It doesn't come much more isolated than in Norway's high Arctic archipelago of Svalbard but its climate is relatively mild.
Temperatures range from -14 degrees in winter to six degrees in summer but it is common to have long periods of much colder temperatures. Tourism is on the rise, thanks to the remote islands giving the world's easiest access to the polar north, and ships which cruise around ice floes leave from there.
Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen is the seat of local government and is Norway's main administrative centre for the archipelago. It has a frontier feel and reeks with adventure. Only 1200 people live there and it began as the main export site of the rich coal from the seams which characterise the island. It is a modern town, strewn with all sorts of abandoned coal detritus from mines with a backdrop of two glacier tongues, Longyearbreen and Lars Hjertabreen.
The first known mention of Svalbard is in an 1194 Icelandic saga, but the Dutch voyager, Willem Barents who was looking for a north-east passage to China, is credited with its European discovery in 1596. He was honoured by having the sea named after him.
In true huntsman tradition, Basecamp Spitsbergen has been created from driftwood which has floated from Siberia and old timber from Norwegian and Russian settlements. It has a calm and cosy atmosphere though its exterior gives nothing away. Once you walk in it is rather like a huge movie set, with amazing attention to detail.
The top of the world.
Basecamp Spitsbergen rooms start at around $200 a double. Breakfast is included. The sun shines from March to August.
Please note that prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowlegde are inclusive of GST.
Box 316 Post Office, NO-9171 Longyearbyen
Ph: (0011) 79 02 4600
Fax: (0011) 79 02 firstname.lastname@example.org