80 degrees north in the icy Arctic world lies sprawled its most gleaming pearl, Svalbard. There, a solitary polar bear, its large white form in perfect harmony with its habitat but dwarfed by an endless ocean, marauds in search of a meal in the frigid domain. This surreal image is one of the many possibilities your senses can feast on.
Constituting the northernmost part of Norway, Svalbard is an immense archipelago in the Arctic Circle, not far from the North Pole. It is one of the few turfs on our planet where man is still subordinate to the laws of nature and the wild remains untamed. Mountains with white wigs stand tall carrying glaciers in their laps, picturesque fjords bearing azure icebergs and drift ice cut prettily through the land. Wildlife thrives under the water, on the surface and in the air to remind you that this is not a desolate wilderness, but a living, throbbing wonderland.
- Best time to visit:
July to September
- Recommended min. duration:
10 nights/11 days
Glaciers and Fjords
What if we tell you that there is a place on this very planet that can stir in you exhilaration with its otherworldly beauty? Svalbard is one such place, where the polar bear looks all the more majestic in its domain of unbelievable beauty. It is also where the seals and the whales and some lovely birds dwell in harmony with the habitat that homes them.
Svalbard is the best place in the world to see the polar bear, the largest carnivore on Earth, Arctic’s biggest showpiece. Bearded and ringed seals – the polar bear’s staple diet – can be seen swimming and sunbathing, while Greenland seals are often encountered, and walruses – animals that can weigh twice as much as polar bears and yet fall prey to them on occasion – can be seen from close quarters.
Whales, the giant aquatic mammals, include the humpback whale, the fin whale, the beluga whale and the mink whale. The predatory orca can stun you into silence and a glimpse of the biggest of them all, the monumental blue whale – the largest living earthly creature – can bring you fitful spasms of uncontrolled joy.
Among the birds, the circumpolar Arctic tern turns heads, while the glaucous gull, the ivory gull and the fulmars will enchant you. While Arctic skuas have been termed parasites and pirates for stealing food from other birds, it is the kittiwakes you must save your heart from, for cute as buttons, they threaten to swoop down on their angelic white wings and purloin it.
Also, there is the black guillemots, looking like limited-edition pigeons, and the thick-billed murre, also called Brünnich’s Guillemot, flies the auk flag high in Svalbard’s sensational landscapes.
At Toehold, we are passionate about travel and photography just as you are, which lets us understand your needs and travails perfectly. And we use our insight and experience to plan your vacation to perfection, so all you have to do is enjoy yourself and make memories for a lifetime.
Here are just some reasons you should leave your next holiday to us:
While Toehold Photo Travel is our most popular offering with our photography experts travelling along with you, our Vacations chalk out travel plans for you to explore destinations across the globe the way you wish to. In short, you would be availing of our expert service to plan your vacation and execute it the way you want.
- Unlike a Photo Travel experience, your vacation is completely personalised for you.
- The dates, style of travel, class of hotels and lodges, destinations, and every other detail is tailor-made to suit your custom requirement.
- A Skipper or a photography guide doesn’t travel with you to guide you unless you decide to take our customised and guided photo travel experience.
You can now use our immense experience and field knowledge for great experiences on your travel!
Are you a photography enthusiast who prefers our guided Photography Tours to benefit from our vast wealth of photography knowledge and expertise on the field? Consider joining one of our numerous Photography Tours to various destinations across the globe!
How different are your Personalised Vacations from other holidays?
Unlike travel agents who plan your vacation from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven’t experienced themselves, our Personalised Vacations offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the knowledge of experts who know the places first-hand. Besides, your holiday will be meticulously planned by making use of the best local contacts we have at every destination.
For whom is this destination suitable?
Anybody with an interest in wildlife and all the myriad marvels of nature, and is over the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian) can go on a personal vacation to this destination.
How cold will it be?
The weather is variable, but the average hovers between a few degrees below freezing at the minimum and around 2°C as the maximum. There will be considerable wind chill on the deck. Sea conditions may get occasionally rough, but the rugged construction of the ship usually ensures a largely smooth ride. You are advised to carry requisite medication if you suffer from seasickness.
What fitness level is required?
Although this is not a very physically intensive trip, some basic amount of physical fitness is required, chiefly to withstand the cold, climb up and down the steep staircase between the hull of the ship and the Zodiac board, and to undertake short walks exploring the islets on foot. If you suffer from known illnesses, please consult your physician before signing up for the Vacation.
Can I take my children to Svalbard?
You may certainly take your young child, but we don’t recommend taking infants and very small children when you set out to explore the icy world because of sub zero temperature that seldom increases. Please talk to us for more information.
Will you book my flight tickets if needed?
Certainly! We take care of the flight ticket bookings too.
What is the scope of services you offer as a part of a Personalised Vacation package?
Absolutely everything! From booking the travel tickets and arranging for a comfortable stay to suggested itineraries and planning places of interest, Toehold takes care of all the details of your vacation.
Do you rent camera equipment?
Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer. What’s better, you can enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired on Toehold Personalised Vacations!