Svalbard or also referred to as Spitsbergen is an exotic travel destination today. It is a group of islands that are found in between Norway and the North Pole. Administratively it is under the jurisdiction of Norway. Geographically it is situated in the northernmost tip of Europe. It is even farther than Alaska and Arctic Islands of Canada. Even if this is the case the place is considered to be highly populated despite the climate. If not for the Gulf Stream and little warm temperature that it receives, Svalbard would be totally locked in ice and would not be habitable anymore. The overall population is about 3,000 and most of them are gathered on the cities of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. The islands are governed by a team of people that are responsible for different public services. Before going to this place, be sure to plan the trip carefully and be sure to have made arrangements.
Longyearbyen by night
Despite the extreme climate, Svalbard is the best place to go as you can explore arctic nature and its wildlife. However it is not a traditional resort town. Although Norwegian language is spoken by the locals, they can understand English. Literally the name Svalbard means cold edge. Overall it falls under arctic climate where summers are cool and winters are so cold. For most of the year, the water is navigable. Travel season runs from June to August. This is the time where it is not that cold outside. From March to May is light winter which is a combination of sun and snow. This is ideal for winter sports.
On a cruise boat to Svalbard
Svalbard is where you can experience the midnight sun where the sun stays during the night. The history of the place goes a long way in 12thcentury. Although it is inhabited both by Norwegians and Russians, the latter is still the majority. Other islands of Svalbard are not inhabited as they are kept as natural reserves. You should know that getting here is quite expensive and would take time. You will need to pass by Norway first and they have the right to check travel documents.
Polar lights over Svalbard
The Magdalen Fjord
Polar bear in Svalbard
There are several ways to get to Svalbard. The largest airport is found in Longyearbyen where occasional flights from Oslo and Moscow are welcome. During summer, you can take a boat that travels once a week. This normally takes around two to three days and the price is just as expensive as taking a flight. There are no roads that connect islands and villages. You can take plane, helicopter, boats or snow mobiles. Svalbard is also offering several attractions like the arctic nature that features untouched glaciers and mountains. The Pyramiden is an offbeat attraction where you can find statues of Lenin.
Pyramiden and the statue of Lenin
Svalbard photo 1: Marina H, Svalbard photo 2: naturum, Svalbard photo 3 & 6: Max Edin, Svalbard photo 4 & 9: ragamoffyn, Svalbard photo 5: Paolo, Svalbard photo 7: Marco Gaiotti, Svalbard photo 8: Paul Souders,