On the “cold coasts” of Svalbard, an arctic archipelago situated between mainland Norway and the North Pole you will find a rugged landscape of fjords, glaciers, and mountains; more polar bears than people; and Polar Nights from mid-November to late January.
While experiencing no sunlight and an average high of 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit for two and a half months might sound far from appealing, the area continues to draw people from all over because it is the only inhabited place on Earth where you can see the Northern Lights in the middle of a winter’s day.
In Longyearbyen, the most populated settlement on the Svalbard Islands and the world's northernmost town, the winter sun never rises more than six degrees below the horizon. This makes the area even more enticing to travelers, as you optimize your chances of seeing the aurora bourelis — which, let's face it, are elusive and difficult to predict — when the sky is dark. Off the Map Travel, a company that tailor-makes luxury trips, is taking advantage of this unique feature by offering an All Day Aurora adventure in the Norwegian metropolis and surrounding region.
“To have the best chance of seeing [the Northern Lights], you need a setting without any light pollution and you will more than double your chances of getting that when the sun never rises above the horizon,” Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel, told The Points Guy.
The four-day trip is centered around chasing the Northern Lights, but as you explore the island of Spitsbergen, you will also get to partake in other activities while you look for the auroras, including dog sledding, snowshoeing, riding Snowcats, and exploring ice caves. And at night, you can warm up with champagne and delicious food inside the comforts of a luxury hotel.
Of course, Off the Map Travel wants you to have the best experience possible, so if some of the activities on the itinerary sound far from appealing, you can work with them to create an experience better suited to your tastes.
Your adventure need not end with the Northern Lights. When you finish your trip, be sure to explore the rest of what Svalbard has to offer. A burgeoning cultural center, Longyearbyen has an art gallery, arctic museum, and its very own brewery, while the Svalbard Islands also lay claim to seven national parks.