When to visit Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen, in the Arctic, has a relatively short season compared to most destinations. However, during the spring, summer and autumn, a wealth of activities can be experienced. We have grouped below the best months to visit Spitsbergen and why.

April - May

This is the time for dog sledding in the Arctic.  Svalbard is emerging from its dark winter. The sun is rising again, the wildlife and people are rejuvenated and it is a fantastic time to explore the ice by snow mobile, skis or dog sled.

May - June

This is the shoulder season before the main season begins. By May Spitsbergen has moved into spring. The ice is melting and the boats are returning to the water. There is now no night, the migratory birds are arriving and temperatures are milder. A handful of voyages are available at this time of year, but voyages are limited by the ice still and therefore will be shorter and tend to remain in the north-west region of Spitsbergen.  

June – August

Summer has arrived and this is Svalbard’s official cruising season.  It is also the best time to see polar bears. 24hrs of daylight maximises the experiences available. The snow will have disappeared from the beaches, the small tundra flowers are in bloom and the abundant birdlife takes over the silence with their chicks hatching.  The sea is open, the views are beautiful with towering mountains and striking glaciers and a full circumnavigation on a Spitsbergen cruise is possible.  The Arctic is now teeming with wildlife and a visit at this time of year gives the opportunity to observe many species such as seals, arctic fox, reindeer, polar bears and whales.

September – October

Summer gives away to autumn with winter fast approaching. By the end of October there is only twilight.  A few voyages are still available at this time of year and it is not without attraction. The landscape changes to vivid oranges and browns while the mountains get their first dusting of snow, the Arctic light is low and beautiful and those in search of the Northern Lights will find this the best time to visit along with the winter months from November – February. 

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