1 week off work
Up to 10 people
Guest House, Longyearbyen
Guesthouse · Wild camping
You'll need a good level of fitness, a serious sense of adventure and a fondness for very cold temperatures
Spend two nights in the wilderness keeping lookout for polar bears on an otherwordly winter camping experience in the Arctic
Zip across Svalbard Island on a snowmobile adventure, to set foot on the frozen Arctic Ocean by Tempelfjord
Featured as one of the ‘Best Northern Lights Tours’ by The Times
Arrive in Longyearbyen
Touch down in Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost city, and get your first glimpse of the Norwegian Arctic's blanket of white. Check into your cosy guesthouse and spend the rest of the day freely exploring the town. Meet up with the rest of the group in the early evening for a quick hello and briefing from your guide, then grab some dinner together at a local restaurant.
Hike to a Glacial Ice Cave
4-5 hours · 350m up
Waste no time on your first full day in the Arctic! You'll start the day with breakfast and then after a briefing from your camp expedition guide, you'll set off on a 2-hour uphill hike to reach the entrance of a frozen ice cave. Here you'll add some spikes to your boots, allowing you to move freely on the polished surface. All kitted up, it's time to explore the frozen underworld beneath the glacier. You'll explore a maze of tunnels, from glassy halls to tight passages, marvelling at thick layers of ice crystals. It's dark down there, but you'll be able to use the group's headlights for navigation.
After a chilly day's outing, return to the comfort of your guesthouse for an evening in Longyearbyen and rest up before heading out into the Arctic tomorrow.
Head out in to the Arctic Wilderness
After breakfast you'll pack up your pulka - a small sled which you'll drag behind you from a harness attachment - with everything you need for a night out camping. Feeling like a Polar explorer, you'll head out from Longyearbyen with the group to make your way into the wilderness. After reaching a wild area, far away from civilisation, you'll hike even deeper into the white landscape. You'll don spikes or snowshoes for this bit, depending on the conditions. Keeping an eye out for polar bears, arctic foxes and reindeer as you go.
Eventually, you'll set up camp with your guide who will teach you how to camp successfully in the sub-zero conditions. Enjoy a surreal and otherworldly dinner at camp. If you are visiting in March, the northern lights may be keeping you company this evening.
Hiking time will differ depending on conditions and group fitness. Expect minimum 4 hours and as much as 7 hours today if all goes well.
Polar Bear Lookout Tonight you'll have the unique experience of being on polar bear lookout. After a full safety briefing, each member of the group will take it in turns to keep watch over the silence and stillness of the Arctic wilderness. Watching for polar bears in the distance as your fellow adventurers sleep is an unforgettable experience.
Wake up in the wild and hike over mountains and glaciers
Waking up in the middle of the Arctic wilderness will be a morning like no other. Warm up with a steaming hot drink and breakfast at the camp, before setting out once more on foot. There are many route options today. Your guide will assess the weather and the avalanche conditions in the area and choose the best one hike for the group. Your hike will immerse you in the immense scenery of the surrounding area. Perhaps round trips over nearby glaciers or a hike to the top of a mountain viewpoint.
Again the length and distance of today's hiking will depend on conditions and group fitness
Load up the pulkas for another big push through the wilderness
After another memorable night wild camping in the Arctic, you'll help take down the camp and load up the pulkas, ready for another big push through the wilderness. Conditions will again dictate the exact route and your guide will choose the best option. All being well, you'll be reaching another peak or two for sweeping vistas over Svalbard. Today's route will see you edge closer back to Longyearbyen, arriving back into civilisation by late afternoon.
Back at your guesthouse, hot showers will be the order of the day before relaxing in one of Longyerabyens restaurants and bars.
Explore Svalbard by Snowmobile
Have your driving licence at the ready - it's snowmobile time! Jump onboard your personal snowmobile for a unique and exhilarating journey through the Arctic wilderness, covering far greater distances than your previous journeys on snowshoes. Whistling through the lunar, snow-covered landscape you'll visit sights including a former trapper's station where a man named Hilmar Nøis lived with his family for 26 winters in the wilderness. The furthest point you'll reach is Tempelfjord, a picturesque fjord overlooked by the Temple Mountains. With the ocean still frozen at this time of year, you'll be able to drive your snowmobile out on to the thick ice and get up close and personal with the glaciers at the head of the fjord.
