The surreal Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is carved out by icy fjords and tidewater glaciers. Dramatic mountain scenery is accented by the midnight sun, providing abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing. Svalbard is ideal for a camera-distance audience with polar bears. A small cruise ship with a fleet of Zodiacs lets you discover all of the islands’ hidden treasures.
What to Know Before Going to Spitsbergen Spitsbergen (sometimes spelled Spitzbergen) is the largest island in the Norwegian High Arctic territory of Svalbard. Though one is technically a part of the other, the names Spitsbergen and Svalbard are often used interchangeably. Apart from Longyearbyen and a handful of other small settlements, the island is completely pristine and characteristic of a true polar wilderness. Spitsbergen is a great place to start your discovery of the Arctic. Whereas attractions in most of the Arctic are usually spread far and wide across impossibly vast landscapes, a diversity of the Arctic’s most iconic wildlife and historical treasures can be found in Spitsbergen with relative ease on a comfortable cruise without long sea crossings. Here is some tourism information to consider when planning your Spitsbergen cruise.
The Arctic closely guards some of the most unique and rewarding kayaking opportunities on the planet. While the Arctic regions offer all the pristine wilderness values and incredible wildlife that could be desired of a perfect kayaking adventure, their remoteness and inaccessibility mean that few people have the opportunity to experience the thrill and serenity of kayaking in these amazing places.
Arctic whale-watching on a cruise around Spitsbergen
Now enjoying protection after centuries of relentless hunting, whales are returning to the waters of Svalbard. Whales found feeding in the beautiful fjords and rich polar seas around Spitsbergen provide some of the best whale-watching to be had anywhere. Long polar days afford cruise passengers the chance to spot whales during excursions and from the deck of the ship anytime. Here are some whale species to look for during your Spitsbergen cruise.
Remote and rugged, striking and surreal, West Spitsbergen is a unique and wonderful Arctic destination better known as the "realm of the polar bear."
The largest island of Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago, Spitsbergen is one of the world's northernmost inhabited areas. It lies equidistant from mainland Norway and the North Pole, making it a great staging area for historic expeditions to the North Pole, including those of Roald Amundsen and Walter Wellman.