Most people associate this remote archipelago of islands, half way between Norway and the North Pole, with Northern Lights holidays in winter. But for those who like experiencing something a little bit different and active, a summer holiday in Svalbard is just the ticket.
Between mid-April and late August Svalbard experiences the Midnight Sun, 24 hours of daylight, giving visitors plenty of time to explore this remote and unique landscape together with its amazing Arctic wildlife and landscapes.
Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal and expedition voyage experts, offer a range of cruises around Svalbard between May and September. But Hurtigruten Svalbard now also operates the tourism infrastructure on the islands with several hotels and over 60 activities on offer, winter and summer, so land based packages are also available.
Visitors are based in the capital town of Longyearbyen and a good way to start is with a drive-through tour to get oriented.
Other summer tours and activities on offer include:
Day-tour boat trips to local towns such as Barentsburg, an old Russian company town which is still considered a Russian territory, and to another former Russian town, Pyramiden, shut down in 1998, but incredibly picturesque with its views of the fjord and glacier – which you can walk on. Both trips include guided tours of the towns and during the boat trip there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching and possibly whale sightings too.
Coal mining was a major part of the economy for many years and you can visit a disused coal mine to experience what life was like underground. This location was also the site of the original World Seed Bank, which has now been moved to a custom built bunker close to Longyearbyen.
A Taste of Svalbard is a fun tour and tasting at the local brewery. You can also explore the region on electric Fat Bike or Quad Bike tours which take in historical sites and panoramic viewpoints. Guided Hiking Tours are another popular option with everything from easy strolls to mountain hikes on offer.
Dog sledding is possible year round but in summer specially adapted wheeled wagon sleds are used. Even into June sledding on snow is possible at the Foxfonna Glacier with its fabulous views.
On water, activities include Polarcirkel boat trips for sea fishing, bird watching and glacier visits. You can also quietly immerse yourself in the landscape with half and full day kayaking tours. During June & July there are 2 kayaking expeditions which include camping overnight in the wilderness.
Thanks to the Gulf Stream the Svalbard archipelago boasts a mild climate in summer but all specialist outdoor clothing is supplied by the activity provider where required. You just need to bring your regular outdoor waterproof and windproof clothing.
If you want to experience a few days in the High Arctic, exploring its remote location, stunning pristine landscapes and maybe even spot a polar bear, then let Project Travel put together a holiday in Svalbard for you. Call us on 01 – 210 8391 or contact us via email. As a guide, during the Summer months a package would include flights (with checked bag), 3 or 4 nights in Svalbard and one night in Oslo on the way home. The price would be in the region of €2000 per person and activities will be extra.
And don’t forget, if you want to hunt the Northern Lights 24 hours a day, then a visit to Svalbard between October – February, during the Polar Night, is the place to go!
Find out more about visiting Svalbard in winter and summer in this online brochure.
Image credit: Nina Bailey / Hurtigruten