If you’ve booked a journey with Aurora Expeditions to the Arctic, you’re likely already imagining the incredible wildlife and stunning landscapes you’ll encounter. Our expeditions offer unparalleled opportunities to witness a diverse array of wildlife and flora, much of which is unique to these remote regions.

Discover Spitsbergen an Arctic Wonderland

For intrepid explorers, Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, is an absolute must-visit destination. From breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife spotting opportunities to awe-inspiring landscapes, Spitsbergen has it all. Our expedition passengers consistently rave about the island’s wonders.

Nestled 660 kilometers (410 miles) north of mainland Norway’s northernmost tip, Spitsbergen spans 39,500 square kilometers (15,251 square miles) of the Arctic Ocean. Contrary to what you might imagine, this isn’t a desolate island with little to offer. Instead, it’s a flourishing paradise for Arctic flora and fauna, especially if you know where to look. And with over 30 years of leading Arctic expeditions, we certainly do!

Meet Spitsbergen's Unique Reindeer

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is home to a unique subspecies of reindeer. These reindeer arrived at the end of the last ice age, over 11,000 years ago, and are now fully wild. Unlike the large herds seen in North America, Svalbard reindeer are usually spotted in small groups of three to five, which may grow slightly in autumn when males form harems.

These fairly sedentary creatures often band together in bountiful feeding grounds, especially in winter. It’s rare to see more than 20 reindeer together. Once near extinction due to heavy hunting, the Svalbard reindeer gained protected status in 1925 and now number about 10,000 across the islands.

What does a Svalbard reindeer look like?

Characterised by their short, plump legs, Svalbard reindeer are relatively small, with females and males weighing up to 70 and 90 kilos in autumn, respectively. Both sexes have antlers, which they shed and regrow annually. Interestingly, males will lose their antlers before females, many of which will be pregnant, allowing females to move to the top of the herd hierarchy and secure better access to scarce food supplies.

Their short, dense fur provides essential insulation against the harsh weather, with a lighter belly and darker brown back that lightens in the summer.

Experience Spitsbergen for Yourself

Explore Spitsbergen on a voyage that visits a range of Arctic destinations, or choose an immersive Svalbard expedition that leaves no stone unturned. Once you find your dream voyage, get in touch with our knowledgeable and friendly team to book a stateroom on an Arctic adventure today.


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