If you are a nature lover and are considering visiting the Arctic, Spitsbergen should definitely be on your list.
Spitsbergen is an archipelago located in the Svalbard region of Norway, in the Arctic Ocean. It is composed of several islands, the largest of which is Spitsbergen. The archipelago is known for its unique wildlife, stunning glaciers, and incomparable natural beauty. In this article, we will discuss the best time of year to visit Spitsbergen, so that you can make the most out of your trip.
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Spitsbergen?
The best time of year to visit Spitsbergen for each traveler will depend on their interests and objectives for their trip.
Summer – June to August
During the summer months, from June to August, the sun never sets in Spitsbergen, which allows visitors to take advantage of the Midnight Sun and experience 24-hour daylight. This is an excellent time for adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts.
- Wildlife: During the summer, you can see the migratory birds, which come to breed in the archipelago. You can also see walruses and various species of whales on their migratory routes.
- Activities: There are many activities to do during the summer, such as hiking, kayaking, and glacier cruises. This is also an excellent time for fishing, as the waters are warmer.
- Climate: The temperatures in Spitsbergen during the summer are mild, with highs of around 6°C (44°F) and lows of around 2°C (36°F). Summer is also the driest season, with less than 30 mm of rainfall per month.
Autumn – September to November
The autumn months, from September to November, are a good time to visit Spitsbergen if you want to see the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis.
- Aurora Borealis: In Spitsbergen, the Northern Lights can be seen from early September until late April. Autumn is a great time to see them, as the skies are clear and there are fewer tourists around.
- Activities: Autumn is also a good time for skiing and snowmobiling, as the first snowfalls occur in November.
- Climate: The temperatures during autumn start to drop, with highs of around 1°C (34°F) and lows of around -4°C (25°F).
Winter – December to February
The winter months, from December to February, are the coldest and darkest months in Spitsbergen. However, this is a good time to go if you want to experience the Arctic in its purest form.
- Polar Night: During the winter months, Spitsbergen experiences 24-hour darkness. This is known as the Polar Night, and it is a unique experience that very few people get to witness.
- Activities: Winter is an excellent time for dog sledding and snowmobiling. You can also enjoy ice fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing. If you are brave enough, you can even take a polar plunge into the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean.
- Climate: The temperatures during the winter months can drop as low as -20°C (-4°F), making it important to pack warm clothing. However, many activities take place in heated tents, so you can warm up between activities.
Spring – March to May
The spring months, from March to May, are a good time to visit Spitsbergen if you want to see the transition from winter to summer.
- Wildlife: During the spring, you can see the return of the migratory birds that left during the winter. You can also see the baby seals as they are born on the ice floes.
- Activities: Spring is a good time for skiing and snowmobiling, as there is still snow on the ground. It is also a good time for hiking, as the snow begins to melt and the trails start to become visible again.
- Climate: The temperatures during the spring start to rise, with highs of around -4°C (25°F) and lows of around -12°C (10°F).
When it comes to the best time of year to visit Spitsbergen, it really comes down to what you want to experience during your trip. Whether you are interested in adventure sports, wildlife, or the Northern Lights, there is a time of year that is perfect for you. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to Spitsbergen!