Wintertime at 78˚ Northern latitude, Polar Night and a complete darkness 24 hours a day. The stars and the moonlight are the only sources of light giving an atmospheric experience. On occasion, the sky explodes into a kaleidoscope of green, white, pink and violet for a seemingly endless second. Down on solid ground, we pinch ourselves and ask whether we did actually see what we just saw. Welcome to our Arctic fairy-tale - join us in “Little Russia” on Svalbard!!! We promise you an unforgettable atmospheric experience. Don`t forget that during the Polar Night you have double the chance of seeing the Northern Lights! At the same time this tour can be considered as a real challenge. A snowscootersafari during the Svalbard Polar Night offers some of the most demanding conditions you can find in the Polar Regions. Complete darkness, variations in terrain, temperature, and wind make this a complete polar expedition – and a unique experience without doubt.
Day 1. Arrive in Longyearbyen. Transfer from the airport to Longyearbyen for brieﬁng on the itinerary in the Arctic Travel Centre. Check in at the Guesthouse Russkiy Dom located in the Centre on the 2-nd floor. Light lunch. We are briefed and equipped for a short trial tour nearside Longyearbyen planned to get used to the special conditions of driving in the Polar Night. A guided walk tour round Longyearbyen for approx. 1.5 hour. Afterwards a delicious dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Day 2. After breakfast in the Guesthouse we visit optionally a local Svalbard Museum/or Svalbard Gallery. Light lunch in one of the local restaurants. Around midday check out and snowmobiling towards Barentsburg, the mining settlement in “Little Russia”. The distance is 60 km and the tour takes approx. 4 hrs. The atmosphere is completely unique as we soak in the mystical darkness. On a clear night it is not unusual to see the northern light. The reindeer dig in the snow looking for food and the fox tiptoes around in the dark. We stop to absorb the impressions while the guide serves hot drinks.
The journey then takes us on to Colesdalen and along the coast past Cape Laila and Cape Heer, still active Russian helicopter place, before arriving to the charming Russian mining community. One can say that time is frozen here. A statue of Lenin watches the town and its population and a slogan “Our purpose is communism” standing behind. But the whole atmosphere is very positive with multi-coloured houses, curious reindeers roaming here and there and absolutely splendid Arctic landscape. Check in at the comfortable Barentsburg Hotel. Sauna is available. In the evening – tasting local beer made according to the best Belgian traditions out of glacier ice water and dinner of Russian cuisine in the brewery Red Bear.
Day 3. After breakfast a guided tour for 30-40 min. round fascinating Russian settlement. There is an opportunity to buy nice authentic Russian souvenirs, such as matreshka, balalaika or maybe a military Soviet hat….. and send postcards from the most northern post-office. Soon after we continue looking for the mystical Northern Lights in the Svalbard’s spectacular wilderness. Our destination is Cape Heer, special for still active Russian helicopter place located nearby, and Cape Finneset. This is known as the location of the Governor of the Svalbard 1-st office, opened and operated within 1920-1925.
Lunch at the Hotel. To go deeper into the Russian culture we have a splendid chance to visit some craft workshops in the local Cultural Centre and learn different patterns to paint matreshka, or methods to make funny toys out of felting wool and other materials, or soap-boiling, so popular in old days Russia, or even tasty skill to make real Russian pelmeni!!!! All the master classes are interesting both to grown-ups and children and take approx. 3 hrs.
In the evening - a delicious traditional Russian dinner and a live music performed by a trendy BarentsburgBand.
Day 4. After breakfast we have an extremely romantic snowshoe tour up to the top of Olaf Mountain spotting for the Aurora Borealis. What makes it romantic is torches we hold in the hands lighting the way. The view downwards is spectacular - while the sun is hidden under the horizon, Barentsburg becomes a magical place lit only by streetlamps, the northern lights and the moon which glitters in the snow.
After lunch one can have one more snowscooter driving nearside Barentsburg.
Dinner at the hotel.
Day 5. Early breakfast. Сheck out and start snowmobiling back towards Longyearbyen. Our route is to the east into the valleys Grøndalen and Semmeldalen. After driving through the different valleys and the changing landscape we start climbing with the snowmobiles up a long hill to the top of the Longyearbreen. The view here is absolutely amazing discovering so tiny, all gleaming in lights settlement in an enormous arctic nature. A stop at the Arctic Travel Company to leave snowscooters and equipment. Transfer to the airport.