Svalbard is a big archipelago in the Arctic Sea, north of Norway. We had some amazing experiences in Svalbard and that place looks like paradise. We travellled to Svalbard in March and April, when the islands are still covered with ice and snow but the daylight time is big enough to enjoy the landscape. Days are becoming bigger every day until April 20, when the night disappears for several months and the sun is above the horizon for 24 hours a day. We loved Svalbard and we did several activities that we think are worth sharing.
1. Snowmobile in Tempel Fiord
The options for out of town expeditions are numerous, depending basically on the availability in terms of money and time. There are various specialized tourist companies that have routes already outlined, for one or more days, or can even plan an expedition to personal taste (and wallet) of tourists. However, we opted for a more personalized option. Along with Nuno, our friend in Svalbard, we rented snowmobiles and made a journey to Tempel Fiord by our own.
2. Winter trek and visit an ice cave in a glacier
No trip to Svalbard is complete without a winter trek on snow-capped mountains. Despite that the weather may not be the best, this is a must do experience in order to assess more closely the beauty and the Arctic hardships. We arranged our tour with Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions, combining a trek on a glacier (about 2 hour ascent and 1 hour descent) and the entry into an ice cave. Thus, we could enjoy a walk in winter environment and a visit to the interior of a glacier. This is an excellent choice for more adventurous visitors. The landscape during the trek is overwhelming and the experience of being inside an ice cave is truly unforgettable. The Tour with trek and visit to the ice cave costs 730 NOK per person.
3. Dogsledding in the mountains
Green Dog Svalbard is a tourist agency in Longyearbyen carrying out tourist routes in sled dogs through the valleys of Spitsbergen island, some for several hours, others for days. This is a must do and unforgettable experience. The sleigh ride we did took 4 hours and costed 1290 NOK per person. It’s worth every penny. Do not leave Svalbard without doing this.
4. Visit an Ice Cave inside a glacier
To explore a glacier inside, we used the services of a tourism company “leader” of the market in Svalbard: Spitsbergen Travel, which offers tours to the caves in the glacier ice. Does it seem too radical? But it’s not that much. The tour takes you in a snow cat along the valley, climbing the snow covered glacier up to the cave’s entrance. The fact that the journey to the glacier is done with a Snow Cat makes this visit available to all. The tour costs 795 NOK per person and it’s fantastic.
5. Visit the city of Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen has art galleries, bars and a nightclub. It is also worth visiting the Svalbard Museum, in the same building of the university, with a very well organized and informative exhibition on the life of explorers, hunters and miners, Arctic pioneers, and wild life of the archipelago. It is also worth exploring the heritage of the mining culture of the island, as well as the Global Seed Vault .
6. Trek along the Advent Fjorden
Bathed by the fjord of Advent (Advent Fjorden), the city of Longyearbyen has mountains surrounding it from the north and the south, where you can admire two glaciers, the Longyearbreen and Lars Hjertabreen. A walk along the side of the fjord is also worthwhile.
7. Watching wildlife
Svalbard has just over 2000 inhabitants and more than 3000 polar bears. This is Arctic territory and humans are the “outsiders”. Do not forget that because the preservation of this natural habitat is in your hands and of the people who inhabit the Arctic. Respect the habitat of bears and other wildlife.
8. Enjoy longer sunsets
Svalbard is a perfect place to enjoy a sunset. During spring and summer months, sunset takes a few hours. Can we ask for more?