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13th January 2019
Located approximately 90 kms from Longyearbyen, the main settlement on Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, is a remote boutique hotel, Isfjord Radio. In order to reach this surprisingly luxurious basecamp you will be part of a snowmobile expedition and will ride over glaciers, mountains and frozen fjords, visiting thrilling historical sites during your journey. You will experience a level of remoteness and absolute stillness and light that is very difficult to find anywhere else, and if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the 'King of the Arctic', the polar bear!
Combined with two nights in Tromsø, the great Arctic capital itself, and two nights in Longyearbyen, you will enjoy a level of quality and comfort that is unexpected so far into the wilderness.
This holiday provides a very special Arctic experience with memories to last a lifetime.
Day 1 (Sun) - Arrive Tromsø, Arctic Capital
Fly from the UK to Tromsø via Oslo. Transfer by airport bus or taxi to your hotel (not included). The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to explore Tromsø. How about a Northern Lights Dinner Cruise, dinner at Emma's Drommekjøkken or chasing the Northern Lights with Kjetil Skogli, Joanna Lumley's guide? See Excursions tab for details.
2 nights TROMSØ - Scandic Ishavshotell (BB)
Day 2 (Mon) - Explore Tromsø
A full day to explore Tromsø (for optional activities see Excursions tab). To complement your snowmobile activity in Spitsbergen we recommend a dog sledding ativity from Tromsø - they may not have a motor, but they do have a tail that wags, and wags, and wags...!
Day 3 (Tue) - Here we come Svalbard!
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before your airport bus transfer to Tromsø Airport for your flight further northwards, leaving the mainland and heading out towards the North Pole, to the Svalbard Archipelago and Spitsbergen. From Longyearbyen Airport take the airport bus to your hotel.
The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore Longyearbyen. If you need any extra outdoor clothing then Longyearbyen is certainly the place to buy it. The quality of the clothing in the outdoor clothing and equipment shops is exactly what you would expect for these climes and Svalbard is Duty-Free...!
We definitely recommend a visit to Svalbard Museum - a nature and culture historical museum, which presents Svalbard's 400 year old history. Here you will learn more about history, geology, flora, fauna and today's community.
1 night LONGYEARBYEN - Basecamp Hotel or similar (Breakfast included)
Day 4 (Wed) - Your snowmobile adventure begins
At 1000 your guide will meet you in the reception at your hotel. You will have plenty of time to sit down with your guide and talk about the coming trip, possible routes and needed equipment. After the meeting you will be given warm clothing, including thermal overalls and winter boots, and then head out to the snowmobiles. After a lesson in snowmobile driving and safety issues, you will head out to the wilderness, driving over glaciers, past snow covered mountains and frozen fjords - really experiencing the magnificent arctic landscape in blue and white. En-route you will enjoy an included expedition lunch amid the stillness and silence of the Arctic.
Before evening you will arrive at Isfjord Radio, your remote Boutique hotel for the night, 90 kms from Longyearbyen. Here the staff will warmly welcome you to what is actually quite a surprisingly luxurious hotel and serve you a delicious 3-course dinner. The perfect way to end an adventurous day!
1 night ISFJORD - Isfjord Radio (Dinner and Breakfast included)
Day 5 (Thu) - Explore the remote Arctic wilderness
Breakfast is served from 0800 and then it is time to head into the beautiful landscape of Spitsbergen. Your guide chooses the day’s route depending on weather and snow conditions; if the weather is good you have the opportunity to visit the Russian mining town of Barentsburg, which is home to 300 people, and experience life in an isolated Arctic town. Explore some of the Russian buildings and really feel the history of Spitsbergen. Your anticipated arrival time back in Longyearbyen is during the afternoon.
The remainder of the day is free in Longyearbyen where you have the opportunity to explore local bars and restaurants.
1 night LONGYEARBYEN - Basecamp Hotel or similar (BB)
Day 6 (Fri) - Homeward bound
You have the morning free to relax, explore or do some Duty-Free shopping before your airport bus transfer(included) to Longyearbyen Airport for your return flight to the UK via Oslo.
