Spitsbergen island. Photo, where on the map, where is the Russian part, sights, tours

If look at the map of the Northern Hemisphere carefully, it is easy to find a scattering of islands of the Spitsbergen archipelago, located already beyond the Arctic Circle. Beautiful lands where night dominates for half a year.

Where is the Svalbard archipelago

Svalbard (island) on the map has the coordinates: 78 ° north latitude and 16 ° east longitude. Geographically, the archipelago belongs to Norway. At the beginning of the 20th century, it received a special political status. Any state in the world has the right to carry out scientific developments, industrial and commercial activities on the islands. In fact, the most interested parties are Norway and the Russian Federation.

The territory of the archipelago is demilitarized. Svalbard can be reached by sea and air. Both will bring tourists to the city of Longyearbyen.

Route options:

  1. Norwegian and SAS operate daily direct flights from Oslo. Travel time is about three hours.
  2. SAS airlines fly from Torms, Norway. A direct flight spends no more than an hour and a half in the air.
  3. There are two daily flights from Helsinki to the archipelago with a change in Oslo. Travel time takes six to eight hours. Since 2016, direct flights from Finnair have appeared. Flights are operated from June to August three times a week. You can fly to the city of Longyearbyen in three hours.
  4. Charter flights fly from Moscow serving the employees of the Artikugol company. It's hard to get to them.
  5. Today circumpolar tourism is gaining more and more popularity. Travel companies offer sea trips to Svalbard on cruise liners and specialized ice ships.

Geographical features of the Spitsbergen archipelago

The total area of ​​the islands that make up the archipelago is 61 thousand square meters. km. The number of islands is 10. The largest, Western Svalbard, North-East Land and Edge account for 94% of the area. The relief of the islands is mountainous. Mount Newton, at 1713 meters above sea level, is the highest point in the archipelago.

Located on the island of Western Svalbard. More than half of the territory is covered with glaciers all year round. In summer, snow and ice melt from the coastal zone, but the permafrost does not recede. The soil thaws no more than two and a half meters. The shores of the islands are heavily indented and abound in fjords and skerries.

The territory of the islands belongs to the natural zone of the tundra.

Currently, about 2,700 people live on the archipelago. Of which 2,000 live in Longyearbyen, 530 live in the Russian mining village of Barentsburg and 90 permanently live and work in the Norwegian village of Sveagruva.

The main commercial activity is coal mining. Recently, due to declining demand and depletion of stocks, the tourism and service industries. There are hotels, restaurants and bars on the island. The local population provides services for conducting excursions and accompanying tourists.

Historical facts

Svalbard (island) officially appeared on the map in 1596. The Dutchman Willem Barents documented the presence of a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean and gave them the name "Spitbergen", which means "sharp mountains". In his description, he mentioned a large number of walruses and whales living in the coastal waters of the archipelago.

Who discovered Spitsbergen island.

England and Denmark immediately showed attention to the islands. In the following centuries, Svalbard became the base for numerous whaling ships. At the same time, it turns out that the existence of a group of islands was known to the Vikings and Russian Pomors long before the 16th century.

Monuments of the Pomeranian culture are found on the shores, indicating that by the time of discovery there were settlements on the islands. The first documentary references to the existence of "cold shores" or the lands of Svalbard date back to the 12th century. Then in the Icelandic anals "a record was made about the discovery of the northern lands.

From a scientific point of view, the Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov showed interest in the archipelago, it was he who organized two expeditions in the period from 1765 to 1766. However, Svalbard acquired the greatest interest for science in the 19th century. The development of the technical base makes its shores more accessible.

The Norwegian scientists Fridtjof Nansen and Raul Amudsen, as well as the Russian explorer V. A. Rusanov, who during the 1912 expedition created a detailed map of the archipelago, made the greatest contribution to the study of the islands. The islands are beginning to be used as a base before the conquest of the North Pole and during research expeditions. Scientific activity is still going on.

