The Arctic Circle
An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983
The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is the most northernly major circle of latitude, at approximately 66°30′ N. It marks the area within which, for one or more days each year, the Sun does not set (June 21) or rise (December 21), and the length of continuous day or night increases northward. It has its southern counterpart which is called Antarctic Circle. Interestingly, the position of the Arctic Circle is not fixed: it depends on the Earth’s axial tilt and it’s currently drifting northwards about 15 m/year.
Join 22,383 travellers receiving our weekly newsletter.
Climate beyond the Arctic Circle
The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Most of the arctic region is north of the tree line, has permanent snow and ice, and permafrost (permanently frozen ground). However, thanks to the compensating effect of the Gulf Stream, the Atlantic coast of Europe (Norway and Russia) is ice-free all year and their climate is classified as subarctic despite being north of the Arctic Circle. Other factors affecting the climate are elevation, proximity of the sea and topography.
Life beyond the Arctic Circle
Despite the rough, unfavourable conditions, especially during the winter, some areas of the Arctic have been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. As of today, around 4 million people lives north of the Arctic Circle (for example in Hammerfest, the northernmost town in the world with more than 10,000 inhabitants, and home of the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society (Isbjørnklubben)), and more and more tourists are visiting the area looking for an adventure either during the Midnight Sun or the Polar Night, and to catch the Northern Lights. Since they live beyond the possibility of any agricultural activity due to the climate, the main source of income has always been fishing, trapping, hunting and pastoralism, and recently, starting to exploit the area’s natural resources.
You may find this article by The Atlantic about living in Tromso interesting, which attempts to explain how locals have a different view on the Polar Night and how they cope with the long winters.
Odyssey’s small group tour following the Northern Lights allows you to experience serene snow-covered Arctic landscapes. Throughout our journey guides and specialists will outline the history of this stark region and the nature of the peoples who wrested their living from it. A unique opportunity to view this natural phenomenon travelling as part of a small group.
Our escorted tour gives guests an insight into the history of this Icelandic nation. Travelling as a small group, our daily itineraries explore the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and others, national parks and majestic waterfalls as we learn about Iceland’s natural heritage and its Viking past from experienced local guides. There is a single supplement for solo travellers.
Greenland is the largest island in the world, the majority of it lies above the Arctic Circle, and it is part of Denmark. Few places are quite so difficult to reach, we fly from Reykjavik to Nuuk. During this small group tour we have ensured that our travellers gets to this conversation-stopping land and, while we are there we obtain the most comprehensive overview of this vast landmass. We visit during the summer, experiencing the burst of seasonal flora, which caused the early voyagers to name it Greenland.
Uncover on a small group tour for couples and solo travellers, a Viking past and view of the world’s biggest fjords on this journey through Scandinavia. In low-lying Denmark our small group journey takes us to visit the Zeeland, the sea land, and our program includes the vibrant capital of Copenhagen. In Norway we travel through endless forests, skirting great fjords to Bergen.