Svalbard Holidays: an Overview

High in the Arctic Circle is a large group of islands that most people have hardly heard of, yet Svalbard holds some of Europe's most unique and exhilarating holiday experiences.

Image of Lucy Gore
Image of Kate Little
Image of Harriet Harford

Harriet, Kate and Lucy are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • The eco-system here is so fragile that Svalbard's laws consider it equally illegal to pick a flower as to shoot a polar bear.

Svalbard Adventures: the Detail

Immortalised in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, Svalbard offers an insight into life in the polar regions - a world of Northern Lights, midnight sun and frozen wilderness dominated by the polar bear.

It's important first of all to get a grasp of where and what Svalbard actually is. Imagine a land mass the size of Ireland that looks like the Scottish Highlands during an Ice Age and start adding a long list of superlatives and quirky facts: Svalbard is almost as far from Oslo as the coast of north Africa; contains Europe's largest true wilderness; has the world's most northerly scheduled flight, full service hotel and pub; is inhabited by almost as many polar bears as humans; 60% of its land is covered by glaciers - and you start to get an idea of what Svalbard's all about.

The climate is remarkably mild for somewhere so close to the North Pole - a unique location that allowed early Norwegian and Russian hunters to settle over winter. The first visitors in the seventeenth century were attracted by the abundant whaling and fur-trapping opportunities. Discovery of rich coal veins in the 1900's lead to the first permanent settlement of Longyearbyen - the archipelago's main town and home to the thriving modern community of miners and others working in the fields of tourism, Arctic exploration and scientific study. A confusing point can be the names, the collective area is Svalbard whilst the early Norwegian name for the main island is Spitsbergen - or "Sharp Mountain".

The colourful little town of Longyearbyen is tiny, with just 1,800 inhabitants, but is the perfect launch pad for an adventurous Svalbard holiday in the Arctic desert. Come mid-February, the sun peeks over the horizon to give an orange light and rich blue skies until late March. These six weeks are the locals' favourite, a permanent sunrise that brings added illumination to the spectacular Northern Lights. The midnight sun then sits high over the Arctic summer from mid-April to late August.

Dog-sledding is the most natural way to enjoy the scenery and learning to captain your own 6-dog husky team is a fun experience. Modern transport takes the form of snowmobiles, which are good for exploring the frozen ocean of the east coast, where you can track polar bear prints and look for seals. Closer to Longyearbyen, investigating the ice cave within the local glacier is worthwhile. As you walk on a frozen river inside the glacier, the ice crystals and clear glass-like formations are spectacular.


Original Highlight

Image of Dave Lorch

Husky dog sledding is fabulous fun and the dogs are so friendly. Ask very nicely and we might even be able to arrange a visit to a newly born litter of husky puppies: incredibly cute!

Dave, Original Traveller

A note on price

A full-on adventure holiday itinerary on Svalbard can cost up to £3,000 per couple for a four day trip. Summertime fly-drive options for a family of four can be great value, starting from around £4,000 for a week. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — -3°C / 26°F
  • Rainfall — 5cm / 2.0 inches
  • Water Temp. — 5°C / 41°F
Flight from London

2:45 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +1 hr

We were particularly impressed by the level of contact from you. We have fairly intense jobs and the fact that you were so communicative and helpful made organisation so easy.


Start creating your tailored trip today

Tell us what you want

Our thoughtful experts are ready with ideas, inspiration and advice for your next journey.

Build a tailored itinerary

Working with you we’ll craft an unforgettable trip and tailored itinerary.

We've got you covered

We're here to help with everything while you're away from the smallest to the biggest request.

Our enthusiastic experts are seasoned travellers with the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on +44 (0) 20 7978 7333

Or enquire online

Newsletter Sign-Up

Get the latest travel advice, information and inspiration in our weekly newsletter.

Brochure Sign-Up

Our beautiful, free brochure is packed with insider information and incredible travel ideas from every corner of the planet.
Get the brochure

About Us

We are a creative luxury travel company who take a thoughtful approach to creating tailor-made holidays that perfectly fulfil your needs. Read our story

Planning a Holiday

Talk to our team of thoughtful experts about your travel needs:
+44 (0) 20 7978 7333 Contact us online


If you are a supplier and would like to contact us:
+44 (0) 20 7978 7333

Why Us

Our meticulous planning, in-depth knowledge, honest advice, award-winning service and financial protection all ensure that you will enjoy the most memorable holiday experience. Why us


For all press enquiries, please contact our marketing team:
+44 (0) 20 7978 7333


For all other feedback please contact:
+44 (0) 20 7978 7333