Camp or lodge in comfort
There’s a choice of accommodation in Spitsbergen for dog sledging, cross-country skiing, snow mobile, hiking and kayaking adventures. Once you’ve come as far as Longyearbyen, you’ll want to go still further.
Basecamp Spitsbergen Hotel
Stay in the heart of Longyearbyen, the northernmost town in the world. Walls covered with driftwood, sealskins, maps, pictures, and objects that illustrate past and present in the Arctic are the hallmark of the Basecamp Spitsbergen Hotel, decorated in authentic trapper’s style down to the very last detail.
Relax in the glass-roofed lounge looking up at a sky filled with the Northern Lights to prepare your mind and body for the wilderness and lose yourself in stories of the great Arctic explorers. Wander around the town then dine next door at one of its best restaurants. The hotel has 16 individually-decorated rooms with comfortable beds, private bathrooms with showers and stunning views over the town towards the mountains.
After a satisfying day gliding over glaciers, mountains, and frozen fjords by dogsled or snowmobile, or by open boat safari across the Arctic Ocean, come ‘home’ to this outpost of solitude built in 1933 for the local radio operators. Located 90 km from Longyearbyen, Isfjord Radio doesn’t look much from the outside but inside it’s a different world. Like this outpost’s original residents decades ago, you’ll gather round the table for dinner and lively conversation. You’ll take a journey of Arctic tastes, featuring smoked seal, halibut with roe butter and reindeer sausage. Most of the meat here is hunted by one of the three trappers left in Spitsbergen and prepared in Isfjord Radio’s modern kitchen by top chefs to a standard that would please even the toughest food critic. There is no road connection from Longyearbyen, access requires snowmobile by winter and boat transfers during summer.
Hidden on the moraine shore of the icy Nordenskiöld Fjord, at the edge of the blue glacier, is Nordenskiöld Lodge. Its location takes isolation to another level and is the place to stay if you want to reach the truest north. It’s the farthest you can go in Spitsbergen by motorised vehicle (from here on it’s either skis or dog sled) and it’s the base for expeditions to the Nordenskiöld Glacier.
You’ll spend days climbing on the glacier and skiing around the fjord and snowy valleys, followed by a warm up in the sauna. As the Arctic night surrounds the pine cabin, lay your head on the soft pillow, wrap yourself in the warm blankets and bask in the Arctic silence.
Nordenskiöld Lodge is situated on one of the side fjords of Isfjorden, in Billefjorden, close to the shoreline of Adolfbukta, an inner bay of Billefjorden. It is right alongside the mighty blue Nordenskiöld Glacier, part of the larger glacier system which stretches all the way to the north coast of Spitsbergen - from here you can access the northern parts of the High Arctic archipelago. With no running water or electricity, Nordenskiöld is a true expedition lodge – the cabin is heated with wood and drinking water is collected from the melting glacier. There are five bedrooms with fantastic Arctic views, 10 comfortable beds, an indoor toilet and a traditional wood sauna.
In good summer weather you can get to it on a two hour boat crossing from Longyearbyen. During winter the lodge is accessed by dog sled or snowmobile.
No matter which season you choose, you are certainly in for an adventurous trip into the true High Arctic!
Fiona’s travel tipsTOP TIP: We provide superbly warm sledging suits and thick felt-lined boots so you will never be cold.
GREAT DAY OUT: The polar museum in Tromsø – it has wonderful atmosphere. The Northern Lights Planetarium or ‘Polaria’ is also well worth a visit.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Stunning displays of the aurora borealis in the night-time sky in the depths of winter (if you’re lucky)!
BEST MEMORY: Sledging through spindrift across a frozen river.
DON’T MISS: Summer Island – it’s just one and a half hours’ drive from the Lofoten Islands which are five hours’ drive from Skjaerhaugen. Both offer cosy and comfortable cabin accommodation.
BEST TIME TO GO: January to early April has the best snow conditions for sledging. July and August for walking and camping.
“We board the plane from the Arctic with heavy, heavy hearts & many tears. This trip has been an overwhelming experience for all three of us. Safe to say that it has been the most memorable, incredible holiday we have ever had!!! And we've had many amazing holidays.”
Karen Chaloner, Dog sledding in Arctic Norway
“Everything went like clockwork from the moment we contacted you. We were delighted with our welcome, food, warmth. Your pre-trip information, your representatives. In fact just everything. We would certainly recommend Arcturus as a firm to deal with for a memorable holiday in every respect.”
Evina Montgomery, Explore Dividalen, dog sledding in Norway
“It was a very special holiday and the activity of dog sledging is amazing. The break was exactly the right length of time for beginners and our Norwegian hosts and guides were excellent.”
Stephen and Elaine Bailey, Dog sledging in Dividalen
“The equipment provided locally was great – we were warm, dry and comfortable in our suits and boots. The dogs are incredible, always keen to go and tireless. It was obvious the guys knew them very well and respected each individual dog for its attributes. Of course I cried like a baby when we waved goodbye to them all from the Ice Hotel… And finally, how could I forget! On the last night of our dog sledding we had a fantastic viewing of the northern lights. Fiona thank you very much for arranging the trip which all went so smoothly.”
Jude Perry and John Verschaeren, Dog sledge The King’s Way: Crossing Norway into Sweden