Sat in the Arctic Ocean halfway between Norway and the North Pole, the Svalbard archipelago is your only destination when it comes to exploring the fierce, arctic tundra and its inhabitants. More than half covered by glaciers, the island group supports seven national parks and 23 nature reserves protecting a largely untouched natural environment, rich in rare wildlife. Its environs are home to polar bears, reindeer, arctic fox, sea birds and whales.
Spitsbergen with its main town Longyearbyen, is the largest and only permanently inhabited island of the archipelago. No roads connect its settlements, providing a unique opportunity for snowmobiling or traveling by boat.
Your experience will differ depending on the season you decide to visit. In summer, animals and fauna thrive during the long stretch of constant light and it’s the best time for exploring fjords and glaciers, kayaking and trekking. The polar winter night means that the Northern Lights are bright and the freezing conditions are great for snowmobiling, skiing, husky sledding and visiting ice caves.
When to Go
The best time to see the polar bears is the summer, between June and September when the ice melts to allow ships through. The islands have distinctively different seasons, and there are activities in both summer and winter.
What to do
- Spot polar bears, whales and wildife
- Dog sledding
- Ski and snowmobile expeditions
- Ice cave visit