Reindeer, Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen Holidays

Lying about halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. The best way to visit the Arctic is on-board an expedition cruise, and our experts can help you decide which type of vessel and holiday is most suitable.

Polar Bear, MS Quest, Spitsbergen

Why Cruise?

Spitsbergen cruises offer a fantastic variety of landscapes and wildlife. You’ll see walruses, polar bears, reindeer, whales, and numerous species of bird on your trip to Spitsbergen and Svalbard. The best way to explore Spitsbergen is arguably by boat, as expedition cruises allow passengers to witness dramatic scenery, ice-choked fjords and a myriad of wildlife around the entire archipelago.


What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Polar Bear on Ice, Spitsbergen, Arctic

Polar Bear Watching

Observe Polar bears in their natural habitat with Spitsbergen being one of the best places in the Arctic to see these creatures.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Walrus, Spitsbergen

Spot Spitsbergen’s Walruses

Observe walruses, an iconic species of the Arctic, frequently seen hauled out on icebergs and beaches.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Dog Sledding, Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Husky Experience

Mushing your own team of huskies is a thrilling way to experience the high arctic.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Northern Lights, Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Glaciers and Northern Lights

Experience spectacular scenery, ice blue glaciers and the mesmerising northern lights.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Fjord, Spitsbergen, Norway

Valleys and Fjords

Drive through Glacial valleys and across frozen fjords.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Snowmobiling, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Snowmobiling Adventures

Navigate across the ice and snow on your own snowmobile, staying in unique lodges such as the Isford radio boutique hotel.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway

Arctic Cruise

Explore the Arctic by boat, a true expeditionary experience.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Arctic reindeer, Spitsbergen

Wildlife in Spitsbergen

Discover a variety of land mammals such as the Arctic fox, reindeer, hares and prolific birdlife.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Polar Pioneer £££££

  • Spitsbergen

Robust, manoeuvrable, and limited to only 50 passengers on board, Polar Pioneer is the perfect vessel for an expeditionary cruise in the polar regions. Built in Finland in the early eighties, she was one of a fleet of ten ice-strengthened research vessels built for scientific research along Russia’s northern coast. Today, only two of these vessels are used for polar expeditions, so it is not surprising she is in such demand.

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Isfjord Radio £££££

  • Spitsbergen
  • Unusual

Basecamp Isfjord Radio is situated on the outermost part of the Isfjord on the beautiful Nordenskiöld coast framed by the majestic Svalbard mountains overlooking the open sea. The radio station has charming and cosy rooms, a lounge with a fireplace and a unique and extremely interesting history. Until a few years ago, the radio station was an important connection for telecommunication between mainland Norway and Svalbard.

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Basecamp Svea £££££

  • Spitsbergen
  • Boutique

Svea Basecamp is a mining town and dates back to the early twentieth century. It has opened its doors to tourism, providing food and lodging for those passing on their Arctic adventure. Svea is the world’s most northern operative mining town dating back to the early twentieth century. Rooms are located in the barracks and meals are served in the canteen. Guests will live as the workers do, with an opportunity to learn about the life of a miner in such a remote region of the Arctic.

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Nordenskiold Lodge £££££

  • Spitsbergen

Located on the shores of Isfjorden, at the edge of the blue glacier, is Nordenskiold Lodge – a five-bedroom true expedition lodge with no running water or electricity. There is a traditional sauna to enjoy after a long cold day on the ice. During the summer months, it is possible to reach the cabin on foot or by boat (two hours to Longyearbyen harbour). In winter it is only accessible by sled or snowmobile. Activities from the lodge include climbing the glacier, skiing, and days exploring by dog-sled, visiting abandoned mining towns such as the ghost town of Pyramiden just a few miles away.

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Basecamp Hotel £££££

  • Spitsbergen

Basecamp Hotel is set in the middle of Longyearbyen and is furnished with driftwood from a Russian settlement to give the feeling of a Spitsbergen hunter’s cottage. Breakfast is served around a long table in The Travellers Club, while the Cognac Attic, with its glass ceiling, is flooded with arctic light. The lodge is bed and breakfast only, but the town is home to a selection of restaurants ranging from coffee houses serving Italian dishes to gourmet meals at a Huseta.

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Ocean Nova £££££

  • Arctic

Built in 1992 in Denmark and designed to navigate the ice-choked waters off Western Greenland, Ocean Nova has since undergone an extensive refurbishment of cabins. There is an upper glazed observation deck which is perfect for wildlife viewing, a large dining room, a library and a small gym. She carries a fleet of seven zodiacs and offers easy zodiac access from her side step rather than a gangway. The 240-foot-long vessel has capacity for 72 passengers accommodated in comfortable outside cabins over two decks, and all cabins have a picture window and private bathrooms.

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Need inspiration?
Browse our Spitsbergen holiday ideas.

Booking a tailor-made trip gives you the flexibility to customise your journey, travelling when and where suits you. Browse our Spitsbergen holiday ideas to start planning your next journey.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Sue Grimwood

Having visited Spitsbergen on three occasions, Sue has seen the changes in flora and fauna throughout the seasons. Amongst her favourite memories are numerous polar bears sightings, zodiac cruises with walruses and watching blue and a bow head whales.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 800 571 2985

Roxy Dukes

With a passion for all things bears, Spitsbergen is a destination Roxy adores. She recommends a longer journey of 12 days or more on the expeditionary boats to really immerse yourself in this incredible high Arctic region.

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  • 1 800 571 2985

John Faithfull

My love affair with travel began in a vintage Italian train carriage at sunset on a hot and sticky September evening in 1983. Sardined into a two-bench compartment, I’d spent five hours sharing sweaty thighs, broken-Italian pleasantries and furtive glances while rattling towards Turin, stopping at every wisteria-draped village along the way.

Talk with our experts
  • 1 800 571 2985

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Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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