An Arctic Adventure

Featuring dog-sledding, ice caves and an overnight snowshoeing expedition, our carefully designed itinerary is ideal for those who want to discover the highlights of an Arctic winter. From warm accommodation in the northernmost city on the planet, discover a polar universe of glacial valleys and fjords, go snowmobiling and spend a night winter camping like an Arctic explorer... this really is a holiday like no other in a winter wonderland at the edge of the world.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Flight to Longyearbyen

    Flight to Longyearbyen Welcome to Longyearbyen, we will greet you at the airport and escort you to your accommodation in the city under the light of the midnight sun.

    Transport: Aeroplane and private vehicle
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 2 Plateau Mountain and the Frozen Garden of Eden

    Plateau Mountain and the Frozen Garden of Eden After a day of indroductions, as the light dims we will embark on a snow-shoeing/winter walking round trip to immerse ourselves in the unique atmosphere of this wild archipelago. Our hike displays breathtaking views of Adventfjord and the village of Longyearbyen as we summit the white desert plateau. Our adventure ends at the global seed reserve, this impressive Noahs Ark type refuge is found in the middle of these icy lands; it stores a large number of our planets existing botanical species. Depending on the time of year, perhaps our journey will be lit by a display of the Northern Lights (if luck is with us!)

    Activities: Snow-shoeing (or winter walking)
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 3 Snowmobiling, Tempelfjorden to the Tunabreen Glacier

    Snowmobiling, Tempelfjorden to the Tunabreen Glacier Today we are in for a treat, we will be whizzing through this stunning winter wonderland by snowmobile. Our adventure which will take us across the valley to Templefjord and, if the ice conditions permit, we will visit Fredheims Trapper Cabin and traverse the pack ice to Tunabreen Glacier. The glacier front is an impressive cliff of bluish ice, it is more than 100 feet (+30 metres) high and stops abruptly where it meets the ice creating a most striking sight.

    Two per snowmobile, not technically difficult, no previous experience required but the driver needs a valid driving license.

    Activities: around 8 hours of snowmobiling
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 4 Snowshoeing on Lardbreen Glacier and Ice Caves visit

    Snowshoeing on Lardbreen Glacier and Ice Caves visit Today we will go snowshoeing on Larsbreen Glacier which overlooks the valley and the Longyearbyen Fjord. In the middle of this glacier, an ice cave has formed where the river runs in the summer, we will have an unusual opportunity to visit and explore this cave with its blue tinted ice corridors, meanders and features.

    Activities: 4-5 hours of snow-shoeing plus an ice cave visit
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 5 Dog-sledding

    Dog-sledding Today we go dog-sledding in the beautiful Bolterdalen valley where reindeer roam. We will meet the mushers and our dogs and, after a quick introduction to basic dog-sledding techniques, we will be entrusted with a carriage for two. Soon we will be flying across the snow through absolutely stunning scenary thanks to our adorable sled dogs!

    Activities: 4 hours of dog-sledding
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 6 An Arctic Adventure

    An Arctic Adventure Tonight we are in for a real adventure, a night of winter camping in the silent arctic wilderness - perhaps under a display of the dancing Northern Lights! After packing our pulkas we will head down into the valley and begin our snowshoeing journey. We will eat a good trapper meal tonight in our warm communal mess tent, it is sure to be a memorable night in one of the most remote and northern camping spots on earth!

    Activities: 4-5 hours of snowhoeing
    Accommodation: Winter camping

  • Day 7 Return to Longyearbyen

    Return to Longyearbyen After a hearty breakfast in our silent wild camping spot, we will snowshoe back to Longyearbyen. The sensation of creating those very first tracks in the fresh snow is second to none, there is nothing quite like this vast winter wilderness we will find ourselves immersed in and this back-to-basics experience is the perfect remody for eliminating the stresses of modern day life.

    Activities: 4-5 hours of snowhoeing
    Accommodation: Guesthouse

  • Day 8 Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen A day to relax and explore Longyearbyen with its edge-of-the-world atmosphere. We recommend visiting Svalbard museum and you can choose from a variety of optional activities like visiting the abandoned Russian city of Pyramiden...

