Which is the best month to visit Svalbard?

Which is the best month to visit Svalbard? This is one of the most asked questions when planning an expedition to the Norwegian Arctic. We are often asked if one period is better than the other.

The answer is truly in what you wish to experience, since each month offers different things to do or see. While some dream of gazing at Arctic winter landscapes, others prefer the colourful Arctic summer to the magical Autumn sunsets. Here are some highlights in May and July.

Pictures taken on the ‘Around Spitsbergen’ cruise by Oceanwide Expeditions.

May in Svalbard – the magical springtime 

Early May to late September are great months to enjoy the magical springtime in Svalbard. It is an indescribable experience to be there and witness the archipelago come to life. 

Magical midnight sun: The month of May often offers high pressure, which means clear blue skies and the greatest chance of seeing the midnight sun in all its glory, not hidden behind clouds. 

The fairytale winter landscape is dominated by sparkling ice formations, snow covered mountains, fjord ice and pastel coloured skies.

Animals in winter coats: The Arctic foxes and the Svalbard reindeers are still wearing their winter coats and you often see seals such as walruses resting in front of a glacier. 

The birdlife: The little auks and the Brünnich’s guillemots have returned to their summer nests and the bird cliffs are teeming with life. This is also a great time to spot the king eider and rock ptarmigan. You don’t have to be an ornithologist to be fascinated by Svalbard’s bird life!

July – Summer in the High Arctic

During July – summer in the High Arctic – there is a chance to reach the eastern parts: The ice thaws around the islands and this makes it possible to get further east and to explore the seldom visited eastern parts of the archipelago.

The impressive Bråsvellbreen: Weather permitting, the chance to reach this 200 km long glacier front is an unforgettable experience.

There are more snow-free areas that become accessible for refreshing hikes on the tundra. Colourful flowers are in bloom!

Humpbacks & blue whales: Whales are more frequently seen in the waters and if lucky we get to encounter the giants of the ocean! 

Photo Credit: Rinie van Meurs

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