Introduction to Svalbard


Welcome to Svalbard in Norway – the realm of the polar bear. The name Svalbard translates as ‘cold shores’ from its origins in old Norse. It is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in their natural home. It’s home to the most northerly town in the world and some of the Arctic’s most beautiful scenery and an abundance of rare wildlife. An Expedition Micro Cruise to Svalbard is a life-changing experience. 

Where is Svalbard?

Svalbard is an archipelago of islands located between mainland Norway and the North Pole. This pristine Arctic wonderland consists of more than 2,000 glaciers, steep-sided fjords and is home to an abundance of wildlife including polar bears. When you land at the airport in Longyearbyen, you are at the most northerly domestic airport on earth – just 800 miles from the North Pole. 

We are often asked is Svalbard in Norway? Svalbard is over 400 miles to the north of mainland Norway. The sovereignty of Svalbard falls under Norway but is under the terms laid out in the Svalbard Treaty.

If you haven’t visited the Arctic before, Svalbard is a great place to start.  If you are looking to explore Svalbard the best way to do it is on a cruise. Here at Secret Atlas, we offer Expedition Micro cruises with 12 guests that are the ideal way to experience a fragile environment of the Arctic. 

small ship cruises to svalbard

What Can I See in Svalbard?

glaciers in Svalbard in Norway

Svalbard is home to over 2,000 glaciers. If you are interested in glaciers Svalbard is one of the best places on earth to witness their raw beauty.  

landscapes in Svalbard in Norway

From stunning landscapes to an abundance of wildlife, Svalbard has a lot to offer the keen explorer looking to get close to nature. 

spitzbergen in norway
Human History and Settlements

From the world’s most northerly scientific settlement at Ny-Ålesund to the remains of early expeditions to the North Pole, Svalbard is full of interesting human history. 

sea ice in svalbard in norway
Sea Ice

The sea ice to the north of Svalbard extends all the way to the North Pole. In calm conditions, it is possible to explore it by Zodiac landing craft. 

What Wildlife Can I See in Svalbard?

polar bear in Svalbard in Norway
Polar Bear

3,000 plus polar bears call Svalbard their home and it is one of the world’s top destinations for seeing the apex predator of the Arctic. Small expedition vessels regularly encounter polar bears although sightings can never be guaranteed.

walrus in svalbard

An estimated 4,000 walruses live in Svalbard with several hauls out sites that can be visited on a micro expedition cruise. During the shore landings, Walruses can be observed on the beaches from a safe distance. 

Svalbard Reindeer

Svalbard has its own subspecies of reindeer found nowhere else on the planet. Svalbard reindeer have adapted to survive the harsh winters. They can be spotted all over the archipelago and inhabit the non-glaciated areas. 

puffins in svalbard in norway

Svalbard is home to an abundance of birdlife including Atlantic Puffins which can be seen between May and August.  Auks, Skuas, Barnacle Geese, Arctic Terns and Fulmars are just some of the many birds we encounter on a regular basis. 


Find an Expedition Micro Cruise to Svalbard

Why is an Expedition Micro Cruise the best way to see Svalbard? 

We have one crucial difference – our trips only take 12 guests. That means more time ashore, more time exploring and more interaction with the expedition leaders and other guests.

Unlike larger vessels with higher passenger capacities, our voyages are personal and unique in their approach. Travelling with a small group of 12 guests means more time and flexibility exploring and less time waiting to go ashore.

Our small expedition vessels will get you closer to nature and landscapes that you came than larger ships can due to their smaller size, offering you a great deal more intimacy.

Expedition Micro Cruises give you the opportunity to experience the Arctic first hand on a real adventure without the crowds of people on larger ships. Our goal is to make you part of the adventure. As a member of AECO we take great care to ensure our cruises don’t have a negative effect on the environment.

Svalbard Information

longyearbyen travel guide

Longyearbyen Travel Guide

All the information you need to plan your trip including how to get to Longyearbyen, arrival information, places to stay, and activities to do before your cruise.

Svalbard circumnavigation cruise

Svalbard Cruises

Discover Svalbard on a small ship cruise with 12 guests with itineraries between 8 and 14 days. 

small ship cruise to svalbard

Svalbard: A Visitor’s Perspective

Learn about Svalbard through the eyes of those who have explored there on one of our Expedition Micro Cruises.  

photo tour in svalbard

Svalbard Facts

Discover some of the interesting facts about Svalbard before you visit.

Austfonna svalbard expedition micro cruise Polar Cruises

New to Expedition Micro Cruises?

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Svalbard in Norway Customer Gallery

Svalbard in Norway Experiences