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It’s safe to say Svalbard isn’t the most popular of vacation destinations — it could have something to do with the fact that polar bears outnumber residents or its freezing temperatures. But it’s an incredible place for travelers interested in dark skies, and the place to go if you want one of the best Northern Lights shows in the world.
That’s why luxury travel company Off the Map Travel has developed a 24-hour tour called All Day Aurora that gives travelers a great chance to experience the aurora. Available from November through January, this tour takes place during a season that sees dark skies 24 hours of the day. But you won’t just be standing around waiting for the Northern Lights to show up.
During the aurora hunt, visitors will snowshoe to nearby ice caves, learn how to dogsled and ride on Snowcats. While resting up for the remainder of the search, guests will stay at the Funken Lodge, which just completed a substantial renovation in 2018.
Svalbard’s location at 78-degrees North means that, during the winter, the sun remains at least six degrees below the horizon at all times. “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,” said Jonny Cooper, Off the Map Travel founder and Arctic travel expert.
Despite its name, this 24-hour Northern Lights hunt actually takes place over the span of four days. That’s close to 100 hours of twilight and utter darkness during which your odds of spotting the shimmering auroras are pretty high. On the first day of the tour, travelers arrive and settle into the hotel. On the second day, they embark on a dog-sledding adventure. Day three is dedicated to snowshoeing, and the final day ends with a Snowcat ride.
Prices for this experience start around $1,600 per person (not including flights). Into it? You can read more about the All Day Aurora tour and how to book your own vacation on the Off the Map Travel website.
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