The northernmost part of the earth, the final frontier, the home of Santa Claus – sometimes the Arctic seems to exist more as a state of mind than a real place.

It can be a little tricky to wrap your head around, but basically the Arctic starts from the North Pole – the literal ‘top’ of the world – and extends out in all directions to the edges of the Arctic Circle. Remember the five circles of latitude from school? Put it this way: if Earth was an orange and you sliced parallel lines across it – east to west – the Arctic would (roughly) be the slice right at the top. This line of latitude shifts with the earth’s orbit, so consequently the Arctic Circle isn’t at a fixed position.

While Antarctica is its own continent, the Arctic is made up of the Arctic Ocean and nearby seas, plus territory that belongs to Canada, Russia, the USA, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. You can find out more about the countries that have claims on the Arctic here.

Click here to read more Arctic FAQs

Our tours in the Arctic

16 Days From 10350

Discover the exquisite wilderness of the Russian Arctic on this 16-day exploration.

22 Days From 13950

Polar deserts, shimmering glaciers and unique wildlife – the Arctic has it all.

14 Days From 6000

Embark on an Arctic expedition to Scotland, Denmark and Spitsbergen.

7 Days From 4950

Take a voyage across the Arctic Circle via the Svalbard Archipelago and north-east...

18 Days From 11300

Voyage across the Arctic Circle via the Svalbard Archipelago, Jan Mayer Island and...

Tailor-Made trips

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

15 Days From 9300

Explore some of the world’s last great wildernesses, with an Arctic expedition in...

15 Days From 9800

See all the highlights of the east, south and west coasts on this Arctic voyage around...

14 Days From 9050

Departing from Oslo, explore incredible Spitsbergen in search of polar bears, reindeer...