Norway is a country in Northern Europe, primarily located on the Scandinavian Peninsula. The country encompasses a total area of 385,207 km2 and has an estimated population of 5,328,212. In addition to mainland Europe, Norway's territory also includes several islands, including the Svalbard archipelago, which contains the country's largest islands. The largest islands in Norway are highlighted below.
The Five Biggest Norwegian Islands
Spitsbergen is the largest island in Norway, with an area of 37,673 km2, and the 36th largest in the world. The island has coastlines on the Greenland Sea, Norwegian Sea, and the Arctic Ocean, and is the only island within the Svalbard archipelago with a permanent population. Spitsbergen served as a whaling base during the 17th and 18th centuries, and later for coal mining. Currently, tourism and research are important components of the island's economy, which is home to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The landscape of the island features mountains, glaciers, and fjords, and there are no roads. Instead, settlements are connected by air, boat, or snowmobile. In addition to seabirds, wildlife on the island includes polar bears, reindeer, as well as numerous species of marine mammals in its coastal waters.
Norway’s second biggest island, Nordaustlandet, is also part of the Svalbard archipelago. The island covers an area of 14,467 km2 and is separated from Spitsbergen by the Hinlopen Strait. Massive ice caps cover most of the island, while the remainder is covered by tundra vegetation. The entire island is protected as part of the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, and therefore no human settlements exist on Nordaustlandet. Walruses, reindeer, and other wildlife inhabit the island.
Also part of the Svalbard archipelago, Edgeøya, also referred to as Edge Island, covers an area of 5,073 km2. It is Norway’s third biggest island, and its habitat is protected as part of the Søraust-Svalbard Nature Reserve. The eastern side of the island is covered by an ice shield, and wildlife species that inhabit Edgeøya include polar bears and reindeer.
With an area of 2,205 km2, Hinnøya is the country's fourth biggest island. Located off the western coast of Northern Norway, it is an inhabited island with a population of around 32,688. Harstad is Hinnøya’s only town, and Møysalen National Park is located in the southern part of the island. Hinnøya features rugged, mountainous terrain with fjords that dissect the island in several places.
Senja is an island located in Troms county of Norway. It has an area of 1,586 km2, which ranks as the country’s fifth biggest island. The western side of Senja is mountainous and wild, while the eastern side features a smoother terrain. Senja is an inhabited island, containing a small population of approximately 7,864, which is primarily concentrated along the eastern coast. The island is a popular destination for tourists, with attractions that include the pine forests and mountains of Ånderdalen National Park, the world's largest troll statue, and traditional fishing villages.