The Bradt guide to Svalbard (Spitsbergen), including Franz Josef Land and Jan Mayen, is a unique, standalone guidebook to this evocative Arctic archipelago, a place that is plunged into darkness for four months each year, where there are 4,000 snow scooters for a population of just 2,500, and where the main city, Longyearbyen, was founded by an American (John Longyear, a Bostonian, started the Arctic Coal Company and set up a mining operation for some 500 people in 1906.) This new sixth edition has been thoroughly updated throughout and offers new material on everything from adventure tours to accommodation, environmental change to restaurants. Also covered are the restoration of Barentsburg and the opening of Svalbard's historic mines to visitors. Newly updated and amended, this edition reflects important recent changes in the archipelago, making it the perfect guide to a quintessential bucket-list destination.
Possibly the most remote destination in the developed world, Svalbard is as off the beaten track as you can get in Europe today. A destination where there are more polar bears than people, Svalbard is the planet's most northerly settled land and the top (if not the end) of the world. It was on and around Svalbard that most of David Attenborough's Frozen Planet was filmed. A trip to Svalbard easily lends itself to notching up geographic superlatives (most northerly kebab, most northerly souvenir shop, etc) and adventurous travellers seek out experiences such as husky driving and hikes across the permafrost, charmed by the island law that requires everyone to carry a rifle anywhere outside of Longyearbyen, a constant reminder of Svalbard's 3,000-strong polar bear population.
The main tourist period falls in Svalbard's brief summer, from June to August, when it's light around the clock and not very cold. However, increasingly popular for winter sports – especially because the next few years will enjoy unusually high Northern Lights activity – are the so-called ‘light winter' months (March–May), when there is both sunlight and snow. The winter season itself (November/December–March) offers many possibilities for outdoor adventure – and the polar night is an experience in itself. Despite winter temperatures that can drop to over 40 below zero, Svalbard's glorious mountains, majestic fjords and sprawling valleys are the perfect setting for adventurous journeys out to the back of beyond, giving visitors a unique vantage point on a unique tourist destination. This brand-new edition of Svalbard provides all of the practical and background information you'll need to explore this wild place, turning the hostile into the hospitable.
Bradt's Svalbard is written by Roger Norum, an expert in the region who writes regularly on northern Norway for the press and who teaches Norwegian language and translation at University College London. He is also a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, where he carries out research on the links between tourism, travel writing and environmental change in the European Arctic.
Roger Norum is a social anthropologist and travel journalist with extensive experience studying, working and travelling in Northern Norway. He has authored several guides to Norway and regularly writes about Norway for publications such as The Telegraph. Roger currently teaches Norwegian language and translation at University College London, and holds a post as Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, where he carries out research on the links between tourism, travel writing and environmental change in the European Arctic on an EU-funded project, Arctic Encounters: Contemporary Travel/Writing in the European High North. Roger won the silver medal for Travel Writer of the Year in 2010 from the British Guild of Travel Writers. He is fluent in Norwegian and Russian, and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford.