Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, the northernmost point of Europe. Only 30 minutes’ drive separates the archipelago from the North Pole. Mostly, all the islands are part of the Kingdom of Norway, with the exception of the island of Svenskoya, which belongs to Sweden. Also, on the island of Western Svalbard there is a village called Barentsburg and two conserved settlements of Grumant and Pyramid, belonging to Russia.
Svalbard is the choice of the most courageous tourists. Here you will find permafrost, endless snow landscapes and polar bears. However, in spite of all the above, tourism is well developed in this realm of ice and cold. And the hotels of the capital of the archipelago, Longyearbyen, are full of tourists.
Svalbard How to get there?
You can get to Svalbard only with a transfer to Oslo. There are no direct flights to the archipelago. Regular flights to the only airport of Longyearbyen are performed by Norwegian Airlines and SAS. Travel time to the archipelago will be about 3 hours. Shuttle bus meets every flight at the airport and takes tourists to Longyearbyen hotels.
Please note that Svalbard is not included in the Schengen zone. However, given that you can enter here only through the territory of Norway, you will need a double Schengen visa. Because on the way back from the archipelago, tourists will again have to enter Norway.
You can move around the archipelago by car, snowmobile or ski. There are ferries all year round between islands.
Sights of Svalbard
Svalbard despite the extreme habitat is a popular tourist destination. The main tourist season here lasts from March to August, when the polar day lasts over the archipelago.
Today, Svalbard is almost completely a protected area. This made it possible to restore the flora and fauna of the islands, destroyed since the days of commercial prey when islands were discovered. However, the number of fossils from 40 to 60 million years old on Svalbard is so numerous that it is allowed to freely export from the archipelago. Restrictions apply only to hunting for local animals.
Excursions and winter activities in Svalbard are the main attractions of the islands. You can go skiing, go dog sledding, or ride a snowmobile. During the polar night you can see the northern lights. You can also go hiking in the ice caves or conquer one of the snowy peaks. In the summer, cruises around the archipelago, kayaking, horseback riding, quad bike safaris and hiking trips are added to this list.
Other interesting places to visit include:
- Svalbard Museum
- Top of Trolstein (Troll Stone)
- North Pole Museum
- Balloon Museum
- Doomsday Vault
- University of Svalbard
- Church of Longyearbyen
- East Fjord in the Indre Viidefjorden National Park
- Pyramid Mountain
- Prince Charles Island
Hotels in Svalbard
Various hotels in Svalbard offer accommodation to guests of the islands. It is worth noting that all hotels are located only in Longyearbyen. At the same time, the choice of the type of accommodation is quite large from simple guesthouses with a common kitchen to 5-star hotels of the world network such as Radisson. Interestingly, some hotels have a very unusual look: for example, the building of a former radio station or a ship frozen into a block of ice.