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Spitsbergen

Spitsbergen is often the name given to the remote Svalbard archilepago, a Norwegian territory lying deep within the Arctic Circle

More About Spitsbergen
  • Spitsbergen in detail
  • Interesting Facts

Spitsbergen in detail

Spitsbergen is often the name given to the remote Svalbard archilepago, a Norwegian territory lying deep within the Arctic Circle, some 400 miles from the Norwegian mainland and only 600 miles from the North Pole itself. In winter this is one of the most inhospitable places on earth with two thirds of its surface covered in glaciers. In the summer months the long daylight hours melt a lot of the snow and exploration becomes easier.

Spitsbergen is Svalbard's largest island, and thanks to the Gulf Stream the 400km long western coast has a rich flora and fauna. In 1596, the Dutchman Willem Barentsz passed by the peaked mountains on the northwest corner of the island, and this is how the island was given the name "Spitsbergen", which means "pointed mountains". It is indented by large bays including Isfjorden, Kongsfjorden and the beautiful Magdalenefjord and Tempelfjord. Spitsbergen contains the chief mining towns of Svalbard including Longyerbyen, the administrative centre with further settlements at Barentsburg, Grumantbyen, Moellerhaven and Ny Alesund.

The island served as the starting point for polar expeditions of Nils Nordenskjold, Salomon Andree, Roald Amundsen, Richard Byrd, Sir George Wilkins and others.The 'land of the pointed mountains', Spitsbergen's spectacular frozen world of ice floes and glaciers, wide fjords and snowcrowned peaks will leave memories of its austere beauty.

Cruising the silent offshore waters it is possible to explore a natural world whose prolific wildlife includes countless seabirds (including kittiwakes and Arctic terns), beluga and minke whales, seals and walrus, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic fox, and maybe even the elusive polar bear hunting on the pack ice. The rich flora and fauna of the tundra can be enjoyed at their best at a magical time of the year when the Midnight Sun brings daylight 24 hours a day.

 

  • Time Zone GMT +1
  • Currency Norwegian Krone (NOK)
  • Language Norwegian
  • Population 2,300

Spitsbergen Weather

  • Temperature
  • Rainfall

temperature degrees centigrade

Jan
-7.5
Feb
-5.5
Mar
-1.5
Apr
4.5
May
10.5
Jun
15
Jul
16.5
Aug
15.5
Sep
11
Oct
3
Nov
-4
Dec
-6.5

rainfall in mm

Jan
17.3
Feb
18.8
Mar
16.5
Apr
13.2
May
17.8
Jun
26.9
Jul
43.2
Aug
74.4
Sep
72.9
Oct
53.1
Nov
27.7
Dec
26.7