So long, Svalbard
Say farewell to Longyearbyen and the Arctic and return to Svalbard Airport in time for your flight home.
Expert, English-speaking, local guides
4 nights at a hotel or guesthouse in Longyearbyen and 2 nights camping at an Arctic wilderness camp
All meals included except for 3 dinners and 2 lunches while in Longyearbyen
Everything you need for winter camping, glacier walking, ice cave hiking and, of course, a snowmobile
All permits and entry fees
Flights to and from the meeting point
Some meals as described
Travel to and from the start point
Visas where required
Guesthouse · Twin share
Guesthouse · Twin share
Day 3 – Day 4
Wild camping · Twin share
Day 5 – Day 6
Guesthouse · Twin share
What is the food like?
Longyearbyen has plenty of international food options, including the world's northernmost sushi bar!
At the wilderness camp, breakfasts will consist of bread, ham, cheese, eggs and bacon. There will also be cereals or oatmeal, tea, coffee and 'Polar Bread' - so lots of options! Lunches will typically be dry-pack expedition-style meals, heated using water boiled while you're out in the wilderness and accompanied by hot drinks and biscuits. You can make extra sandwiches each morning to bring with you if you want a particularly large lunch. Dinners are homemade and vary depending on what's in stock. Tacos, pasta or a variety of stews are possibilities - including Norwegian reindeer stew.
Vegans, vegetarians and most food allergies can be catered for. Please let your host know of any dietary requirements in advance.
What is the accommodation like?
In Longyearbyen you will stay at Gjestehuset 102 - a warm and friendly guesthouse with huge breakfasts. Gjestehuset 102 was previously the Millionaires’ Mansion, reserved for the best and most experienced miners.
Arctic Wild Camping
You'll stay in a twin-share tent, camping in an area of wilderness completely away from snowmobile traffic. All your camping equipment is provided, although you will need to hire a sleeping bag if you don't bring your own. You'll be kept warm overnight in your expedition tent, sleeping on two cold-weather sleeping mats per person while your baselayers and sleeping bag keep you warm and snug. Your host will make you a hot water bottle each night for some extra warmth.
For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for the 3 nights spent in Longyearbyen for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).
Guest house in Longyearbyen
Catch any flight on Day 1
Guest house in Longyearbyen
Catch any flight on Day 7
The airport shuttle costs around £8 / $10 and links up with all flight arrivals and departures. It will take you directly to your guesthouse on Day 1 and get you back to the airport any time on Day 7 for your flight home. You can pay by credit card. Cash is not accepted in Svalbard.
It takes a maximum of 10 minutes to get from the airport to your accommodation. You can see full details on the Svalbard tourist website.
Both Norwegian and SAS offers flights to Svalbard throughout the summer. We recommend flying to Oslo in Norway and getting a connecting flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen, which takes around 3 hours. If flights don't match up well with your trip start date then we recommend arriving a day early and booking a pre-tour night. If you arrive early there is plenty to enjoy in Longyearbyen before your trip starts.
Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear
In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.
Which pieces of kit are included in the trip cost?
- For the ice cave: Snowshoes, helmet, headlight, crampons
- For the hiking and wild camping: Snowshoes, spikes, hiking poles, pulka (a sledge for your luggage), tent, sleeping mat, cooking and dining equipment, expedition Thermos flask
- For the snowmobiling: Snowmobile suit, boots, mittens, helmet, goggles and balaclava
What's available to hire?
- Sleeping bag. These are available through your host. See Optional Extras for details.
What do I need to bring?
- Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
- Daypack (35+ litre backpack)
- Waterproof liner/dry bag for kitbag/rucksack
- Small dry bags for electrical items
- Hardshell Gore-Tex jacket with hood (windproof, ideally waterproof and breathable)
- Insulated salopettes, ideally with braces (loose-fitting to allow room for base layers, windproof, ideally waterproof, and breathable)
- Good-quality expedition style down jacket
- Good quality thermal bottoms and top x 3 sets (natural fibre such as wool/merino/alpacca, suitable for extreme cold, not cotton or synthetic)
- Mid-layer such as a fleece or woolen jumper (for between your thermals and your jacket)
- Thin wool socks x 3 pairs
- Thick wool socks x 3 pairs (these can be purchased at your hosts storage place in Lonyearbyen) to wear over your thin wool socks
- Thick insulated finger gloves (for camp use and to set up camp)
- Warm, windproof overmittens (for during the hike)
- Warm, woolen mittens (no finger gloves) for under the windproof overmitens
- Thick & warm hat x 2 (for hiking and for sleeping in)
- Long, warm buff (or balaclava) x 2 for protection against cold & wind (wool or similar)
- Snow/ski goggles
- Swimwear (for saunas in Longyearbyen)
- Something to wear and to sleep in while in Longyearbyen
- Good quality insulated hiking boots (worn-in, large enough to fit over both your thin and thick wool socks)
- Warm bivouac/snowmobile shoes for camp use will be provided
- Sleeping bag, 5-season with a comfort rating of down to minus 25/30 degrees Celcuis - see our Sleeping Bag Guide. If unsure we recommend you hire one from your host for the wilderness camping. See under Optional Extras.
- *Sleeping mats are provided
- Eyemask (near 24-hours of daylight in April)
- Cold protection lotion
- Suncream (non water-based for the cold conditions)
- Padlock for left luggage
- Universal travel plug adapter
- Power bank or solar charger
- Colourful mobile phone cover or leash attachment (you'll be amazed how difficult they are to find in the snow otherwise)
- Spare camera batteries
- Passports (and visas)
- Travel Insurance documents
- Driving Licence (required for the snowmobile)
- Debit/credit card (Longyearbyen is cash-free and there is no bank)
- Heat pads
- Personal first-aid kit (including blister treatment)
- Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
- Quick-dry towel
- Alcohol hand-gel
- 1-litre Nalgene water bottle x 1-2 (reusable and suitable for holding boiling water as this will double up as a hot water bottle at night)
- Biodegradable wet-wipes
- Energy bars and snacks
- *A 1-litre expedition Thermos flask will be provided (if you choose to bring your own it should be suitable for temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius
Those who wear glasses are advised to wear contact lenses if possible as a sheer of ice may form on your glasses. Alternatively, if you are unable to wear contacts, we recommend bringing snow goggles that fit over your glasses.
We have specified natural fibre clothing such as sheep wool/alpacca/merino as this is best in extreme cold. Synthetic or cotton does not provide the required insulation or wicking properties.
Optional Private Room Upgrade: prices start from
Payable Before Departure
Optional Private Room Upgrade: prices start from
… Per Person
Sleeping bag hire
Payable Before Departure
Sleeping bag hire
Single room: prices start from
Payable Before Departure
Single room: prices start from
… Per Night
Twin/Double room: prices start from
Payable Before Departure
Twin/Double room: prices start from
… Per Night
I had the absolute best time on my trip to Svalbard, it met all of my expectations and really was a fantastic experience for my 40th birthday celebrations.The snow cave was really cool, the wild camp and polar bear watch just magical and just challenging enough to satisfy me, and the snowmobile safari a fun way to end the week.
Just amazing, from start to finish this trip had everything. It was hard work and challenging at times, not for the faint hearted but wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The guides were excellent, lots of fun and very knowledgable and nothing was too much trouble. Svalbard is a magical place and so glad we got to experience it, can highly recommend this trip but you will need to ‘embrace’ the cold
Exploring Svalbard on foot and snow mobile was an amazing experience. The monochrome landscape is surreally beautiful and the relaxed arctic camp life in harmony with nature is a great opportunity to reset and fully focus on the experience of this trip.
This was a unique and unforgettable trip that was equally challenging and inspiring providing a fascinating introduction to the polar wilderness. The expedition and camp was a real test of resilience in the biting, inescapable cold and is not to be underestimated, but it also provided a real insight into life as a polar explorer. The local guides were first class and their knowledge and enthusiasm was infectious. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and was copious reward for all the exertion.
An incredible trip in an incredible location.
We had the most amazing guides and our group got on so well. A mix of couples and singles, it was brilliant.
