10 Fascinating Facts About The Arctic Circle

We've put together 10 weird and wonderful facts we bet you didn’t know about The Arctic Circle.

Arctic Facts

1. Eight countries – Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and Alaska – extend into The Arctic Circle. In fact, The Arctic Circle occupies one sixth of the Earth’s surface.

Grey Whale

2. Grey whales travel a whopping 12,000 miles to and from The Arctic each year in search of food.

Northern Lights

3. The word ‘Arctic’ actually comes from the Greek ‘Arktos’ which means bear. However, it doesn’t refer to the region’s iconic polar bears, instead it refers to the constellation containing the North Star, Ursa Minor (Ursa being the latin word for ‘bear’).

Polar Bear

4. Speaking of Polar Bears, they are only found in the Arctic and are the largest land predators on Earth. The largest polar bear on record, reportedly weighed 1,000kg and stood 3.39 m (11 ft 1 in) tall on its hindlegs.

North Pole

5. There are actually four poles in the Arctic: the ‘Geographic North Pole’ where the Earth’s axis meets the surface, the ‘North Magnetic Pole’ where your compass points to, the ‘Pole of Cold’ which is the coldest part of the Arctic and the ‘Pole of Inaccessibility’ which is considered one of the hardest places to get to.

Midnight Sun

6. Because of the earth’s tilt, the Arctic receive 24 hours of sunlight each summer, but 24 hours of darkness each winter. Midnight Sun is a name given to the sun when it can be seen at midnight during the Arctic summer.

Santa Claus

7. We think Santa lives in the North Pole because of a cartoon. Thomas Nast, a 19th century cartoonist, depicted Santa’s mailing address a being The North Pole – a place that was all over the news thanks to a number of daring expeditions.

Iceberg, Svalbard

8. The Arctic is generally warmer than the Antarctic, and yet the coldest recorded temperature in the Arctic is around -68°C.


9. The Arctic Ocean is the world’s smallest ocean, only comprising 5.4 million square miles which is a far cry from the Atlantic Ocean’s 41.1 million square miles.

Ice Flowers

10. There are a lot of awe-inspiring views in the Arctic but ‘frost flowers’ are particularly impressive. These delicate ice structures seem to bloom out of the Arctic Ocean.

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