We recommend traveling to either Svalbard or Arctic Canada to see the King of the Arctic - the mighty polar bear.
Latest figures on the number of polar bears suggest that the Svalbard Archipelago is home to around 3,000 bears. To offer you a truly up close and intimate experience, we run small ship Polar Explorer expeditions throughout the season from April to August on the M/V Kinfish, an intimate passenger ship that is ideal for exploring Svalbard's fjords, coves, and glaciers. Its size allows easy navigation through rugged landscapes, tight spaces, and shallower waters to explore wilder and more secluded areas - often allowing us to discover some of the favourite hideouts of the polar bears themselves.
Polar bears begin to emerge from their winter dens as soon as spring arrives, which means the months of March and April are the best time to see mothers and cubs together in the snow. There is no better place to spot these furry families than the northern reaches of Canada, beyond the Arctic Circle. Here expeditions to remote locales such as Baffin Island require expert guiding from the local Inuit, a great deal of weather-appropriate clothing, a willingness to set up camp in the frozen wilderness, and above all, an intrepid mindset.
The town of Churchill in Canada’s Manitoba province is the self-proclaimed “Polar Bear Capital of the World”, and it’s easy to see why. Visitors to Churchill are perfectly placed to observe the bears’ seasonal migration, with thousands of the 500kg+ predators amassing on the shores of Hudson Bay between October and November, waiting for the waters to freeze and open up a route to their winter feeding grounds.
As the summer months of the northern hemisphere come to an end, polar bears in the Churchill area, just south of the Arctic, are waiting for the waters of Hudson Bay to refreeze so that they can get back onto the ice and start their hunt for ringed seals; stocking up on the much needed food energy they need to survive the harsh winters. The Hudson Bay will normally freeze over towards the end of November and so for roughly six weeks before this happens large numbers of bears are waiting in this area, almost guaranteeing sightings. Here you will find single males, who will spar with each other for fun and mothers with cubs, waiting for their first decent meal since giving birth. Polar bears are quite curious animals and will often approach the vehicles to examine what we are and if there is a chance of food. This provides excellent sightings and quite often you will come face to face with these majestic creatures. Once the bay has frozen over, the bears head north and often not seen until the next summer.
Of all our polar bear destinations, Greenland offers the slimmest chance of spotting the “King of the Arctic” in the wild. Greenland is the largest island in the world and much of its Arctic shoreline, where polar bears are most likely to be seen, is both uninhabited and virtually impenetrable. Setting sail along the east coast between July and September may yield sightings, and at the very least will immerse you in a simply spellbinding landscape, the sheer scale and diversity of which has to be seen to be believed.