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.
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).
Do you have any questions about taking a boat trip to see the Svalbard walruses? Let me know in the comments.
In this post...
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.
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.
Svalbard Walrus Safari (A Quick Review!)
Duration: 5 hours
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)
CLICK HERE TO BOOK!
This walrus tour was operated by the tour company, Better Moments, and I booked my tour through my trusted partner, Manawa.
My day started with a bus pick-up at around 9am from my hotel, Haugens 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.
This 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 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.
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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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 take 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.
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!
Do you have any questions about taking a walrus tour in Svalbard? Let me know in the comments.
More Svalbard Travel Guides
- Svalbard travel tips
- Things to do in Svalbard
- Svalbard in winter
- Svalbard snowmobiling tours
- Svalbard Bryggeri tour
- Svalbard Museum info
- Svalbard northern lights tours
- Where to stay in Longyearbyen
- Best places to eat in Longyearbyen
- Best time to visit Svalbard
- Svalbard in March
- Popular Svalbard tours
- Gruve 3 mine tour
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.