Breath-taking, rugged and unspoilt scenery, amazing wildlife and enough daylight hours to enjoy everything on offer – Alaska is certainly a state nobody ever forgets.

The only way to truly experience this amazing place is by cruise, enabling you to get up close and personal with glaciers while being in the best spot to see bears, porpoises, eagles and sea lions in their natural habitat.

There’s so much to see and do in Alaska that it’s only fair we give you a little guidance about its best bits.

Weigh anchor in Anchorage

At first glance, Anchorage looks like any other US city – until you catch a glimpse of its dramatic backdrop. The Chugach Mountains rise spectacularly over the entire area, providing a stark natural contrast to the man-made structures below.

Almost half of Alaska’s population live within Anchorage’s city limits, making it a vibrant place to visit.

• Must see
Alaska Native Heritage Centre: Opened in 1999, this remarkable museum offers visitors a chance to find out how Alaskans lived in years gone by – long before central heating made it a cosy place to be!

• Must do
Meet a moose: Humans share the city with many members of the animal kingdom, not least the moose. These extraordinarily creatures can often be seen wandering into backyards or along the roadside.

Have a capital time in Juneau

The Alaskan state capital’s roads lead to nowhere – the only way in and out of the city is by boat or plane.

Juneau lies by a waterway that never freezes, and close to an ice field that never melts. Gold prospectors have tried to strike it rich in the area, but it’s the city’s landscape and bustling waterfront that keeps visitors coming back for more.

• Must see
Last Chance Mining Museum: Situated in the former Alaska-Juneau Gold Mining Company complex, the museum gives visitors a chance to relive the gold rush.

• Must do
Visit the Waterfront and South Franklin Street: More than just bars and shops, this area’s refurbished historic buildings transport visitors back to the early 1900s. There’s also a chance to see more of Juneau’s beautiful surrounding area via telescopes dotted around the streets.

Relax with a tour of Alaska’s brightest lights

The major cities of Anchorage and Juneau may grab the most attention, but there are plenty of other towns to see, where the pace of life is a little slower and more laidback.

Homer is a former gold-mining town founded in 1896 now known as ‘the Halibut fishing capital of the world’. But there’s nothing fishy about Homer’s attractions, which range from great places to eat and drink to wonderful natural sights and museums.

A chance to see colourful traditional totem poles, walk steep but pretty streets and sample a lush island setting are just a few of the things that make Ketchikan an unforgettable place. It also provides the perfect gateway to the Misty Fjords National Monument, which is nicknamed ‘the Yosemite of the north’.

With a population of just over 900, Skagway may be a tiny place in terms of people, but it’s a massive stop on any Alaskan cruise. Its buildings look like they were left over from a Western movie set, and the traditionally dressed locals are a photo opportunity waiting to happen.

The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railway operates from Skagway, taking visitors through some stunning scenery. Trips to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park can also be taken from the town.

Even more to see in Alaska

Glacier Bay
Situated west of Juneau, Glacier Bay’s National Park and Preserve became a national monument in 1925 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 - and it’s easy to see why. If the soaring mountains, ice-sculptured fjords and tidewater glaciers aren’t enough to impress you, the marine wildlife, including sea lions sunning themselves on the docks and the whales in the bay, should be.

Hubbard Glacier
Straddling the border between the USA and Canada, the Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier in North America – and it’s getting bigger all the time. The drama of carving – when chunks of ice break off – can be seen regularly by cruise ship travellers.

Icy Strait Point

Owned largely by the Tlingit people, this purpose-built tourist destination has been designed to help preserve the character of the original village and culture in the area.

Inside Passage

500 miles long and 100 miles wide, Alaska’s portion of the Inside Passage comprises of around 1,000 islands, 15,000 miles of coastline and thousands of coves and bays. It’s a meandering, largely sheltered route carved by mighty glaciers over millions of years – and it provides awe-inspiring, unforgettable sights.

Tracy Arm Fjord

Stunning emerald waters and amazing wildlife make a trip into the waterway’s wild landscape a must.

Things to eat in Alaska

The vast majority of Alaska’s biggest destinations are along the coast, which means that seafood is a staple part of the local diet.

Halibut and salmon are popular here, but carnivores may want to try something more exotic, such as reindeer. But if Rudolph is off your menu, why not sample traditional cuisine from the Native American tribes in the area?

There’s also Alaskan Indian ice cream to try – which is made, believe it or not, by mixing dried fish or moose with fat, local berries and sweeteners.

Language and currency

Alaska uses the US dollar and English is the main language.

Don’t miss

The wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars at the ready for some incredible sights and sounds. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to see bears, eagles and other amazing creatures in the wild – so grab it while you can.