Svalbard

Explore the rugged beauty of an Arctic island chain

Cruises to Svalbard

16 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen & Bear Island
Up to $6240 OFF

16 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen & Bear Island

OTL04d24 Why take just one polar voyage when you can combine two into an activity-filled, wildlife-focused adventure? We’ve joined our East Spitsbergen cruise (emphasizing polar bears and pack ice) with our North Spitsbergen Basecamp cruise (multiple free activities)...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

25 Jun - 10 Jul, 2024

Berths start from:

5160 USD

30 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - East & South Greenland, Aurora Borealis, Incl. flight from Narsarsuaq to Copenhagen
Up to $6150 OFF

30 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - East & South Greenland, Aurora Borealis, Incl. flight from Narsarsuaq to Copenhagen

PLA10c25 This far-ranging voyage combines a full Spitsbergen circumnavigation with an adventurous voyage down the eastern coast of Greenland, visiting such iconic Arctic sites as Kvitøya and Scoresby Sund, Earth's largest fjord. Included is the option of invigorating...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

4 Aug - 2 Sep, 2025

Berths start from:

13320 USD

23 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis
Up to $5970 OFF

23 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis

HDS10c25 A full circumnavigation of Spitsbergen combined with a voyage into northeast Greenland, this expansive expedition cruise explores some of the best spots in the high Arctic - including visits to Kvitøya and Scoresby Sund, Earth's largest fjord, along...

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

14 Aug - 5 Sep, 2025

Berths start from:

10480 USD

15 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen - Summer Solstice
Up to $5840 OFF

15 Days Extended North & East Spitsbergen - Summer Solstice

PLA03d24 We’ve linked two of our most exploratory Spitsbergen trips, one of which cruises the island’s northern shores for pack ice and polar bears, and the other that ventures into the scenic eastern shorelines during the summer solstice. The result is this...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

13 Jun - 27 Jun, 2024

Berths start from:

4800 USD

23 Days Extended Around Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis
Up to $4540 OFF

23 Days Extended Around Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis

PLA10d24 When you join two outstanding Arctic cruises into one, you get powerhouse polar adventures like this. After edging the pack ice of the planet’s most stunning polar bear habitat, you head to scenically surreal northeast Greenland for views of the magical...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

9 Aug - 31 Aug, 2024

Berths start from:

9920 USD

Svalbard cruise video

Latest blog and customer story

Svalbard blog

What’s so Special about East Spitsbergen?

Though eastern Svalbard does not differ dramatically from the rest of the island group, the itineraries we follow there give you a different experience than our other Svalbard options.

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Svalbard story

Around Spitsbergen, in the Realm of the Polar Bear & Ice

There are journeys and there are journeys. This trip is one that falls in the latter category. I look back on a fantastic experience, during which the awareness of human behavior on this vulnerable planet (and especially the Arctic) became very clear to me.

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Latest highlight and wildlife

Map of

Svalbard photo

Svalbard cruise reviews

by Chiara Mellina
I want to leave again
Read full review
by Elias Arce Fernandez
Un viaje maravilloso!!!!! Read full review
by Kerstin Jacob
It was a wonderful tour. Even though the Plancius is a somewhat older ship, it is still perfect for such tours, as there is only room for a maximum of 108 passengers. This makes it very familiar and things like landing with Zodiacs are very fast and there are not so many people on land. The cabins are not as stylish as on the newer ships, but totally maintained, functionally furnished and space-wise completely sufficient, since one is there anyway almost only to sleep. The entire team on the ship, from housekeeping to the kitchen and service staff in the restaurant, to the expedition team, always made us feel that everything was being done to ensure that we had a perfect trip. Everyone succeeded in this one hundred percent as well. That we were lucky enough to see polar bears three times on their way through the pack ice was of course the absolute highlight. Read full review
by Manuela Cedarmas
The expedition to Svalbard was well beyond expectations. The crew and the staff were very professional, super competent and always available for any kind of questions. I loved the lectures and all the activities. I really appreciate the attention for sustainability onboard and during the activities. The boat was very clean and comfortable. Looking forward to boarding for the next trip! Read full review
by Michele Trapani
This trip was truly amazing! The perfect chance to get your mind of your normal life and enjoy a breathtaking Arctic experience amongst many experienced and cultured Expedition Leaders, otherwordly landscapes and undescribably beautiful wildlife. Read full review
by Christian Fritz Löwe
very good organised; high qualified staff, guides, crew; comfortable ship; good atmosphere on board, tasty meals Read full review

Svalbard FAQ

Svalbard is one of our core Arctic locations, a great place for enjoying wildlife, activities, and scenery. For this reason, there are too many areas we visit to list here. For details on intended routes and landing sites, see the Svalbard page at our website.

