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Polar Summer

Polar Summer

17 May – 30 September

Polar Summer

Jarle RøsslandWe start this 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 17 May (Norway’s Constitution Day) and won’t drop below the horizon again until late August. 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 beings to lose track of time. Day and night becomes one in the High Arctic. The light is the same around the clock so it does not give you any hints about what time it is.



Jarle RøsslandAfter 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).

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 a minor miracle occurs at ground level as 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. The landscape changes character quickly. The Midnight Sun season is over and the evenings begin to get darker. This month and a bit, which is our short version of autumn, 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.

Many 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.

Svalbard

Inspiration

  1. 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.
  2. Hiking
    There are many memorable hikes you can choose between. Close to town or far out in the Arctic wilderness.
  3. Kayak
    Kayaking trips are a great way to have a close-up experience with the Arctic nature.
  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. Biking
    Get out into the Svalbard nature on a fatbike and experience the joy of a physical trip in the Arctic landscape.
  6. Sightseeing and tours
    Don’t be fooled by the population. Longyearbyen has more attractions and opportunities than most larger cities.
  7. ATV Safari
    An ATV safari is a fun and exciting activity, offering a sightseeing trip with a difference in the Longyearbyen area.
  8. Wellness
    Indulge in a day of wellbeing at 78 degrees north!
  9. Brewery Visits
    Beer brewed next to the North Pole. Come and visit!
  10. Taste Svalbard Festival
    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. Dog Sledding
    Dog sledding in an Arctic landscape is peaceful and beautiful, both winter and summer.
  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
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