February 18, 2020
Svalbard Welcomes you to the High Arctic!
Experience 78˚ North, feel like we’re living in a dream. A genuine Arctic fairy tale. The landscape dominated by tundra, bare mountains, glaciers, extreme light variations and an exciting animal life. That would be hard to match anywhere on earth. Experience destination Svalbard, and you can’t for a moment imagine a better place to holiday. Svalbard is called the “Polar bug”. A term indicating your constant desire to return after setting your feet here for the first time. Are you ready to be bitten by the Polar bug…?
To the uninitiated, Svalbard may seem desolate and barren with large open landscapes, sparse vegetation and endless glaciers. But if you look beyond this first impression, you will discover an eldorado of nature-based experiences – all year round. The seasonal variations this far north are enormous. Bright winter months replaces the long, dark season. In turn surprisingly mild summer with 24/7 sun replaces it.
During the Polar Night, the months of darkness from October to January, the Northern Lights dominate the sky both day and night. The residents of Longyearbyen are the world’s northernmost urban community. They spend a lot of time at social gatherings. They meet at pubs and restaurants, concerts or exhibitions or at each other’s homes. Good food, good drinks and varied cultural offerings are the key to enjoying this season, which many locals regard as the best time of the year.
Nevertheless, they look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel of darkness.
In February the sun slowly but surely rises above the horizon again. The play of colours experienced during this time is beyond beautiful. Blue skies and snow-capped mountain peaks provide the background for the sun’s return, and the rays of sun turn the blue colours to pink. This phenomenon is refereed as the “blue light” and, to put it simply, it’s something you must experience to understand.
As the light changes, so too do the interests of the local population. Instead of seeking cosiness indoors, they head outdoors into the winter landscape on skis, by snowmobile or on a sled behind a team of eager huskies. Sometimes they prefer short trips and sometimes longer expeditions over glaciers or frozen fjords. Maybe view polar bears, maybe seek shelter in an out-of-the-way cabin or maybe don’t go far from our doorstep to experience the surrounding wilderness.
After the winter, around mid-May, a short spring awaits, followed by a slightly longer summer. Birds which migrate here in vast numbers to nest invades the archipelago. On the seemingly inhospitable tundra, a minor miracle occurs at ground level as a rich flora emerges in the most unthinkable of places, offering life where one would hardly believe it was possible for plants to take root. When the landscape dries up after the snow melts, countless possibilities for hiking emerge. Many locals transform into eager hikers and head for the mountain peaks which surround Longyearbyen. Consequently, outdoor recreation still dominates. Hiking boots make way for boats or kayaks for slightly longer trips.
Svalbard is large and diverse, boasting nature which is surprisingly rich and extremely varied. Life in Longyearbyen may be perceived both as different and perhaps extreme, but for those who is fortunate to experience, it’s hard to imagine anything else. There is enormous seasonal variations in temperature, light and darkness. People residing in Svalbard are called Svalbardians. They receive visitors from all over the world – all year round.
Welcome to Longyearbyen and Svalbard – and have a wonderful, memorable and profound experiences. Please remember, if you are bitten by the Polar bug, it’s harmless even though it will remain in your body for a long time!