    Activities: Various optional activities
    Accommodation: Departure in the night

  • Day 9 Farewell Spitsbergen

    Farewell Spitsbergen Flight home

Please note that this itinerary, including walking distances and times, is indicative. Our guides aim to provide the adventure that is best suited to the weather, your interests and the demands of the group. Please be aware that in order to achieve this, changes to the programme may be made.

Other trips you may like

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: ENSPAA

Included

  • Airport transfers
  • Warm guesthouse accommodation in Longyearbyen
  • Full supervision by an experienced professional guide
  • Dog-sledding
  • A day trip on snowmobiles
  • An overnight snowshoeing, winter camping trip
  • Full board except a final evening meal in Longyearbyen
  • All specialist equipment provided for keeping warm, snowshoeing, camping, snowmobiling...

Not included

  • Flights
  • Registration fee: €18 per person (free for under 12s)
  • Evening meal on day 9 in Longyearbyen (kitchen facilities/restaurant options available)

Additional Options

Please let us know if you would like to reserve any of the following optional activities:
  • Meal in a local restaurant: from €30 per person
  • Svalbard museum: from €9
  • Visit to the abandoned Russian city of Pyramiden: prices vary

Notes

Comfort: 3/5 Various

Some of our trips involve a mixture of accommodation options. These trips often include several nights of camping interspaced by guesthouse stays and often with hotel accommodation for the first and last nights. This trip uses guesthouse accommodation and includes a one night winter camping adventure.

Level: 2/5 Moderate

In general no previous experience in the specific activity is required but you should be in good physical shape and prepared to participate in 4-6 hours of activity per day. You should have a sense of adventure and a positive attitude. Please note that our difficulty ratings may vary depending on the weather.

Insurance

Practical info

Staff

You will be welcomed at the airport by a representative from our friendly team and accompanied for the duration of your holiday. Armed with an abundance of experience and a wealth of knowledge our professional Svalbard team are experts in polar environments. All activities are lead by our qualified guides who are all English speaking outdoor practitioners with a passion for everything arctic. Please note that this adventure takes place in an isolated, polar environment where around 2500 Polar Bears live - your guide will explain safety rules which must be followed.

Food

Besides one evening meal in Longyearbyen  this trip includes full board, for your evening meal on the last day there are shops and kitchen facilities available or local restaurants for you to sample - we have lots of recommendations!

Despite the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the artic regions we are proud of the varied, fresh and frankly delicious food we provide even when camping. Meals are based on a selection of local products and you will have the opportunity to try several local delicacies. Each  day will start with a cold breakfast accompanied by plenty of tea and coffee or hot chocolate. Then you will prepare your own picnic lunch for the day from a buffet style array of options. Evening meals will include three courses, soup, a hot dish and a dessert- we try to offer fresh fruit and vegetables everyday but please be aware that this is not always possible in an isolated arctic environment.

Your help in the kitchen is expected and much appreciated, particularly in the evenings. We like when the whole group work as a team to cook dinner, it creates a pleasant atmosphere as we reflect on the days adventures together.

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you book the trip and we will work with you to cater for your needs.

Accommodation

Longyearbyen: Guesthouse accommodation, double rooms or dormitories with 2, 3 or 4 beds available, hot showers and heating, shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Camping adventure: normally we provide a 3 man dome tent per 2 people, we use equipment appropriate for Svalbards sometimes changeable conditions. We will also provide a spacious mess tent for meal times, fully equipped with kitchen equipment including a table and stools.

Budget & exchange

The currency in Svalbard (and Oslo) is the Norweigian Krone, NOK
Please budget for:
  • Any additional activities
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • One evening meal in Longyearbyen, kitchen facilities, shops and restaurants available (290NOK)
We recommend a budget starting from €30 / 290NOK for a traditional meal in a local restaurant

Supplied equipment

We will provide you with all of the technical equipment you will need for this adventure - all you need to bring are your hiking boots.

