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The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands, north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Totaling over 3,600 square kilometres, between 80 and 90 percent of the land area is permanently glaciated and the highest point is 2,300 metres. Yet, despite the harsh conditions the islands do support vegetation upon which its wildlife feeds.

One of the most unique travel destinations in Antarctica, they are inhabited by a large variety of seals, penguins – including Adelie and chinstrap, and seabirds – including Antarctic terns and giant petrels.

As the islands are directly on the route to the Antarctica Peninsula most cruise ships heading there will stop at the South Shetland Islands, offering visitors wonderful photo opportunites in this unique landscape.

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Adélie penguin, gentoo penguin, elephant seal, chinstrap penguin, southern right whale, giant isopod

Dive trips

This dive location is featured in the following itinerary:

Classic Antarctica

This voyage of a lifetime is an opportunity to discover the best of Antarctica including its magnificent wildlife, with plenty of activities to explore the unique landscape both above and below the water.

  • When to go: Feb-Mar
  • Duration exc. flights: 11 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £5,695 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard trip