Departure Day: Sunday
Departure Dates: 3 March - 12 May 2019
Duration: 5 nights (extra nights possible)
Deposit: £300 per person
NB! Please note that there is important further information regarding this holiday under the Info+ tab - please read it carefully before booking this holiday.
Price from: Prices are based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room throughout or a single person travelling on their own and occupying a single room in Tromsø and Longyearbyen and a shared twin room at Isfjord Radio. Each person will drive their own snowmobile*
|Departure Dates||Price from per person||Single Supplement|
|3 Mar - 12 May 2019||£2860||On request|
|Extra night in Tromsø||£95||£47|
|Extra night in Longyearbyen||£165||£99|
|Should two people prefer to share a snowmobile, and swap around during the trip, then one person would receive a reduction of £450. Please read our notes carefully before deciding on this option.|
* The single supplement does NOT include a single room at Isfjord Radio but a bed in a shared twin room. Single rooms on request, though very limited availability.
TO BOOK: To book this holiday please call us on 01274 875199 (our preferred option as we can answer all your questions easily and quickly this way), alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll answer any questions you may have in writing.
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Please read our Terms & Conditions
SCANDIC ISHAVSHOTELL (4 star) - Tromsø
This hotel is something of a landmark, located directly in the harbour, with a view across the sound. This is the very heart of Tromsø and is situated amongst the city's shops, restaurants, bars and within close proximity to the airport bus stop and the Tourist Information Office. The hotel has a lovely modern restaurant, Roast Restaurant, serving delicacies from the sea and local meat. There is also cosy bar and lounge area on the first floor. All rooms are equipped with high quality beds, TV, telephone, mini-bar, trouser-press and hairdryer and all our clients receive a superior sea-view room as standard. All rooms have free WiFi. Lift to all floors. A truly fabulous buffet breakfast is served with a made-to-order omelette station, cold cuts of meat to raw fish, a cooked breakfast and fruit and muesli.
Basecamp Trapper's Hotel
Situated in the middle of Longyearbyen close to pubs, restaurant, the bank and shopping mall. The lodge is furnished with drift wood, slate stones and furs giving the feeling of entering a Spitsbergen hunter’s cottage. No rooms are alike, except for the comfortable beds and bathrooms. Breakfast is served around the long table in Traveller’s Club and the Cognac Attic, with its ceiling of glass, gives you a perfect view of the arctic light. Restaurants and pub within close proximity.
Basecamp Isfjord Radio
The radio station is newly renovated and has charming and cosy rooms, a lounge with a fireplace and a unique and extremely interesting history. Isfjord Radio used to link Spitsbergen with the rest of the world. As a frontier weather and communications station it has a legendary status in Norway. Until the advent of fiber-optic cables it was the sole radio and telecommunications hub – the lifeline - for the otherwise isolated people of Svalbard. The area surrounding the radio station has an exceptional animal life and a bird reserve where we find nesting birds right up to the station’s walls. As well as a wide variety of bird species, you will also be able to see reindeer and Arctic fox, as well as maybe a glimpse of the polar bear. The settlement has 23 rooms with shared bathrooms in the corridor. Dinner is served in the restaurant.
5-COURSE ARCTIC GOURMET DINNER AT EMMA'S DRØMMEKJØKKEN from Tromsø
Description: What can we say - delicious, delightful, scrumptious, divine……..all of them at the same time! Emma's is truly a treat. You will begin your gourmet delight with an aperitif…to set the tone…this is then followed by a 5-course gourmet dinner based on local produce – perhaps King Crab, perhaps reindeer, perhaps both, but don't worry they are also very well equipped for serving vegetarians and those with special diets too. Each course is presented by your waiter/waitress so you know where it is from and how it has been cooked, but don't ask for the menu in advance, these products are fresh and the chef will base the menu on what looks good on the day. Perfect for a special occasion or just to celebrate the first night of your holiday.
Price: £90 per person (5-course dinner), wine menu to accompany the dinner £75 per person.
