Experience Svalbard in winter, under the magical Polar Night or the glow of the Midnight Sun. During the Polar Night season, the sun does not appear above the horizon, casting an ethereal blue twilight across the icy wilds. With luck, you might even spot the Northern Lights. The sun returns in late February, increasing every day until the spectacular Midnight Sun season begins, in late April. It's the perfect time to get out on snowmobiles or husky sledding late into the night. An included evening at remote Camp Barentz brings it all to life, complete with hearty dinner and complimentary drinks. Tie it all together with a stay in your choice of hotels – the ultra-stylish Funken Lodge is highly recommended.
Winter in Svalbard
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Day by day itinerary
Day 1 » Longyearbyen
Fly from London Gatwick via Oslo to Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost commercial airport, at just 650 miles from the North Pole. Make your way to your chosen hotel – while the Radisson Blu offers superb comfort overlooking the Hiorthfjellet mountain, we recommend upgrading to the spectacular Funken Lodge, the Arctic's newest boutique hotel, with views across the Lars Glacier. After some time familiarising yourself with your surroundings, perhaps dine tonight at your hotel. The Radisson's Nansen Restaurant boasts panoramic windows, while Funken Lodge houses a celebrated champagne cellar and Longyearbyen's most innovative restaurant, serving fine dining sharing platters of both French-inspired and Arctic cuisine.
Day 2 » Optional activities & Camp Barentz
After an included breakfast, you're free to explore Svalbard. Perhaps head out into the frozen tundra on a snowmobile excursion – there are options for all abilities, lasting anywhere from 3 hrs to a full day. Or, speed through the Arctic behind a pack of dogs, en route to a spectacular ice cave or a former mine. You can even taste beer at the world's northernmost brewery. If you're travelling during the Midnight Sun season, which starts in late April, longer trips such as overnight husky sledding or snowmobiling are also possible under the ethereal "light winter" glow. This evening, there is an included experience at Camp Barentz, a remote outpost far from any light pollution. Here, enjoy dinner, drinks and, until February, a Northern Lights presentation, with the hope that the aurora will appear overhead. From late February onwards, as the sunlight returns, experience a Wilderness Evening at Camp Barentz, with tales of the legendary polar bear told around an open fire.
Day 3 » Optional activities
After breakfast at your hotel, you have another day at leisure to explore your icy surroundings. Perhaps visit the Svalbard Museum, a treasure trove of all things Arctic, including cultural references, history, nature, and science relating to the region. Or, add on further activities in the wilderness. See what life was like as a miner or trapper, taking an extraordinary hike from the Global Seed Vault to the summit of Blomsterdalshogda. Or, set a course for Juva Cabin, an exclusive lodge about 30 kilometres from town, complete with outdoor sauna. From your magical location between the two valleys, Adventdalen and Eskerdalen, you can gaze out at mountains like Drønnbremassivet and Skolten, Nordenskiöldland’s highest peak.
Day 4 » Return to the UK
After a final breakfast, you'll head back to the airport for your return flights to the UK, via Oslo.
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