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Sky Holiday: Svalbard 2020

Sky Holiday: Svalbard

Come with us to experience the wilds of Arctic Svalbard

Travel far off the beaten track for an unforgettable adventure on the Arctic Islands of Svalbard and experience endless skies, lit up by the Midnight Sun.

Group Polar: 19 – 24 July 2020
Group Arctic: 24 – 29 July 2020

One-of-a-kind atmosphere, landscape and hotels

For our 2020 Sky Holiday we are heading on an adventure to the vast wilderness of Svalbard, located deep in the Arctic Circle, a mere 850 miles from the North Pole. We’ll follow in the footsteps of renowned pioneers such as Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile, marvelling at the breathtaking landscape dominated by tundra, mountains, glaciers and extreme light variations. It will be easy to lose track of time with the Midnight Sun high in the sky, as our trip falls within the magical ‘Polar Summer’ season.

We will enjoy stays at two characterful accommodations, allowing us to experience the complete contrast of Svalbard’s version of ‘city life’ versus the solitude of a remote outpost. Beginning in the small coal-mining town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island, we’ll stay at the welcoming Basecamp Hotel. A highlight of the itinerary will then involve heading over to Isfjord Radio, a completely remote and unique hotel.

Over half of Svalbard’s landscape is made up of National Parks, so naturally our activities will focus on enjoying our surroundings and the wildlife. We’ll hike along the coast and on the outskirts of a bird sanctuary, join open RIB boat safaris to get up close to glaciers and bird cliffs, and explore local towns.

We will also enjoy talks by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Founder and Member 0001 of the Cloud Appreciation Society, and by a local expert, who has lived in the harsh conditions of Svalbard for 23 years. The talk will cover a range of topics, such as Arctic expeditions, Polar Night and Lights, Arctic animals, the history of Svalbard, and the effect of environmental change in the area.

This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to a unique place on our planet, during one of it’s most astounding seasons.

Nordenskiold Glacier, Svalbard
RIB boat, Svalbard
Midnight Sun, Svalbard
Hiking, Svalbard
Glacier, Svalbard
Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Svalbard’s endless landscapes, superb Arctic cuisine, unique wildlife, and the famous ‘Arctic Silence’ never fail to astound visitors.

Isfjord Radio sauna, Svalbard

Our two quirky hotels are absolutely perfect for experiencing this beautiful and wild environment.

Guest review of our first CAS Sky Holiday to Canada:
“This was a perfectly planned and perfectly executed trip — Just spectacular in every way.”
L.H.R. (Member 3660)

Polar Summer and the sensational Midnight Sun

The sun never sets on Svalbard from around 19 April to 23 August; a phenomenon known as the Midnight Sun. Basking in the sun’s rays in the middle of the night is an odd yet special feeling – there are very few places in the world that you can experience this – and it allows us even more time to marvel at the sky.

Everyone who lives in or visits Svalbard is conscious of its mighty nature. It is known as the Polar Bear’s Kingdom, with 3,000 roaming the islands. We will learn about how the bears are protected in their local habitat, in the sense that no one is allowed to track them – it is down to pure chance as to whether we spot one of the ‘Kings of the Arctic’ as we take open RIB boat tours around the area. We will also look out for some of the seal and whale species that call this area their home, along with the Svalbard Reindeer and mountain foxes.

During the summer, around 30 species of birds migrate to the Svalbard area – yet another reason to cast our eyes to the skies. They certainly won’t be difficult to spot, as the island is home to around 20 million birds in summertime. We’ll enjoy open boat safaris along the bird cliffs and hike the outskirts of the Kapp Linné bird sanctuary, which is located on the doorstep of Isfjord Radio hotel.

The ice caps, glaciers and mountains of the Polar Bear’s Kingdom provide a perfect backdrop for experiencing the bustling bird life and the Midnight Sun.

Guest review of our CAS Sky Holiday to Norway:
“I have memories that will bring a smile for the rest of my life – not just because of the adventure but also because of the people, both running the tour and on the tour. I’m looking forward to the next trip!”
A.C. (Member 45399)

The region: Arctic Svalbard

Svalbard comprises of all islands, islets and reefs that lie between 74° and 81° north latitude and 10° and 35° eastern length. Our destination is Spitsbergen, which is the largest island, just 850 miles from the North Pole.

After the area was discovered in 1596 by the Dutch explorer, Willem Barentsz, many other nationalities followed; mainly to exploit the natural resources. Svalbard was known as a bit of a ‘no-man’s land’ until the Svalbard Treaty in 1920, when it became part of the Kingdom of Norway. Since then, Norway has carried out a lot of work for the protection of endangered animal species, habitats and heritage sites.

Longyearbyen has inhabitants from around 50 nations and is the world’s northern-most urban community. There is not an original local or indigenous people, but most people who come remain forever ‘Svalbardians’ in their hearts.

