The Arctic sound of Bellsund is 20 km long (12.4 miles) and found in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. Separating Nordenskiöld Land to the north and Wedel Jarlsberg Land to the south, the sound’s area offers treasures for Arctic cruise passengers who are interested in both history and more natural wonders.
Sometimes categorized as a fjord, Bellsund is indeed a sound - which is wider than a fjord and usually an ocean channel between two landmasses.
Bellsund offers classic northern beauty, with snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and tundra. Noisy colonies of birds make their breeding homes on the cliffs found to the west of the sound, and their resulting contributions to the area (fertilizer) help create the green tundra below. The tundra itself plays host to Arctic foxes and herds of reindeer, and polar bears are known to cross the area as they hunt about for food.
Bellsund was one of the first fjords of Spitsbergen to see a lot of whaling activity in the early 1600s. Remains of some of those whaling stations remain today. The area was also extensively explored by Russian Pomors who used the area as a staging ground for their hunting expeditions.
Mining also caused a stir in the early 1900s, but they ultimately didn’t pay out enough and these interests were abandoned. The ruins of these mining settlements, however, can still be seen today.
If you’re interested in exploring the beauty of Bellsund we invite you to check out our Spitsbergen cruises below.