Holidays to Spitsbergen
The remarkable islands of the Svalbard Archipelago are part of Norway, lying far to the north of the Norwegian mainland and high above the Arctic Circle. They total an area of about 62,000 square kilometres, about the same size as Ireland, mostly in the form of the three larger islands, plus quite a number of smaller islands and outcrops. These larger landmasses rise to form a group of wild and rugged mountains, with much of their highland areas covered in ice and snow. The name Spitsbergen (also spelt: Spitzbergen) means "jagged peaks" and was given by the Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who discovered the island while searching for the Northern Sea Route in 1596. Combining a great variety flora and fauna with stunning remote landscapes, Spitsbergen is a must for wilderness and wildlife enthusiasts.