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Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway
First discovered by the Norwegians in the 12th century, the islands served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Norway\'s sovereignty was recognized in 1920; five years later it officially took over the territory.
Following a long season of midnight sun between April - August the twilight and its warm shadows arrives. During the Autumn darkness wraps us into Arctic Winter hibernation. Let yourself be impressed by the fantastic changing lights in October and February with a star-lit sky, moonlight and arctic winters. Or the atmospheric polar nights from November till January.
Local amenities in Longyearbyen flourish with restaurants, pubs and cultural activities. Some of the highlights are Dark Season Blues festival in October, Artistic Break Svalbard in November and Polar jazz the last weekend in January. As Christmas closes in the restaurants can offer arctic Christmas dinners, and with tax free shops Christmas shopping can be both quick and affordable.
The range of activities span from a historic meeting with Longyearbyen to dog-sleds and ice grottoes. When the snow has settled we travel on a polar night safari where you will discover that the polar night is exciting, atmospheric and beautiful. The favourite time for many is when the light returns and the mountains bathe in pink and lilac sunrays. The return of the sun is celebrated with a Sun Party on March 8th.
Ice Caves and Wine Testing
On Svalbard you can experience a new universe in the ice caves under the glaciers. A tent-tour deep in the polar night will definitely be an adventure to write home about, or just relax and enjoy a bit of wine tasting in the worlds northernmost wine cellar.
Svalbard has great wildlife, with the Artic Fox, some of the largest concentrations of birds in the North Atlantic region, Svalbard Reindeer and, of course, the Polar Bear.
Winter season offers opportunities for combining for example longer skiing trips with snowmobile or dog-sled transport. To ascend Svalbards highest peaks by the use of skis may be a dream for some whilst others prefer to explore the winter wonderland by dog-teams or snowmobiles. Many activities are only available during certain seasons. Dog sledding, snowmobiles and skiing are usually possible from December to the last part of May; however, in some areas these activities may be offered during the summer as well.
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