Enjoy Fabulous Polar Bear Watching Holidays in Spitsbergen
Polar Bear watching holidays in Spitsbergen offer the opportunity to see lots of other wildlife too. Here is what to expect.
If you're looking for the ultimate in bear watching holidays, why not consider heading to Spitsbergen, the Arctic island in the Svalbard archipelago? There is no better way to explore the area than by a cruise boat focused solely on facilitating visitors to see the wildlife and stunning scenery.
On dedicated bear watching holidays that are based around such a cruise you can expect to see Polar Bears in the wild, of course, but many more species of wildlife and birdlife abound as well. Photographic opportunities will be abundant and, as you will be able to enjoy the Arctic midnight sun and 24 hours of daylight, the viewing opportunities are extensive.
Highlights of Bear Watching Holidays in Spitsbergen
The scenery itself is a highlight of this cruise and you will have the chance to appreciate the dramatic views of towering mountains, glorious glaciers and crystal clear fjords. After all, this archipelago is located only 600 miles south of the North Pole. The wildlife is just as spectacular, and if you are interested in birds you will be inundated with sighting opportunities. Little Auks, Brunnichs Guillemots and other seabirds congregate on the cliffs in their colonies of hundreds, and further inland there is the chance to view the Barnacle Goose and the Long-tailed Skua, as well as many more.
During the summer months, the pack ice floats offshore and it is on these fragile areas of land that the Polar Bears can be seen. These majestic animals are stunning when seen in real life, and their power and strength is simply awesome. On bear watching holidays to this region you'll have the opportunity to watch them swimming in the Arctic waters and preying on the unsuspecting Harp Seals that share their habitat. They spend their time on the floating ice sheets waiting for the seals to come up for air, then use their huge paws to fish the smaller creatures out of the water. It is easy to see why the Polar Bears are considered the Kings of the Arctic, as they fear nothing and will prey on anything. They are often seen devouring whale carcasses when they are not stalking the ice edges.
While the Polar Bears will keep you interested in what is happening on the land, the Beluga Whales, which are often seen in these Arctic waters, are fascinating to watch too. Also known as White Whales, they are one of the most distinguishable of all the whale species. They have rounded foreheads and no dorsal fin and often live together in small groups (referred to as pods). Listen for their clicks, whistles and clangs, which is their unique way of communicating with each other.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. If you’re looking for bear watching holidays, Naturetrek specialises in expert-led natural history and wildlife tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to polar expeditions and tours to other spectacular regions on Earth.