The Northern archipelago – Svalbard

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In the north part of Norway is the archipelago of Svalbard, a group of islands located in the Arctic Ocean. Even with the arctic climate and the higher attitude the Svalbard islands have milder climate than most arctic locations. Great part of the archipelago territory is under glacier and there are many fjords and mountains here. The arctic climate and the ocean are reason why the islands are highly populated with seabirds and marine mammals, Svalbard is the realm of the polar bear. Most of the tourists come to experience the raw and pure nature of the islands. Through the summer season you can go hiking or go on a trip with a boat, during the winter you can go on a trip with a snowmobile or go dog sledding, there are also beautiful areas where you can go cross country skiing.

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Although it is consisted of many islands, only one is inhabited by man, Spitsbergen, the biggest island in Norway. There are boat trips cruising by the coast of Spitsbergen, and with 3000 polar bears roaming the archipelago you will surely spot one amidst the beautiful arctic forms and fjords. The largest settlement here is Longyearbyen. There is accommodation in guesthouses in this small city, but the costs are even higher than the mainland of Norway.  Here you can visit the northernmost church in the world or the few museums. There are also settlements from the Soviet era and abandoned gold mines, reachable by snowmobile. On the food menu you can see local specialties, such as dishes of reindeer meat, seal and whale, sometimes even polar bear meat. Svalbard is duty –free zone, so alcohol and sports apparel are much cheaper than Norway. There are souvenirs and gift shops offering items of gold, silver and fur.

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