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Renowned for its show-stopping scenery, with groaning glaciers and twinkling icebergs jutting out of biting sapphire seas, Spitsbergen’s sheer sublimity is to be swooned over.
If you still need convincing, we’ve selected our top reasons to visit the magical land of ice and tundra.
1) Polar Bears on Ice
If you’ve ever wanted to see a Polar bear in the wild, Spitsbergen is the best place to do it. Home to the world’s largest population of Polar bears, the Svalbard archipelago offers visitors the opportunity to see the biggest carnivore on the planet in its natural habitat.
Polar bears spend most of their time roaming the icy wilderness in order to find food, often forcing them to cover hundreds of miles. Lady luck plays a part, but timing is crucial. With our knowledgeable expedition crew, you have an increased probability of an encounter with these majestic snow predators.
The summer months from May to September provide your best chance; the 24-hour daylight in this region makes photographing Polar bears against the backdrop of the rugged fjords the ultimate Arctic experience.
It’s not just bears though. Spitsbergen’s unforgiving Arctic landscape is home to a number of chilly critters including Arctic fox, walrus, whales, dolphins and reindeer, plus huge colonies of Kittiwakes and Guillemots.
Find out more: Arctic wildlife trips
2) State of the Art Expedition Ship
Polar expedition ship
Journeying through this dramatic landscape aboard an expedition vessel is an experience in itself. Our chartered Akademik Sergey Vavilov is a homely, comfortable and warm retreat from the harsh outdoor elements.
Designed to travel quietly and unobtrusively through the Polar Regions during hydro-acoustic research, this small ice-rated vessel has a capacity of 92 passengers and is our most popular ship.
You’ll share this intimate photographic excursion with likeminded individuals. With 50 comfortable cabins, a large dining room, lounge and bar with panoramic views, as well as a library, exercise room and plunge pool, the Vavilov will be your home away from home – the perfect respite from the frosty panoramas.
Find out more: Polar trips
3) Experience Life in the Midnight Sun
For several weeks each year, the sun stops setting on Spitsbergen; with dusk never settling above the Arctic Circle, this northerly archipelago is bathed in sunlight.
As the Earth rotates on its tilted axis, the North Pole leans towards our planet’s star creating an otherworldly ambience for photographing one of the coolest destinations in the world. With a flexible itinerary and multiple zodiac excursions, our chartered expedition allows you to take full advantage of those extra daylight hours.
Find out more: Spitsbergen trips
4) Get Closer with Daily Zodiac Excursions
With one or two zodiac excursions most days (weather and sea conditions permitting), you’ll get plenty of opportunities to go ashore and photograph Arctic wildlife in close proximity.
In small groups, cruise in these highly buoyant inflatable boats and make spontaneous shore landings to see incredible ice formations and unexpected wildlife up close. All you have to do is hold on tight as you breeze over the icy waters inhaling that fresh Arctic air!
For photography enthusiasts, this is a fantastic way to take Polar images from a different perspective, from herds of grunting walrus reclining on frozen beaches to nimble Arctic foxes darting across the tundra.
5) Set Sail in the Company of Experts
Paul Goldstein and Mark Cowardine
Embark on this exclusive Spitsbergen Photographic Charter in June and you’ll travel with the ultimate Polar experts at the helm. Alongside an expert expedition crew, this voyage will be led by our award-winning wildlife photographer and guide Paul Goldstein and zoologist, author, photographer and TV presenter Mark Carwardine.
They have led a number of expeditions together before, having spent months, if not years of their lives in the Polar Regions. Paul and Mark will utilise as much of Spitsbergen’s 24-hour daylight as possible to help you perfectly capture this unique location and its fascinating wildlife through the lens.
Bag the ultimate Arctic shot on this flexible itinerary that focuses on incredible encounters with Polar bears on ice, walrus, vast bird colonies and mesmeric glaciers.
Find out more about Spitsbergen with our tours below.