This depends on what you want to experience at Spitsbergen. In case you want to experience the Polar night or the Aurora Borealis, November to February is the best time to travel to Spitsbergen. Do you want to see the midnight sun and enjoy boat trips, kayaking or hiking? Then the best time to visit Spitsbergen is around May until September. This is the summer period of Spitsbergen.

The sun sets for the last time in Spitsbergen in mid-September and rises above the horizon again in mid-February. The winter landscape and temperatures prevail until May.   

The weather in Spitsbergen differs per area and location. Although snow can occur throughout the year in Svalbard, the North Atlantic Current helps provide Svalbard with warmer temperatures than many other areas within similar latitudes. However, strong winter breezes, low pressure and the combination of wet sea air and cold polar air can lead to rapidly changing weather conditions, especially during the winter months.

During the winter season, the temperature in Spitsbergen can can drop to -16 to -12 degrees Celsius (3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit). Adding in the wind chill factor means the weather can feel much colder. July is the warmest month of the year with an average temperature between 3 and 8 degrees Celsius (37 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit).  We therefore recommend that you bring a variety of warm clothes for your Spitsbergen cruise. 

As polar bears can travel great distances in a day, it is impossible to say where and when we will spot them. Sea ice is the best place to look, so we tend to focus our efforts there. Though you will have a good chance of seeing polar bears in Svalbard, nature makes the decisions. Sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Your cruise to Spitsbergen will come with an enormous amount of opportunity to spot wildlife. Polar bears are obviously the main attraction regarding wildlife. There are six national parks throughout Spitsbergen, and Svalbard alone is known to contain, Polar bears, reindeer, Arctic fox, numerous birds (such as guillemots and little auks) and several high Arctic seal species inhcluding the iconic Walrus. You might also encounter a variety of whales including the largest of them all: the Blue whale. 

About

Svalbard weather

Svalbard is located in the high Arctic and shares the Arctic’s designation as a technical desert when it comes to annual precipitation (or lack thereof). Particularly the eastern part of Svalbard sees relatively little precipitation annually. The west coast sees more precipitation in the form of rain and snow. Depending on when you take your Svalbard cruise you can expect temperatures to average anywhere from -14°C in the winter to 6°C in the summer.

Facts about Svalbard

  • The name “Svalbard” is an old name (going back to at least the 1100s) meaning “cold coasts.”
  • Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s only true town, was founded by an American in 1906. It has a little over 2000 inhabitants.
  • Almost 65% of Svalbard is a protected nature reserve or a national park.
  • Svalbard is the archipelago (chain of islands) off the north coast of Norway.
  • Svalbard has the world’s third biggest ice sheet, coming behind only Antarctica and Greenland.
  • Svalbard is made up of 4 main islands, and almost 150 smaller islands.
  • Nobody gets buried on Svalbard. Because of the cold in the ground bodies generally fail to decompose, meaning that the graveyards would quickly get overrun. Therefore bodies are shipped to mainland Norway and buried there.

Travel to Svalbard

Travel to Svalbard and experience one of the Earth’s northernmost human inhabitations. Your Svalbard expedition cruise will take you to a beautifully stark landscape of glaciers and rugged snow-capped mountains. During your Svalbard holiday you’ll explore the preserved and protected history of the region, watch high Arctic wildlife on both land and at sea. Come during the late autumn/early winter months and your Svalbard cruise will be capped off by the great wonder of the Polar skies, the Northern Lights. For the polar bear enthusiasts special polar bear itineraries are arranged to offer the best polar bear experiences. 

Polar bear video by Vedat Mihmat

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