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When to visit Svalbard

The best time to visit Svalbard is between the months of May and September. Svalbard has distinct and extreme seasons, with the contrasting polar night and midnight sun. Spring sees the end of a very long dark winter, where the sun doesn’t rise for months on end. As the daylight creeps back across the mountains, Svalbard starts to come to life once again and with it comes the abundance of wildlife; making summertime the best time to go to Svalbard.

Outside of these summer months, the archipelago freezes over, becoming solid with thick ice and, in the depths of winter, completely thrust into the darkness of the polar night. At this time, the polar bears head out further across the ice in search of food, making it near impossible to find them.

Sl Svalbard Kinfish May Credit Chase Teron
Cl Svalbard Polar Bear Caron Steele

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The Best Time to Visit Svalbard


  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Freezing temperatures and constant darkness means we would not recommend traveling to Svalbard in January.

The Polar Summer: May to Early September

In the summer months, the ice has melted enough for our small ships to access and navigate the waters. Reaching close to the shorelines and ice floes, this is where you will find the polar bears out hunting. The peak time for ship expeditions and wildlife sightings.

The Northern Lights Winter: October to February

During the polar night you are unlikely to see wildlife, but we do offer action packed husky and snowmobile safaris in February. Witness the Northern Lights and capture the “blue hour” when the sun moves below and back over the horizon again, tinting the land with a unique beautiful blue tone.

The Sunny Winter: March to April

Early spring seeing Svalbard waking up from the long dark winter. March through April is the best time for land-based trips; snowmobiling and dog sledding across Svalbard’s pristine snowscapes.

Things to do in Svalbard

Search for Polar Bears

On our Polar Bear Explorer, you will explore the stunning Spitsbergen Archipelago aboard the R/V Kinfish, in search of the King of the Arctic; the mighty polar bear. These trips run in the summer, from May to July.

Look for the Northern Lights

In March, enjoy a late-night Aurora watching tour and look out for the magical Northern Lights dancing across the sky as you journey across the snow covered mountain landscapes of Svalbard.

Snowmobiling

From March to May, join an adventurous snowmobiling expedition through the landscapes of Spitsbergen to Isfjord Radio, a 1933 built solitude outpost for radio operators turned into a boutique hotel. Visit Fritjof Glacier and the abandoned Russian mining towns and learn about the history of Svalbard.

Experience the Stillness and Silence

Take the time to be still and present in the remote northern reaches of one of the world’s northernmost inhabited places. Comprising of a vast area of icebergs and ice-fields, the only sounds you will hear are of the ice and the wildlife of the unspoilt Arctic wilderness.