Located in Norway, the Svalbard archipelago is a unique and distinctive arctic terrain with its history, peculiarities, and culture.
Svalbard is a northern archipelago that forms part of Norway. It is situated in the waters of the Arctic Ocean above the Arctic Circle.
There are nine islands in the archipelago; however, Spitsbergen is the largest one and serves as an important location in polar tours. In most cases, all arctic expeditions in the area depart from Longyearbyen, a developed administrative center.
Svalbard means “cold coast” in translation from Old Norse.
It is believed that it was discovered back in 1194. Although it only became widely known after rediscovering in 1596 by Willem Barents and Jacob van Heemskerck.
From 1611 many European whalers arrived in Svalbard and began to argue over whaling rights. All issues were settled by the decline of whaling only in 1800.
That led to a focus shift from whaling to coal, which also caused quarrels over export rights between European, Russian and American companies. Nowadays, only Norway and Russia are authorized to extract coal on the Svalbard territory.
It can be very exciting to go on a Spitsbergen cruise in Norway due to the unique mountainous landscape caused by faulting. The Newton Peak is considered the highest point (1717 meters).
Over half of the territory is covered with snowfields and glaciers that extend as far as the sea. Besides, there are many fjords on the northwestern coast of Spitsbergen.
Also, the packed ice around Spitsbergen accumulates quickly, which complicates access to the territory.
The climate of Svalbard is truly arctic. The average temperature usually varies from +6°С in the summertime to -15°С in winter.
If you plan a cruise to Spitsbergen, remember it is a traditional yet fascinating, polar adventure.
The raw nature of the Svalbard archipelago is the perfect habitat for iconic wildlife. Most of the territory is inaccessible to people, which gives animals the unique opportunity to flourish. Summer features the beautiful blooming Arctic tundra with arctic foxes and the Svalbard reindeer. This is also the best time for spotting polar bears, walruses, ringed seals and beluga whales. Bird lovers will enjoy the abundance of species, such as the Arctic skua, black-legged kittiwake, common eider, red-throated diver, barnacle goose and the snow bunting. Cruising aboard small expedition ships is the best way to spot wildlife in the most remote areas. On your Svalbard voyage, you’ll have the best chance of experiencing polar bear sightings. The midnight sun will provide plenty of time to explore, observe and take the best photos.
Svalbard expedition enables tourists to exclusively observe different Arctic animals and sea mammals in their natural habitat. Prepare to meet polar bears, blue and white arctic foxes, reindeer, seals, walruses, and whales. Such excursions make dreams come true.
Top Things to See
Here is the list of the most attractive Svalbard locations and activities for visitors in 2021 that is worth your attention.
A ghost town named Pyramiden grants the mysterious impression of visiting the Soviet Union.
Isfjord is one of the largest and most beautiful fjords in the area, where you can meet polar bears, enjoy glacier views, or join a snowmobile safari.
Barentsburg, the second-largest settlement in Svalbard, is an interesting place to visit for beautiful views, historical sightseeing, and wildlife.
The uninhabited Edge island is the third-largest in Svalbard, where you can meet polar bears, walruses, and other animals and capture the most stunning views.
The Svalbard Museum will help you learn more about the history and culture of the area.
The North Pole Expedition Museum tells the amazing story of airships exploring the north.
Svalbard snowmobile safari, ice cave visiting, dog-sledding with a husky, and many other activities and places are available.
Plan Your Svalbard Tour
Here is how to get ready for your unforgettable expedition.
How to Get to Svalbard
Poseidon Expeditions offers Svalbard cruise packages and will help you get to the location where your Svalbard cruise begins. Cruises to Svalbard (Norway) in 2023/24 depart from Longyearbyen. However, we can easily arrange your transfer to Spitsbergen cruises from any location at a low cost.
For an unforgettable cruise to Svalbard, we’ll provide you with all the information you need for flights, bookings and accommodations. Onboard information is included – so you’ll be safe and ready for polar travel.
Each Svalbard expedition is always thoroughly supported by our team. On top of onboard entertainment, we help the travelers to learn about the peculiarities of polar vacation and explain precaution measures.
If you plan to visit Svalbard this year or in 2022, you should remember about the visa control. Sometimes trips to Spitsbergen might require a special visa.
Our company will provide you a piece of expert advice on the necessity of getting a visa in your particular case. We will also assist you in applying to the consulate or embassy and preparing the set of needed documents.
We deliver only a high-class fleet for each Svalbard cruise. We rely on our small but advantageous ship:
The deluxe expedition ship Sea Spirit is very maneuverable and contains 114 passengers. Comfortable accommodation on board and an additional fleet of Zodiacs make this vessel very attractive.
On our ship, we offer many different onboard entertaining options: restaurants, bars, game lounge, gym, shops, swimming pool, etc. You will never get bored. Besides, due to low passenger groups going ashore during stops is very pleasant.
The summer season is the most pleasant time to visit Spitsbergen. So, you can plan your tour to Svalbard from May to September to get the best of it.
When to Visit Svalbard
The weather can vary depending on your location. The average temperature in Longyearbyen during the summer season is between 3°С and 7°С. And the average summer temperature in Barentsburg is usually between 4°С and 8°С.
During the summer months, sea ice in the High Arctic is receding. That’s the best time for an expedition cruise and for Svalbard trips. Warmer temperatures also mean that you may witness calving glaciers. During the winter, pack ice prevails and many places on the Norwegian archipelago are inaccessible.
To be prepared for all contingencies and fully enjoy your expedition, bring clothes following the layered clothing scheme. The weather in Svalbard can change quickly! Opt for synthetics, polar fleece and wool (instead of cotton).
Facts About Svalbard
The total area of the land: 61022 km²
Svalbard population as of 2022: 2552 people
Spitsbergen administrative center: Longyearbyen
Currency: Norwegian Krone