Longyearbyen is the city, Svalbard the archipelago, Spitsbergen the island, and Norway the country. Yes, it’s a mouthful — of winter style fun. Best time to go? March and April. Plan your late winter 2018 trip now.
Why travel to the world’s most northerly city after March 8? Because it’s the one place you can cross these items off your bucket list in just a few days:
- Go well inside the Arctic Circle & only 800 or so miles from the North Pole
- Dog sled over open pristine countryside
- Snowmobile over a frozen fjord to Tuna Glacier
- Visit Pyramiden, an abandoned Russian coal mining town
- Northern Lights and starry night skies
- Perhaps see a polar bear, for sure a reindeer or arctic fox
- See the Global Seed Vault, outside only, no inside tours
Yes you could go in summer, however I think March is best when the sun first rises for the first time in six months and you get the best of winter sights with a real arctic experience. April still has plenty of snow and cold too, and if you’re into doing a ski marathon there’s one on April 28, 2018 so you have time to prepare. http://www.svalbardskimaraton.no/
Not a winter weather person? Then summer offers up boating experiences, such as kayaking, hiking & fossil hunting, not available in the frozen winter. But if you go Arctic, go Winter.
Hotel & Tour Company Recommendation:
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel: I was very happy with this well located Radisson that includes a very nice buffet breakfast & Wi-Fi. The restaurant was very good with large windows facing the mountains. The room was warm (I even had to open the window a little) and nicely furnished with all the usual amenities. Airport shuttle in operation 24 hours at additional cost. The hotel bar was well stocked with friendly folks and good conversation. Try to stay in the main hotel if you like to run down to breakfast without putting on a coat & hat. The annex is only a few steps away but you’ll need your coat, hat and shoes for the few seconds outside. https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-spitsbergen
Spitzbergen Hotel is on a hill with views and history since it was first built for a coal company’s employee accommodations and dining.
Spitzbergen Travel has been doing tours for a long time in this part of the Arctic. All the tours provide the necessary warm suit, helmets, gloves, boots, safety equipment and meals for snowmobile & dog sled tours. Tip: Bring ‘Little Hotties’ hand and foot warmers for gloves and boots. I was very glad I had them on the long snowmobile safari trip. http://www.spitsbergentravel.com
Spitzbergen Adventures http://spitzbergen-adventures.com is another well-rated company for tours and experiences.