• Arctic tern, Svalbard


Svalbard consists of an archipelago, north of mainland Norway. In the winter the islands are completely covered in ice, however as the summer approaches, the ice begins to melt and the island become navigational by boat. Our Svalbard safaris offer guests the opportunity to travel in smaller boats than most, able to access tighter spaces to explore more fjords and glaciers.

The population of polar bears here is in the region of about 3,000, and this icy home provides a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures - enabling the population to actually increase. Despite polar bears being the main reason for most visits here, there is so much else to see! The majestic glaciers and magical fjords are absolutely stunning, watch as freezing waterfalls cascade down sheer peaks and look down to see your boat ploughing on through thick sheets of white ice. The wildlife of Svalbard is not to be looked past and it is also possible to see the Northern Lights here (aurora borealis) if you are very lucky.

With all these experiences on offer, there come lots of questions that need answering! Please find a list of our frequently asked questions below, all answered by our team of specialists! If there is anything you think we need to add or anything you specifically would like to know then please contact us.



Faq Listing

  • Are there polar bears in Svalbard?

    It is thought that the Svalbard Archipelago and the Barents Sea are home to around 3,000 polar bears. This, combined with the fact that the great white bears are relatively fearless of humans, means that your chances of an encounter on one of our specialist expeditions remain high. As we navigate our way through this unparalleled environment of ice and glaciers, your eyes will be drawn to any movements from the Arctic wilderness around. Every encounter and trip is unique and beautiful in its own way, whether it’s watching this amazing predator from the ship to the backdrop of turquoise glaciers, to times when we may get special and more personal encounters. Nothing takes away from how privileged we are to witness this remarkable King of the North in Svalbard.

  • Can I see the Northern Lights in Svalbard?

    Seeing the northern lights in Svalbard is all about timing.

    Click here to find out more on seeing the northern lights in Svalbard.
  • What country does Svalbard belong to?

    Svalbard forms part of Norway and is the considered the northern most tip of Europe. Find out how to get to Svalbard.

  • What is the travel like in Svalbard?

    To get to Svalbard you will need a flight to Oslo in Norway, from there you can get a connecting flight to Longyearbyen, either direct or via Tromsø.

    Direct from Oslo takes approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes, the journey from Tromsø to Longyearbyen is about an hour and 40 minutes. Longyearbyen is the capital city of Svalbard and contains the archipelago’s largest airport. You will be met at the airport by one of the team and taken to your first port of call; depending on your itinerary this will either be to a hotel for a relaxing evening before you expedition, or, after a day exploring Longyearbyen, to your mobile home for the next few days on an expedition ship!

    Our Svalbard holidays are predominantly ship-based and we try to keep our ships small and intimate. These small vessels allow for more intricate navigation of the archipelago, allowing us to get further north to some of the bears' favourite hideouts and some of the wilder places. The expedition ship will stop at various points around the archipelago, from where landings are made using small zodiacs or skiffs. This way guests get a more intimate encounter with the wildlife and the land.
  • What should I pack for a Svalbard safari?

    Packing for the Arctic conditions can be easy if you understand the best way to dress in the region.

    Please get in touch to find out the best way to dress in Svalbard and a detailed packing list.

  • What wildlife can I see in Svalbard?

    Polar bears are the main attraction for many, but there is a whole host of flora and fauna waiting to be explored and discovered here.

    Keen birders could find bright beaked puffins, guillemots and the little auk, which can only be found in regions of the high Arctic. For those more inclined to find sea mammals, there are about 5 seal species and about 12 species of whale. The walrus is very rare, having been hunted to the verge of extinction. Due to being protected, however, numbers are thought to have grown to about 2,000 and are a surprising highlight of many people’s trips here. Found mainly on the coast, these creatures can grow up to between 3 and 4 metres and are easily identifiable by their slightly comedic, yet purposeful, canine teeth!

    The beautiful Arctic fox can be found around the region, as well as the Svalbard reindeer – which make a very impressive sight with their huge antlers in the summer months. The Spitsbergen reindeer is in fact a subspecies. The reindeer arrived at the end of the Ice Age and have evolved differently from their northern European cousins. Both males and females have antlers. They have shorter legs and are slightly plumper than the northern European species.
  • When is the best time to see polar bears in Svalbard?

    Svalbard is like a different world, icy landscapes, beautiful fjords and some great wildlife, but there is no doubt that most people visit here for the polar bears - the largest land predator of all the mammals.

    The polar bears are best seen in the summer months, here you will find details on when is the best time to see polar bears.

  • Can I charter an Arctic Expedition Ship for exclusive use?

    We offer full ship charters for 12 – 16 guests on board our ice-strengthened ships, the M/V Kinfish and the M/S Freya. With exclusive use of a charter ship, we can plan a trip to suit your requirements, whether your focus is photography, wildlife or simply seeing the best of the Arctic. 

    Here you can find more details on chartering your own Arctic expedition ship.


Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey to Svalbard. Please note we recommend a budget of from £8,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.

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