Tailored from £9,400 per family excl. flights
7 days Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
7 days Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
With departures every Wednesday throughout July, August and September, enjoy a summer holiday with a difference, as you traverse the magical island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. Cross glaciers, search for polar bears, glimpse whales surfacing in the fjords and explore coastal waters on boat safaris on an adventurous trip well suited to families with children aged 15 and older.
Your first exposure to the polar environment is the town of Longyearbyen where you will stay for two nights in the wonderful Basecamp Hotel to get acclimatised and settle in to the dramatic landscape. The town has several fine restaurants to sample, an interesting museum and even a brewery! Included during your full day in the town is a half-day dog sledding on wheels trip. As most of the snow has melted at this time of year the trip is carried out on buggies rather than the traditional sleds.
Next it is into the wilderness and a boat trip to Nordenskiöld Lodge, a remote, intimate lodge of just five rooms and base to explore the neighbouring glacier of the same name. The final stop is the modern, luxury retreat of Isfjord Radio, explore on foot and by boat around the lodge and don’t miss the sauna with its floor to ceiling windows looking out in the fjord.
Arriving at Longyearbyen Airport will be your first glimpse of the incredible Arctic scenery and of this collection of islands known as Svalbard. Upon arrival you will be met by a private transfer into the administrative centre of the region, the town of Longyearbyen.
Check-in to Basecamp Hotel for the next two nights on a bed and breakfast basis. The small hotel is designed to echo the style of the traditional cabins of the original trappers who came to the region trying to make their fortune. The hotel is well located in the centre of town so depending on the time of your arrival you might like to explore independently and scope out a spot for dinner.
There are many activities to choose from during your full day in Longyearbyen but included on this trip is a half-day dog sledding on wheels trip. This is roughly a 3-and-a-half-hour trip and can either be done in the morning between 9am and 12:30pm or in the afternoon between 4pm and 7:30pm depending on availability and your preferences.
Explore the Advent Valley on a buggy pulled by six eager huskies with chances to stop for hot drinks and photos along the way and of course to give water to the dogs. Full instructions are given by the guides on how to use the equipment and the principles of dog sledding on wheels.
You have the rest of the day to explore the town or alternatively we can suggest other activities for you, such as a town tour, guided hike, boat safari or perhaps an evenings storytelling.
You will be met this morning by your guide at around 8am along with any other explorers who might also be on the adventure with you over the next four nights. You are welcome to leave any excess baggage at Basecamp Hotel should you need.
You will be transferred to your transport vessel which is the boat Isfjord-Ekspressen and this will take you to Nordenskiöld Lodge where you will stay for the next two nights on a full board basis. Keep a look out for Arctic wildlife on the way, including walruses, seals, birds and perhaps even whales and belugas.
Enjoy lunch at the lodge and try to comprehend the awe of the glacier before you. During the afternoon explore the glacial moraine landscape surrounding the lodge with your expert guides before returning perhaps for some time in the sauna before dinner.
With the expert guidance and supervision of the expedition team you will be taught the basic safety rules and provided with the necessary equipment to traverse the glacier, which is just a short distance from the lodge. Around 60% of the island of Spitsbergen is covered by glaciers and you have the day to explore one of the largest. Marvel at the unique colours of this spectacular icy landscape, crossing small crevasses as you explore, there is unlikely to be a more impressive place to enjoy your picnic lunch.
At the end of a day on the ice you might want to warm up in the sauna before a locally sourced and well-deserved dinner.
Enjoy a final breakfast at the lodge overlooking the magical glacier before departing on the Isfjord-Ekspressen to the abandoned mining town of Pyramiden. This historical town was abandoned in 1998 and everything remains almost exactly as it was left, after a tour and lunch in the town, continue to Isfjord Radio stopping in Longyearbyen to pick up any fellow travellers who are just doing the Isfjord part of the trip.
You should arrive at your next lodge at around 4pm with time to settle in before a walk around the station between 5 and 6.30pm. Perhaps you might like to enjoy a quick dip in the fjord itself before warming up in the sauna before your 5-course dinner which will be served at around 8pm in the communal dining room.
Today, after breakfast, you can embark on a whole day hike between 10am and 3pm with your Isfjord Radio guide. They will choose one of the three routes along the old radio poles, approximately 10-16km depending on the track chosen.
Part of the walk may involve a short canoe trip on Linné Lake to search for the Svalbard rock ptarmigan and the Arctic fox foraging around the shoreline. The area of Kongressen is also a lovely spot for lunch and for fossil hunting. Another choice of route is to follow the coast south towards Båtodden where you will come across whale bones and possibly even a walrus colony. These animals have returned to this coast for the last few summers and the hope is that they continue to do so.
Enjoy a relaxed morning with breakfast served between 8am and 10am before putting on your warmest clothes and boarding a boat to explore the remote northern side of Isfjorden. Enjoy a RIB boat safari which lasts for around five hours and an outdoor lunch is included. Stopping by the mountain of Alkhornet to experience the intensity of a busy colony of nesting birds and possibly Arctic foxes looking for any opportunities for unguarded eggs or chicks.
Return to Isfjord Radio to then board the Isfjord-Ekspressen again for your return journey to Longyearbyen and then onward to the airport for your international flights or to continue your journey in the Arctic.