Cruise to Svalbard Islands, Norway: when to go, prices and itinerary

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Martí Micolau

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Beautiful territories where nature prevails over everything and a rich geological history that attracts thousands of geologists every year: the Svalbard Islands are all this, but even more.
The so-called "cold coasts" (this is the translation of the name Svalbard) are a group of 5 islands (of which only 3 are inhabited) and various islets of the Arctic Ocean, in the far north of Norway. They are almost entirely covered in ice, in fact known as the Arctic Desert.
A cruise to Svalbard allows you to admire magnificent landscapes, typical architecture, mountains, animals and witnessing equally extraordinary phenomena, such as the sun at midnight (from about mid-October to mid-February) andnorthern Lights (from mid-April to the end of August).


  1. When to go? The best time for a cruise to the Svalbard Islands
  2. How much does a cruise to Svalbard cost? Prices, tips and itinerary
  3. Cruise itinerary
  4. User questions and comments

When to go? The best time for a cruise to the Svalbard Islands

  • Best time: July and August, the only months in which the temperature is permanently above freezing. To visit Svalbard in its winter aspect, the best months are April and May, as the sun is above the horizon and it is not dark all day.
  • Period to avoid: there is no real period to avoid. The winter months are icy, with January and February at the top, but it is during this time that you can see the Northern Lights.
  • Advice: a cruise to Svalbard requires a minimum of preparation and you have to organize everything in advance, especially to contain the rather high costs. The main danger that can be encountered in Svalbard is the polar bear, in fact remember that it is forbidden to leave the safety areas without an armed guide.
    The climate is rigid and unpredictable, it can take you by surprise and, therefore, have a good physical preparation and knowledge of the place you are visiting. The excursions, in order not to be disappointed, should be booked well in advance given the turnout, taking into account that, due to natural events, there may be program changes.

Climate, Average Temperatures and Precipitation

On the Svalbard Islands the climate is sub-polar along the west coast and polar on the east coast, where the temperature remains around freezing even in summer.
The weather is unstable and windy for almost the whole year, due to the clashes between air masses of different origin, it calms a bit from June to August.

Temperatures are freezing and can reach extreme levels: the long winter (from October to May) has averages of -17 ° C, the summer (from June to mid-September) is just above zero. Only in July and August is it around 5/6 degrees.

Lying beyond the polar circle, in Svalbard the sun never sets from April 20 to August 25 and never rises from late October to mid February. The long polar night can be illuminated by the fascinating northern lights.
Precipitation is not abundant, but frequent and occur in the form of sleet. In summer, however, normal rains or drizzles occur, especially in the plains.
The amount of sunshine is never good: fair in April and May, then it gradually decreases. In any case, there is the possibility of seeing the sun for a few hours and, perhaps, at midnight.
Finally, the sea is very cold all year round with an average of 2/3 degrees.

How much does a cruise to Svalbard cost? Prices, tips and itinerary

  • Price: from a minimum of € 4.000 to a maximum of € 8.000 per person, including intercontinental transfers, full board, cabin and any excursions
  • Recommended duration: at least 13 days, ideal duration 15
  • Companies that organize cruises to Svalbard: MSC, Hurtigruten, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Ponant

Cruise itinerary

There are different types of itineraries, which generally vary according to the company and the duration. The following is just one of the many cruise itineraries to the Svalbard Islands.

  1. Departure from Rome airport Fiumicino and expected arrival at Hamburg airport in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  2. Cruise accommodation and departure from the port of Hamburg. Navigation.
  3. Navigation.
  4. 7-hour stop in Molde. You will be able to see the splendid vegetation that surrounds it and its famous rose gardens, as well as several monuments.
  5. Navigation.
  6. 8-hour stop in Tromso. It is the largest and most dynamic of the Northern Norwegian ports, a city full of history and culture. You will see the typical architecture of Norwegian landscapes, the Polaria aquarium and the Arctic Cathedral. From here you can admire the Northern Lights.
  7. Navigation.
  8. Stop in Spitsbergen (Svalbard Islands) of 14 hours. You can see seals, walruses, whales and seagulls. You will be in close contact with nature and you will be able to take spectacular photographs.
  9. Navigation.
  10. Two days stopover in Honningsvag. In addition to seeing its pretty center and harbor, there is the possibility of witnessing the phenomenon of the Northern Lights or enjoying a full day of light.
  11. Stop in Honningsvag.
  12. Navigation.
  13. 10-hour stop in Hellesylt, north-west of Norway. The city is famous for the blue UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord where you can hike. Furthermore, you will enjoy relaxing places like the Hellesylt waterfall. Another bus excursion will allow you to discover Lake Hornindal, the deepest in Europe, and the villages of Nordfjord or Stryn. Briksdal Glacier and Dalsnibba Mountain are other natural attractions not to be missed during your stopover.
  14. Arrival in Stavanger and stop of 9 hours. Located in the northwestern region of Norway, in Stavanger you can discover one of its most beautiful counties, Rogaland. You can understand the history of the Vikings, thanks to the picturesque streets of the old town, the medieval cathedral and other ancient buildings. There is the Norwegian oil museum and you can hike around the Lysefjord.
  15. Navigation.
  16. Return to the port of Hamburg to then organize return flights.

Where are

The Svalbard Islands are an archipelago of the Arctic Ocean and they are the northernmost part of Norway. They are located at a latitude between 74 ° and 81 ° north and cover an area of ​​62.050 sq km. The largest are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya.

What to bring in your suitcase?

Obviously being an icy place bring a technical mountain clothing: fleece sweatshirts, heavy trousers, very warm and non-slip shoes. The ideal is to bring yourself windbreakers tested for polar temperatures, scarves, gloves and goggles against the freezing wind. It is important to cover your face and head well to avoid freezing.
Not even in summer you can afford to wear light clothes, but pack them for the hours of navigation and elegant evenings that are often organized on the ship.
Don't forget one backpack and hiking shoes to take out for excursions.

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 2.500
  • Capital: Longyearbyen
  • Extension: 61.022 sq. Km
  • Languages: Norwegian official language. Russian is spoken in some places.
  • Local currency: Norwegian krone NOK (€ 1,00 = 9,67NOK)
  • Weather: the climate is sub-polar. Winter (from October to May) has an average temperature of -17 ° C, summer (from June to mid-September) is just above zero. Only in July and August is it around 5/6 degrees.
  • vaccinations: no vaccination required
  • Entry requirements: passport or identity card valid for expatriation

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