Svalbard, is the “cold coasts” of northernmost part of Norway as well as of Europe and is an archipelago in the Arctic. It is situated about four hundred miles north of mainland Europe, is midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It is so close to the North Pole and yet Svalbard is comparatively warm due the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. So Svalbard has become the northernmost permanently inhabited region on the planet. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, short legged reindeer, polar foxes, whales, seals and walruses. Svalbard is renowned for its variety of birds, including Arctic Terns, Arctic Fulmar and Puffins. Whales can be spotted off the coastlines particularly during late summer. Humpback whales, Orcas, Beluga Whales, and Narwhals all frequent the ocean waters near Svalbard.
Svalbard has seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves and covers two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched, yet fragile, environment. The islands of Svarbard cover a total area of 62,050 square km, nearly 60% of which is covered by magnificent glaciers and waterfalls with many outlet glaciers terminating in the sea. Some of these glaciers have small waterfalls formed from melting snow and ice. Most of Svalbard is rocky but during the short summer, the melting snow in the milder parts of the islands give place to vast stretches of tundra vegetation blooming with beautiful soft flowers.