CHASING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS WITH KJETIL SKOGLI from Tromsø
Description: Kjetil is the Northern Lights chaser who chased and found the Northern Lights for Joanna Lumley during her trip to Tromsø for the BBC. He specializes in small group trips (maximum 7 people) which makes it nice and easy to jump in and out of his mini-van at any given opportunity and, if necessary, head off to Finland in search of them! Of course, the smaller the group the more time he has to spend helping individuals with their own camera settings which is rather important if taking your own photographic evidence is an important part of your trip. Kjetil can be rather relentless so this trip is for those who are happy to be out for a lengthy period of time, are steady on their feet i.e. able to do night-time walking over uneven ground carrying photographic equipment and who love the thrill of the chase. The trip departs from outside the Radisson BLU Hotel at 1900 and has a duration of 6-8 hours - sometimes longer if necessary..... Transportation is by Peugeot Expert Tepee mini-van or similar which comortably seats 7 passengers (the maximum number Kjetil carries for each excursion). Distance travelled can be 150 kms or more one-way, depending on the cloud/weather conditions but the length of the tour is not the main thing if there is a chance of clear skies somewhere! The trip includes transportation, a woven Northern Lights Chaser badge to put on your clothes, coffee/tea, sweet snacks and a thermal suit if you need one.
Operates: Daily, 23 September to 15 March
Duration: 6-8 hours, departs at 1900
Price: £185 per person including:
DOG SLEDDING - HALF-DAY HUSKY EXPEDITION from Tromsø
Description: Love speed and excitement? Join up with your own team of racing huskies to learn dogsledding. You will have your own sled to drive along with a friend, then switch in the middle of the track. With about four kilometres of dogsledding you also get to meet our 350 four legged friends up close and spend some time with the puppies. Two guests share a sled with 5-7 dogs. Proffesional guides are leading the group on their own sleds. After a ride out in the Norwegian winter a meal of Bidos, prepared with reindeer meat, broth and vegetables is just what the body needs. (vegetarian meal available on request). Good physical condition is required. Age limit for this tour is 14 years.
Operates: 1 December - 31 March
Duration: Approximately 4 hours (Transport: total 1 hour, Dogsledding: 4 kms, 1 hour +/- 10 minutes, Dogyard Visit: 45 Minutes, Lunch: 50 minutes, Clothes change: total 25 minutes).
Price: £195 per adult, £175 per youth 14-17.
Includes: Transfers, guide, dog-sledding, traditional Sami meal of reindeer stew (Bidos) with coffee and cake for dessert plus warm clothing.
Good to know: For this activity you will mush your own dog team with one participant mushing and one sitting on the sled and you will swap over mid-way.
NB! Please click here for important further information regarding dog sledding.
DOG SLEDDING - HUSKY SLED RIDE, DAYTIME OR EVENING RIDE from Tromsø
Description: Make friends with top trained dogs and enjoy the Arctic coastal nature with a fantastic view over Tromsø, surrounded by white covered mountains and long fjords. Each participant will sit on the sled with an experienced guide mushing the dog team (maximum two passengers per sled). There’s a good chance of spotting some wildlife on the way through the snow covered landscape. After about 45-60 minutes of dog sledding (depending on weather conditions) you'll return to the ranch where you will meet some gorgeous puppies, before being served a Sami meal (Bidos) with coffee and cake for dessert inside a warm sami tent (lavvo). Vegetarian option is also available. Please note: evening activity includes Bacalao meal made with stockfish and tomatoes. Evening excursion includes the opportunity to view the Northern Lights (weather permitting).
Operates: 1 December - mid-April
Duration: 4 hours (45-60 minutes of dog sledding, depending on weather conditions). This includes the transfers of 25 minutes in each direction to and from Tromsø.
Departures: Daytime 0745, 0845, 0945 and 1015 or Evening 1815.
Price: £190 per adult, £95 (child 4-12).
Includes: Transfer to and from Tromsø, guided dog-sledding activity with 2 passengers per sled (guide mushing the dog team), thermal overalls, boots, hat and gloves, and lunch of Bidos with coffee/tea and cake.
NB! Please click here for important further information regarding dog sledding.
