Spitsbergen is a heavily populated island nestled within the Svalbard archipelago. To survive, the island depends on the tourism and research industries. Therefore, it’s a trendy spot for travelers to visit.
Spitsbergen was named by a Dutch navigator and it translates to ‘pointed mountains’. Traditionally, this island is a place where people seek direction. They wish to be pointed towards the mountains of the soul and experience a totally unique way of life. Once you take yourself out of your comfort zone and pop the bubble of normality, you’re sure to find interesting areas in Spitsbergen.
Known as the ‘ghost town’ of Spitsbergen, people often wonder what actually happened to Pyramiden. Since it was closed in 1998, it was abandoned by many. It’s a place that has been frozen in time, an unloved settlement that has been left to fend for itself. Named after the pyramid-shaped mountains, it is accessible by boat or snowmobile from nearby Longyearbyen. This eerie place used to be home to over 1,000 townsfolk. It’s an amazing site to visit if you want to sample a slice of Norwegian history.
There are many old monuments around Pyramiden, for instance, an old power plant filled with coal and Siberian-style barracks from before the war. A trip to this part of the island would result in an extremely intriguing day out.
A lot of locals will tell you that snowmobiling is the best mode of transport for Barentsburg. This is another land frozen in time, yet, people actually live there! It’s a pure Soviet relic that thrives in the winter sun. You’ll want to make sure that you pack a heavily layered snowsuit for your journey here and extra layers. The frosty air can hit you hard and it’s better to be prepared for all weather conditions. Barentsburg itself is like another world. There are around 500 inhabitants who are mostly Russian fishermen and huntsmen. Many Arctic cruises will offer tours to and from Barentsburg so bring your camera along and watertight snow boots!
Spitsbergen (Svalbard) strongly follows sustainable principles. Norway itself is a country full of beauty. With natural waterfalls, spectacular glaciers, and marvelous mountains, there’s so much to be admired and protected. Preserving this beautiful landscape is one of the country’s top priorities. As the Norwegian lifestyle portrays, conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Plus, as the saying goes, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘Teamwork’. To save our planet we must work together.
That’s why when you visit Spitsbergen; you’ll clearly notice the efforts that the locals have made to save the environment. For instance, there are solar panel installations and eco-friendly recycling systems. However, due to the fact that the sun doesn’t rise for four months in certain parts of the archipelago, the solar panels are a temporary source of power.
The climate of Svalbard is incredibly chilly, that’s why planning your trip to Spitsbergen is essential. You must take into consideration every element of your trip. Extra comfortable and cozy clothes are required for the weather conditions. Waterproof trousers or even ice fishing suit may also be worth purchasing as you can place these over your jeans and then just take them off once you step inside. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, then invest in some winter wool socks and some ski goggles for snowmobile rides. The main items you should pack are those that will assist your body heat during the harsh winter winds. Another handy gadget that people take is a GPS tracker or survival kit, you never know if you’ll get lost in the icy wilderness so always stay prepared!
Longyearbyen is one of those places you MUST visit before you die. It’s actually the world’s northernmost city and it’s carved by ice. Luckily for this quaint little town, it missed out on being blown up during World War 2! During Germany’s rule over Norway, there was a lot of heated conflict and panic that Longyearbyen wouldn’t withstand the force of the Germans.
Yet, many old foundations remain intact and in pristine condition- perfect shots for you to photograph. There are also plenty of chances to see wildlife stroll casually through the town. Longyearbyen is home to the Svalbard reindeer, these majestic animals will not hurt you so don’t be afraid when you spot one up close!
In Longyearbyen, it’s also illegal to die. Yes, you read it right…it’s illegal! You may wonder why that it is. Well, it is truly a town that bans death. Not for any creepy reason but because it hasn’t accepted any new burials for around 70 years. Strangely enough, bodies that had previously been buried on land were preserved by permafrost. If someone is close to dying, then they’re dispatched by boat or plane to another part of Norway. Once they’re shipped off of Longyearbyen, they get to spend the rest of their years in another area. Many tourists find this to be unfair, yet, the locals see it differently. It has become part of their culture and they respect the rules of their country.
Evidently, there’s an array of Nordic flavors bursting from the local food menus in Spitsbergen. If you’re feeling like you want to taste fresh fish, opt for a Lutefisk. Usually, one of these will be served with a healthy portion of mashed peas and potatoes.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you must try the Norwegian waffle cake! You can fill this dish up with raspberry cream or chocolate sauce for extra sweetness. During your stay at Spitsbergen, don’t hold back on the food! You’ll need all the added warmth you can get for the bitter cold temperatures.
Are there any other questions to ask in Spitsbergen?