Home to the Polar bears
Explore Svalbard
Svalbard is considered to be one of the highlights of the Arctic. This is largely due to the magnificent landscape that greets you. With peaks 1700 meters high, mighty glaciers, fjords and valleys, there are many who fall in love with this place. The permafrost and Arctic climate characterize the landscape, but because of the warm Gulf Stream, the land is not as frozen and desolate as one might expect. In addition, the plants, birds and animals give life to the landscape and makes it well worth exploring.
Svalbard is an area of 61,022 square km distributed on the islands of Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Edgeøya, Barentsøya, Kvitøya, Prins Karls Forland and Kong Karls Land as well as several smaller islands. Of this area, 65 percent is protected. The archipelago is located halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Even if it is under a treaty, it is ruled by Norwegian law as well as the Svalbard environmental law.
Below we have information about available spots on our photo expeditions to Svalbard. Click on the dates you find interesting to read more information, see which cabins are available, and reserve/book a spot. We also have sections below describing the 5 seasons in Svalbard for photographers, and a guide to animals, birds, and landscapes to photograph in Svalbard. Let us know if you have more information.
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Learn more about Svalbard
5 seasons for photography in Svalbard
We often get the question: When is the best time to visit Svalbard? The answer depends on what interests you have, what light conditions you hope for, and if you are mainly a landscape or wildlife photographer - or both. In terms of photography, we can describe 5 seasons in Svalbard between mid-March and mid-October, where each season has its specialties. There are also photo opportunities between mid-October to mid-March, this would be described as "Polar night". The Polar night has very limited light conditions and is not described in our overview. Click on one of the images or links below to see more information about each season in Svalbard.
Birds of Svalbard
Svalbard has an abundance of birds, despite its northern location. There are not many bird species that nest on Svalbard, but they can be impressive in numbers, especially seabirds and geese. A total of 126 bird species are recorded in Svalbard.
Most of the birds migrating to the archipelago in summer exploit the rich food sources in the Barents Sea and Greenland Sea. Only the Svalbard ptarmigan are resident on the islands through the cold winter, in addition to species such as black guillemots, ivory gulls and long-tailed ducks in the ice-free areas.
June is perhaps the best time of year for bird watching on Svalbard. The returning migratory birds can gather in large numbers in the valleys and along beaches before they start breeding.
Mammals of Svalbard
22 different species of mammals live in or around Svalbard - 14 of them are described below. On land, you can meet Svalbard’s own mini version of the reindeer – the Svalbard reindeer, in addition to the charming arctic fox. The polar bear inhabits an area from the coast out to the sea ice, but is really in its element on the ice. The bear hunts for various marine mammals such as ringed seals, bearded seals and harp seals, as well as occasional walruses. This ecosystem of sea ice is one of the most characteristic, but also most vulnerable natural areas of Svalbard.
Over half of the mammalian species in Svalbard are whales. These marine mammals spend the majority of their time far out at sea, but can swim along the coasts of Svalbard. All in all, the mammals of Svalbard give this land its soul and make it a fascinating place to visit.
Landscapes of Svalbard
Svalbard has great opportunities for landscape photographers and for those who want to photograph animals in the landscape. With a latitude of around 80 degrees North a large part of the land is covered by glaciers and ice. See below for some of the landscape photo opportunities you might have on a WildPhoto expedition to Svalbard
The weather and ice condition in Svalbard
The weather and climate in and around Svalbard is principally a result of its high latitude, which is between 74° and 81° north. However, the North Atlantic Current moderates Svalbard’s temperatures, particularly during winter, giving it up to 20 °C higher winter temperature than similar latitudes in continental Russia and Canada. This keeps the surrounding waters open and navigable most of the year. The interior fjord areas and valleys, sheltered by the mountains, have fewer temperature differences than the coast, with about 2 °C lower summer temperatures and 3 °C higher winter temperatures.
Below is the wind forecast for Svalbard updated hourly by Press the play button in the lower left corner to see the wind forcast in the coming days. The ice map below is updated most days by the Norwegian Metrological Institute, and show the current sea ice situation around Svalbard..

WildPhoto Travel is a leading photo expedition company - specialized in polar regions. Since 2006, we have offered great photo opportunities for our guests and partners.