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Linger Longer In These Polar Capitals

There are many exciting capital cities that you can enjoy whilst on one of our expedition cruises, but usually this is just a fleeting visit. However, there is always the option to extend your stay in these interesting destinations so that you don’t have to squeeze everything into your short time there and can see more of the city at your own pace.

Fred.\ Expeditions can arrange tour extensions which involve land-based stays in a hotel for as many nights as you like. These can then be added to the end or beginning of your polar adventure to combine a short city break with an Arctic or Antarctic cruise. Here are 4 cities which are definitely worth exploring in more detail.

Buenos Aires

Argentine Tango

Argentina is possibly most famous for two things; the Tango and eating a lot of meat. And if you choose to extend your stay in Buenos Aires then there will definitely be an opportunity to do both of these. With chic modern areas and those that paint a more authentic picture of the city, Buenos Aires has something for everyone. Why not indulge your passion for dance at the Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso, as you watch the professionals put on a show in a club that’s celebrating its 20 year anniversary in 2015.

Elsewhere in the Argentine capital, there’s plenty more to see and do. There’s a zoo to visit, which has also managed to procure some dinosaur exhibits; museums and art galleries, such as The Latin American Art Museum, to wander around; and bustling plazas to discover. Alternatively though, you could take a seat in an open air restaurant and simply enjoy the café culture of Buenos Aires.

Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja Church, Reykjavik

There are many reasons to stay in Reykjavik for longer, not least the fact that it is one of the greenest, cleanest and safest cities in the world. Whilst the rest of Iceland will demonstrate the island’s wild side, featuring volcanoes, waterfalls and everything else that nature has up its sleeve, the capital highlights the cosmopolitan side of the nation.

There’s some wonderful architecture on display throughout Reykjavik, including the impending Hallgrímskirkja church and the inspiring Sun Voyager monument; said to represent hope, freedom and progress. There are a wide range of restaurants serving locally sourced food and which have an obvious focus on the fruits of the sea. You may also get the opportunity to try whale or reindeer meat which is often on the menu here.

Finally, you can’t leave Iceland without taking a dip in its fables thermal waters. The most famous thermal bath, the Blue Lagoon, is located outside of the city, but there are many other options (such as Grafarvogslaug) if you don’t want to travel too far out of the way.

Montevideo

Plaza Independencia, Montevideo

The capital of Uruguay may not be particularly close to the Antarctic, but some of our cruises do start here. You can spend a few nights in the wonderful city of Montevideo before hoping on a flight and travelling down to board your ship in Ushuaia. Among the most popular parts of town are the busy Plaza Independencia, which features a monument dedicated to national hero José Artigas, and the beautiful, 13-mile long seafront promenade known as La Rambla. However, a walk along 18 de Julio Avenue is probably the best way to see the city. This street offers many shops, restaurants and bars and there is always something interesting happening.

Montevideo is relatively small and easily explored on foot, but hiring a bike is also a great way to get around. Pedal your way to the Old City where you can weave your way through the market squares, alleys, and multi-coloured buildings, before stopping to wander around one of the many museums. When hunger strikes, refuel yourself in the ultimate way by tucking into a chivito. This national sandwich is stacked high and filled with steak, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise, olives, eggs and sometimes even bacon. After that, you’ll probably need a well-earned siesta.

Ottawa

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Canada’s capital can be your gateway to the Canadian Arctic, Northwest Passage and Greenland’s west coast, but it’s definitely worth staying for a bit longer to enjoy the sights. Just like the nearby cities of Quebec and Montreal, there is a clear French influence here, although Ottawa’s inhabitants are more multicultural in modern times.

One of the highlights, and something that definitely shouldn’t be missed, is Parliament Hill. Here you will find Canada’s houses of parliament, which act as the setting for two spectacular events. Every day in the summer, at 10am, a changing of the guard ceremony takes places accompanied by music and celebrations. Then, each evening between July and September, the building is lit up by a fantastic light show which takes you on a journey through Canada’s history and culture.

The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meanders through the city and offers a great way by which to see some of the main sights. In the summer there are numerous boat tours operated along its length, and in the winter it becomes the world’s largest naturally formed skating rink. Other attractions include the National Gallery of Canada and the bustling Byward Market Square. Additionally, it’s worth checking whether your visit coincides with any of Ottawa’s famous festivals. Events such as Winterlude and the Canadian Tulip Festival shouldn’t be missed is you are in town at the time.

If you would like to extend your expedition cruise with a stay in one of these capital cities, Fred.\ Expeditions will be happy to add this to your package. Call us today for more information or submit an online enquiry.

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