The food was delicious, we never went hungry. We also really valued that stove in the communal tent!
It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but also one of the best! I'd 100% do it again :)
Svalbard was magical, this place is unlike anywhere else I've been and was a wonderful, challenging and inspiring experience. The camping expedition was definitely a challenge, you will be very cold at times and trying to get to sleep in sub-zero temperatures was tough but completing the expedition and hiking back into Longyearbyen with the stunning views surrounding made all of that worth it! My best tips would be to pay close attention to the kit list, bring hand/foot warmers and listen to the guides advice. If you need better clarity on what to bring then contact the guides through the booking system.
An incredibly unique adventure that was challenging but also enormously fun and inspiring! The local guides were exceptional both in terms of their knowledge and energy and in ensuring the group's safety at all times. Nothing compares to the experience of dragging your pulka through the deep snow, sleeping under canvas in the sub-zero conditions, and circling the camp in the dark on polar bear watch. The day trips to the ice caves and the fjords via snowmobile were also incredible. You definitely need to come prepared to face the tough conditions, both mentally and physically, but the rewards are great!
Fabulous trip. The guides Eva and Niclas were knowledgeable, approachable, hard working and great fun. I found the experience was much easier than expected, in part due to their level of preparation and the benign weather. My suggestion would be to make it a 4 day trip and use the snowmobile trip to see if everyone is kitted out correctly. If necessary the ice cave trip could be an add on.
Absolutely incredible trip. The local guides are fantastic and the ice caves, camping/hiking and the snow mobiling were all brilliant. Camping in the Arctic is an amazing experience but is definitely not for the faint hearted!
A life changing trip of childhood dreams that delivered in every way possible and more than I could have ever have imagined.
We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.
What's the number?
It works out on average at 112kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.
The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.
But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:
- Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
- A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
- 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.
What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.
Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.
Sustainable Tourism provides an economic incentive to protect, rather than exploit, vital wildlife areas. Over the years 7 national parks and 21 nature reserves have been created to protect the Svalbard archipelago.
Thankfully, the local population of polar bears and various marine species have increased and Svalbard tour operators - including your host - have worked alongside environmental groups such as the WWF and Friends of the Earth to block any unsustainable development such as new roads, mining and fossil fuel exploration. Every visitor to Svalbard also pays £15 which goes directly to an environmental protection fund to manage the protected areas.
Of course, we are aware that the flight to Svalbard is damaging to the environment and the Arctic is visibly feeling the effects of climate change. As there are currently no viable, sustainable travel alternatives available, Much Better Adventures mitigates 4 times the carbon emitted by your flight to Longyearbyen through our partnership with Cool Earth. The adventure itself - mostly self-powered activities and wilderness camping - is about as low carbon as it’s possible to get, especially when compared with the myriad cruise ships that visit Svalbard.
The only non-self-powered activity on this trip is a day onboard a snowmobile. Snowmobiling is a part of modern life in the Arctic, and for many months of the year it is the only way for locals to travel between settlements.
Your host uses the most modern snowmobiles currently available in Svalbard to ensure as high an energy efficiency and noise level reduction as possible. Your journey follows a frequently used route along a valley floor leading to Tempelfjord. This limits the disturbance to wildlife by avoiding going 'off-piste'. Any local or visitor to Svalbard wanting to venture deeper into the national parks has to apply for permission to do so. Travel by snowmobile by tourists is a highly-monitored activity in order to avoid negative impacts on Svalbard's wildlife.
For more on this topic you can read our article on tourism and conservation in Svalbard, where our very own Stuart Kenny interviews Arne Kristoferson, your host for this trip and resident of Svalbard for nearly 3 decades.
Also, here’s how our very own co-founder Sam answered the question ‘Is it responsible?' after we launched our winter svalbard hiking and snowmobiling tour
You'll need to have a good level of fitness and a serious sense of adventure. While you will be kitted out with everything that you need to be safe and comfortable, the temperatures are extremely cold so you'll need to be prepared for it! Days out in the wilderness are tailored depending on the weather conditions and overall fitness of the group, but you can expect to be on the move for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 7 hours if conditions allow. Hiking in snowshoes in minus temperatures is a different kind of physical challenge compared to normal hiking, however no previous experience is necessary.
