|25 Jan - 29 Jan|
For the most striking displays of the northern lights, travelling north is essential. For many travellers, this means planning a holiday to Norway, Finland or Iceland but, in true Regent Holidays style, we've found a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity further from the beaten track. You can't get much further north than Svalbard, Norway's far-flung Arctic archipelago, positioned almost exactly half way between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Winters here are dominated by two phenomena that come hand in hand; the polar nights occur when the sun remains hidden for 24 hours a day and the northern lights flicker across the dark skies with unrivalled intensity all day (and night) long.
This tour stays at the Funken Lodge in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago. From your base at one of the world's northernmost cities, days are spent learning about the fascinating Arctic exploration and coal mining history of Longyearbyen and setting off to discover the snow-covered landscape by motorised Snow Cat excursions and a dog sled safari. For the best opportunities to experience the northern lights, experienced guides lead trips that set out into the darkness, through frozen valleys and around mountains. One evening is spent enjoying dinner around a fire at the remote wooden huts of Camp Barentz, where it's as easy to pop outside when the aurora borealis comes out to play as it is to nip back inside to warm up.
Fly to Longyearbyen Airport, transfer and check in to the Funken Lodge for a 4 night stay. In the evening back out into the polar nights on a huge snow cat, a fully-tracked, enclosed vehicle designed for tackling the icy conditions. Hunt for the aurora away from the lights of Longyearbyen. Drive through the frozen Advent Valley, making several stops en route to Hiorthhamn, an abandoned settlement on the northern bank of Adventfjord with spectacular views back towards Longyearbyen.
This morning meet with the local guide for a journey through the history of Longyearbyen. On this tour visit the fascinating Svalbard Museum, which has displays on the discovery of Spitsbergen and of course Longyearbyen. It also covers aspects of wildlife, mining and hunting. And hopefully the closest you’ll come to a polar bear with a huge stuffed polar bear in the centre of the museum. After a delicious 2 course lunch, enjoy some free time to explore Longyearbyen further or relax back at the hotel. Finally, and hopefully to celebrate a great viewing of Northern Lights, enjoy some of the world’s most northerly brewed beer at the Svalbard Brewery. Learn how the founder Robert Johansen battled to get a 1928 law changed in order to manufacture beer on Svalbard. More importantly taste a few different types of beer made with 2000 year old glacial water from the Boge glacier on Svalbard. (B,L)
Embark on a breathtakingly stunning dog sledging adventure beneath the starry skies in the early morning After helping harness the dogs the guide will lead the way out from the yards. The dogs will yelp and bark with impatience, but as soon as they get going a beautiful silence will sink over you. The guide will drive first with two guests in their larger sled, and the group will follow in two person sleds. Participants will be able to swap between mushing and enjoying the scenery from the sled. Travel through snow-covered landscapes and icy plains, as the mountain ranges come into view, look for the northern lights dancing in the sky above. Please note that you need to have an average level of fitness as there is some running involved pushing the sledge up hills to help the dogs.
After a one course lunch at the Nansen Restaurant, head out on a Taste of Svalbard Bus Tour. Sample 3 local tapas dishes, enjoy a glass of champagne at the Art Gallery, discover what is inside an eerily glowing purple dome at the Polar Permaculture and learn about the drinking culture and rules for alcohol consumption on Svalbard over a glass of wine. We end the tour with a hot drink and chocolate sampling at the Fruene Café. (B,L)
This morning, opt for an optional 3 hour excursion of Northern Lights snowmobiling at £199 per person. While the sun is hidden beneath the horizon, embark on an atmospheric snowmobile journey through the wilderness, lit only by the Polar Night. (40km) Look out for reindeer and polar foxes as they search for food in the snow, and warm up with hot drinks along the way. Chances of seeing the northern lights are heightened during the Polar Night period, so be sure to keep an eye out for the elusive aurora in the night sky. Including transport from/to accommodation, briefing, snowmobile, fuel, snowmobile suit, boots, outer mittens, helmet, balaclava, hot drinks, biscuits, search and rescue insurance and tour leader with all necessary safety equipment.
In the afternoon, travel out of Longyearbyen and pass by the Global Seed Vault to reach Mine Number 3, and learn all about a miner’s life in Svalbard. Don a mining helmet and walk into the mountain, experiencing the pitch black of a coal mine. In the evening, enjoy a hearty dinner around a fire in the cosy wooden hut of Camp Barentz—if the Northern Lights make a showing dash outside and enjoy these Polar “Fireworks”. A great experience to end your trip to the arctic. (B,D)
Good news for our solo travellers or for those whose travel companion snores - there is no single room supplement on this group tour to Belarus
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
25 Jan 2019
29 Jan 2019