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 11990

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

22 Days From 14366

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

14 Days From 4995

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

7 Days From 4890

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

15 Days From 9790

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

20 Days From 13690

Embark on an Arctic expedition to remote parts of Canada and Greenland – in search of...

14 Days From 7495

An Arctic expedition through East Greenland and Iceland is the perfect opportunity to...

15 Days From 10590

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

18 Days From 11590

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

14 Days From 9890

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