You are visiting Svalbard in what they call the 'light winter', as the archipelago emerges from the months of 24-hour darkness. In March you'll have around 12-13 hours daylight and during April it doesn't get truly dark at all. In March you'll experience lows of -20ºC / -4ºF and highs of -13ºC / 9ºF, while April warms up a touch to a balmy -9ºC = 16ºF.
Camping in the Arctic is a completely safe and hugely enjoyable experience with the correct preparation. Your hosts in Svalbard are expert wilderness guides, the majority of whom are originally from the island itself, and you'll be perfectly safe in their hands.
You will need to pack correctly for this trip. There are various specialist pieces of kit included in the trip cost, as well as other items available to hire when you get to Svalbard - see the Kit List on this page for a full breakdown. The other items on the kit list are important to bring along too, so perhaps do a dummy-run packing your bag a couple of weeks before the trip. Then you can buy anything that you might be missing. There will be outdoor adventure shops in Longyearbyen to plug any gaps, but items will be considerably more expensive to buy in Svalbard. Your host will run a check of everyone's preparedness for the camping expedition before heading out into the wilderness on day 3.
The camping equipment provided is specifically designed for extremely cold conditions, to ensure everyone has a safe and comfortable few nights camping in the Arctic. The preparation and equipment will let you relax and enjoy this amazing experience.
Your guides will be carrying GPS, emergency beacons, satellite phones, first aid equipment, flare guns and rifles (rifles must be carried by law outside Longyearbyen). For concerns on polar bear safety and any ethical considerations please read the FAQs: 'What does Polar Bear Lookout entail?' and 'What about polar bears being killed by tour guides?'
Each member of the group will take it in turns to look out for polar bears while the rest of the group sleeps. The experience of being on the lookout is one of the most memorable parts of the trip and has been described as "like being a crew member on a David Attenborough documentary".
You'll be given a full briefing and safety instructions and a shift roster will be developed between you all. Lookout shifts are generally around 2 hours. However, if the group size is larger than 4, you will have at least one night without needing to take a shift.
While on this trip you will be in the hands of expert wilderness guides. Your host has been operating wildlife expeditions in the area for over 25 years and has never had a close call with a polar bear. This is all down to their knowledge and expertise. There are polar bears in the area and they have come close to camp before, but the guides know exactly what to do in all cases.
Over the years there have been incidents of polar bears being killed in self defence, however, your host has been running trips across Svalbard since 1993 and has never had to kill a single bear. The guides travel with flare guns to scare bears away if they get too close, and if needed will follow this up with a warning shot from a rifle in extreme situations. The wilderness camp, meanwhile, has special storage units for food so as not to entice bears towards the camp and a perimeter tripwire that activates flares if triggered.
Your guides are also expert wilderness guides, many from Svalbard itself and have safely led adventure travellers, scientists and filmmakers from the BBC and National Geographic photographers across the region. Their knowledge and experience means they know what to do in all situations to keep both adventurers and bears safe.
Many of the negative encounters with polar bears have occurred during excursions led by less experienced guides, particularly cruise ship based ones who bring guests to shore but aren't fully experienced in what to do during an encounter.
Our local host has also created an association for Svalbard based guides and small travel companies that develops certification for sustainability and safety and only recommends operators who look after the adventurers, the polar bears and the wilderness.
Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
The water in Longyearbyen is drinkable. At the wilderness camp you'll have a supply of water brought in, as well as the option to melt snow for drinking water. This Arctic ice water is perfectly safe to drink and super refreshing!
You'll experience averages of -20ºC / -4ºF, with highs of a balmy -9ºC / 4ºF. The length of days in March and April differs dramatically, with an average 15 hours of daylight in April compared with just 3 hours in March.
You can leave any excess luggage in Longyearbyen before heading to the wilderness camp. There is storage at your hotel and also at your host's secure warehouse.
Svalbard is a cash-free society - cash is not accepted and there is no bank. Only card payments are accepted so you'll need to bring your credit and/or debit cards with you.
Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.
Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.
We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!
We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.
If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.
All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.
You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.
Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.
Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.
Pay In Installments
You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.
Full Financial Protection
Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.