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Climatic conditions, the best time to travel

The islands of the Svalbard archipelago are located beyond the Arctic Circle. The climate here is arctic. However, it is much softer than in other regions located on the map at these latitudes. The explanation for this is simple. The Gulf Stream comes close to the west coast. It distributes warm waters through numerous fjords that cut deep into the shores.

As a result, average temperatures in winter rarely fall below 20 °C below zero and are within 10-15 °C with a minus sign. In the warmest month of July, the temperature rises to 5-8 °C. Snow cover sets in October and lasts until May. Numerous glaciers do not melt during the year, but under their weight they slowly move towards the seashore and, breaking off, form icebergs.

There are many foggy days in the archipelago - for about a quarter of the year the islands are hidden behind a dense veil. Especially often from June to October.

Average climatic data, Longyir:

January February MART April May June
Middle Temperature (° C) -14-14.5-13.3-10.6-3.52.6
minimum temperature (° C) -17.1-17.6-16-13-51.1
Maximum temperature (° C) -10.9-11.4-10.5-8.2-1.94.1
The rate of precipitation (mm) 16202112911
July August September October November December
Middle temperature (° C) 6.25.11-4.9-8.7-12.2
minimum temperature (° C) 4.43.5-0.3-6.6-10.8-14.9
Maximum temperature (° C) 86.82.4-3.2-6.6-9.5
The rate of precipitation (mm) 1628261718

If you admire the beauty of summer tundra in colors and mountain verses tires, then go better in the summer months. Hiking, kayak alloys, visiting many attractions. But tourists go to Svalbard and behind the Northern Lights. The brightest it is in these places from December to February. Polar night does not prevent snowmobile walks and dog sledding.

Flora and Fauna Spitsbergen Archipelago

Distance from civilization and harsh climatic conditions make the archipelago by one extensive natural monument. Surprisingly, on a relatively small area there are three national parks and six reserves. The natural zone of the Arctic tundra imposes its prints on the vegetable and animal world of Spitsbergen.


Among the flora, bright representatives are:

  1. Dwarf birches. A low-growing shrub, no more than a meter high, forms extensive thickets.
  2. Polar willow. Develops underground. Outwardly, branches 3-4 cm long are interrupted with dark green rounded leaves and dark brown or red-brown catkins.
  3. Mosses. It is noteworthy that some species can reach up to one and a half meters in length.
  4. Lichens.

Among the undersized shrubs and mosses, forget-me-nots, cornflowers, carnations and poppies bloom in summer.


There are few land mammals on the islands.

Most common:

  1. The arctic fox is a small animal resembling a fox. A valuable fur-bearing animal, which used to be hunted.
  2. The reindeer is the smallest of all deer. Differs in less grace and weak horns.
  3. The musk ox is a large animal whose long and thick coat helps to endure low temperatures. It was brought to Svalbard from Greenland at the beginning of the last century. Now the livestock has about 100 individuals. However, scientists consider the experiment a failure
  4. The polar bear is the king of these places. It does not occur as often as is commonly believed. Most common on small islands. On large ones, he prefers to avoid meeting people. Although during spring or winter migrations it enters the city. Whatever it was, but the locals prefer to leave the house with weapons.

The chance to meet marine mammals is much higher.

Among them:

  1. Nerpa is a large mammal weighing up to 70 kg. The color is light gray with dark spots scattered throughout the body.
  2. The harp seal is a beautiful animal with silvery fur and a black head. The shape of the body resembles a harp. They can reach weights up to one and a half centners.
  3. The bearded seal is one of the largest representatives of marine mammals in the archipelago. Scary. On land, it moves by jumping, using flippers. Dimensions - about two and a half meters, weight - three hundred kilograms or more.
  4. Walruses are large animals with dark brown fur and powerful tusks.

Whales, beluga whales and killer whales often come to the coast. And also a rare species of cetaceans - narwhals. They differ from beluga whales in the presence of a tusk and color. In summer, a real bird market gathers on the islands. There is a place for albatrosov and cormorants, chums, cumbers, deadlocks. Constantly dwells on the islands only polar colt.

