Svalbard in the Arctic Circle (prior to 1925, known by its Dutch name, Spitsbergen) is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. The archipelago is situated north of mainland Europe and about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora takes advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night.
Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds and also features polar bears, reindeer, the Arctic fox, and certain marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched yet fragile natural environment. Approximately 60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords.
This was a March 2018 trip organised by my good friend, Farmer. We went in search of polar bears, but they had decided to follow the ice and were out of sight. Instead, we set sail on an ice breaker, rode dog sledges, explored the inside of a glacier and spent two days exploring the remote East Coast on snowmobiles. We even trekked up a mountain (I only went halfway) and had a coffee in an igloo. The brewery visit was epic. This was a truly memorable trip.