Group Equipment

We will provide the group with...
  • A 'Tepee' style mess tent with table, stools and cooking equipment
  • 'Ortlieb' water belts
  • A Sarsat beason
  • A VHF radio
  • A heavy caliber rifle
  • An alarm gun
  • Mini-flares and penjectors
  • A copy of Spitsbergens animal records
  • A first aid kit
  • Books about local flora and fauna

Individual Equipment

For the full duration of the trip we will supply you with:
  • Warm snow boots
  • A special jacket to keep you warm
  • Snowshoes 
For the camping adventure we will provide:
  • A pulka per person
  • A tent per two people (a 3 man dome tent for maximum space and comfort)
  • A self-inflating sleeping mat
  • A suitable synthetic sleeping bag ( -6°C)
  • An aluminium thermos flask per 2 people
For snowmobiling:
  • A full suit
  • A helmet

Vital equipment

Please pack:
  • Your swimming stuff (for the pool or sauna options)
  • Clothes for evenings and travelling in
  • A small towel and your personal toiletries
  • A sleeping bag liner
  • A ski mask
  • Your walking boots
  • Waterproof, windproof jacket (with a hood)
  • Ski style over trousers (breathable)
  • A warm down jacket
  • Warm gloves, hat, neckwear and balaclava
  • Extra gloves (windproof)
  • Thermals - top & long johns (multiple pairs)
  • A fleece/jumper or two
  • Suitable underwear, t-shirts and walking trousers
  • Thin socks and thick socks
  • Sunhat and sun cream (no water based sun cream as this can freeze)
  • Sunglasses (UV 400)
  • Any personal medication
  • A water bottle/flask
  • A small rucksack to use as a day bag
  • Head torch & spare batteries (although it is nearly always light in the summer months)  

Material

We prefer that you do not wear cotton clothing, including underwear, when participating in activities. When cotton gets wet from water or sweat it ceases to insulate and it does not dry fast. The best materials for outdoor activities are fast drying materials like polyester or materials which are warm when wet like wool.

The most powerful materials against the wind and rain are 'breathable' materials like Gore-Tex or Nikwax.

Our advice for keeping warm

It can be humid and cold in Spitsbergen, please think carefully about what clothes you pack especially for our winter trips. We will provide warm outer layers but the layers you wear next to your skin can make the biggest difference. We recommend:
  • No cotton
  • Bring dry spares of everything, including underwear and gloves
  • Wear multiple layers including:
  1. A warm breathable base layer
  2. A second thermal layer
  3. Wind and waterproof protective out layers

Helpful equipment

You may also consider packing
  • Your camera (with suitable protective case)
  • Binoculars
  • A comfortable evening outfit
  • A comfortable pair of shoes for the evenings
  • Walking poles
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Insect repellant
  • A knife
  • A notepad and pencil
  • Plastic bags for wet/dirty clothing

Luggage

You may bring a hold bag (up to 20kg) as well as a cabin bag.

For you hold luggage please bring a soft bag like a ruckack rather than a hard cased suitcase because it is more practical when loading local buses and trailers. We also recommend that you pack your clothes in plastic bags inside your rucksack so that they stay dry in the event of bad weather.

Don't forget to bring a small rucksack to use as a day bag. You can bring this as hand luggage on the plane. You will carry your lunch, water, spare layers and any personal medication with you each day in this bag.

Medicine

Your guide is a trained first-aider and will carry a full first aid kit at all times during the trip. Please bring with you any personal medication that you may need such as inhalers, plasters and painkillers.

Healthcare in Norway can be extremely expensive, we strongly advice all of our clients to invest in insurance before travelling.

Passport

You will need a passport that is valid for at least three months after your return date.

Visa

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is a visa-free zone

Mandatory vaccines

There are no specific health risks

Health information & recommendations

Please be aware that your guide will be carrying a gun along with other safety equipment to alarm/repel any Polar Bears.

