With everyone jumping on the Iceland bandwagon, dare we say that photo-ops on a glacier are getting quite…common? But spending the night on one? You’ll need to venture farther into the Arctic Circle for that bucket list-worthy experience. This summer, plan a different kind of Euro trip to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, where the roads are sparse and polar bears are your bedfellows.
From May to September, adventure travel company Off the Map Travel’s “Night on a Glacier” program will bring thrill-seekers to the world’s northernmost commercial cabin: the über-quaint Nordenskiöld Lodge, perched on a moraine edge of the blue glacier.
Reaching a location this remote promises a journey just as exhilarating as the destination itself. Kicking off from the coal-mining town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen Island, a killer base for viewing the Northern Lights, you’ll embark on a zippy dog sledding trek to a Zodiac tender boat for a coastal cruise. As one of the greatest places on earth to encounter famed creatures of the tundra, you’re guaranteed to catch a glimpse of whales, walruses, and increasingly rare polar bears.
“This is a spectacular opportunity for adventure lovers,” says Off the Map Travel founder Jonny Cooper, “Svalbard is one of the world’s best spots for seeing wildlife, especially when the snow has melted.”
Prepare for a major digital detox. With no running water or electricity, the lodge gets its drinking water by melting glacial ice, and uses a wood fire to heat the cozy cabin. Every minute on the glacier is like resting upon a living beast, with the deep rumbles of ice cracking and splintering underneath you. With surprisingly mild temperatures in the summer months, all-day activities like guided glacier climbs, sea kayaking and scenic photo hikes won’t require excessive layering.
As the sun dips just below the horizon—or not at all, with midnight sun at the height of the season—you’ll gather with fellow guests for a home-cooked supper, a traditional sauna experience, and some more tundra wildlife spotting through the frosty windows of the lodge.
The customizable “Night on a Glacier” expedition starts at $1,500, and can be booked via Off the Map Travel’s website.