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Polar Summer

Polar Summer

17 May – 30 September

Polar Summer

Polar Summer is a popular time to visit Svalbard. Book your activities and accommodation as early as possible!

17th of May – 30th of September

Fox - Jarle RøsslandWe start our journey through the three main seasons with the bright and mild polar summer, which stretches from mid-May to late September. The Midnight Sun has already dominated the sky for more than a month when summer marks its entrance on the 17th of May (Norway’s Constitution Day) and won’t drop below the horizon again until late August. In a polar summer day and night becomes one in the High Arctic, and the light is the same around the clock. The four months of the Midnight Sun affects the circadian or biological clock of humans and animals alike, and it’s easy for both two and four-legged to lose track of time during this magical time of year.

After a long winter, a virtual miracle of nature occurs in Svalbard. The archipelago is invaded by birds which migrate here in vast numbers to nest. The waters surrounding the archipelago are very nutritious and offer a plentiful supply of food. An abundance of walruses, seals and whales enter the fjords of Svalbard, attracted by the feast on offer in the cold waters by the ice edge. If you are interested in experiencing the Arctic animal life, summer is preferable because of the greater diversity. During the summertime, you can experience far more species than those which inhabit Svalbard’s fauna year-round (polar bears, polar foxes, Svalbard rock ptarmigan and Svalbard reindeer).

Would you dare to swim in the Polar Summer? These locals do!

Curious about our other seasons? Read about two other seasons Svalbard has to offer: sunny winter and northern light winter.

Dog sledding during summer - Jarle RøsslandExclusive plant life in the High Arctic

Many assume that Svalbard is barren and desolate and consists only of rock, snow and ice. That is a reasonably accurate statement for part of the year. However, in the summertime an abundance of plants and fungi emerge under the warming rays of the Midnight Sun, creating colourful specks of life on the otherwise inhospitable tundra. Most of these plants are especially adapted to the harsh conditions of the High Arctic, and in some cases, Svalbard is the only place on earth you can experience them.

From late August until the end of September, we have a period (or sub-season) we call “golden autumn”. This is when the migratory birds prepare for their long flight southwards, and the plants prepare for another long winter, ending their short-lived colour dominance on the tundra. During this time of year, we experience our short version of autumn, and the landscape changes character quickly. The Midnight Sun season is over, and the evenings begin to get darker. The High Arctic offers golden landscapes filled with the most beautiful autumn colours imaginable. The migratory species have now departed for faraway locations and the animal species which inhabit Svalbard year-round virtually have the place to themselves again.

Experience Svalbard by foot or by boat

Beautiful landscape in SvalbardMany people visit Svalbard in the summertime to experience the nature on foot, by boat or a combination of both. A broad range of organised tours is on offer, from easy walks to tough mountain hikes, searching for fossils to photo safaris focusing on birds or whales, or a trip on the fjord by kayak or on board one of the many sightseeing boats. It’s easy to visit the Russian settlement of Barentsburg or the “ghost town” of Pyramiden in the summer. Dog sledding is popular year-round (using specially made wheeled sleds if there is not enough snow), as are guided tours in and around Longyearbyen.

Get more insight on our attractions and what Svalbard has to offer here.


Your activity now

  1. Activity Planner
    Plan the perfect Svalbard experience!
  2. 8 popular boat trips
    Here are eight boat trips you don't want to miss!
  3. 10 popular summer hikes around Longyearbyen
    You don’t need to go far from the main street before you’re in the middle of the Arctic wilderness!
  4. Horse activities
    Do you want to experience beautiful Arctic nature by horseback? Riding in the Bjørndalen valley on beautiful tundra full of Svalbard flowers in summer is a totally unique experience.
  5. Kayak
    Kayaking trips are a great way to have a close-up experience with the Arctic nature.
  6. Biking
    Get out into the Svalbard nature on a fatbike and experience the joy of a physical trip in the Arctic landscape.
  7. ATV Safari
    An ATV safari is a fun and exciting activity, offering a sightseeing trip with a difference in the Longyearbyen area.
  8. Sightseeing and lectures
    Don’t be fooled by the population. Longyearbyen has more attractions and opportunities than most larger cities.
  9. Fishing trips
    In the late summer and autumn, the waters off Longyearbyen are abounding with cod so the chances are high that you will catch fish and take great photos.
  10. Taste Svalbard
    When the world's northernmost culinary festival takes place, our little town of Longyearbyen turns into a culinary mecca!
  11. Expeditions
    Book your expeditions and challenge yourself summer and winter on a memorable several day trip in Svalbard.
  12. Photo safari
    Photo safaris in Svalbard, don't forget your memory card!
  13. Boat trips
    If you want to see and experience as much of the wild, raw and untouched Arctic nature as possible, go on a boat trip.
  14. Food and drinks experiences
    Food taste even better in the Arctic wilderness. Combine it with exciting activities!
  15. How to dress in Svalbard
    When visiting the High Arctic, you need to dress accordingly both summer and winter.
Visit Svalbard Sustainable Destination Eco-Lighthouse

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