the end, the longer stay in Paradise Bay was the absolute highlight for me. Just in time for our arrival, the sun began to shine majestically. Even though I spent a few hours there in the same place, it always looked different every time. The many light blue glaciers or the countless icebergs of different sizes shimmered in the sunlight, changing in a different way every time you look at them.

This unique and unforgettable trip will of course remain in my memory forever. Except maybe the first three days, it was definitely a lasting experience. There I met many interesting people from all over the world, and in the end it almost felt like a big family.

One day I would love to travel to the ultimate South Pole and the associated Amundsen-Scott station, that is one of my last big travel dreams.