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Cheap flights from Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands

Always together, but never really as one – that’s the way to describe the Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands. Although designated by the ISO or the International Organization for Standardization as combined territories under the Norwegian flag, they are not administratively related. As much as similarities are concerned, the two islands both have the same terrains, with both located in the North Arctic Circle, but it all ends there. Svalbard is an archipelago about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, and has its administrative centre, Longyearbyen, and a few settlements as well as research outposts and Russian mining communities. Meanwhile, Jan Mayen is a volcanic island also found in the same area, located at the border of the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea. It is dominated by the 2,277-metre Beerenberg volcano, while the rest of the island serves as an annex for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute for Norway since 1922 without permanent settlements, and with only a County Governor of Nordland to administer it.

Moreover, Svalbard is a free economic zone and a demilitarised zone, unlike the rest of Norway, including Jan Mayen. It is also not part of the Schengen Area, neither of the European Economic Area.

Where to go

For some reason, Svalbard is the more developed of the two archipelagos. Jan Mayen is limited to a research facility cum annex, while Svalbard has real communities and is at least populated, albeit scarcely. Tourism in Svalbard has contributed some whooping NOK 317 million, equivalent to some US$47 million. Although limited to nature trips, winter sports, and educational activities, the island still draws a significant number of tourists in, particularly from the European Union, who have access to the said area. Activities, such as hiking, kayaking, walks through glacier caves, snowmobile rides, and dog-sled safari rides can be enjoyed in the administrative centre of Longyearbyen, while research facilities (if allowed) can be visited in the areas of Ny-Alesund.

In the administrative centre, a few more destinations can be found, such as the North Pole Expeditions Museum, as well as the Svalbard Museum. The Svalbard Gallery can also be found here, as well as the Svalbard Church. Various national parks can also be visited in Svalbard, such as the Nordenskiöld Land National Park, and the Sør-Spitsbergen National Park, and many others. All these sites and activities can be visited and sampled upon landing on the Svalbard Airport.

For short haul flights, it is best to check on the schedule of flights from the Svalbard Airport first as there are only a limited number of flights per day. Destinations are also limited to European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and the islands' mother country, Norway, but from these countries, travellers may plan to go on land travels to visit the other European nations such as France, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, and many others.

If planning on going to long haul destinations, make sure to fly out of Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands first, to the key cities in Europe and the major international airports since the only airport serving both territories is the Svalbard Airport. The Svalbard Airport serves a handful of short haul destinations only, so it is best to schedule connection flights from here. Possible destinations for some real change of sceneries include the countries of South Africa in the African continent, India in South Asia, Brazil and Venezuela, or even the Caribbean islands in South America, or Hawaii in North America. Far-east countries and South East Asian countries are also suggested, especially the archipelagos of Indonesia, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea, as well as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and many others.

How to get out

The only airport available for the territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen can be found in the administrative centre of Longyearbyen in Svalbard. From here, destinations include major cities in Europe, such as Oslo, Moscow, Berlin, Brussels, Zurich, Copenhagen, and many others, while airlines that fly from here include Air Berlin, Atlantic Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, and Thomas Cook Airlines, to name some. Cheap flights can be booked using Skyscanner, the reliable online source of the cheapest flights from over 600 airlines. There are no direct flights to other countries in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas, so if travellers are interested to flying to here, it would be best to fly out to the major city centres in Norway, Germany, and Switzerland, then fly out to the said destinations.

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