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When to go to Svalbard

The Best Time to go to Svalbard

Essentially, if you want to know the best time to visit Svalbard to see polar bears, you can only go in the summer, between June and September. This is when the ice melts enough for ships to be able to navigate the, still icy, waters and explore all the wildlife there is to offer.

Outside of these summer months, the archipelago is frozen over, solid with thick ice and completely thrust into the darkness of the polar nights.

Find out more about travelling to Svalbard with our practical planning FAQs.

Svalbard Weather Chart & Best Time To Go

The best time to go to Svalbard

 the best time to go to Svalbard

The weather chart below shows the maximum day temperature and the minimum night temperature in Svalbard throughout the year, as well as the expected rainfall at that time.

Svalbard weather chart

June - September

These summer months are the best time to go to Svalbard. This is also the warmest time to visit, and most suited to some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy such as snowmobile tours, skiing, dog sledding, hiking and boat tours. It is not uncommon to have periods of fog during this time, but the weather in Svalbard can equally change very quickly. This is also the period of the Midnight Sun phenomenon, with the sun not setting once below the horizon, resulting in constant daylight. Many of our chosen expeditions operate during these months to maximise wildlife sightings.

November - February

During the polar nights between the months of November and February, most of the archipelago is frozen over and the area is plunged into total darkness, but this is also the best time to see the northern lights or Aurora Borealis, where you can see a unique explosion of colour and movements as a result of electrical and magnetic forces.

March - May

This time is ideal for those who want to experience more light and snow, and it is a peak time for winter sports, so may be considered as an alternative time to travel.

Wildlife

The best time to see wildlife in Svalbard is during the months of June to early September. April too is breeding season, when you are likely to see polar bears in groups rather than their more habitual solitary behaviour. There are also 11 species of whales in the region, which are found in the summer months, and during the winter they find it difficult to surface and take air, heading south instead.

Recommended holidays

Kingdom of the polar bear expedition
Realm of the polar bear
Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

 

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Travel Facts: Svalbard

Flight Time from UK

7h (to Longyearbyen)

Time Difference

GMT+2

Best Time to Go

Jul - Sep

Language

Norwegian, Russian & English

Currency

Norwegian Krone

Main Airline Carrier

SAS

Capital City

Longyearbyen

Svalbard: The Arctic Pearl

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