Healthcare in Norway can be extremely expensive, we strongly advice all of our clients to invest in insurance before travelling.

Weather

  • The weather in the Svalbard archipelago is very changeable.
  • The average annual rainfall in Longyearbyen is only 200mm (7.87 inches), in London, England, the annual average is 594mm (23.4 inches) - Spitsbergen is a cold desert!
  • Average temperatures in Longyearbyen range from -16°C to -9°C (3.2°F - 15.8°F) in April and -3°C to -7°C (26.6°F - 19.4°F) in May.
  • Strong katabatic winds can occur here, particularly near to high glaciers but winds can generally be described as moderate and localised.
  • Dark polar nights occur from 14th November to 29th January, the full moon shines across the snow creating a beautiful gliterring winter landscape. Then, from 19th April to 23rd August, the sun shines constantly, uninterrupted, high in the sky.

Electricity

In Spitsbergen the standard Europlug socket with two round prongs is used, 230V with a frequency of 50hz

Local time

Svalbard uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 hour and Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed here.

Topography

  • The Norweigian Svalbard archipelago is the closest territory to the North Pole; Spitsbergen is the name of the largest island.
  • Svalbard covers an area of around 39146 square miles (63000km2) and two thirds of this polar world are constantly covered by ice.
  • The archipelago was deserted by human civilisation for a very long time but today has over 2600 inhabitants.
  • The archipelago has 3 National Parks, 3 Nature Reserves, 15 Ornithological Reserves (bird reserves) and 3 Botanical Reserves.

Sustainable tourism

As adventure and wilderness travel experts who run trips to some of the most remote parts of the world, we take responsible tourism very seriously. We respect the ‘Leave No Trace’ outdoor ethical code and try to explore this beautiful location whilst causing minimal environmental damage.

In the Polar Regions the ecological balance is delicate so we ask that you are particularly careful regarding the conservation of the sites we explore. We aim to leave our camping spots even cleaner than when we arrived and, as a company, we participate in the Clean Up Svalbard programme. We support the laws, advice and recommendations which aid the conservation and protection of this unique arctic paradise. This is reflected in our trips, for example, we do not visit Ornithological Reserves during nesting season and never remove historical remains or whales bones from the beaches. We hope that all of our clients will respect our philosophies and embrace these attitudes.

The Leave No Trace policy can be summarized in 7 simple steps which we hope you will follow during ourtrip...
1.    Be prepared
2.    Stick to trails and camp overnight right
3.    Stash your trash and pick up waste
4.    Leave it as you find it
5.    Be careful with fire
6.    Respect wildlife
7.    Be considerate of other visitors

Over the years we have built up good relations with our local suppliers and we are keen to support local businesses as much as possible. We are a small company and we pay our local partners and suppliers directly insuring fair rates.

Our small group sizes not only provide a more intimate adventure but also cause less impact on the environment and local communities.

We expect all who travel with us to support and uphold our Sustainable Tourism philosophies.
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Isabelle

My local agent
Isabelle

  • Outdoor activities enthusiast
  • Adventure travel expert
  • Loves the arctic world
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Region
Spitsbergen
Activity
Dog-sledding Snowshoeing Svalbard in the Winter The Northern Lights
Duration
9 days
Group
6 to 12 people
Code
ENSPAA
Price
From €2,695
Level
2/5
Comfort
3/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

  • Dog-sledding, snowmobiling and ice caves; glaciers, snowshoeing and a night winter camping
  • Our on-site team will keep you safe and help you discover the secrets of Arctic Winter
  • High quality technical equipment to keep you warm and dry 

Required level

This trip is accessible to anyone in good health with a sense of adventure and a positive attitude - we will do an average of 4-6 hours of activity per day. No previous experience of any of the activities is required. Please be aware that this trip takes place during April and May when temperatures may be cold, nights are in warm guesthouse accommodation and the trip includes an overnight winter camping snowshoeing adventure. Please note that your help with tasks like cooking is much appreciated and expected - we want you to be a part of our team!
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