Top Ten Scandinavia Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Mingle with Polar Bears
By Bertil Lintner
  |  Gorp.com

For some, the thought of mingling with polar bears is as appealing as eating herring, but for brave wildlife enthusiasts interested in viewing these creatures in the wild, a trip to Scandinavia's Svalbard Islands is an absolute must. Head to Longyearbyen, the area's capital, where adventurers can rent camping equipment, snowmobiles, and protection (read: guns) recommended by local tourist authorities. As you explore, you'll be surrounded by wild and unspoiled Arctic nature, spectacular mountains, and glaciers.

Though navigating the islands can be difficult—much of the land is covered in snow and ice year-round, and there are just 28 miles of road around Longyearbyen—breaking out of the capital city is worth a try. Attractions include Ny Elesund, the world's northernmost permanent human settlement (reachable by boat, helicopter, or snow scooter), and some of the best locales for observing the northern lights. Pack your thermals—it seldom gets warmer than +6 celsius, and head to the Norwegian town of Tromsx for connections to the islands.


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