Best time to visit Svalbard

Polar Cruises

Explore the heart of the northern glaciers by polar cruises that will take you to remote corners of the archipelago

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The Svalbard archipelago is clustered with pyramid-shaped mountains and glaciers. This means you will inevitably be immersed in adventure every day, from active exploration to witnessing astonishing Arctic natural history and wildlife. You'll be surprised to find sculptural arrangements of whale bones on rocky beaches and the ghostly remnants of hunters’ huts. Cruises and kayak expeditions are ideal for experiencing the wonders of the archipelago with all of your senses.

Here in Svalbard, you are surrounded by the most varied polar landscapes. The sense of wilderness and remoteness is palpable as soon as you embark the ship at Longyearbyen. This is where you’ll witness the tundra: vast areas of land free from snow and ice and brindled rock in shades of pewter and russet.

The majority of expedition cruises strive to circumnavigate the Svalbard archipelago, but it's always provisional. Sometimes vessels will divert to see the local wildlife. Take the time to admire Arctic wildlife such as giant polar bears during an ice cruising experience. Svalbard has the most significant polar bear population in the world. During 24-hour daylight, these swimmers spend their winters hunting on the ice around the archipelago. During the ice retreat, many bears stay on land and close to coastal waters. This area is also a home to many species of whales, colonies of walruses and seals, migratory seabirds, and Arctic reindeer and foxes.

Svalbard Polar Expeditions normally run from May to early September when the water is not too frozen for a vessel to reach the most remote parts of the archipelago. Cruise schedules may change due to weather conditions. The most secure time to embark is from June through August.