If you’ve hunted for the northern lights in Sweden, snowshoed in the Alps and gone husky-sledding in Finland, there is one fnal frontier left for you in Europe: the archipelago of Svalbard. This Norwegian territory, situated just east of Greenland, is the closest most aspiring polar explorers will get to the North Pole. The good news is that it offers a range of accessible adventures from its capital, Longyearbyen, found on its largest island, Spitsbergen. Even better is that there is near constant daylight from April onwards – so a visitor can pack in as many thrills as they have the inclination for during a spring break. The Svalbard Adventure Group specialises in group trips out into the Arctic wilderness, ensuring everyone is back in the warmth by teatime. The island has a long history of fur-trapping, and on one of its snowmobiling itineraries, guests whizz out across the snow and sea ice, through glacial valleys and in the shadow of the Temple Mountain, to an old trapper’s cottage, with the opportunity to spot Arctic foxes and reindeer en route. Lunch is taken in a traditional ‘lavvo’ tent. Other tours visit abandoned Russian towns, giant ice caves, and the more remote east coast, where the fortunate may spy polar bears hunting for seals.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
All fights to Longyearbyen go via Oslo and Tromsø in Norway. SAS and Norwegian both have services (from £280; fysas.com).
Svalbard Adventure Group runs a variety of snowmobile trips, for all abilities, until the end of May, as well as other excursions from Longyearbyen (from £175; svalbardbooking.com).
Basecamp runs the most atmospheric accommodation on the island. Its Longyearbyen hotel is designed in the style of a trappers’ station, with wood-lined walls, furs and maps galore (from £130; basecampexplorer.com).