Antarctic Circle

Enjoy a sweeping voyage beyond the polar circle

This border, that is located at Latitude 66° 33′ South, marks the Antarctic Territory according to one of the definitions.

The Antarctic Circle experiences a period of 24 hours where the Sun is above the horizon during the summer solscice on 21st December. The reason for this phenomenon is that the axis of the earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees.

South of the Polar Circle at Detaille Island in Crystal Sound is the farthest south that we will probably reach at Latitude 66°52' South.

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Cruises to the Antarctic Circle

Falkland Islands - South Georgia - Elephant Island - Antarctica - Polar Circle

Meet at least six penguin species

HDS29-25 This Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula cruise is an animal-lover’s dream come true. The expedition explores one of the last untamed areas on Earth – a land of ruggedly beautiful landscapes and amazingly varied wildlife.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

20 Feb - 14 Mar, 2025

Berths start from:

16700 USD

Antarctica - Elephant Island - Weddell Sea - Polar Circle

Venture beyond the polar circle, visiting some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-filled waters and islands

PLA31-25 This expansive expedition takes you into the Antarctic Circle, combining the rich animal life of the Weddell Sea with the surreal shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. Such key landing sites as the legendary Elephant Island and Crystal Sound...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

9 Mar - 23 Mar, 2025

Berths start from:

10500 USD

Antarctica - Polar Circle - Deep South Discovery voyage

Crossing the Polar Circle

OTL31-25 This Polar Circle and Antarctic Peninsula cruise passes through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. Anchoring in various spots around the region, the expedition offers the chance to hike and dive in the iceberg-heavy waters.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

10 Mar - 21 Mar, 2025

Berths start from:

7700 USD

Antarctica - Beyond the Polar Circle - Wilkins Ice Shelf - Aurora Australis

Visit places discovered by De Gerlache on his polar expedition onboard the Belgica

OTL32-25 This voyage explores a number of historically significant Antarctic areas, such as the very rarely visited Bellingshausen Sea, Marguerite Bay, and Alexander Island. We focus on places discovered by Adrien De Gerlache on his Belgian Antarctic Expedition...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

21 Mar - 5 Apr, 2025

Berths start from:

10500 USD

Antarctica - Polar Circle - Whale watching

Crossing the Polar Circle

PLA32-25 This Polar Circle and Antarctic Peninsula cruise passes through waters travelled by Humpback, Minke and Fin whales. Anchoring in various spots around the region, the expedition offers the chance to dive in the iceberg-heavy waters.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

23 Mar - 3 Apr, 2025

Berths start from:

9450 USD


Latest blog and customer story


Guide’s Choice for Binoculars: Swarovski Optik

Our guests often ask us what they should pack when it comes to the more optional polar travel gear, such as cameras or binoculars.

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Antarctic Circle cruise reviews

by Samantha Arumadura
It has been a wonderful experience on Plancius for Around Svalbard Expedition & also on Ortelius for Antarctica Deep South Polar Circle Expedition with Oceanwide. The expeditions are arranged very professionally by friendly & knowledgeable expedition staff. Hotel staff also very friendly. Great lectures & new knowledge provided by the expedition staff. Happy to see environmental conscious people handling these expeditions.
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by Stella Ellis
From the first briefing when we were told that plan B was already in operation due to severe weather around the Falklands and S Georgia, taking a passenger to King George Island to be medevacked off the ship, then doing the whole trip in reverse, it was brilliant. The expedition crew certainly new their stuff, their English was excellent ( with one exception) and they certainly got us to every landing and zodiac cruise possible. Even backtracking around South Georgia and a full circumnavigation just to get us to all possible landings was fantastic. Another example - out last day in the Falklands and we were visiting New Island. The plan was North Beach in the morning and South Beach in the afternoon. As we approached North Beach the wind was far too strong for a landing so we didn't stop, and headed straight to South Beach. A great landing had by all and then as we had lunch we went back to North Beach - the wind was reasonable so we could land and had a great last afternoon before sailing back to The cabin stewards were thorough in their work and very friendly. All the crew on the boat were first class, especially getting us on and off the zodiacs. Food fab!
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by Andrea Attwenger
Going to Antarctica was a big big BIG dream of mine - and what can I say, it was magnificent. Antarctica feels so incredible and otherwordly, it's like Drake Passage is a vortex taking you through time and space to another planet or dimension. I chose the "Antarctica - Elephant Island - Weddell Sea - Polar Circle" voyage simply because it was one of the longest ones still in my budget and I have no regrets - I loved seeing different kinds of landscape. All the guides told us that we were incredibly lucky with the weather and the wildlife - but I also know we were lucky because of the passion and expertise of the Oceanwide team. Everyone involved - from the expedition leader and guides to the captain and his officers to the hotel staff - worked tirelessly to give us our best possible experience in Antarctica. I always thought this would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. It definitely was, but also: I kind of want to go back now... - in the meantime I'll check out Oceanwide's offers in the Arctic.
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by Sieglinde Spranger
We filled out the questionnaire. Read full review
by Herbert Ballat
Die Reise hat sich auf jeden Fall gelohnt Read full review
by Saying Yuan
I just can not say enough good things about this trip, how I am satisfied and how I love it. The places we have been, the activities, the diligent, hard-working crew and Expedition team guides. It's a once in a lifetime trip, the feeling and memory will last forever and become my history. Thanks Oceanwide for organizing a special "Beyond the Polar Circle" itinerary like this. It's an unique experience, wonderful and spectacular! Thanks every crew member and every Expedition Team member who has tried their best effort to make all the good things happen and has accompany us the whole trip, thank for the good memory they have left us.
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Antarctic Circle FAQ

