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European Arctic Holidays

Set high in the Arctic Ocean, the remote Svalbard archipelago covers an area roughly the size of Ireland and offers a truly Arctic experience, on the edge of the inhabitable world. The main island of Spitsbergen is the focus for small ship cruising, boasting the greatest variation of natural features found at such high latitudes through a mixture of rugged mountains, sweeping glaciers, vast icecaps, endless open tundra and beautiful fjord indented coastlines.

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To the west across the Greenland Sea lies the world’s largest island, Greenland. Dominated by a vast icecap, only a narrow coastal fringe of rugged mountains and intensely green valleys remains ice-free. Natural grandeur combines with a fascinating Inuit culture and Viking history and icebergs drift through serene sounds.

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Wildlife and Nature

There are only three species of large mammal on Spitsbergen – polar bear, reindeer and Arctic fox. The chance of a sighting of any of these species is good but can never be guaranteed. However, marine species are more plentiful and include walrus, ring and bearded seal, white-nose dolphin, narwhal and orca. Belugas, fin and other whale species are also commonly sighted in the waters around Svalbard. In addition, over 100 types of birds, such as guillemots, kittiwakes and little auks thrive here, despite the high latitude.

In Greenland rare bowhead whales can be found offshore while and on land musk ox roam the wilderness.

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