The attractions of the Spitsbergen Archipelago

of the North Ocean itself is a landmark, in the description of which is most often there is a phrase "the northernmost".

Svalbard Airport

Arriving at the airport, it is worth remembering that this is the world's most fortunate airport, with a runway whose regular flights are sent. Despite the modest sizes, the airport is equipped with only one runway with a width of 45 meters and a length of 2483 meters is considered international.

Location: footage of the Mountain Placrörge, in the area of ​​Longiir.

Longiir's city

The northernmost settlement on the planet and the most densely populated city on the archipelago. A little more than two thousand people live here. They are engaged mainly in the scientific and educational and tourist areas of activity. From the side of the sea in the city you can get on the cruise liner, which go to the port of the city through the picturesque fjord AdventFjord.

From the board of the vessel makes excellent photos of the city streets with houses painted in bright red, green or orange colors. Especially beautiful the city looks in the light of night illumination. The city is located the most Northern Svalbard National University and the Northern Church.

did not cost without museums and gallery:

  1. The Svatbalrd Museum contains exposure, Telling about the history of the development of the archipelago, the development of the disease, as well as the plant and animal world. The museum is notable for the fact that here you can read the book by the fireplace or consider the old card lying on the skull of the polar bear. It is located in boxing 521, in one building with the Norwegian Polar Institute. Input ticket - 10 €.
  2. If they are not confused and bypass the Svatbalrd Museum, then on the other hand there will be an entrance to the local gallery, where the exhibition of paintings and photographs of local masters works, the objects of the decorative creativity of Pomeranian peoples. For the entrance will have to give 5 €.
  3. The museum is located on the very shore of the ocean, the exposition of which is devoted to the conquest of the North Pole. Here you can see the layouts of icebreakers and ships, at one time ending the Arctic.

Walking around the city should not be avoided by the Svalbard-Kirk side. The church refers to the Catholic denomination, however, by agreement, Orthodox can also be applied to it. The church has a cafe and mini-museum. Conferences are held here, and on holidays - concerts. The most universal place in the city.

Doomsday Vault

Seeds from all over the planet are stored in a futuristic building a few kilometers east of Longryin. It is believed that in the vault, carved into the rock at a depth of 120 meters, they are not threatened by either the global flood or nuclear war.

It is impossible for a layman to get inside. But it's worth looking at the structure resembling Noah's Ark. Its upper part is made of mirrors and equipped with a unique backlight. Therefore, in the rays of the sun or under the glare of the northern lights, light illusions appear in the surrounding space.

Piramida settlement

The settlement was used for the residence of Soviet miners and their families. Surprisingly, a school and a kindergarten worked here. In the 90s it was mothballed as unpromising. People left it, leaving many things behind. But even today everything looks as if the city was full of life yesterday.

This effect gives the almost complete absence of germs and bacteria, so there are no signs of corrosion or decay. Located in the southeastern part of the island of Western Svalbard.

Barentsburg settlement

An active settlement under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. There is a hospital, a school and even a kindergarten. The village leads an autonomous life and fully provides its livelihoods at the expense of mined coal. There is a museum "Pomor", where you can learn about the role of Russia in the development of the archipelago. The museum also has a rich collection of minerals.


A small bay 60 km from Longyearbyen. It is interesting in that once near its shores, the Basecamp Baten ship was wrecked and covered with ice. The ship has been restored and has a hotel on board.

Excursions in the Svalbard archipelago

Svalbard (the island on the map) attracts more and more people who want to test their strength in the harsh conditions of the north, so the number of Russian operators offering holidays in the archipelago is constantly growing. Among them are "Poseidon Expeditions", "Basecamp Spitsbergen", "ITS-Tour", "Travel with Taste".