NORTHERN LIGHTS - THE CHASE, THE MAGIC AND THE BONFIRE from Tromsø
Description: This tour has a maximum number of 16 people. You are picked up in Tromsø and taken by bus on a chase to search for the magical Northern lights. With good local knowledge we will find the best area for the lights and good scenery for your pictures. To find a clear sky we will drive where we have to, even to inner Troms if needed. During the evening your guide will tell you interesting information about the Northern Lights, both the science and the folklore. We will also show you how to adjust your camera settings for pictures of the Northern Lights, but don't worry, we will also take pictures of you with the lights for you to show to your family and friends (available for download in original size from Flickr account). If the weather allows us, we make a bonfire and enjoy roasted marshmallows. We may also visit our lavvu (modern Sami shelter).
Occasionally the chance of a clear sky is low, and in that case we will advise you before the excursion to reschedule for the following day. If we are fully booked the following day or you are leaving you will have a full refund of your excursion price.
Operates: 15 Sep - 31 Mar
Duration: Approximately 6 hours, departs 1915
Price: £110 per adult, £80 per child 5 - 12 (not suitable for children under the age of 5)
Includes: All transportation including to and from your hotel, English speaking guide, thermal overalls, coffee/tea, cake and marshmallows, use of a camera tripod and access to your electronic image posted on Flickr.
REINDEER SLEDDING & SAMI CULTURE from Tromsø
Description: Join a real Sami guide for an unforgettable experience with reindeer sledding (3 km) and Sami culture in Tromsø. Your guides are from Sami reindeer herding families and are eager to share their stories with you; how the Sami lived in times gone past, how they live today. Just remember NOT to ask them how many reindeer they have! During your visit you will experience: reindeer sledding, lasso throwing, sightseeing at the camp, traditional Sami food, storytelling, display of cultural artifacts and joik (traditional Sami song). The trip departs at 1000 and returns at 1400. Warm clothes, guide, hot meal, hot drink and return transfer (30 mins one way) are included.
Operates: Daily, 1 Nov to 15 April
Duration: 4 hours, departs 1000
Price: £165 per adult, £80 per child (4-12)
Price includes: transfers (30 mins one way), guide, warm clothes, traditional Sami meal of Bidos (reindeer stew), storytelling and Joik (Sami chant), and hot drink
We know you will have quite a few questions regarding this holiday. We have attempted to answer the most obvious ones below, however do call us on 01274 875199 if you have any others and we will then add them to the list.
Who is this holiday suitable for?
This holiday will really appeal to adults looking to explore a seriously remote Arctic region by snowmobile. Svalbard is about as remote as you can get and once you have left the gentle hustle and bustle of Longyearbyen you will be travelling in a vast area which is pretty much uninhabited by people. This is a fantastic experience, however it can also be a little scary at first! Don't worry though, you have superb guides who are highly trained and extremely familiar with the territory. And once the astonishment at the magnitude of your environment has settled, you will be entranced by its sheer, natural beauty.
Your guide tows a sled behind his/her snowmobile which is packed with gasoline, food supplies, an emergency shelter, satellite phone, and a complete change of clothing from boots to hat. The weather can change in an instant in the High Arctic, and you can never be too prepared. Along with the fully packed sled, your guide will also carry a high-powered rifle over his/her shoulder as a precaution.
Is there a minimum number required in order for this tour to operate?
Yes, the minimum number required is either 4 persons, or 3 snowmobiles. The reason for this is that should a snowmobile break down there has to be sufficient remaining snowmobiles to carry all passengers. This is a legal health and safety requirement and you can see why!
Is this a good time to visit Spitsbergen?
As the light returns after the long and dark polar nights, the activity and energy levels on the islands increases – for both people and wildlife. Everyone wants to get out, to see and explore the island. As the daylight grows longer, so do the lengths of the trips. By the end of April, the Midnight Sun has returned to warm the landscape - seals are laying on the fjord ice while people are enjoying their lunch break outdoors, both basking in the sun’s warm rays. This is a fantastic time of year for exploring Spitsbergen by snowmobile, dog sled or skis.
What is the difference between Svalbard and Spitsbergen?
