Encircling the northern hemisphere, the Arctic Circle marks the latitude which runs 66° north of the equator. Much of the area within the Arctic Circle is ocean, but it also runs through the northern extremities of Canada, Russia, the USA (Alaska), Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as a large portion of Greenland. At its centre lies the North Pole where all lines of longitude come to an end. There is no land here, but there is almost always a thick sheet of floating ice.
In the winter months, the Arctic region endures long hours of darkness, plunging temperatures and a dramatic increase in snow and ice cover on both sea and land. All of our polar voyages to the Arctic take place during the summer months (May to September) to take advantage of the longer daylight hours (24-hour daylight at the June summer solstice) and the warmer temperatures. As the sea ice retreats, it becomes possible for ships to navigate further north.
The summer sun thaws the surface of the land for an all too brief time of abundance for the flora and fauna. Rare flowering plants, mosses and lichens spring into life and an array of wildlife makes the most of the season for spawning and preparing to survive the coming winter. Hungry polar bears can be seen roaming the land, walruses and seals take to the waters, while Arctic foxes raid nests for eggs and vast flocks of seabirds feed on an ocean teeming with fish.
Travel to this region rewards adventurous travellers with areas of pristine wilderness, the enchanting beauty of the blues and whites of sea ice and wildlife encounters which are unique to this part of the world.