The realm of the polar bear
Svalbard is closer than you think - just 3 hours’ flight from Oslo. You can depart from central Europe in the morning and reach one of our destinations – Barentsburg or Pyramiden – already by the evening. For longer trips, it's good to have a rest in Longyearbyen before departing for the wilderness the next day.
Svalbard has long fascinated travellers. Unique wildlife, arctic nature, old mining towns, closely neighboring Norwegian and Russian communities, ghost settlements are all found on the islands, which have a stark and eerie beauty that’s all their own.In addition to a few thousand polar bears, the islands are home to almost 3000 human inhabitants. Over 2000 of them live in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre and the main transport hub of the Svalbard. Then follows Russian settlement Barentsburg with approx. 400 people. These small and colourful and so different communities have developed from a typical village into a modern town with different kinds of industries, and with a surprisingly wide range of cultural activities and opportunities, such as concerts, shows, festivals and exhibitions. The smallest ghost town Pyramiden with only 5 guys of staff is considered a pearl of the islands and still remains the atmosphere of the Soviet Union. After the fall of USSR it was ‘’conserved’’. All the buildings are in a good state and the settlement seems inhabited, but the silence reigns over Pyramiden, there is no living soul around… but the polar bears. “Svalbard” means "cold coasts" and was first mentioned in Icelandic texts in the 12th century. However, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to other areas at the same latitude. In Longyearbyen, the average temperature ranges from -14°C during the winter to +6°C during the summer. During the period between November 14th and January 29th, a very special phenomenon occurs in Svalbard -the Polar Night. During the Polar Night the archipelago is blacked out, and you can find no difference between day and night. Another fascinating and mythical phenomenon is the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). The sky is filled with moving colors of green, pink and purple. On Svalbard, during the dark period, you can see the northern lights even at daytime. This makes Svalbard a suited place for northern lights research.Historically, both whaling and trapping have been major activities in the archipelago, but now sustainability is the guiding principle in every way: Nearly two thirds of the surface of Svalbard is protected, and consists of several nature reserves, national parks, bird sanctuaries and even a geotopical protected area.