Svalbard Walrus Safari: What to Expect, FAQs, & How to Book

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Svalbard is brimming with Arctic wildlife, and one of the best things to do during the summer months is to see one of the walrus colonies! This post will dive into how to take a tour to see walruses in Svalbard, including what to expect, how to book, and some FAQs.

Are you planning your trip to Svalbard last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Svalbard last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, and more!

❄️  Top tours and activities in Svalbard:

  1. Speedboat tour to walrus colony (one of my summer favorites – see below!)
  2. Nature and wildlife tour on a boat (a Svalbard top-seller in summer)
  3. Historic coal mine tour at Gruve 3 (available year-round)

🛌  Top hotels and places to stay:

  1. Haugen Pensjonat Svalbard (my FAVORITE place to stay!)
  2. Radisson Blu (good base for activities!)
  3. Coal Minerʻs Cabins (budget option, further from town)

This is, hands-down, one of my favorite tours I have ever done, and it is an easy one that only takes up half the day. This Svalbard walrus safari is a must for summer visitors!

Not only will your Svalbard walrus tour go to see the walruses, but you will also stop by the Bore Glacier, where you will stop and have lunch as you watch the icebergs float by (and possibly see a glacier calving in the distance).

Recapping my Svalbard walrus safari
Recapping my Svalbard walrus safari

Do you have any questions about taking a boat trip to see the Svalbard walruses? Let me know in the comments.

About the Borebukta Walrus Colony in Svalbard

Walruses have long been part of Svalbard’s unique wildlife. During the summer months from May until August, there are colonies of the large creatures throughout many places on Spitsbergen, and one colony, in particular, lives at Borebukta.

Borebukta is across the Isfjorden from Longyearbyen, and once there, you’ll find anywhere from 10 to 30 walruses lazily lounging on Arctic shores.

Walrus colony at Borebukta in Svalbard
Walrus colony at Borebukta in Svalbard

These walruses snack on clams, swim around the nearby waters, and get into land scuffles with one another, making for a pretty entertaining sight!

Your boat may be able to dock on the shore nearby, but mine was not able to for safety reasons. Nevertheless, you do get to see them somewhat up close, and there were several swimming around our boat, which was pretty cool.

Book your Svalbard walrus safari here!

Svalbard Walrus Safari (A Quick Review!)

Duration: 5 hours
Season: May-August
Meeting Point: they will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the harbor
Language: English, German (my guides also spoke Norwegian and one spoke Russian)

This walrus tour was operated by the tour company, Better Moments, and I booked my tour through my trusted partner, Manawa.

They specialize in adventure tours (and boat tours), and I have used them for every single tour I have ever taken in Svalbard in the last few years, except the Gruve-3 mine tour I took.

My day started with a bus pick-up at around 9am from my hotel, Haugen Pensjonat. Everything was well organized, and the bus then took us down to the Svalbard harbor, where we were met by our crew at Better Moments.

Walking to our boat
Walking to our boat
Our vessel for the Svalbard walrus tour
Our vessel for the Svalbard walrus tour

This Svalbard boat tour is on an enclosed RIB boat. It is larger than it sounds, but still not nearly as big as the other boats there. It will go pretty fast on the Isfjord.

Once we got onto the boat and put our safety floatation devices on, we made our way out into the large Isfjord, which would take us over to Borebukta.

The flotation devices (life jackets?) were like this - not bad!
The flotation devices (life jackets?) were like this – not bad!

The sea over to the walruses was not super calm but not rough enough to make anyone on the boat sick (most were Americans who had a lot of experience on the water, however).

You have an opportunity to move about a bit and can even go to the back of the boat and stand outside.

Hanging out with the Svalbard walruses
Hanging out with the Svalbard walruses
Icebergs we floated past
Iceberg we floated past
Looking for walruses
Looking for walruses
Our boat out at sea
Our boat out at sea
Looking for walruses in the water
Looking for walruses in the water
Bore Glacier
Bore Glacier

Getting across the fjord took a little over an hour, and once we arrived, we got to stay at the Borebukta walrus colony for a bit to take photos and laugh at some of their silly antics.

After a bit, the boat moved to a little cove where the Bore Glacier was located, and we had sandwiches there.

Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, notify Better Moments before (or at the time of booking) and let them know so they can accommodate.

💡GOOD TO KNOW: The journey can be cold – especially when you step outside. Wear warm clothing (I wore a thick wool sweater and leggings, but I am used to these types of temperatures during the summer months).

We marveled at the glacier for a while before heading back across the Isfjord to Longyearbyen. Going back was much calmer, and I stood outside for a lot of the journey!

Svalbard Walrus Boat Tour FAQ

When is the best time to see walruses in Svalbard?

The walruses are at Borebukta from May until August (give or take a little). If you are there in June or July, you should have no problem seeing the walrus colony, but like all wildlife tours, there is never a guarantee.

A walrus swimming near our boat
A walrus swimming near our boat

Is this Svalbard walrus tour wheelchair-accessible?

No, this is not a tour for those with mobility issues or in a wheelchair.

Is there a toilet on the boat?

Yes, there is a toilet on the boat.

What should I bring with me?

Warm clothing! Drinks are provided, as is lunch. So, if you want something small to snack on, feel free to bring that as well.

I wore a thick Dale of Norway wool sweater (no jacket) with leggings and was fine, but I think the average person (not used to this climate) should wear a warm jacket and have a few layers underneath.

Our RIB boat
Our RIB boat

Gloves are also great if you’re hoping to head to the back of the boat to photograph.

BOOK HERE: Walrus tour in Svalbard

If you are interested in photographing these beasts, bring a zoom lens. You will get somewhat close to them, but a telephoto lens that is at least 200mm is a great addition.

Get seasick? Bring some dramamine! The sea can be a bit rough. No one on my boat had issues, but I did find out that most were Americans living near the lake in Michigan or in Florida. The others were Norwegians out of Oslo and were accustomed to being on boats

Should you go on a walrus boat tour in Svalbard?

Yes, 100%! This was one of my favorite tours in Svalbard. It was the perfect amount of time (5 hours), and you get to see walruses and other wildlife along the way if you are lucky. We saw a minke whale on my boat trip.

How close you get to the walruses on Svalbard
How close you get to the walruses on Svalbard

You will also have the chance to stop at a glacier and enjoy lunch, and honestly, it was one of the prettiest lunches I have ever had. If you are visiting Svalbard in the summer, this is an absolute must-add to your itinerary!

Book your Svalbard walrus safari here!

Do you have any questions about taking a walrus tour in Svalbard? Let me know in the comments.

More Svalbard Travel Guides

Pin this Guide to Seeing Walruses in Svalbard

Looking to see the walruses in Svalbard on your trip? I detail how to book a Svalbard walrus tour by boat to Borebukta to see the famous colony! Learn more! | Walruses in Svalbard | Svalbard boat tour | Svalbard walrus safari | Walrus safari in Svalbard | How to see walruses in Svalbard | Svalbard wildlife | Svalbard boat trip | Summer in Svalbard | Svalbard in summer | What to do in Svalbard | Things to do in Svalbard | Svalbard itinerary


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