The Antarctic Circle, which is also referred to as a polar circle, is one of the five latitude circles that are used to divide maps of Earth. An expedition cruise to the Antarctic Circle will take travelers south of the Equator to the 66°33′45.9″ coordinates. The Antarctic Circle is between the Southern Temperate Zone and the Antarctic. This polar circle crosses through Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the Balleny Islands.

Due to the range of the Antarctic Circle, the average weather conditions can vary greatly. However, most expedition cruises that go near the Antarctic Circle stop at Detaille Island. This area can be warmer than many travelers would imagine. For example, in October, the temperature usually ranges from -7 to 0 degrees Celsius (19.4 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit). Of course, the Antarctic Circle can also be extremely frigid, depending on the time of year.  

The Antarctic Circle is slowly moving southward. This movement changes its exact coordinates by approximately 15 meters (49 feet) every year. At the current time, the entire area beneath the Antarctic Circle takes up 20 million square km (7.7 million square miles), which accounts for 4 percent of the Earth’s total landmass. 

Although we do not know which individual determined the existence of this Polar Circle, history does tell us that James Cook was the first person to travel to the Antarctic Circle. Cook reportedly crossed the circle via boat in 1773 as part of his second voyage to discover new regions.  

The exact area of the Antarctic Circle that you visit will directly impact the type of wildlife that you might encounter. During a cruise to the Antarctic Circle, it is possible that you will see a variety of penguin species, along with whales, seals and seabirds. 

A cruise to the Antarctic Circle is definitely a unique experience, and you may see a variety of photo-worthy things. Examples include wildlife, glaciers and icebergs.

One of the most intriguing facts about the Antarctic Circle is the region’s 24 hours of daylight and nighttime that take place once a year. To explain, December is filled with a full 24 hours of daylight to mark the solstice, and the opposite event occurs in June. 


Antarctic Circle Weather

While much is said about just how frosty it can get in the Antarctic, your Polar Circle trip will happen in a more hospitable time of year. When you visit the islands and the continent you can expect temperatures to range from around 0°C up to about 5°C.

However, when you’re thinking about what clothes to bring don’t forget about the famous Polar Circle winds which can whisk away your body heat. 

Facts about the Antarctic Circle

  • The magnetic South Pole is constantly on the move, travelling about 8 km a year.
  • The southern Polar Circle contains the driest, coldest, and windiest continent on Earth – Antarctica!
  • The western portion of Antarctica is actually an archipelago (chain of islands) that are all joined together into one big mass by ice.
  • The South Polar Circle is defined by anything south of 66°30’ S line of latitude.
  • This line of latitude was first crossed by Captain James Cook on January 17, 1773.
  • The hours of daylight on any particular day in the southern Polar Circle are matched by hours of night in the northern Polar Circle.
  • Winds in some places within the South Polar Circle can reach 320 km per hour.

Travel to the Antarctic Circle

Your Polar Circle cruise to the Antarctic region brings you to one of the coldest, windiest, and driest places on Earth… and yet one that is teeming with a huge variety of wildlife and fantastic rugged landscapes.

Our Polar Circle expeditions are a trip to Heaven for bird watchers. You’ll be able to go ashore on islands and the continent, and the experienced can even go diving into waters shared by seals and whales. On your Polar Circle holiday you’ll be able to kayak, join photography workshops, make friends with thousands of penguins, an enjoy great whale watching opportunities.