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

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

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Set off on an 11-day expedition on board the Ocean Endeavour, revealing the landscapes...

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This is one Christmas you’ll never forget – journey to Antarctica on board the Ocean...

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

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

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

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

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