Why svalbard polar bear holidays are truly unique

Located in the remote northern reaches, midway between Norway and the North Pole, the glaciated Svalbard archipelago is a delightfully accessible part of the polar north, comprising a vast area of icebergs, ice-fields, fjords and unspoilt Arctic wilderness. Literally meaning ‘Cold Coast’, in Svalbard you will experience some of the most unique and dramatic landscapes in the world, with white-capped mountains fronted by desolate tundra, glittering glaciers under a constant midnight sun and brilliant blue skies in the summer months. 

The ultimate in polar exploration, a Svalbard polar bear holiday offers something truly unique to the modern day explorer.

Join one of our exclusive small ship charters to navigate far into the Arctic wilderness in search of wildlife. The above video was taken aboard one of our Polar Bear Explorer expeditions during which we commonly encounter over 20 polar bears as well as other Arctic wildlife. Contact one of our destination specialists for more information.

Svalbard Safari Reviews

  • Words do no justice - a life-changing experience and trip. Our hearts and minds are still way up North in the High Arctic, where they shall remain until we return some day henceforth. Words... do no justice to this experience...

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • great service, staff very responsive, we always received any required info in a timely fashion. Thumb up for all of the guides. We enjoyed being in the heart of it, where the action was. No cons. Would travel with NWS again - efficient, reliable, interesting proposals

    SVALBARD WILDLIFE EXPLORER

    4 out of 5
  • The trip was well organised with the best team leaders in Annette and Ronnie that i could wish for. The boat was comfortable and well equipped with a friendly crew who couldn't do anymore for us. The food was fabulous and plentiful with a super atmosphere. David Yarrow was a brilliant bonus for me - I learnt a ton.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • I would like to thank you for the most fabulous trip to Svalbard. The entire experience was absolutely amazing... far beyond my expectation. Everything was phenomenal. Mats and Nate, Chase, the M/S Malmö crew, and the entire group were beyond words. Simply fantastic. I can't thank you enough for arranging this trip.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Very well organised from the booking process onwards. Excellent staff - efficient, courteous, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, hard working (this includes Natural World Safari staff and crew of MS Freya).

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Excellent - great destination, smooth and stress-free, top guides and David Yarrow was fantastic.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Mats Forsberg is an excellent guide with detailed knowledge of the history and wildlife of Svalbard, but the way he conveys this in a relaxed and unhurried way was a breath of fresh air. Simply superb. The ship was more than I expected it to be. Comfortable, relaxing and excellent for wildlife watching from the bridge or on deck.We enjoyed being in the heart of it, where the action was...

    SVALBARD WILDLIFE EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • It was an amazing experience, great group and excellent crew made it unforgettable all-round.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • It was a great trip. Svalbard is such a beautiful place - being able to travel among the icebergs and see polar bears walking around is really something special for me.

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Fantastic sightings; great guides; lovely crew; characterful ship! Fulfilled more than I'd hoped. Thank you!

    SVALBARD Polar Bear EXPLORER

    5 out of 5
  • Fantastic trip on the M/S Malmo. Great guides in Hadleigh Measham and Mats Forsberg, not to mention the ship's crew, with a special shout out to Paul the Chef!!! Also great to have Alice from NWS on board – she's written a great blog already. The team really worked hard to give us all a wonderful Arctic experience. Just awesome – way beyond my expectations and because we were only a small expedition it was very personal and we went places I imagine a bigger ship/group would not have been able to go.

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    10 out of 5
  • All dealings with NWS were great! Besides being knowledgeable, everyone is very friendly and helpful. This was the best trip I've ever taken!

    Svalbard Small Group Safari

    10 out of 5
  • We sailed on Ortelius around Spitsbergen. Our cabin was very spacious and comfortable and the crew and guides were excellent.

    Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

    5 out of 5
  • All five expedition leaders were great, very knowledgeable and very helpful. Have been in zodiacs before and was kitted out with waterproof flotation gear, much drier experience, much warmer and more comfortable.

    KINGDOM OF THE POLAR BEAR SAFARI

    4 out of 5
  • Our expedition ship, the M/S Freya, was perfect with regards to the newly refurbished cabins, viewing decks and bridge. The guides were amazing and very professional – their knowledge was excellent. Enjoyed their wealth of knowledge and would even launch the zodiacs at midnight. Excellent lectures.

    Svalbard Polar Bear Explorer

    4 out of 5
  • Wonderful. We loved it! We saw great wildlife! Everything was absolutely perfect. We love your agency!

    Svalbard Small Group Safari

    10 out of 5
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SPITSBERGEN AND THE SEASONS

Often referred to by the name of its largest island, Spitsbergen, Svalbard forms part of Norway and, with just 3,000 inhabitants, has a very small population. The main cause of this is the harsh weather conditions - in the winter months, thick ice and snow carpets the archipelago, covering up to 60% of its surface. The name Spitsbergen derives from the Dutch for ‘Jagged Peaks’ after the islands were discovered by explorer Willem Barentzs in 1596, whilst finding a route to the Far East.


The best time to see polar bears in Svalbard is usually in the summer months, as the ice encompassing the archipelago melts enough for us to navigate the icy waters. At this time, the midnight sun reigns over the dramatic landscapes, casting an ever-glowing, ambient light on your astonishing surroundings. We can also extend this out into the autumn, when the midnight sun is replaced by some fascinating sunsets. During this time, the forbidding conditions are augmented with bright flora, melt-waterfalls bursting through glaciers, and lonely icebergs.


A variety of Arctic wildlife is there to be encountered on your frozen adventure, including walrus, seals, seabirds and puffins.


Your daily forays into this stunning Arctic wilderness will provide a variety of unique and colourful discoveries along the way.

The Arctic Experts

The Spitsbergen archipelago is full of fjords to explore, with each inlet revealing historical mining settlements, magnificent glaciers and a wealth of wildlife inhabiting the tundra. A voyage on one of our ships takes you around the coastline, stopping at places where you can go ashore and walk around, or survey the area on a zodiac-boat cruise.

As specialists in travel to this area, we firmly believe that our clients benefit hugely from smaller group travel on specialist expedition ships, led by experts. It is through small, intimate and like-minded groups that knowledge is better transferred, which results in a much more enjoyable and informative experience for all involved. Some of the smaller but very well-equipped expedition ships throughout this region operate with a low maximum capacity of just 12 passengers. Due to the size of these expedition ships, our Svalbard expeditions are able to access some of the more pristine and wilderness regions of the frozen Arctic, further north to the pack ice and some of the polar bears' favourite hideouts. The ships we use all provide comfortable surroundings and private facilities making for the most comfortable voyage possible, both whilst out exploring and also at night when relaxing back on the ship.

For further information on what wildlife you can see in Svalbard, what you should pack, whether you can see the Northern Lights, etc., please visit our Svalbard Frequently Asked Questions page. If you would like to book a safari to Svalbard, or would like more detail, please get in touch with our resident experts who are more than happy to assist you.

We only use small ships, meaning we can navigate further north to the polar bears' favourite spots.

Why book with us

We are destination specialists

Our team of specialists have extensive on-the-ground knowledge and have all lived, guided or explored in great detail the destinations that they sell. They will design your journey around you, at the right place at the right time.

We are wildlife specialists

As a leading specialist operator we have excellent partnerships with naturalists and conservationists. We know our wildlife and do what we can to preserve its natural habitat.

We really care about our destinations

At Natural World Safaris we frequently monitor the social, economic and environmental impact of our travel operations to ensure we are at the forefront of a sustainable and ethical tourism industry. 

BOOK YOUR SVALBARD SAFARI

Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey.

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