Essential information for Alaska
- Fly daily to Anchorage via various US cities.
- If you are joining a cruise, you'll fly to Vancouver and then cruise onwards to Alaska.
Do I need a VISA?
Yes. You'll need to obtain approval no less than 72 hours prior to travel to the US via the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme.
With scenery more stunning than you can begin to imagine, the best way to explore Alaska's picture perfect landscape is by road. A road trip on Alaska's epic scenic byways is a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Alaska also has a state-owned ferry system, so travelling by boat is also a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with nature.
Giant glaciers and powder snow: Magical Alaska Adventures
The largest, most sparsely populated state in the USA, unrivalled in its astonishingly beautiful, rugged wilderness. Alaska is the kind of place you dream about visiting but somehow never actually go.
Let’s change that, shall we? Holidays to Alaska are a must, and we’re here to tell you why. From rolling tundras and calving glaciers to lively cities and delicious food, Alaska holidays are truly magical and truly unbeatable.
It’s not just a postcard-perfect daydream destination, it’s entirely doable. And more than that, it’s a must. Here’s the scoop:
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a lot of time to work with, it’s pretty much impossible to ‘do’ the whole of Alaska. The place is vast. The state has four main regions, so focus holidays to Alaska depending on what it is you’re looking to see and do:
Southcentral and Interior: Anchorage, Denali and the Kenai Fjords
- Anchorage, the biggest city in Alaska and home to the state’s biggest airport, is a great starting point for any Alaskan holidays, boasting a whole host of attractions, restaurants and shops. If you plan to explore the surrounding area (and you should – an abundance of natural beauty lies just a stone’s throw from the city’s edge), it’s worth treating Anchorage as a kind of base camp. The roads around here are good, and there’s a railroad connecting the city to nearby national parks and attractions.
- North of Anchorage is Denali mountain — the tallest in North America — within the eponymous Denali National Park. Mountain aside, there’s a whole host of breathtaking landscapes — forest, tundra and glaciers to name just a few — to be seen in the surrounding area. There’s a few small towns around Denali to wander around, too, like the impossibly charming Talkeetna and tourist favourite, Healy.
- Just a short drive away is ‘Alaska’s Playground’, the Kenai Peninsula. Head here for wilderness trails and impressive wildlife, quaint towns and some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see.
Home to Alaska’s surprisingly cosmopolitan capital city, Juneau, this coastal region is popular with Alaska holidayers touring by cruise (but it can be done independently, too). You’ll find rainforests, fjords, glaciers and mountains, and an impressive array of even more impressive wildlife, and experience native Alaskan culture and Russian influence in Sitka and Ketchikan.
A once-in-a-lifetime kind of destination, the Arctic Circle is a truly unbelievable place to visit, if you can. Alaska’s northernmost region is a stunning amalgamation of snow-capped mountains, rolling tundra and colossal coastal plains, like nowhere you’ve ever seen before. Take a tour via scenic flight from Fairbanks to the tiny village of Anaktuvik Pass. Alaskan holidays have got to include this excursion.
Only accessible by plane, The Aleutian Islands — home to bears, endangered Stellar sea lions and active volcanoes — are an island chain scattered across the ocean. This is the “wildest” of wild destinations, and travelling there is an unforgettable adventure in itself.
Take a cruise tour of the Inside Passage and marvel at the glaciers (most notably: Hubbard Glacier) as you wind your way around a labyrinth of fjords and bays. Keep a look out for whales, sea lions and seals!
Regardless of how you travel the Kenai Peninsula, you’ll be lost for words at the beauty of the rolling tundra, valleys, fjords and rivers. Here you’re almost guaranteed to spot exciting Alaskan wildlife such as moose, bears and bald eagles. It’s some of the most accessible wilderness exploration in the state, so this would be perfect for family holidays in Alaska.
Visiting Denali National Park? Highly experienced climbers with enough time on their hands can’t miss the chance to do the two-week trek to the peak, but it’s certainly not for the faint hearted. Make sure to do your research and track down the very best team to trek with. Otherwise, Denali offers plenty of wintertime activities, from dog-sledding to cross-country skiing and even snowmachining, as well as stunning natural beauty year round.
Adrenaline junkies, the 1.5-mile-wide Mendenhall Glacier is the place to be, or rather, to raft down. Less about white-knuckle, pulse-quickening rapids and more about admiring the surrounding landscapes and wildlife? You’re in luck, there’s a more leisurely trek option, too — you just won’t get the “I Shot The Mendenhall” badge at the end.
- A tiny restaurant serving up food with big flavour, be sure to stop by The Little Mermaid in Homer for some of the most delicious local seafood (and some great pizza, too).
- Ketchikan is known as the Salmon Capital of the World — anywhere you eat here is pretty much guaranteed to be amazing for super fresh, super delicious fish. Notably, enjoy impossibly good fish sandwiches, chowder and crab legs with a marina view at the delightfully quaint Alaska Fish House.
- How better to sample the best of the best food on offer in Alaska than with a food tour? With dozens on offer across the state, including a pedal bus food tour in Talkeetna, you’re bound to find one to fit the bill. After all, if there’s one thing better than food, it’s lots of it.
- 229 Parks, a log cabin-esque restaurant within Denali National Park, showcases the vast array of delicious local ingredients in some of the most unbelievably tasty dishes. The menu changes daily — it all depends on the local Alaskan bounty — but that’s part of the experience.
- February: First held in 1961, the annual Iceworm Festival is one of the most famous and well-loved Alaskan traditions. Fireworks, variety shows, survival suit races and the famous Iceworm parade are just a few of the things making this the perfect event for any Alaska holidays near the start of the year.
- May: The annual Trapper Creek Revival is like one big party in the woods, with live bands, poetry, dancing and more. This is a festival like no other.
- June: The annual 3-day Kenai River Festival is a lively event full of music, beer and wine, food and kids’ activities. This is the perfect festival for families.
If Alaska wasn’t on your radar before, we’re willing to bet it is now. Where first? You decide. Check out our incredible Alaska hotels and holiday packages and swap the office for the fjords. Get ready for a trip of a lifetime!