Svalbard Islands

Europe

This island archipelago consisting of ten main islands and many smaller ones is situated in the Arctic ocean half way between Norway and the North pole. They have an area of more than 62,000 square kilometres and a population of just under 3,000. Here you will experience nature in its virginal state.

Svalbard, artic glacier by the sea
Svalbard, Artic glacier by the sea

Despite its geographical position it has a relatively mild climate. It is generally below zero in the winter, maybe as much as -20 degrees and can go to a normal 6 degrees in summer. During the month of January the sun does not rise and in the summer there are about seven hours of daylight. Coal mining is the main industry.

What can you do here? There are a lot of things to see and do and experience. First thing you will think about when the Arctic is mentioned are the huskies. You can go sledging with the dogs and they are happiest when working. You can actually hear them barking with delight long before you see them. You can get one of the snowmobiles and go on a safari.

Svalbard, Adventfjorden, Longyearbyen port
Svalbard, Adventfjorden, Longyearbyen port

You can join a boat trip and see the landscape and the wild life. Here you can watch the seals basking in the sun, see the polar bears, of which there are about 500 on Svalbard island, and the arctic fox, the walrus, the reindeer and the arctic. For safety you may need a guide. Hiking is a grand experience and you can go on a cruise or on boat trips.

You can camp surrounded by mountains and glaciers and fall aleeplistening to the music of the many birds. Between June and September you can go boating. There are the museums that you can visit to study the flora and the fauna and review the history of the mining industry and the hunting. Go to the gallery where you can study old maps and books.

Svalbard, Billefjorden, Skansbukta
Svalbard, Billefjorden, Skansbukta

Visit the church where there is a service every Sunday and enjoy one of their coffee evening and meet the local population most of whom speak English and live on one of the three main islands. Here there is something to do all the time. Visit the coal mines. Join in a barbecque. Search for fossils. Walk on the glaciers.

If you are a night person you will find some marvellous places. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars in Longyearbyen, the capital town. Here too you can find a great variety of shops where you can buy silver and gold art productions and furs and all are duty free.

It is easy to get there. There are several flights every day from Oslo and from Tromso to the capital.  And there are several places where you can stay without spending a fortune.

Svalbard islands
Svalbard islands