Active, winter adventures in Svalbard
Norway’s scenery reaches a crescendo of snowy peaks and glacier-fringed fjords in Spitsbergen – largest of the Svalbard islands, located halfway between Norway and the North Pole. As polar specialists, we can arrange holidays to this spectacular Arctic realm in both summer and winter. Each season holds its own special appeal. Winter heralds the surreal blue glow of the polar night – a mesmerising 24hr twilight that constantly tingles with the possibility of the northern lights. Summer, meanwhile, is midnight sun season, when endless daylight and rising temperatures free the fjords of ice and stimulate an explosion of life – from wildflowers on the tundra to nesting seabirds and prowling polar bears.
Our holidays to Svalbard are as diverse as its seasons. You’ll fly to Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost town. Based in a choice of comfortable hotels, you can fill your days with anything from snowmobiling, husky sledding, ice caving and snowcat tours in winter, to boat trips, hiking, mountain biking and birdwatching in summer. For aspiring polar explorers, we offer winter snowmobiling adventures to the remote wilderness lodges of Isfjord Radio and Nordenskiold. It’s also possible to combine Svalbard with the city of Tromso on the Norwegian mainland – or you can embark on one of our small-ship polar voyages around Spitsbergen and beyond.
Spitsbergen to East Greenland
Scotland to Svalbard
Northern Lights 24-7 in Svalbard
Svalbard Winter Adventure
Svalbard Summer Adventure
New Year and Northern Lights in Svalbard
Tromso and Svalbard
A Taste of Spitsbergen
Clinging to the top of a world map, riven by deep fjords and rucked up into an Arctic wilderness of snow-capped peaks and giant glaciers, Svalbard is the realm of polar bear, walrus, reindeer, Arctic fox and prolific birdlife. If wildlife is your main interest, plan to visit in summer: seabird breeding activity reaches its peak by late June or early July, while the best time for polar bear watching is late July to early August when pack ice has retreated enough to allow expedition ships access to prime bear habitat.
A year round destination, Longyearbyen is both the embarkation point for summer polar voyages and an excellent centre for land-based holidays (winter or summer). Its colourful houses resemble Lego blocks scattered along the shores of Adventfjorden. As well as several hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops and a university, the town has an excellent museum with displays on everything from climate change to coal mining. A tour of Mine 7 on the town’s outskirts offers an authentic glimpse into the region’s heritage. You can also visit the world’s most northerly brewery and chocolatier!
Longyearbyen is the starting point for a wide range of guided activities. In summer, hiking, mountain biking and summer dog sledding are available in Advent Valley. You can also join a boat trip or sea kayaking excursion, or venture further afield to the fascinating Russian mining settlement of Barentsburg. In winter, activities include snowcat expeditions to the Longyear Glacier and snowmobiling or husky sledding tours in Advent Valley. An evening excursion to Camp Barentz – a replica of the wooden hut built by Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz in the late 16th century – is a great opportunity to learn about Svalbard’s history, enjoy a traditional dinner and hopefully witness the aurora borealis.