Reasons for travelling to Spitsbergen

  • Among all real arctic destinations, this is probably the region with the greatest variety of landscapes on a relatively confined space, from the wild-alpine scenery of mountains, fjords and glaciers of the name-inspiring westcoast ("Spitsbergen" = "Pointed Peaks"), to the partly monumental plateau mountains of the centre to the intensive glaciated areas of the East.
    Calm and wide valleys of the interior, coastal plains.
  • Extraordinarily varied geology, from the Palaeozoic with rocks more than 1 billion years old up to recent quarternary deposits, including formations, colorings and fossils which are also visually attractive.
  • For a partly high arctic region, Spitsbergen can boast with an exceptional abundance of animals, with huge bird populations during summer, but also with good chances for the observation of polar bears and walrusses (for this, longer study cruises with ice-classed boats to the high arctic East of the archipelago are clearly the most promising and safest option) and the very diverse flora of the tundra, as well.
  • Rich evidences of european polar history  of the last 400 years. Starting with the early whaling and hunters, then the beginning of the polar research and the fragile remnants of failed dreams from the pioneer times of the exploration of minerals, to reminders of World War II even in this remote place.
  • The unique coexistence of norwegian and russian settlements and lots of international polar scientists, for whom Spitsbergen is the most important research base in the high Arctic.
  • Among all arctic destinations, Spitsbergen is the northernmost land area, which is easy to reach, based on the good scheduled flight connections (Longyearbyen at least).
  • Located at a very high latitude, Spitsbergen is blessed with a high midnight sun over a long period in summer, providing a unique arctic freedom and independence of daytime for outdoor activities in permanent daylight.
  • Equally, such high latitudes mean a real polar night with the sun fairly deep under the horizon especially in the second part of December. Thanks to this permanent darkness, eventual northern light can be observed all around the clock on a clear sky.
  • Nature conservation ranks high in Spitsbergen with strict regulations trying to minimize environmental damages caused by tourism. In some aspects, Spitsbergen is ahead in this respect of other arctic regions.

When it comes to especially big icebergs, Antarctica, Greenland and also Franz Josef Land beat Spitsbergen, and Spitsbergen has no real native population with old culture and tradition. Greenland has also more animal species - but spread over enormous distances and accordingly hard to see. When it comes to actually seeing the animals, and to variety of landscapes, ecosystems and geology, Spitsbergen is probably the ideal destination in the high arctic - even more so as transport in such untamed, remote regions is a key issue and compared to Greenland, distances are much shorter in Spitsbergen, making it easier to get a wide variety of impressions within limited time.

Last Modification: 10.01.2014