Being one of Europe’s last true wildernesses, the Svalbard archipelago lies halfway between Norway and the North Pole. It is Located between 74° and 81° north latitude, and 10° and 35° east, about 1000 km from the North Pole. A fragile refuge of pure nature and magnificent wildlife where polar bears wander free, and several bird species embellish the rocky cliffs.
The influence of the seasons on the sky is fascinating in a place so close to the North Pole. The midnight sun (known to locals) never sets from spring until fall, resulting in an endless day. However, the opposite happens during the winter months from November to February; the sun never rises. Visitors come from all over the world to view the northern lights since it is the only inhabited place on the planet where they can be seen above during the day.
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- Experience the best of an epic Arctic adventure by crossing the 80th parallel on tour around the northwest coast of Spitsbergen.
- Enjoy 24 hours of daylight to see polar bears, walruses, and reindeer, as well as other classic arctic animals.
- Cruise up to towering glaciers and gleaming icebergs in Zodiacs, then land on the surprisingly colorful tundra.
- Glide softly across the polar waters in a kayak, surrounded by icebergs and glaciers.
If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!
Time and Weather
Svalbard has a subpolar climate along the west coast, which is reached by the final branch of the Gulf Stream, and a polar climate along the east coast, even in the summer, temperatures stay below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F). During the winter, polar ice generally reaches the islands’ north and east shores, leaving the west coasts unfrozen.
It’s no coincidence that the communities (Longyearbyen, Barentsburg, Sveagruva, Pyramiden, and Ny-Alesund) are located on the western side of Spitsbergen’s main island, where the temperature rises above freezing in the summer months, if only by a few degrees.
The best time to visit
From May through September, the boreal summer is ideal for exploring Svalbard. Our expedition ship Sea Spirit moves throughout the Arctic regions, making the most of seasonal sea ice and wildlife distribution patterns. It is the hottest time of year, and it is suitable for some of the outdoor activities available, such as snowmobile excursions, skiing, dog sledding, hiking, and boat trips. More significantly, it is the best time to observe polar bears while migratory whales break the cold surface; these massive predators are the major attraction for all visitors to Svalbard!
The majestic fjords of East Greenland become the ideal site to see mesmerizing northern lights displays in September when the Arctic evenings get suitably dark. Days are still long enough to explore an expansive environment of multicolored mountains, blue glaciers, gleaming white icebergs, and autumn-colored tundra valleys.
Compared to warmer places, Svalbard’s fauna has low species diversity. On the other hand, those species present are frequently numerous, a trend that is particularly evident for seabirds. When migrating birds return to breed, there is a surge in bird activity at sea, on the bird cliffs, and the islands. A sharp contrast to the winter, when all that you can hear are the noises of wind and water. Svalbard has three terrestrial mammal species and 19 marine mammal species, including polar bears and walruses. In winter, you may observe Svalbard reindeer, polar bears, Svalbard rock ptarmigans, and Arctic foxes.
Expedition ships and kayakers frequently spot Svalbard’s belugas. These medium-sized toothed whales, also known as «white whales,» are social and gregarious and are typically seen in groups near coastal areas. It’s usual to see them near glaciers, where there’s an abundant food source, just like polar bears.
Our Svalbard Expeditions
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Learn about SVALBARD
Articles about SVALBARD
Polar Bears 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...
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“Great experience booking an Antarctic cruise with this company. we got to see a lot of wildlife very close, the crew was very nice and the whole experience was perfect. Highly recommended!”
– Dimitar Barfonchovski, NY
“Life-changing experience. The expedition staff, the house staff, and the crew were amazing. Thanks to everyone for working so hard to make our experience the best possible”
– Derrick, CO
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