We’ve chosen a fantastic time to tread the paths of these adventurers, as our trip falls within the warmest month of the year with temperatures averaging around 6°C.

The photographer and filmmaker Peter Cox shot this short film that really shows off the majesty of Svalbard’s landscape during Polar Summer. It comprises of stunning aerial footage over sea ice, ice caps, glaciers and mountain landscapes, along with encounters with walrus and polar bears from a first-person perspective.

Guest review of our second CAS Sky Holiday to Canada:
“Well organized, interesting, fun, beautiful, delicious, culturally relevant… you all made it look and feel easy! A Northern Lights trip was top of my ‘bucket list’ and this far exceeded my wildest dreams!”
N.B. (Member 45110)

The Itinerary

(Please note that due to the characteristics of the destination the days, timings and running-order of activities may vary.)

+ Day One – Arrival

We travel from Oslo

Our trip begins in Oslo, capital of Norway. We’ll fly north to the town of Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen Island in Svalbard. There, we will be transferred by private coach (10 mins) to the Basecamp Hotel, our home for the first night. The hotel is designed to feel like a Trapper’s Station with its higgledy piggledy corridors, bunkbeds, and rustic style.

Upon arrival you’ll find your Cloud Appreciation Society welcome bag, including your special embroidered patch created exclusively to commemorate this trip. We will enjoy a welcome drink before some free time to settle in.

This evening, we’ll drive 15 mins out of town to a Trapper’s Station for our 2-course welcome dinner. This will be our first initial step out into the Arctic landscape. The station is home to 100 huskies, and represents what a traditional Trapper’s Station would have looked like. Our dinner will be tasty, rustic and prepared using fresh, local products.


Overnight: Basecamp Hotel, 9171, Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
Included: Flight from Oslo-Gardermoen to Longyearbyen, transfer by coach to our hotel, welcome drink, welcome dinner (1 drink included per person, additional drinks can be purchased).
Flights to Oslo are not included: All guests need to be at Oslo-Gardermoen Airport in good time for our departure to Longyearbyen (please see ‘Prices and Details’ below for timings). You can email Cloudberry Journeys, our tour operator, if you need help booking your flights to Oslo, as well as any accommodation before the trip begins should you want to enjoy this cultural capital city.

We travel up from Oslo to Longyearbyen, where Basecamp Hotel will be the first accommodation of our trip.

+ Day Two – Longyearbyen and Isfjord Radio

We learn about life in the Arctic, we really kick off the adventure

After a leisurely breakfast, we will enjoy an illustrated talk about the local area. We can look forward to a fascinating and varied talk on subjects such as Arctic animals, Arctic expeditions, Polar Night and Lights, the history of Svalbard, and the impact of climate change on the area.

The talk will really set the scene of this amazing destination, and after lunch we will have some free time to explore Longyearbyen. If you wish, you can visit the Svalbard museum, which provides a broad and comprehensive knowledge of history and nature in the Arctic, or the North Pole Expedition museum, to learn about the heroic efforts made by pioneers to reach the North Pole at the turn of the last century.

In the late afternoon we will be fitted with dry suits to wear on the open RIB boat that will take us over to Isfjord Radio hotel, our accommodation for the next three nights. The journey will take around 2 hours but this can vary according to the weather – and be prepared for sea spray!

You will never forget the moment that you arrive at the unique Isfjord Radio hotel. As its name suggests, this hotel was originally built as a radio station in 1933, and first opened its doors to hotel guests in 1996.

Dinners at Isfjord Radio hotel are real highlights of the experience. Their dishes follow an ‘Arctic Food Philosophy’, creatively combining age-old methods and local ingredients with untraditional flavours. We’ll be lucky enough to enjoy their Arctic-inspired menus each evening during our stay.


Overnight: Isfjord Radio Hotel, 9172, Isfjord På Svalbard.
Breakfast at Basecamp Hotel, expert illustrated talk, lunch in Longyearbyen, RIB boat transfer to Isfjord Radio Hotel, dinner at Isfjord Radio (excluding drinks).
Not included: Entrance to the museums in Longyearbyen (optional activity).

The adventure really begins as we travel by RIB boat across the fjord to Isfjord Radio hotel.

+ Day Three – Alkehornet, Trygghamna and Ymerbukta

We explore the island by boat and by foot

If you’re not still full from last night’s wonderful dinner, you can tuck into the traditional Nordic breakfast buffet. The fantastic spread will give us all the energy we need for today’s expedition.

We will delve deeper into our surroundings on our 5-6 hour outing; a combination of guided RIB boat tours and hikes. Starting off on an open RIB boat, we will cross the fjord towards the east. Our first destination will be the mighty bird cliffs of Alkehornet to spot the thousands of nesting birds. We may also see some mountain foxes that hunt around this area.

