Top hotels in Svalbard
Reviewed on 1 Mar 2020
Reviewed on 2 Sep 2019
Experience Arctic wilderness on a holiday to Svalbard
The Svalbard Islands are located midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. With its Arctic climate and largely untouched nature, it is a wonderful place to visit for those seeking adventure, as they will get to go on expeditions, dogsledding or cross-country skiing in the winter, or go kayaking or on a fossil hunt in the summer. Dogsledding is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Svalbard. Here, you can let strong husky dogs drag your sled across the beautiful arctic landscape and get a true sense of how powerful nature can be on these islands. Some of the tours will have special themes such as the northern lights, ice cave visits or the Ship in the Ice (Båten i isen), a permanently ice-bound ship which has been turned into a restaurant. You can also go dogsledding in the summer in a wheeled cart.
The seasons in Svalbard are full of contrasts. With the winter comes the dark polar night, while the summer is characterised by the beautiful midnight sun. Both of these can be very exotic experiences, but there is little that measures up to going kayaking on a sunny summer’s night. Another exciting summer activity is going on a fossil hunt. There are large numbers of fossils in Svalbard and you will get to find remnants of animals and plants that lived millions of years ago.
Although Svalbard is first and foremost a place for nature experiences, Longyearbyen, the biggest town on the islands, is a lively place. This is despite its low population – it only has approximately 2000 inhabitants. The town has several bars and restaurants, including the world’s northernmost sushi restaurant.
Most people who choose to travel to Svalbard will arrive in Longyearbyen on a plane from Oslo or Tromsø, even though cruise ships often stop by the islands. It is important to remember that the Arctic nature in Svalbard is fragile and can also be dangerous. It therefore has its own laws when it comes to nature conservation and protection. Read up on them in advance, and you will get an unforgettable holiday on the edge of the world.