Winter is in effect, so now is the perfect time to plan your summer vacation. Do you know where you want to go, or the kind of experience you want? Many travelers have indicated a desire to use their vacations to explore new places and learn about subjects of interest.

With the current focus on global climate change and regular media attention devoted to the emblematic plight of the polar bear, many travelers have been inspired to visit the Arctic. If this sounds interesting to you, then you’ll want to consider an expedition to Svalbard, an archipelago in the northernmost part of Norway that provides unparalleled opportunities to see polar bears in their natural habitat – on the sea ice.

Svalbard is the ideal place to learn about polar bears, their natural environment, habits and behavior. Located only 600 miles from the North Pole and virtually uninhabited, Svalbard is true wilderness, with towering glaciers, pristine fjords and incredible wildlife: massive bird colonies, reindeer, arctic foxes and walrus, in addition to polar bears. Land travel in Svalbard isn’t really an option; there are barely any roads and virtually no places to stay. Therefore, the best way to travel through Svalbard and experience its magical environment is by ship.

When planning a trip to Svalbard make certain to look for a travel operator that has significant experience navigating icy polar waters. Lindblad Expeditions, in partnership with National Geographic, has been the leader in polar travel for decades. Its state-of-the-art expedition ship the National Geographic Explorer, is purpose-built to operate in challenging polar conditions. Their highly skilled and experienced captains and officers provide the safest expedition possible, allowing you to relax and enjoy the adventure. In addition, Lindblad Expeditions’ experience with the Arctic landscape and expert crew makes it highly likely they will spot more polar bears, and be able to draw the ship in close, giving you remarkable opportunities to observe them.

While in Svalbard you’ll also want to explore more of your surroundings, so make certain to look for a travel provider that offers up-close exploration opportunities. Lindblad Expeditions’ trips feature nimble Zodiacs to tour glaciers and explore coastal shores. They offer nature walks on the tundra. And they also pioneered polar kayaking, allowing travelers to freely explore the otherworldly scenery of Svalbard at water-level. Every Lindblad Expedition is led by a team of knowledgeable naturalists to help you learn about the incredible wildlife and geography of this special environment. If those elements alone don’t entice you to visit the "Land of the Ice Bears," know that Lindblad Expeditions is unique among travel operators – they include a National Geographic Photographer on every voyage to provide inspiration and photo tips; and they price their trips to include all activities – making your wallet virtually optional.