Svalbard - Calendar


March

The return of the sun

Solfesten: Celebrating the return of the sun on 8 March, this is a pot-pourri of events: exhibitions, concerts, scooter races, a revue and the ‘Ta sjansen’ competition – a sled race out across the fjord.

April

Hop on a snowmobile

Snowmobiles, Longyearbyen, Svalbard by Marcela Cardenas, www.nordnorge.comThe best season for snowmobiles is usually April © Marcela Cardenas, www.nordnorge.com

For many residents the late winter is the time for departing Longyearbyen either on skidoo or on ski tours for Svalbard’s white wilderness. At Easter, Longyearbyen is more filled with visitors than in any other period of the year (hence especially high prices for much of the accommodation in springtime). Many flights are fully booked. The best season for snowmobiles is usually April.

July

Meet the locals

The attractions of going early in the season lie in the Arctic spring, when there is still a great deal of snow in the mountains and much sea ice, the birds are returning to breed and the midnight sun climbs to its highest point. The chances of seeing the largest mammals are greater during this period too, as they prefer to roam close to the ice border – if this border lies more to the west coast, then there will also be some polar bears and walrus in the area.

August

Explore Franz Josef Land

In practice, summer is the only possible season for visits to Russia-owned Franz Josef Land. Ice conditions here are generally more problematic than in Svalbard; in August the ice creates fewest problems, with land snowmelt having reached its maximum (though with a certain risk of thin fresh snow on some days). Accordingly, the late summer is especially good for getting around in the archipelago as far and as unhindered as possible and for happening upon historic sites with little snow cover.

December

Experience the true dark of night

Polar night, Svalbard by PaterMcFly, Wikimedia CommonsThe permanent night around Christmas and New Year’s Eve casts a fascinating spell over the archipelago © PaterMcFly, Wikimedia Commons

The really special polar nights (eg: when it is true night around the clock) that occur only this far north can be experienced from mid-December to the beginning of January. The permanent night around Christmas and New Year’s Eve casts a fascinating spell over the archipelago, followed by the gradual return of the light with often very beautiful faint colours. 

Back to the top

Svalbard articles

View all

Lost and Found in the Arctic

In this extract from Beastly Journeys, Kelsey Camacho tells of travelling through an Arctic blizzard with a pack of huskies in Svalbard. 

Read more...

Seven reasons to visit Svalbard

Ever dreamed of spotting a polar bear in the wild? How about visiting the world's most northerly capital? Or escaping to a remote island? If your answer is yes, Svalbard should definitely be on your travel list. 

Read more...

Six alternative winter breaks

If you're tired of turkey, mince pies and endless present wrapping, then this is for you.

Read more...

Related guides and other books

View all