A breathtakingly dramatic archipelago between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard has long been Europe’s go-to destination for observing polar bears, walruses and Arctic fauna in the wild. Each winter, the sea ice descends from the north and wraps itself around Svalbard’s islands, offering some of the world’s most spectacular polar landscapes: soaring glacier faces, enormous icebergs and snow-cloaked mountains that roll away into the horizon.
Intrepid travellers looking to discover one of the world’s last true wildernesses can experience the magic of this region up close, and in the company of equally intrepid explorers on board a 12-passenger vessel with Twin Tracks Expeditions.
The brainchild of Swedish twins Rickard and David Berg, and Rickard’s wife, Heather Thorkelson, Twin Tracks Expeditions was born from their experience as polar guides and expedition leaders in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Having led expeditions across the world, from Greenland to the Antarctica, the brothers have put their extensive expertise to good use, realising there was a gap in the market for very small vessels for discerning travellers who are looking for a more intimate, immersive polar adventure. With their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for storytelling, there’s rarely a dull moment when on expedition with Twin Tracks.
Discovering these islands is best done by water — and in style. The only affordable luxury small vessel operating in Svalbard, the MV Polarfront can go where larger ships can’t, including secluded inlets where a polar bear and her cubs might be hunting for seals. After a day’s exploring, travellers can unwind onboard the luxurious ship that offers all the amenities of the larger 100-plus passenger vessels — think large, sumptuous cabins, an outdoor sauna and hot tub, a large gym, a panoramic lounge, and exquisite cuisine from a five-star French chef.
As luxurious as a Twin Tracks Expedition may be, cruising these rugged islands is a truly wild adventure. Guests are taken out on zodiacs (inflatable rubber boats) for excursions, including from skirting dramatic ice walls and challenging hikes to supreme vantage points for unforgettable, snow-white vistas — a recipe for a truly unforgettable trip of a lifetime.
How to do it
A 10-night round-trip voyage from £8,850 per person, based on two people sharing. Twin Tracks Expeditions’ all-inclusive fares include transfer to the ship from your hotel in Longyearbyen, house wine and beer with meals, and use of Sea-Cycles (weather permitting).