Join us on this small group tour to Spitsbergen at the beginning of September, where the sun is now lower in the sky, bathing the autumnal hues of arctic tundra in a wonderful soft light that makes for great photos. Based in world’s most northerly town, Longyearbyen, enjoy a number of excursions out including a boat trip to the abandoned mining Soviet town of Pyramiden and a hike in the Endalen valley.
Fly to Longyearbyen Airport, transfer and check in to the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel for a 4 night stay.
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 a hike through Endalen, a valley located some kilometres away from Longyearbyen. This is an easy to moderate off-road walking tour with some areas of uneven terrain so is suitable for most people. The duration of the walk itself is around 2 hours. On the walk keep your eye out for some of the fantastic flora and fauna life, and perhaps even a polar fox in the mountains. After the hike, 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)
This is a fantastic chance to drive a dog sled even though it isn't winter. Equipped with an exposure suit, boots and mittens, and after a good introduction to how the dogs and sleds work, harness the dogs and head out for adventure! The guide will drive the first sled, with space for one guest in his sled. The other participants follow in small wagons for 2-3 people. The dogs make good speed as you follow the road towards the old northern lights research station. underway there is a good chance to see reindeer, foxes and flocks of migratory birds. Several stops are made en route to give the dogs a drink and for you to take photographs of the impressive valley. After a one course lunch at the Nansen Restaurant, 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 an open fire in the cosy wooden hut of Camp Barentz and enjoy the views of the arctic tundra as the evening light sets on the mountainsides. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a boat excursion to the Pyramiden, a Russian mining town that was abandoned in 1998. Everything is intact but the streets are deserted. During the cruise the guide talks about the local geography, history and wildlife as the boat heads through the Isfjord. Continue north, into the Billefjord, and towards the majestic Nordenskiöld Glacier. This fantastic wall of ice will be the backdrop for lunch, before arriving at the ghost town, Pyramiden. A Russian guide will show us some of the fascinating Soviet-era buildings, and Russian souvenirs will be available at Hotel Tulipan. The presence of sea ice means that you should be on the lookout for wildlife otherwise not often spotted, like bearded seals, ring seals, Arctic foxes, and perhaps even polar bears, who need the ice to hunt. (B,L)
This morning enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a spot of souvenir shopping in the tax-free shops of Longyearbyen. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. (B)