Svalbard, meaning “cold coast”, or “cold edge”, is an archipelago situated between Norway and the North Pole. It is part of the Kingdom of Norway. While it is cold up there, the temperatures in Svalbard are on average far warmer than other regions of the same latitude. Nonetheless the land is covered with permafrost, and glaciers that take up two thirds of the total land area. Svalbard contains 5 major settlements with Longyearbyen and Barentsburg forming the largest communities, each of which exist in isolation as no roads connect them. Svalbard is a prime breeding ground for many arctic animals. Large populations of birds, deer, reindeer, arctic fox and polar bear make this land their home. In fact, the Svalbard Reindeer, an endemic species, is considered the smallest species of reindeer in the world. This itty bitty reindeer grows to a maximum length of 160cm and 90 kg. Polar bear encounters can be so common that “bear encounter” warning street signs are common. Polar bear clubs are often birthed in caves in the region east of Spitsbergen. Off shore, animals including the bearded seal, harbour seal, walruses and white whales also hang out. In this northerly land, a number of unique experiences can be had. Such opportunities include to dining out in the wild under the northern lights, spending ½ to multi day dog sledding, ice caving expeditions and numerous hiking and kayaking options in the summer.