About halfway between Nordkapp and the North Pole, you will find Svalbard. These are the polar bears kingdom, where people are only guests. On clear nights (and even days throughout the winter), the Northern Lights can be seen over the magical landscape, consisting of glaciers, frozen water and mountains.
Travel to Svalbard
Mainly, it is just possible to reach Svalbard by plane to Longyearbyen.
Norwegian flies directly from Oslo Airport Gardermoen and SAS flies with a stopover in Tromsø.
It is about 5 km from Svalbard Airport to Longyearbyen.
The airport bus are connected to all flights.
See svalbardbuss.no (only norwegian) for more information.
There is no permanent boat connections between Svalbard and the mainland. But there are some cruise ship that can carry you across the ocean.
Some of these ships also runs through Jan Mayen and perhaps up to the polar ice.
Svalbard is not considered as part of the Schengen area or EU.
Therefore, it is important to have valid travel insurance when you are visiting the islands.
The European Health Insurance Card is not valid here.
You must also have a Norwegian ID card or a valid passport to identify yourself on Svalbard.
Read more about entry on Svalbard here.
Travel in Svalbard
There are no roads connecting the settlements on Svalbard.
Transportation between towns must therefore be effected by either boat or snowmobile.
The road network in longyearbyen connects Svalbard Airport, the EISCAT radar and the old coal mines to the settlement.
What to do in Svalbard?
Longyearbyen and Barentsburg are old mining towns.
The mine outside Longyearbyen is however closed now, and the locals are trying to facilitate the tourism industry in the area.
There are not many attractions such as museums on Svalbard, but you should visit those who are there.
The main sights can be found outdoors and Many local guides organize excursions.
These sights lets you explore nature in different ways, by using for example snowmobile, dogsled, boat or kayak.
Many excursions includes accommodation, and it can be wise to book excursions before booking accommodation.
Polarnights and midnight sun can be a amazing big part of your Svalbard experience.
When the sun never rises above 6 degrees below the horizon during 24 hours, we call it a polar night. Than the sky will never be brighter at all.
The polar night in Svalbard begins Nov. 11 and lasts until January 30.
During this period you will be able to experience the Northern Lights in the middle of the day and through the night.
The midnight sun occurs from April 20 to August 23. During this period, the sun will never move below the horizon.
The polar bear is world's largest land living carnivore.
A male bear has a normal weight of 300-600 kg, but can way up to 800 and they can be up to 30 years old.
The weight of an female bear is normally half of a male bear.
It lives in the polar region and normally out on the ice in the ocean.
The ice is required for the existence of the polar bears, since the ice is where the bears are hunting.
The ice is also required so they can move between its hunting grounds and the places where it goes to sleep.
Many tourists in Norway expects that they have to watch out for polar bears on the mainland.
A few do also think it walks polar bears around in Oslo. This is a myth, but it´s a good idea to be careful on Svalbard.
In fact, the population of polar bears and inhabitants is equal.
The population of polar bears on Svalbard is estimated to be about 3,000.
Waeather on Svalbard
Svalbard is located between the Artic Ocean, Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea.
Geographically, the islands should have been covered by snow and ice, but the temperature can actually raise up to 20 degrees celsius during summer.
The "warm" climate occurs because the Gulf Stream brings warm water from the Caribbean, along the Norwegian coast and up to the west side of Svalbard.
The weather in Svalbard is characterized by polar winds from the east.
This winds takes dry and cold air from the north pole and it meets hot air from the gulf stream in the Svalbard area.
Therefore it can be much fog and clouds at Svalbard. Especially on the coast.
If this wind are changing, the weather can change a lot and give warm weather.
One says that the chance of clear weather is greatest in the spring (April-May).
Despite much fog, there are small amounts of rainfall on the islands (only 190 mm per year in Longyearbyen).
In fact, the islands are considered as Arctic desert.
The average temperature trough a year is -4 degrees celsius in Longyearbyen.
During summer you can experience temperatures up to 20 degrees here (6 degrees is the average temperature in Longyearbyen trough July).
During winter, the temperature can drop down to -45 degrees celcius some places, but rarely less than -20 in Longyearbyen.
I am hungry for more information...
You can make an attempt to saturate your travel and discovery desire at Sysselmannen´s website.
Sysselmannen or the Governor is the local authority on Svalbard.
Their task is primarily focused on law enforcement and environmental work.
On the website you will find updated information about security and what you have to deal with on the islands.