In Trygghamna we go ashore and enjoy an expedition lunch at the beach, before heading towards Ymerbukta to see the scenic Esmark Glacier dropping into the sea. If we’re lucky, we might spot whales, seals or even get a glimpse of the “king of the Arctic”, the polar bear.

With 1-2 hours spent on-board the RIB boat and 3-4 hours spent hiking, we’ll really get in touch with the nature and wildlife of the area.

After this stunning day out, there is free time on arrival back at the hotel to enjoy the Arctic Sauna, overlooking Isfjorden. The day will be topped off perfectly with another delicious dinner.


Overnight: Isfjord Radio Hotel, 9172, Isfjord På Svalbard.
Breakfast, guided RIB boat tour, guided hike, packed lunch, dinner (excluding drinks).

A day enjoying the coast and the wildlife will give you precious life-long memories… and photos!

+ Day Four – The Nordenskiöld coast

We venture further along the Nordenskiöld coast

Today our hiking boots will really get tested and our lungs full of fresh air, with a full day hike along the Nordenskiöld coast. We will tuck into another fantastic breakfast buffet before we set off for the hike around 10:00.

The hike will allow us to see much more of the wildlife of the area, and we will hopefully spot the local walrus colony. There are many stories to be discussed along the way, as the Nordenskiöld coast is full of history and local tales of whalers and hunters.

Depending on the conditions and the route chosen that day, the hike is between 7-10 miles. The route is mainly flat, often on rocky terrain and unmarked paths, so really takes us off the beaten track. A packed expedition lunch will be enjoyed along the route, surrounded by stunning scenery.

Upon arrival back to Isfjord Radio around 16:00, we’ll have some free time to treat our muscles to another Arctic Sauna. Then, before another wonderful dinner, we will listen to an illustrated talk about the sky by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Cloud Appreciation Society founder and Member 0001. Gavin will take us on a tour of our atmosphere. He will teach us how to spot many amazing cloud formations and show us why cloudspotting is a perfect antidote to the pressures of the digital world.


Overnight: Isfjord Radio Hotel, 9172, Isfjord På Svalbard.
Breakfast, guided hike, packed lunch, dinner (excluding drinks).

A day of hiking, wildlife, history and an illustrated tour of our atmosphere by Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Member 0001).

+ Day Five – Kapp Linné and Barentsburg

We spot birds, visit Barentsburg, and head back to Longyearbyen

After breakfast we will set off on a short hike near the Kapp Linné bird sanctuary next to the hotel. This nature reserve stretches from the west of Randvika, down to the south east end of Fyrsjøen, including the sea and surrounding islands. Even though all forms of movement within the reserve are prohibited from 15 May until 15 August, we can still hope to spot birds such as the Arctic Fulmar, the Common Eider, the Arctic Tern, the Barnacle Goose and the Arctic Skua from hiking the outskirts.

It will then be time to say goodbye to the Isfjord Radio area as we grab our belongings and hop back on a RIB boat. On our way back over to Longyearbyen we’ll stop in Barentsburg, a Russian mining town with around 350 residents. As this is such a fascinating town to visit we will take a short tour, before enjoying a light lunch at the town’s brewery.

The RIB boat will be waiting to take us to back to Longyearbyen, where we will spend our last night in Svalbard back at Basecamp Hotel. A special farewell dinner will be had at a restaurant in town, with one alcoholic drink included per person.


Overnight: Isfjord Radio Hotel, 9172, Isfjord På Svalbard.
Breakfast, RIB boat transfer, lunch in Barentsburg, farewell dinner in Longyearbyen (1 drink included per person, additional drinks can be purchased).

Our last day will be a real mixture of wildlife, hiking, history, culture… and more wonderful food.

+ Day Six – Departure

After breakfast, we’ll be taken by private coach back to Longyearbyen Airport for our flight back to Oslo.

Included: Breakfast, transfer to Longyearbyen Airport, return flight to Oslo.
Flights from Oslo to your home country are not included: All guests need to make sure they have left enough time between our arrival at Oslo-Gardermoen Airport and their onward flight (please s
ee ‘Prices and Details’ below for timings). You can email Cloudberry Journeys, our tour operator, if you need help booking your flights home from Oslo, or if you would like to arrange accommodation to spend some time in the Norwegian capital.

Guest review of our first CAS Sky Holiday to Canada:
“This was absolutely the best trip of my life. The activities were excellent and the experience is something I would never have achieved otherwise. A truly magical adventure!”
M.W. (Member 23652)

Prices and Details:

£4,224 GBP

Per Person (incl. tax)

Approx. equivalent to €4,750 EUR (incl. tax) / $5,220 USD (incl. tax) / $7,735 AUD (incl. tax), depending on exchange rates at time of purchase.

Price includes everything listed in the ‘What’s Included’ section.

