Svalbard, also known to travelers as Spitsbergen, is the land of the polar bear. Svalbard is a Norwegian Arctic archipelago 600 miles south of the North Pole. It features rugged mountains and rolling tundra that offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing. As the largest wilderness area in Europe, and you will find amazing scenery, and wildlife experiences that you will not find anywhere else on the planet.
Svalbard is surrounded by three seas – The Norwegian Sea, the Greenland Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. Cruises in this region may include circumnavigation (or nearly so, ice pack dependent).We also offer cruises based entirely around Bow Whales, and opportunities to view the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Svalbard is known as the best region for seeing polar bears! Be sure to keep an eye out for these snow-colored animals as you explore. Many other creatures also live in this region, including walruses, seals, and many species of whale.
Svalbard, which means “Cold Coast” in Old Norse, is technically part of Norway. The region was first discovered in 1194 according to the Islandske Annaler. Rediscovery in 1956 was due to Dutch explorers Willem Barents and Jacob van Heemskerck. The explorers were followed by whalers from many different countries. The consequential whaling territory disputes eventually led to the coast’s division. In 1715 Russian explorers would sail to Svalbard as well.
Temperatures in the summer generally range from 36-44 degrees Fahrenheit. Records show the highest temperature recorded was 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit in July of 2020. In summer months it is common for fog to roll in. Often it does rain but usually in small amounts. Typically there is more rain on the eastern side of the region.