The roughly 3,000 giant, snow-white polar bears in Svalbard are the number one draw for wildlife lovers. Polar bears are among the most iconic and captivating creatures on the planet, and Svalbard offers some of the most incredible viewing opportunities in the world.
Polar bears are the world’s biggest carnivores and are classified as marine mammals because they spend most of their lives on floating ice packs that move across the sea. Wildlife trips take you out onto the ocean by boat to watch and photograph polar bears living in the wild.
Female polar bears make snow caves in the ice where their cubs are born and stay with their mothers until they turn at least two years old. The ringed seal is the primary food source for ‘snow bears.’ They’re Svalbard’s most frequent seal species, and you’ll almost certainly see them.
Although sightings are most prevalent on the islands around Spitsbergen, you should always be on the lookout for them, even in town. Polar bears are not used to seeing humans and may regard us as possible prey.
Unfortunately, because polar bears travel freely across the region with no restrictions and may traverse enormous distances in a matter of days, it’s hard to predict when the optimum time of year to see them is. It’s also tough to estimate the optimal viewing locations. They are joining a trip with a local guide who is up to date on the region, and the bears’ movements are strongly advised.
Are the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) a natural phenomenon that science can explain, or are they creative manifestations of the gods? Everyone has a different point of view. One undeniable thing is that seeing the Northern Lights is one of the most popular reasons for visiting Svalbard.
The aurora is caused by intense solar winds interacting with the sun’s gas clouds. Between 90 and 180 kilometers above the ground, these gas particles reach the earth’s atmosphere, causing electromagnetic radiation seen on the Northern Lights.
To get the best view of the Northern Lights, you’ll need a completely dark environment with no artificial lights. The moon, stars, and aurora offer the sole illumination outside of communities such as Longyearbyen.
Of course, the ideal time to see the Northern Lights is in the evening or night, when the sky is the darkest. However, during the winter, Svalbard experiences what is known as Polar Night, when the sun does not rise for more than 24 hours, so at any time of day, you may see the mysterious green light dancing high above the Arctic winter tundra.
Global Seed Vault
The Global Seed Vault is located deep into a mountain in a remote part of Svalbard. The vault, which holds approximately 2.5 billion seeds, serves as the world’s safety net in the event of a widespread natural calamity. The vault preserves the world’s most extensive collection of agricultural diversity and is built to withstand the challenges of its hostile exterior environment.
A worldwide seed vault, which houses about 1 million different varieties of seeds beneath the permafrost of Arctic ice, is something that most people are unaware of, making for an exciting travel narrative.
The Global Seed Vault isn’t precisely a cause to visit Svalbard in and of itself, as tourists aren’t allowed inside. You may, however, take a shot of the outdoors, which, depending on the weather, can make for a great Instagram post.
One of many reasons to visit Svalbard is the wide range of unique arctic wildlife species on offer. As we’ve already mentioned, Svalbard is arguably the best place in the world to see polar bears in the wild, and with there being more polar bears than people, sightings are widespread.
Reindeer herds graze like sheep around Longyearbyen, while polar foxes are always sniffing about, obviously up to no good. Svalbard is home to various renowned marine creatures, including ringed and harp seals, walrus, and several whale species such as the beluga and humpback whale.
Walruses are one of the few animals that survive the winter in Svalbard, and the population is growing, with over 4,000 individuals estimated. Their imposing tusks make them highly recognizable.
In addition, over 200 bird species have been identified in Svalbard and its environs. Arctic seabirds breed in large colonies that can account for a significant fraction of the global population.
A Polar Night Or The Midnight Sun
The polar night occurs exclusively in the earth’s northern and southernmost parts during the winter months when the sun does not rise beyond the horizon for more than 24 hours.
Days will be entirely dark for roughly 20 hours during the polar night, with 3-4 hours of mild blue haze in between. The northern lights may be seen throughout most of the day during this time.
The Polar Day, often known as the ‘midnight sun,’ occurs exclusively at the North and South Poles and is the polar night’s polar opposite.