From snow-laden peaks to polar-bear glaciers, the Svalbard wilderness is perhaps the most iconic setting of Philip Pullman’s seminal trilogy – His Dark Materials. And, this comprehensive itinerary showcases the best of it all. You’ll channel your inner Lyra with husky sledding trips and a walk through a secret glacier cave before heading out in search of the Northern Lights with a visit to a wilderness camp. Throughout, you’ll enjoy included touring, hearty dining and a cosy stay in a frontier town.
Philip Pullman's Northern Lights
Day by day itinerary
Day 1 » UK/Longyearbyen
Flying out via Oslo, you’ll swoop in over a cragged archipelago of vast icefields and ominous icebergs to arrive into Longyearbyen – one of the world’s northernmost settlements. This is a true frontier land, where reindeers and polar bears wander freely and the sun doesn’t rise for four months of the year. The welcoming bars and local delicacies of the restaurants are a fitting contrast – as are the saunas and hot tubs of your cosy accommodation.
Day 2 » Husky sledding
Today, you’ll wake to a hearty breakfast before heading out on a dogsledding adventure. Like your very own faithful dæemons, your huskies will be eager to please, bringing you along 12km of icy trails right onto a glacier. It’s a truly evocative experience as you take turns mushing and playing passenger while the bright-white wilderness speeds by. Your goal is a dramatic ice cave; hidden within a glacier, it’s a fantasy world straight out of Pullman’s imagination. After an included lunch, a hot drink and the chance to walk through the icy labyrinth, you’ll retrace your sled tracks home.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 » Northern Lights & wilderness camp
With a day at leisure, perhaps explore further with a snowmobiling trip, or take in Longyearbyen’s cultural highlights. For an outpost so small, it certainly packs a lot in, from an art gallery to museums on the region’s polar expeditions and unique wildlife. Then, come the evening, you’ll be treated to a true wilderness experience. You’ll be met and brought out to the cabins of Camp Barentz in the remote Advent Valley – the dramatic setting for stories around the campfire, a polar bear presentation and a reindeer dinner washed down with cake and fire-brewed coffee. However, it’s the Northern Lights that are the stars of the show; keep your eyes skywards for their ethereal appearance.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 » Depart for UK
After breakfast, an included transfer will see you to the airport for your flight home.
Top tips for your Svalbard holiday
Svalbard is one of the more unusual destinations our there, owing to its location halfway between northern Norway and the North Pole. It crosses the Arctic Circle, and takes the better part of two hours
Stories inspired by Scandinavia
Scandinavia's varied landscapes, icy northern reaches and scenic fjords certainly deliver when it comes to inspiration. Beloved authors have long used them as settings for magical stories, from Dahl's Norwegian summers to Pullman's far-away Svalbard.