Svalbard is full of stunning places to visit from remote glaciers and islands to the most northerly settlement on Earth. We asked our expedition team and came up with our favourite 10 places you can visit on an Expedition Micro Cruise to Svalbard.

1. Austfonna

Austfonna svalbard expedition micro cruise Polar Cruises

One of the most visited ice caps in the world, Austfonna covers a large part of Nordaustlandet in the North-Eastern part of Svalbard. With a 200km circumference and standing tall at almost 800 metres above sea level, it’s the third-largest glacier in Europe, behind Severny Island in Russia and Vatnajökull in Iceland and the seventh-largest glacier in the world. The huge ice faces and powerful melting waterfalls are a true sight to behold.

For the best chances in seeing Austfonna, we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise. 

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2. Lilliehöökbreen Glacier

An impressive complex of glaciers spanning more than 22 kilometres – making it one of the largest glacial spectacles on Svalbard and accessible for zodiacs launching from smaller expedition vessels (and enjoyable at a safe distance of 350 metres due to the risk of falling ice). As the glacier calves, it fills Lilliehook Fjord with icebergs making for a very Arctic scene.

For the best chances in seeing the Lilliehöökbreen glacier, we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise or our 9-day Natural Wonders of Svalbard Expedition Micro Cruise. 

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3. Alkefjellet Bird Cliffs

10 places to visit on a svalbard expedition cruise

Alkefjellet translates as Bird Mountain, for very obvious reasons. The domineering 7km long steep cliff in the Hinlopen Strait doubles up as the home for tens of thousands of nesting Brunich Guillemots each summer – making it one of the largest breeding colonies in Svalbard. You might also spot Glaucous Gulls circling overhead and an Arctic fox or two prowling around the lower ledges looking for some lunch.

For the best chances of seeing the Alkefjellet bird cliffs, we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise

4. The Sea Ice Edge

The sea ice to the north of Svalbard extends all the way to the North Pole, some 800 miles to the north. In calm conditions, it is possible to reach 80 degrees north and cruise along the edge of the pack ice which is an incredible experience. It is also possible to observe polar bears hunting on the pack ice.

Whilst we can never guarantee to reach the ice edge due to the sea, ice and weather conditions,  for the best chances we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise or our 9-day Natural Wonders of Svalbard Expedition Micro Cruise. If you have an interest in photography we recommend one of our Svalbard Photo Expeditions.

5. Prins Karls Forland

walruses in svalbard

Sometimes translated as Prince Charles Foreland, this long narrow island off the west coast of Spitsbergen is part of Forlandet National Park and is a great place to spot walruses. It sits in shallow waters which larger ships cannot reach, but smaller expedition vessels can. Once in the vicinity, you can see a blend of snow-topped mountains, coastal plains and Arctic glaciers. It’s a haven for wildlife, including seals and a variety of migratory birds.

For the best chances of visiting Prins Karls foreland, we recommend any of our Svalbard Cruises.

6. Kongsfjorden & Ny-Ålesund

worlds most northerly post office in Svalbard

A busy fjord by Svalbard’s standards attracting tourists and scientists from across the world and home to one of the handful of settlements on the archipelago, Ny Alesund. Ny Alesund is home to research facilities for scientists from 10 different countries and has a permanent population of around 30-35. Kongsfjorden – sometimes known as Kings Bay – is home to island bird sanctuaries with strict restrictions for visitors around breeding season (summer months). It is also a great place for a spot of seal spotting.

For the best chances of visiting Kongsfjorden, we recommend any of our Svalbard Cruises.

7. Magdalenefjorden

One of the most stunning fjords in Svalbard, Magdalenefjorden is situated in North West Spitsbergen. At 8km long and 5km wide, it’s one of the most accessible fjords in the archipelago. One of the popular landing sites, Gravneset used to be home to an English whaling station where the remains of whaling ovens were discovered along with graves dating back to the 17th and 18th century.

For the best chances in visiting we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise or our 9-day Natural Wonders of Svalbard Expedition Micro Cruise. 

8. Hornsund

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The southernmost fjord in Svalbard is part of the South Spitsbergen National Park. It has a different feel to some of the more northerly fjords, with ice-free mountains in parts and lots of drifting ice in other areas in the summer months. You cannot escape the beauty of this place, with endless great views of majestic scenery – none more so than the mountains of Hornsundtind mountain and Bautaen, which is tall and pointy life a witch’s hat.

For the best chances in visiting we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise or Frozen Svalbard Cruise.

9. Monaco Glacier

monaco glacier expedition cruise Polar Cruises

Named after Prince Albert of Monaco – a pioneer of Oceanography as a science, this picturesque glacier runs into Liefdefjorden in Spitsbergen – adding bright blue and white icebergs to the waters when it calves. At 60 metres high and 7km wide, you’ll marvel at its splendour.

For the best chances in visiting we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise or our 9-day Natural Wonders of Svalbard Expedition Micro Cruise. 

10. Moffen Island

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A small low-lying island sits above the 80 degrees north – taking you into the High Arctic. Moffen Island was at the centre of the fight to re-establish walrus numbers on the archipelago after they were almost hunted to extinction. You can still see large walrus colonies here today. Understandably, it is heavily protected, meaning the ships – even smaller expedition vessels – can’t get too close (no closer than 500 metres) but we can still enjoy it from a distance.

For the best chances in visiting we recommend our 15-day Svalbard Pioneer Expedition Micro Cruise or join one of our Svalbard Photo tours.

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