Ice Caves, Husky Sledding, Arctic Wildlife & Northern Lights: A Big Short Break to Svalbard, Norway
If you're after the quintessential arctic short break destination, look no further than Norway's Svalbard archipelago. On this five-day trip deep in the Arctic Circle enjoy adrenaline-fuelled adventure under star strewn skies and (hopefully) the Northern Lights.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Trek through ice caves
- Head out and hunt for the Northern Lights
- Mush a team of eager huskies along frozen rivers
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Day 1: Arrival
Once you have arrived in Longyearbyen - three hours north of Oslo and (stat alert) as far from the Norwegian capital as North Africa is - and you have collected your luggage, you will be privately transferred to your hotel for the next four nights.
Day 2: Ice Cave & Northern Lights
This morning you will be met at your hotel by your expert guide in a slightly left-of-field vehicle - a snowcat. Once you have wrapped up warm, you will head to a local ice caves to explore on foot. With headlamps to light your way - after all, there is little sunlight here for large parts of the year - you will make your way through the eerily blue and meandering caverns with your guide.
This evening you will head out into the wilderness again, getting away from the bright lights of Longyearbyen to try and spot the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) with dinner and an expert guide. Whether or not the 'polar fireworks' make an appearance you will be treated to some seriously spectacular skies.
Day 3: Snowmobile Safari
Early(ish) this morning you will be met by your guide for a full day snowmobile adventure, riding all the way to Svea - a small mining community.
As you ride through the wintery wilderness you will be able to spot local wildlife - including, hopefully, polar bears and their prey, the ringed seal - with the help of your guide, who is a pro at spotting the white bears on the ice. Boffins observing the region have discovered several dens and it isn't unusual to see mothers and their cubs frolicking in the ice.
Day 4: Mush! Mush!
This morning you will join a team of mushers for a huskie-led adventure through the wilderness. After an introduction to mushing techniques you will set off along frozen rivers and though beautiful mountains. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Rudolph the reindeer and friends, as well as arctic foxes. On your way back, you will visit the dog yard and, perhaps the most important element of the trip, meet the latest litter of puppies.
If you didn't manage to spot the Aurora Borealis the night-before-last you now have another chance this evening as you head out on snowcats to spot the Northern Lights. Your guides will take you into the Advent Valley where, eyes glued to the sky, you will hear how the lights are formed and keep warm with hot chocolate - no gløgg (Norwegian mulled wine), you're driving.
Day 5: Home Time
Today you will be privately transferred back to the airport in good time for your flight home.
Kate L and Charlotte H are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.