Svalbard is the name for the archipelago of islands of which Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island. We tend to switch between the two names when talking about either the region or the island specifically - sorry for any confusion caused!!
Do you need to have a valid driving licence in order to drive a snowmobile?
Yes, and you must have it with you during the trip. If you fail to take your driving licence our suppliers are within their rights to refuse to allow you to drive. We will send you a reminder with your Travel Documents.
I have never driven a snowmobile before, will this be a problem?
As long as you understand that you are driving a powerful machine and are not intimidated by this then you will be fine. If the idea makes you very nervous then you would probably be best as a passenger to start with and then we would recommend sharing a snowmobile - though for this tour it is better to drive your own.
You will be given full instructions on driving techniques and health and safety and given the opportunity to practice beforehand until you are happy with your snowmobile and its 'workings'. We have compiled an information sheet regarding snowmobiling and it is important that you read this as it contains important and useful information.
We would rather travel with two people per snowmobile - is this possible?
Yes, but we wouldn't recommend it. This holiday includes a lot of time on a snowmobile, and even if you are prepared to swap around it increases the total amount of weight on a snowmobile which can make it a little trickier to manoeuvre when turning and speeding up hill. Good communication is required between driver and passenger i.e. when to lean and shift your weight etc. Also, the snowmobile has heated handle bars - some even have heated foot rests - but ONLY for the driver. This means that the passenger is more likely to feel the cold...and this is Svalbard! If you really do want to ride with two per snowmobile, then you both need to be capable of driving so that you can swap around.
Is any particular level of fitness required for this holiday?
Not especially, however all participants should be in good health and reasonably fit. This doesn't mean you need to be working out daily or running marathons, but your balance and stamina should be that of an average, healthy individual. This trip is not suitable for persons suffering from back problems or pregnant women. Neither we, nor our suppliers, accept any responsibility for any health issues, due to neglecting this advice.
Is this holiday suitable for children?
This holiday is not suitable for children - this is not because we don't like children, but because we do! Although, as said above, it is possible to travel as a passenger on a snowmobile, if you are unable to share the driving it can be cold (the driver has heated handle bars!) and tiring. This is bad enough for adults, but is a serious no-no for children. Let us help you choose an alternative holiday with them instead.
Could the itinerary be changed for any reason?
In Spitsbergen, weather conditions can change quickly and you can meet heavy winds, snowstorms, thick fog, crevasses and a lack of snow or ice. This means our suppliers may need to make changes to the planned route, and there is a remote possibility that this may mean you are unable to continue to the planned destination or may need to use alternative transportation or accommodation to what has been described in the itinerary. This is unlikely, however we are in the hands of Nature in these parts; anyone booking this holiday has to accept the slight possibility that this could be the case. Health and safety rules everytime.
Are we likely to encounter Polar Bears?
This is Svalbard, and Polar Bears are indigenous to Svalbard, however it is extremely unlikely that you will have a close encounter with them. You may see them in the distance, but this would not be because your guide had deliberately taken you to an area in order to increase your chances of seeing them - the opposite actually - and if they did see them they would change your route in order to avoid them. Polar Bears are a protected species in Svalbard and it is illegal to go in search of them - illegal and irresponsible - they are predatory animals and you are in their territory. Yes, this tour does venture into 'the realm of the Polar Bear', but you are highly unlikely to be granted an audience!
On a serious note though, your highly trained guides will be fully aware of how to deal with a situation that involves an approaching Polar Bear and will be armed with rifles in order to fire warning shots should the situation demand it. This level of training means that only a very tiny number of Polar Bears have ever required more than a warning shot to steer clear, should they be overly inquisitive.
What sort of clothing will I need?
Whilst in Tromsø you will be fine with your own UK cold weather, winter clothing i.e. base, mid and outer layer with thermal socks, warm mittens, hat scarf and either snow boots or hiking boots. However, when you are in Svalbard you will require something a little warmer - our supplier has provided us with the following Packing List to help you.
Will special diets be catered for?
Absolutely, but we have to know in advance, at the same time as we make your booking. This way we can ensure our suppliers have delicious alternatives ready for you.
FOREIGN OFFICE & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE ADVICE
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