Deposit: £850 per person is payable at the time of booking (approx. equivalent is €960 EUR / $1055 USD / $1560 AUD). The balance will be due 12 weeks prior to the departure date.

Payments: can be made by bank transfer, or by credit or debit card (with no handling fees). We are unable to accept American Express.

Flights: into and out of Oslo are not included, but our tour operator, Cloudberry Journeys, will be happy to book flights and any overnight accommodation in Oslo to suit your needs. It is your responsibility to ensure you leave enough time between your arrival at Oslo and our departure to Svalbard, and similarly between our arrival back into Oslo and your onward flight.

Group Polar:
19 July 2020, we fly from Oslo-Gardermoen to Longyearbyen on Flight SK4414 departing at 09:55.
24 July 2020, we arrive back at Oslo-Gardermoen on Flight SK4491 at 16:30.

Group Arctic:
24 July 2020, we fly from Oslo-Gardermoen to Longyearbyen on Flight SK4490 departing at 09:55
29 July 2020, we arrive back at Oslo-Gardermoen on Flight SK4491 at 16:30.

N.B. we require a minimum number of people to run the trip.

Some of the itinerary details may be subject to change, due to the unpredictable nature of our destination.


Basecamp Hotel:
Mixture of twin and triple rooms
Most rooms have bunkbeds
All rooms have private en-suite bathrooms

Isfjord Radio hotel:
Mixture of twin and double rooms
All rooms have shared bathrooms

Due to the size of the hotels, single occupancy rooms are not available. We would be happy to match individual travellers with those of the same gender for twin or triple room occupancy.

Sustainable Tourism:

Our partners for this trip, Cloudberry Journeys, and our partners in Svalbard, Basecamp Explorer, both pro-actively support sustainable tourism.

Cloudberry Journeys off-set carbon by supporting projects such as reforestation in the UK and the Amazon, and providing efficient cookstoves in Kenya.

Basecamp Explorer have their own foundation, championing sustainability projects around the world.

What’s Included:

  Return flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen (Svalbard)

  5-nights’ hotel accommodation

  All breakfasts, lunches and dinners during the trip – including a Trapper’s Station dinner and a special farewell dinner

  A welcome drink, a drink during the Trapper’s Station dinner, and a drink during the farewell dinner

  Tea and coffee always available at the hotels

  Transfers (on either coach or RIB boat)

  RIB boat and walking safaris

  Dry suit with shoes for the RIB boat journeys

  A Cloud Appreciation Society welcome bag with special commemorative embroidered patch to mark the trip

  Guiding throughout the trip

  Use of sauna at Isfjord Radio

  Expert illustrated talk about the local area

  Illustrated Cloud Appreciation Society talk

What’s Not Included:

  Flights between your home city and Oslo (Cloudberry Journeys can arrange these for you when you make contact about your booking)

  Travel insurance

  Additional drinks

  Any accommodation in Oslo before or after our group flights

  Any travel visas (check here whether you need a visa)

Guests Will Need to Bring:

  Any camera / photography equipment

  Warm, waterproof walking boots

  Wind- and waterproof top clothes

  Thermal / wool underwear and layers for chilly nights and boat trips

Physical Requirements & Suitability

To allow you to make an informed decision as to whether the trip is suitable for you, please bear the following factors in mind:

  • You need to wear a survival ‘dry’ suit on the RIB boats to keep warm and to stay afloat in the unlikely event of falling into the water – these suits can be tricky to put on
  • The boat trips can be bumpy and fairly strenuous at time – we may meet rough seas and the boat will bump against the waves (on a windy day the boat ride can be described as ocean rafting, whereas on a silent day you may fall asleep because of the calm feeling when crossing a flat ocean!)
  • For the reason above, RIB boat safaris are not suitable for people suffering from back problems and pregnant women cannot participate
  • Other challenges can be cold temperatures – however, if you prepare well with wool clothing, a solid mid layer and wind- and waterproof outer layers, you will be well equipped
  • We will be hiking on rough terrain and without trails – there are many long stony sections and rivers that must be crossed. Sturdy and supportive footwear is essential, along with the physical ability to walk in this rugged terrain and for long durations
  • There are no toilets in the wilderness, so when hiking we must use nature as our facilities!


Sky Holiday: Svalbard

Email Cloudberry Journeys, our tour operator, to book onto this incredible trip.

Please provide the following details:

1) Which dates you’d like to join us
2) The number of people in your party
3) The country you will be flying from
4) Your contact phone number (including country code)

Cloudberry Journeys will then arrange a call with you to go through the itinerary and answer any questions you have.

Please note that there are minimum and maximum numbers for the trip.

Email Cloudberry Journeys to book!

Or call Cloudberry Journeys on +44 (0) 207 199 6013

Lines open Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.30pm (BST)

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