Experience the rugged charms of one of Europe’s most northern outposts
You’ll feel as though you’re travelling to the ends of the Earth on a trip to the wild and seemingly untouched Svalbard Islands in northern Norway. In a sense you are: this is Norway’s last outpost and the northernmost tip of Europe.
On your Svalbard holiday strange things happen. You can experience the 24-hour midnight sun or you may catch the ethereal northern lights.
Take a boat tour and you can go wildlife-spotting. The polar bear, Arctic fox, walrus, whale and dolphin here outnumber people. In the summer months, the terrain is perfect for trekking, mountain biking and white-water rafting.
This region is also home to the Sami, Norway’s indigenous people. Formerly called the Lapps, the Sami live in traditional wooden houses and hunt, fish and herd reindeer as a way of life. They will happily take you dog-sledding across the Finnmark Plain and can teach you more than a thing or two about animal husbandry in icy climes.
You could also visit the town of Tromsø, the starting point for many Polar explorers. Or include an excursion to Alta for the rock carvings that are thought to be around 7,000 years old. The Finnmark region is also home to five national parks, including Varangerhalvøya in the Arctic climate zone.
And it would be a shame to travel all that way without visiting the North Cape on the island of Magerøya. Once you’ve been you can say you’ve been to the very tip of Europe.