Svalbard was discovered by the Vikings in the 12th century, when they landed on Svalbard. However, the name Svalbard was given to the archipelago in the 16th century by Dutch explorers Barents and Heemskerck.
Svalbard includes nine islands. The largest one is the Western Svalbard, occupying more than a half of the area of the whole archipelago. On the north, there is the highest mountain in Svalbard – Newtontoppen (1717 m) .
The largest island comprises three national parks, two nature reserves, 16 protected bird lakes and two protected vegetation habitats. Nearly a half of the island is protected. Access is regulated (on marked trails only) or it is not allowed at all. During warm months you can identify numerous types of moss, lichen, fern and other vegetation. As regards animal species, on Svalbard you can come across e.g. bear, fox, elk, seal and walrus.
Despite the fact that Svalbard is located very near the North Pole, the climate is surprisingly mild due to warm, north Atlantic stream. In July, on sunny days, the temperature may reach 20°C but most of the year the soil is frost. Due to the geographical position, during the period from April to August the sun does not set.
The most frequently visited destination on Svalbard is the city of Longyearbyen. There are several hotels and pensions and it is a starting point for trips as well - you can take, for example, a grand voyage on the boat (1 week) , a hike along the Advent Valley with fossils, elks and abundant fauna, or you can visit a local museum.
Before you set off for a holiday in Svalbard, you need to buy winter, waterproof clothes, winter sports shoes and sun glasses. Keep in mind the presence of bears as the bear population is about the same number as the human population, and do not leave the village without an experienced guide or a weapon.