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Sensational svalbard – high arctic gem

Sensational Svalbard – High Arctic Gem

Between 78 and 81 degrees North on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, the remote archipelago of Svalbard beckons to those with a thirst for adventure and a profound love of nature. 

Wonderful Wildlife

Svalbard is renowned as one of the last truly wild places on Earth and a sanctuary for wildlife.  Witness the awe-inspiring sight of polar bears roaming the sea ice in search of Ringed or Bearded seals; reindeer grazing on the mosses, lichens and delicate tundra flora; arctic fox patrolling towering bird cliffs; and walrus lazing in the summer sunshine.  

Svalbard is also home to an array of cold climate specialists including guillemots and Ivory Gulls. These rare and enigmatic gull often found around polar bear kills.  The cold nutrient rich waters are home to a range of cetaceans including humpbacks, belugas, fins, minkes and the rare bowhead.

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A land of gorgeous mountains and glaciers

Glaciers reign supreme, shaping the land with their unrelenting flow.  The interaction between ice and rock has given rise to an array of remarkable land forms. U-shaped valleys, carved out by glaciers, dot the landscape. Moraines, lateral and terminal, are visible reminders of the glaciers’ ongoing movements.  Raised beaches hint of colder periods when ice completely covered the land.

The region’s dramatic peaks, offer a striking contrast to the ice-covered valleys, creating a landscape of stark beauty.

Svalbard’s Rich History

Svalbard’s history is as rich and rugged as its landscapes. From the early whalers, hunters and trappers who ventured here centuries ago, to the coal miners, explorers  and modern-day researchers, the human story of Svalbard is fascinating. 

One can explore the remnants of abandoned mining towns and trapper’s huts, where ageing weather-scoured structures stand as silent witnesses to the hardy souls who once toiled in unforgiving Arctic conditions.  

Svalbard is governed by the Spitsbergen Treaty dating back to 1920. Enshrined in the treaty is a commitment to cooperation and non-militarisation.  Norway’s sovereignty is recognised, but other nations have rights to engage in peaceful commercial and industrial activities.  

Fabulous Arctic Flora

The Arctic’s harsh climate may seem an unlikely place for thriving flora.  Svalbard’s plant life is a testament to nature’s tenacity. Hardy plants like Arctic cotton grass, saxifrage, and mountain avens manage to thrive amid the rocky and icy landscape, painting the tundra with splashes of colour during the brief but intense summer. These resilient plants are essential for the survival of the local fauna, providing sustenance and nesting materials for the various bird species.

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The Ultimate Expedition Cruise Destination

Svalbard is a destination that calls to nature lovers and experienced travellers. An expedition cruise on a small vessel is a journey into the heart of one of the planet’s most pristine yet fragile landscapes. It’s a chance to experience the raw beauty and the remarkable adaptations of life in the far north.

For those who have travelled the globe in search of untamed beauty, Svalbard is the culmination of their quest. It’s an unspoiled Eden where nature’s wonders unfurl in all their magnificence, and history whispers its tales of human ambition and survival. Every visit to Svalbard is an invitation to connect with wilderness, an opportunity to embrace your inner explorer and to disconnect from the rigours of urban life.

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