With winter on it's way, you're going to feel the temperatures drop significantly. But spare a thought, as you switch the heating on and reach for the hot chocolate, for those living in Svalbard, Norway.
Pronounced Sval-bird, the Norwegian archipelago lies between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Known as one of the world's northernmost inhabited areas, it's pretty remote — in fact, polar bear numbers are higher than the human population around 2500 - 3000 people.
Ideal for those looking for something off the beaten path, you'll have to fly around 3 hours from Oslo (costing around $85 one way with Norwegian Air) to reach this unique destination. Perfect for nature lovers, as well as the polar bears, there is a wealth of Arctic animals to be spotted like walruses and several species of whales. Technically a desert, the wild terrain means that one is required to be armed when you're not in a town or settlement - polar bears shouldn't be messed with!
Other awe-inspiring experiences include the Northern Lights, which at some points of the year can even be seen during the day!
For those who are looking to relocate to somewhere unique, Svalbard could be your answer. Since 1925, a treaty has been put in place that indicates the islands are entirely a visa-free zone. This gives citizens of all-treaty signatories the right to live there (however, this will not make you a Norwegian citizen).
Although not really well known, Svalbard could, some day, be used to save the planet. Built in 2008, under one of Svalbard's airports, lies the Global Seed Bank. Currently home to a million seed samples from across the world, it's hoped that it will aid scientists prevent the extinction of some flora and fauna.
Just because it's so remote, it doesn't mean that you have to give up comfort and luxury when visiting. There are a number of hotels available to you, we particularly love the Raddison Blu with it's outdoor hot tubs and incredible views over the snowy landscape! Check it out HERE.