Svalbard holidays and cruises
The Svalbard islands are Norway's Arctic Ocean outpost, a hostile but breathtaking wilderness of ice caps and glaciers, mountains and coalmines. Polar bears outnumber humans in this untamed landscape 650 kilometres from the mainland and seeing these powerful creatures in their natural habitat, surrounded by snow and ice, is the main draw for visitors.
The archipelago is reached via a flight into the frontier town of Longyearbyen, the capital, or by sea on an Artic expedition cruise. Svalbard cruises are especially recommended for travellers interested in wildlife - with exceptional opportunities for seeing polar bears and other animals at a close, but safe distance. Sightings of reindeers, Arctic foxes, walrus, whales, seals and seabirds birds can often be had when exploring Svalbard by cruise ship, and talks by expert guides and naturalists make the experience even more rewarding.
Some cruises continue on to Greenland and Iceland, while shorter cruises concentrate purely on Svalbard itself. These typically take in parts of the main island of Spitsbergen and a few outlying islands such as Nordaustlandet, which is dominated by the immense hulk of Austfonna, the world's third largest icecap.
Boat tours operate during the summer months, while the winter season is a time for guided snow mobile safaris, skiing and dog sled tours amid the frozen Svalbard terrain, and witnessing the spectacular Northern Lights.
Top itineraries in Svalbard
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island in Norway's remote Svalbard archipelago. Lying just 620 miles from the North Pole, it's one of the most isolated places on earth and ideal for spotting bears and the Northern Lights.
The Akademik Sergey Vavilov – designed for polar research – has been transformed into a modern, safe and supremely comfortable Arctic cruise ship and it's onboard this ice-strengethened vessel that you'll undertake this brand new Svalbard cruise.
Spitsbergen – the main island of the Svalbard archipelago – lies just a few hundred miles north of the Norwegian mainland and deep within the Arctic Circle. The archipelago
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Top places to stay in Svalbard
Soak up the atmosphere of staying in the centre of the Arctic Circle, in a traditional trapper’s lodge style property
Where to go in Svalbard
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