A remote outpost flung far out into the Arctic Ocean, Svalbard is just 650 miles from the North Pole. Between ice floes, unique wildlife and creaking glaciers, it represents the ultimate polar destination, its sparse settlements – both Soviet and Norwegian – the only permanent human habitations amid the chilling sea.  See itinerary ideas

Although tentatively settled by whalers, miners and fishermen as early as the 17th century, the islands have never been fully tamed. To this day, mankind is easily outnumbered by polar bears, making Svalbard the best place to view these endangered creatures as they prowl across scrubby fells, rugged shorelines and sweeping glaciers during the long days of summer.

Polar bear in Spitsbergen, Svalbard
Polar bear, Spitsbergen

You’ll make your introductions with its largest island, Spitsbergen, which has captured the imagination ever since the Dutch first spotted pointed, craggy peaks piercing the sheet ice and clouds. Here, the town of Longyearbyen serves as a comfortable base. It’s a handful of cosy hotels and surprisingly vibrant pubs sitting among colourfully painted cabins, lining the shores of Adventfjorden. Sheltered by the surrounding glaciers and mountains, it’s the perfect headquarters from which to explore.

Summer in Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard
Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Indeed, there's a full range of excursions to choose from. In summer, expect everything from fjord boat trips and kayak expeditions to hikes and bike rides, along with the chance to walk on glaciers, spot mighty walruses and take in remote, Soviet-era settlements. It’s all made that bit prettier by summer’s Midnight Sun. Then, as winter arrives and the sun dips behind the horizon, not to be seen again until spring, attention switches to the likes of husky sledding and snowmobiling under the magical Northern Lights.

Northern Lights and the Polar Night in Svalbard
Watching the Northern Lights over Svalbard

Our specialists will happily show you the best ways to explore this wild region. Perhaps get away to a remote basecamp, or take it all in with an expedition cruise, circumnavigating Svalbard’s spectacular shoreline.

 

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Popular itineraries

Polar Night: Northern Lights in Svalbard

Polar Night: Northern Lights in Svalbard

4 day tailor-made break

» From £895 per person incl. flights
Save when you book before 31 December – save up to £135 pp

Svalbard Summer Adventure

Svalbard Summer Adventure

4 day tailor-made break

» From £1,080 per person incl. flights

Summer Svalbard Exploration in Style

Summer Svalbard Exploration in Style

5 day tailor-made break

» From £1,675 per person incl. flights

Aurora Expeditions: Arctic Discovery

Aurora Expeditions: Arctic Discovery

23 day expedition cruise

» From £10,190 per person incl. flights