Incredible 5-Day Arctic Safari in Svalbard, Norway
Taking a trip up north to the Arctic to explore the wonders of Svalbard in Norway is truly a life experience. The majestic light shines like no other place, anytime of day - literally, as the sun never sets this time of year (March - May). I have been exploring Svalbard for almost ten years with a great Norwegian friend and business partner, and together we created this adventure to show people what we believe is the coolest place on the planet. One week riding snowmobiles up and down the valleys, through the frozen fjords towards the Arctic Ocean, in a mix of adventure, sightseeing and luxury.
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Where to stay
Down-to-earth, lodge-style hotel with mountain views, perfect for a Svalbard adventure.
Isfjord Radio Hotel
Part boutique hotel, part radio and weather station on Svalbard's west coast.
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Day 1: Arrive to Svalbard
There are two direct flights to Svalbard. SAS and Norwegian both fly from Oslo (OSL) direct to Longyearbyen (LYR) in a three hour flight. This is the northernmost airport in the world and everything you will see and visit on the trip is the ”most northernly in the world”.
There is a short transfer to the Basecamp Hotel in the village center. There will be enough time to settle down, meet the guides and have a short walk through town.
Dinner will be at the Gruvelageret, a fantastic local restaurant. To those wanting to extend the evening a bit, the Karlsberger Pub in town has one of the greatest selections of whisky and cognac for a night cap!
Day 2: Start the expedition
After breakfast at the hotel we will go through the upcoming expedition in detail. You can express your final worries and have them parked for ever. Time to walk around and do some sightseeing – maybe the excellent Polar Museum. Everything within walking distance.
After a healthy lunch we will all start preparing for the trip, heading to the rental store to get our clothes and of course, the snowmobiles. Everything you need will be provided.
To drive a snowmobile is quite easy. We will drive towards the remote east coast, a totally uninhabited coast line of 600 kilometers. Time to get there depends on conditions – normally four hours.
We put up tents wherever we like, that means we will find a beautiful spot where it’s guaranteed no one else has ever camped. The guide will cook dinner made on the stove in the tent – or outside if it's not too cold. Wine & drinks are served along with dinner.
We will have warm sleeping bags, and protecting sleeping mats, and it will be a good night sleep even with the eternal light.
Day 3: Arrive at Pyramiden
After breakfast, we continue our adventure strolling through magnificent valleys and glaciers, crossing a beautiful fjord to arrive at Pyramiden. This might be the most unique dive into Svalbard's history.
Pyramiden is a Russian settlement and ex-coal mining village. It was built early in the 20th century by the Soviet Union not only to explore the coal mines, but mostly to create a true utopia of the socialist life and to be used as propaganda towards mainland Russia. All of the working class Russians dreamed about getting a job at Pyramiden, where they could take their family. The utopia collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90's and became an abandoned town for a few years, but many tourists and even locals were curious to visit it.
Svalbard's administration then decided to refurbish the exterior parts of the buildings for tourism, leaving the interior as it was. The hotel, however, was rebuilt and now tourists can spend the night in this unique place where you feel like a trip in time back to the USSR!
Day 4: Travel to Isfjord Radio Station Hotel
After breakfast, we head out to what is probably the most scenic day of all. We start heading through the huge fjords that embrace Pyramiden to finally start exploring some beautiful glaciers. As we get closer to our final destination of the day, we are already at sea level, and the combination of white mountains kissing the ocean are unbeatable. We have a final challenge to cross the final glacier, which contemplates us with a fantastic view where we stop for lunch. In our final sprint of our day, we stroll by the ocean side for the last miles before arriving at the Isfjord Radio Station Hotel.
Isfjord used to be a radio station for communication with Lonyearbyen and the mainland. It was destroyed in World War II, and later rebuilt. In the past years, with the advancement of current communications, the radio station was transformed into one of the most unique hotels possible. Its modern interior serves a restaurant where we will have an 8-course dinner with French wine. A sauna is also available, and for those brave enough, a quick dive in the Arctic Ocean!
Day 5: Travel back to the Basecamp Hotel
On our final expedition day, we head out back towards Longyearbyen. We stop at Barentsburg, another Russina mining town, but this one still active. A great contrast and comparison to Pyramiden. We continue the final ride through glaciers to arrive in the afternoon back to civilization.
The view driving back to town is one to remember.
We head back to the Basecamp Hotel, and the grand finale dinner is at Svalbard's best, the Huset Restaurant. We will gather the group in the restaurant's wine cellar for a full course 5-star menu.
We spend the night once again at the Basecamp Explorer, where it all began. The following day we head out back to the airport and out of the Arctic, but the Arctic will never leave you!
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