This archipelago, 400 miles off of Norway’s mainland, is one of the strangest places on earth. The most northerly year-round inhabited place in the world, it’s home to just 2,600 people and 3,500 polar bears. That means leaving the capital Longyearbyen is best done only with an experienced guide armed with a rifle (just in case). But once you’ve sorted that you can hike the island’s glaciers, kayak around the coastline, go dog-sledding or even explore the remarkable abandoned Soviet mining town of Pyridian.
When to visit: mid-April to mid-August