The Authentic Way to See Svalbard

Our Svalbard tours offer an authentic way to explore the frozen archipelago on a one of a kind small ship expedition with 12 guests. Travelling on a small, comfortable expedition vessel led by a highly experienced expedition leader allows you to see and experience the nature without the large number of people that are present on the larger ships.

We believe the best way to experience remote and sensitive environments is on a small group tour and we founded Secret Atlas to share that with you.

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Svalbard Tours and Expeditions with 12 Guests

People travel from across the world to Svalbard, an archipelago in the high Arctic filled with ancient rocks, huge glaciers, stunning scenery and vast polar wildlife. For some it’s the chance for a total escape to remote and unspoilt places, for others, the draw is ethical wildlife watching – it’s one of the best places in the world to spot polar bears in the wild, and some people come to capture incredible nature photographs. Whatever the reason, an expedition to Svalbard is the chance for a one-of-a-kind adventure.

yacht expedition in svalbardsvalbard

The gateway to Svalbard adventure is Longyearbyen – the largest of all the settlements on the archipelago. It’s just a short flight of around three hours from either Oslo or Tromso, and there are daily flights. There are very few roads on Svalbard, which is why tours take place by expedition cruises. Our expedition micro-cruises are purposefully designed to be flexible – smaller vessels can access parts of the archipelago that larger ships can’t pass through.

With just 12 guests and a small crew, including an expert expedition leader – it’s a more intimate travel experience, allowing more time for exploring ashore.

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polar bear photo tour in svalbard

Seeing a polar bear in the wild is one of the many highlights of our Svalbard tours.


Svalbard Photo Tours

Take your camera on a photo tour of Svalbard, where you’ll get to photograph some of the remotest and most unspoilt places on Earth. Learn to capture the incredible landscape and wildlife photographs with the help of a pro. Our Svalbard photo tours are led by professional nature photographers whose work has featured in international publications.

svalbard photography tour

A polar bear in Svalbard captured by Chase Teron. You can join his photo tour here. 

Join a small cruise with 12 guests, where pro photographers Roger Brendhagen, Rick Tomlinson, and Chase Teron will share their knowledge and expertise with tutorials, and they are on hand to help you get the best from your camera.  So you can leave with stunning shots of glaciers, frozen shorelines, beautiful fjords and wildlife including polar bears, walruses, whales, and puffins.

Wildlife Photography Holidays

A Svalbard landscape captured by Chase Teron. You can join his photo tour here. 

Our Svalbard photo tours run in April and May each year. The earlier tour is a fantastic time to photograph snowy, Arctic landscapes as Svalbard transitions from the winter. May is the start of 24-hr daylight and the sea ice will begin to recede, opening up more of the coast for exploration.


Why take a tour to Svalbard with Secret Atlas?

People travel from all over the world to experience Svalbard. Partly to unplug from daily demands and re-connect with nature. Some want to follow in the footsteps of great explorers and hike through Arctic wilderness, others are keen photographers, and for others, it’s all about wildlife.

zodiac cruise in Svalbard

An essence of a Svalbard expedition tour is exploring by Zodiac.

svalbard yacht expeditions cruise shore excursion

An expedition leader guides guests through the sea ice. 

But all who travel to Svalbard share a curiosity and our vision for a more climate-conscious approach to adventure and travel. It’s a vision that we can realise by running expedition micro-cruises with small only 12 passengers, minimising our impact on this extraordinary polar environment.


When Is the Best Time to Take a Tour to Svalbard?

Secret Atlas currently runs tours to Svalbard in the summer months between April and September. Every month across the season offers different opportunities, depending on what you want to see and do on your tour, and how long you’re planning on staying for. Visiting during the winter months offers the chance to go dog sledging, or visit settlements on a snowmobile, and witness the northern lights.

group shot

Guests hiking ashore with their expedition leaders.

Early in our tour season, during April and early May is the best time to see Svalbard’s frozen beauty. From mid-May to the end of June we have the opportunity for longe voyages, which offer a higher chance of wildlife watching, it’s also possible to access more of the coast as the sea ice opens up. The sea ice moves even further north in July and August when we can circumnavigate Spitsbergen, the largest of Svalbard’s islands, which is fantastic for hiking opportunities.


What Are Temperatures Like on Svalbard?

Warmer than you might imagine – Svalbard’s summer temperature is relatively mild compared with other places with the same latitude, that’s because of the influence of the gulf stream. Temperatures vary from month to month, but as a guide, Svalbard has average highs of -9°C in April, -3 °C in May, +3°C June, + 7°C in July, +6°C in August and +1°C in September.


Secret Atlas is a member of AECO and we follow strict guidelines when viewing wildlife.