List of excursions:

  1. The cheapest option is a cruise ship tour along the coast of the three largest islands from Longyearbyen. The program is based on the time of year and weather conditions. Includes visits to the most interesting places, kayaking, dog sledding or snowmobiling. The average cost per person is 3000-3500 €.
  2. Cruises from the ports of the Nordic countries. Provides a visit to several attractions of the Arctic. The cost is from 4000 to 7000 €.

If the amounts are embarrassed, then flight to Longira. Settlement in the selected hotel and entertainment at will. Most of the owners of hotels or themselves will offer to conduct a tour or advise someone to contact.

Approximate cost:

  • Dog sledding - 120-150 €;
  • Hiking or horse hike along the coast, as well as the rise in the glacier - 75 €;
  • Ring on kayaks - from 75 to 100 €;
  • Snowmobile rental - up to 30 € per day.

It is worth remembering that Spitsbergen is one big protected area in which their laws and rules apply. In particular, it is impossible to litter and interfere with animals.

Popular recreation seats

For independent holidays are available: the city of Longyire and the village of Barentsburg. There are hotels here. However, it is necessary to remember that it is prohibited outside of settlements without weapons - it can be rented, presenting a medical certificate.

But with weapons, moving in the archipelago is unsafe. It is better to do this as an experienced guide.

Hotels in Svalbard Archipelago and near him

Hotels, as well as life on Spitsbergen, are concentrated in Longiyra.


One of their budget, but rather comfortable options. Accommodation in rooms equipped with the necessary furniture. From amenities in the room - washbasin. Shower, bathroom on the floor. There is a shared kitchen and living room. The price includes breakfast. There is family rooms with their own bathroom. Free Wi-Fi throughout. Parking.

For an additional fee, the owners organize walks on bicycles or horses, fishing, transfer to the airport. The cost of the double room per day in June 160-180 €, family room up to 280 €. Address: Longyer, Postbox 130.


The three-star hotel offers accommodation in one or double rooms with all amenities. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a TV, a kettle or a coffee maker. Some have access to the terrace. Breakfast included in the price. Free Wi-Fi throughout. Parking.

Transfer for an additional fee. Visitors celebrate a good location in the center of the village and a great view from the window. The cost of the double room per day in June 180-210 €. Address: Longyre, Post Box 501/503.


An excellent hotel with four stars in the heart of Longira. Guests offer standard rooms for two people, family rooms and two-bedroom apartments. Rooms are equipped with everything necessary for a comfortable stay. There is a lobby equipped with a coffee maker. Breakfast. Free Wi-Fi throughout. Parking. There is a tour desk.

The cost of a double room per day is 200-220 €, the cost of a family room or apartment is 350-380 €. Address: Longyearbyen, postbox 511/513. For the most intrepid travelers, there are two campsites in the city where you can relax with tents.

Interesting facts about the Svalbard archipelago

Svalbard has long been overgrown with legends and mysteries. Some fiction, some not.

For example:

  1. There is no cemetery on the Archipelago. Buried bodies do not decompose and become prey for bears. Therefore, you cannot die on the island. By the way, to be born too.
  2. There is no crime and homeless people here. The most "famous" bum was able to live on the island for about a year and escaped.
  3. There are one and a half bears per person living on the islands.
  4. In 1952, an unidentified aircraft exploded over the archipelago. There were many versions, but the truth is still unknown.
  5. The archipelago has a special tax regime. In particular, there is no value added tax. Therefore, the prices of many goods look very attractive.
  6. When buying alcohol from visitors, they may require a boarding pass for an airplane - do not rush to throw it away. The fact is that the islands are fighting against drunkenness and local miners can buy alcohol only with special coupons. What to do if arrived on a cruise ship - probably look for another store.
  7. Cats are not allowed on the island. They can destroy the nests of birds that are forced to nest on the ground.

There are a great many nuances of staying on the island of Svalbard, which is located in the northernmost part of the world map. But this does not make it less attractive in the eyes of fans of extreme sports. And the rest in the Arctic is becoming more and more comfortable every year.

Article design: Oleg Lozinsky

Video about the island of Svalbard

Svalbard. Interesting facts about Svalbard: