Fantastic Svalbard, Norway

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Svalbard, prior to 1925 known as Spitsbergen, is the Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean situated about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. The islands were first used as a whaling base, while coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. Svalbard is indeed worth a visit. Most visitors call it Fantastic Svalbard. Here you can find out why.

Svalbard has a fantastic food selection, one of Scandinavia’s largest wine cellars and duty-free zone. Spitsbergen hides more than the eye can see. It is possible to sail to Svalbard, but most visitors fly. There are direct flights from Oslo and Tromsø to Svalbard.

Fantastic Svalbard, Norway
Arctic sledding. Photo: Visit Norway

Arctic sledding
Experience dog mushing in its most natural way and drive into the nearby valleys of the deep Arctic environment. You will be guided out into the wilderness driving your own sled and exploring the beautiful surroundings.

Related: A Homage to Svalbard

Snow mobiling
Discover untouched wilderness and experience unique wildlife during an incredible snowmobile activity. Did you know that there are more polar bears in Svalbard than people? Roughly 3000 polar bears live around Spitsbergen and Longyearbyen during the winter months. However, it’s not easy to find them. The best chances of seeing one are on the east coast in Spitsbergen. That’s why your guide will take you there.

Fantastic Svalbard, Norway
Roughly 3000 polar bears live around Spitsbergen and Longyearbyen. Photo: Visit Svalbard

Ice Cave visits
Svalbard’s glaciers contain countless passages formed by the melted waters leading to fascinating ice caves. Luckily, it’s possible to visit some of these.

Have you ever wondered what it looks like inside the ancient ice? Equipped with a headlamp, crampons and a helmet, you can enter this calm and silent world and see the beautiful blue colors, icicles and snow crystals.

Experience the wonderful frozen landscape and be captivated by the beauty in the ancient ice.

Related: A Short Travel Guide to Spitsbergen

Arctic silence on snowshoes
A snowshoeing adventure is elegant in its simplicity. Discover what it was like to be an Arctic explorer enjoying winter walks in one of the most remarkable and un-spoilt areas in the world, lands where few people venture. Here we will find a surprising variety of flora and fauna including Polar Bears, arctic foxes and seals plus glaciers, ice floes and stunning views.

Springtime skiing in Svalbard
Cross country skiing expeditions take place in springtime and what better way to explore the beautiful Arctic scenario than to ski through it. On Svalbard, there is a variety of ski touring holidays for a range of abilities both on piste and off piste, both with and without pulks.

Related: Spotting Polar Bears in the Arctic

Funktionærmessen has been shortened to Funken. Photo: Hurtigruten

Local dining
Svalbard offers a surprising number of restaurants for a place with around 2400 inhabitants. One of the restaurants, Huset (the House), offers fantastic food as well as one of the largest wine cellars in Scandinavia with around 15,000 bottles.

In addition to Huset, it is worth mentioning Gruvelageret (the Mining Store), Funksjonærmessen (Officer’s canteen), Vinterhagen (the Winter Garden), Kroa (the Pub) and Stationen (the Station). The price levels in the restaurants are reasonable, especially for those who want to match good wine with their food.

Fantastic Svalbard, Norway
In summer, Svalbard offers great midnight sun, boat trips and cabin visits. But in winter, the islands show their true self.

Feature image (on top) Photo: Thon hotels

Fantastic Svalbard, Norway, compiled by Tor Kjolberg

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