The seventh continent in the world, the base of the globe, the windiest, coldest and driest continent on earth – Antarctica certainly lives up to its nickname, 'The Ice'. 

Most of Antarctica fits within the Antarctic Circle – a line of latitude sitting at around 66.5° south of the equator. All places inside of this circle experience periods of 24-hour daylight during the summer solstice, and 24 hours of night during the winter solstice. Antarctica's ice sheet is one of the two polar ice caps of the earth and covers 98% of Antarctica, including the South Pole.

Moving further out, the continent of Antarctica makes up most of the region of Antarctica. The region encompasses Antarctica, anything falling inside the Antarctic Circle and a lot of the stuff inside the wider Antarctic Convergence – a seasonally changing line of latitude which marks where the icy Antarctic waters meet the milder waters of the sub-Antarctic. This convergence line is considered the outer limits of what is known as 'the Antarctic'.

Wait, so what's the difference between Antarctica and the Antarctic?

Antarctica is the continent – the land mass almost entirely covered in ice. The Antarctic is the region – the south polar zones including the seas and some outlying islands.

If this is still all a bit confusing, don't worry – it is tricky to understand. Picture this: if you're looking at one of those spinning model globes of the Earth, use a pencil to point to the bottom of the globe and you'll be pointing at Antarctica. Then, move the pencil north just a bit and spin the globe until you've drawn a (not so perfect) circular line around the land mass of Antarctica. That there, inside the circle, is the rough area of the Antarctic region. 

What country is Antarctica in?

Read more about possible landing sites in the Antarctic

Click here to read more Antarctica FAQs

Our tours in Antarctica

11 Days From 8247

Capture the essence of the Antarctic Peninsula and its incredible islands aboard the...

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Follow the whales of Antarctica as they migrate south on this 11-day expedition cruise,...

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Take an adventure of a lifetime to the Antarctic and beyond. Cross the Antarctic Circle...

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Take an adventure of a lifetime to the Antarctic and beyond. Cross the Antarctic Circle...

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Explore South Georgia, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Falkland Islands with Intrepid...

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This 11-day Christmas expedition travels to Antarctica for the ultimate white Christmas...

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Embark on a 21-day Intrepid expedition including the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia...

Tailor-Made trips

Take two or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

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Take to Antarctica on an 12-day expedition on board the Ocean Endeavour via Puntas...

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Take to Antarctica on an 11-day expedition on board the Ocean Endeavour via Puntas...

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See a total solar eclipse as you tour for 14 days on an Antarctica expedition aboard...

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Sail through the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula,...

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Visit Antarctica, flying over the Drake Passage and cruising through the South Shetland...

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Visit the Falklands and South Georgia islands on a 23-day immersive polar expedition...

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Uncover the sublime white beauty of Antarctica on this Southern Expedition. Travel...

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Visit Antarctica and travel through the Beagle Channel to the Falkland and South...

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Embark on an adventure of a lifetime while crossing the Antarctic Circle. Discover...

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Nothing on earth can prepare you for Antarctica; you have to see it for yourself. See...

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Embark on a cruise across the Antarctic Circle and visit the Falklands, South Shetland...

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Sail through the Drake Passage to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula,...

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Experience the rare opportunity to explore both the eastern and western sides of the...

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Join Intrepid and special guests from the World Wildlife Fund – Australia’s whale...

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Join Intrepid and special guests from the World Wildlife Fund-Australia’s whale...

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Uncover the sublime white beauty of Antarctica on this Southern Expedition. Travel...

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Experience the rare opportunity to explore Cape Horn and the Diego Ramirez Islands on...

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Follow in the legendary footsteps of Shackleton and his crew with an epic 20-day...

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Experience the rare opportunity to explore Cape Horn, Diego Ramirez Islands, and three...