An explorer’s paradise, discover Spitsbergen, located only 1300 km from the North Pole.
Spitsbergen is part of the Svalbard Archipelago, situated 640 kilometres north of the Norwegian mainland with two-thirds of its surface covered by glaciers.
In 1596 the Dutch explorer Willem Barents named the main island, Spitsbergen, after its needle-like mountains, however it was almost another 300 years before anyone other than whalers chose to live there. The reason for this was the discovery of rich coal deposits which were the residue of a prehistoric tropical forest.
Today Spitsbergen is still the only island that is permanently inhabited; its three Norwegian and one Russian settlements having a total population of around 3000 people. The main Norwegian settlement is Longyearbyen which is situated on a narrow coastal plain alongside the Isfjorden. The town is surprisingly lively with shops, cafes, a post office, bank, swimming pool, several tour companies, a campsite, guesthouses and hotels.
Svalbard is the only region of Norway that is also inhabited by polar bears; this, along with its remoteness, makes it one of the most unique holiday destinations we offer.