About 60% of Svalbard is covered by glaciers, and only 6% has some vegetation. The flora is very fragile because of lack of precipitation and because of a very short summer season with low temperatures. Only robust and specialised plants will survive in this hard climate.
Of the animals on Svalbard the polar bear is the most well-known but hard to find; very few visitors will be able to see a glimple of this shy animal. Everybody visiting Svalbard must be aware that the polar bear is very dangerous. In Longyearbyen you can walk on your own without any risk of meeting him, but when visiting the sorroundings organized tours are recommended; the local guides carry rifles for your protection. You may also hire a rifle if you wish to go on your own without a local guide.
The Svalbard raindeer can be observed both in Longyearbyen and in the sorroundings. It is smaller than the raindeer found in northern Norway. The polar fox and seals can also be observed in addition to a number of bird species.
The mountains and glaciers are very impressing! When visiting Svalbard you should visit a glacier or attend a boat trip or cuise. You may go skiing on the glaciers or attend a dog-team sled trip. For more information see Svalbard Net.