All the incredible places to see in Svalbard, the planet’s ultimate Arctic archipelago
It’s home to humanity’s last-ditch supply of crop seeds, the world’s northernmost settlement of over 1,000 people, and it is one of the best places on Earth to spot a polar bear.
But did you know that Svalbard scenery is also a thing apart? It is an Arctic wonderland of spilling glaciers, glittering icebergs, and vast spans of snow-swept tundra. And let’s not forget the wildlife - Arctic foxes, dozing walruses, and swirling flocks of seabirds make a Svalbard wildlife expedition among the best decisions an animal lover can make.
If you think you’ve seen the best of the Arctic but haven’t yet been to Svalbard (or even if you have but are dying to go back), put these six surreal locations are on your travel itinerary.
Combining beautiful tundra landscapes to the north with lofty mountains to the south, Liefdefjorden is one of the best landing sites to enjoy exceptional Svalbard scenery. Your visit will not only introduce you to several sprawling glaciers, but you may also see seals or even a polar bear.
Giving Liefdefjorden a run for its money is Phippsøya, a harsh high-Arctic region where life has to fight to survive. Walruses are often seen on the beaches, making for some fine pictures to bring back home. This is among the most memorables places to see in Svalbard.
This is the most accessible and stunning bird cliff in Svalbard, with towering basalt columns and tens of thousands of breeding Brünnich’s guillemots. In terms of Svalbard wildlife expeditions go, this is an ideal landing site.
Make sure you bring a quality camera capable of shooting these fast-flying birds, as the photography opportunities here are rivaled by few other places. Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out our top 10 bird photography tips before booking your Svalbard adventure.
The rugged severity of Phippsøya feels like a neighborhood park next to Kvitøya, especially in terms of remoteness. What’s more, the courage of the Andrée Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897 is made hauntingly clear when you visit their old camp, now also their grave - and certainly one of the more haunting places to see in Svalbard.
The polar desert of Nordaustlandet is a common favorite during our Svalbard wildlife expeditions, featuring raised beaches, dazzling glaciers, and stark ice caps. You may also enjoy a number of invertebrate fossils and some excellent hiking.
With majestic mountains and colossal glaciers everywhere you look, Hornsund is an exemplar of Svalbard scenery and a fitting conclusion to our list. The area is simply enchanting, providing you some of the Arctic’s most iconic scenery as well as glimpses into its whaling, trapping, and rich Pomor history.
If you want to see what it’s actually like to take a Svalbard cruise, check out the video below for great clips of the wildlife, shorelines, and activities you can enjoy there.