"The sensation of a glimpse of the Arctic wilderness..."
Svalbard / Spitsbergen
The lonely archipelago Spitsbergen ("Svalbard" in Norwegian) is located halfway between the North Cape and the North Pole.
Cold, remote and most of the year covered with ice and snow. This is how this vast region is best described.
Follow us on our journey from the North Cape to the area where deep fjords and majestic glaciers dominate the landscape.
During the polar summer, the 24 hours of daylight offers us great photo- and film opportunities!
The Svalbard Islands lie between 74° and 81° latitude north, 565 kilometres above the North Cape. Its surface area is about the same as The Netherlands and Belgium put together. Spitsbergen is the biggest island of the archipelago and was ‘discovered’ in 1596 by Willem Barents who was looking for a northern route to South East Asia. More than 60% of this impressive natural landscape is covered with ice. Because of the vulnerability of this area, a large part of this group of islands is protected and has a National Park status.
Svalbard is still in the Ice Age. Over 2,000 glaciers cover 60% of the land.
Costa Neo Romantica is leaving Port of IJmuiden (Holland) for a 7,500 km (4,050 NM) journey to the North Cape en Spitsbergen.
The itinerary of our seajourney Amsterdam-North Cape-Spitsbergen.
Officers on the outside bridge, face to face with a huge glacier.
In the gallery a random selection of my most favorite Spitsbergen shots
Sunrise over the coastline of Norway.
The first port of call on our journey to the north,
71°N 10' 21"
The North Cape in sight! The cape includes a 307 meter (1,007 ft) high cliff with a large flat plateau were you can watch the views of the Barents Sea to the north.
Open air drying of fish in Honningsvag (North Cape). This preservation method has been practiced here since ancient times.
Geirangerfjord - Norway
A group of kayakers passes a cruiseship anchored in the fjord.
Bear Island is located in the Barents Sea, halfway between the North Cape and Svalbard (Spitsbergen).
The island was discovered by the Dutch explorer Willem Barents in 1596.
Bear Island was declared a nature reserve in 2002 and is uninhabited except for personnel working at the island's meteorological station.
Arrival in Magdalena Fjord (1)
Early morning arrival in the 8 kilometer long Magdalena Fjord, situated on the northwest coast of the island Spitsbergen.
We find ourselves less than 1,000 kilometres away from the icy North Pole.
Read also our Top Story: Daybreak in Spitsbergen
Arrival in Magdalena Fjord (2)
During winter thick ice and snow covers the archipelago, but when the warmer weather arrives, the ice loses its grip and the rugged coasts become accessable by ship.
The crystal clear water reflects the rugged mountain- and glacier landscape.
By tender boat sailing to a small beach in the middle of miles and miles of Svalbard's wilderness.
Remnants of the Ice Age
Spitsbergen is still in the ice age. Glaciers cover 60% of the land and the ice can be up to 600 meters thick.
The spectacular glacier landscapes and frozen formations are fascinating!
Walls of Ice
Glacier faces can at the best be viewed by boat.
During the summer the midnight sun never sets...
Spitsbergen is a breeding ground for large numbers of seabirds, like the Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea).
Our ship sails in waters where the glacier landscapes are overwhelming...
Ny-Ålesund is located in a high-Arctic ecosystem within the tundra zone. Coal mining was the origin for settlement here, but since 1964 this community is a centre for international Arctic research and environmental monitoring.
The small town of Ny-Ålesund has an all-year permanent population of 30-30, with the summer population reaching 120. It is the northernmost civilian settlement in the world.
Glaciology in Ny-Ålesund
Despite its remote location, Ny-Ålesund is an ideal site for glaciological research. Apart from large ice caps, most types of glaciers found in Svalbard and even the High Arctic, are located in this area.