Arctic Spa at Isfjord Radio Station Svalbard | Holidays to NorwayArctic Spa at Isfjord Radio Station Svalbard | Holidays to NorwayArctic Spa at Isfjord Radio Station Svalbard | Holidays to Norway

SVALBARD: AS FAR NORTH AS IT GETS

Svalbard is as close (just 600 miles) to the North Pole as you can get by commercial plane. Perhaps more importantly its staggeringly, awesomely, amazingly, sublimely, supercalifragilisticexpialidociously beautiful. Mountain peaks with fossile imprints, moraines, fluvial deposits, beach deposits, talus and scree from the Ice Age, vertiginous glacier walls, snow filled valleys and imperious ivory topped peaks. It's also so eerily quiet you can hear the wind brushing the sides of mountains and the screech of gulls overhead.

On top of all the scenic cornucopia the archipelago is home to 30 different migratory birds including Little Auks, Northern Fulmars,Thick-billed Murres and Black-legged Kittiwakes, Arctic Fox; 4 terrestial mammals Arctic foxes, reindeer, polar bears and voles, and over 15 marine mammals including whales, dolphins, seals and walruses.

Longyearbyen (named after a John Munro Longyearbyen, an American coal magnate[sic]) is the capital. It more or less has to be, given the only other settlements are Ny-Ålesund  with a year round population of 30 and the mining town of Barentsburg with some 500 Russian miners and their families, as against Longyearbyen's teeming masses numbering just over 2000. Almost all the houses are company owned so virtually the entire population works for one or other of the hospitality, research or mining companies. 

Svalbard was first overwintered in the 17th century by Dutch hunters and then by Russian & Norwegian fishermen until the late19th. It was then more or less de-populated until coal was discovered , the mining of which still continues today although as much for political reasons than commercial ones.

Around the winter solstice between mid November and mid January when the sun is 6 degrees or more below the horizon you have real Polar night with twilight in the middle of the day. Then come the spring equinox everything flips the other way round and by late April there's no twilight, the sun is above the horizon 24/7 so when asked what there is to do in the evening we say 'nothing - there is no evening'!! So winter brings some of the best chances of seeing the Northern Lights on the planet (literally) and summer the chance to play on the planet all night long. 

 

Here's our Blog Spot on Svalbard (No 25 August 2018).  With a 25 year pedigree in designing Holidays to Svalbard http://www.scanadventures.co.uk/holidays-in-norway/spitzbergen-adventures and Travel Designers who are all Scandi natives by birth, we modestly lay claim to an Experience 2nd2 None by keeping up to date with what's what. It’s that that lies behind everything we design and turns your Svalbard holiday into something of an adventure whether under the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun