NORTHERN LIGHTS IN STYLE & COMFORT

Skip the Expedition – Enjoy the Comfort of a Private Tour and Lodge with a Glass-Fronted Sauna

The new five-day/four-night A Polar Night adventure takes you close to the North Pole with a private tour and stay in comfort and isolation at the Juva Cabin in Svalbard, Norway. Launched by specialist travel company Off the Map Travel, the exclusive program brings adventurous travelers in search of the Northern Lights to a remote area with 24-hour darkness and a complete absence of light pollution where chances to see the Aurora are strongest. Only accessible in the snow during the winter months, Juva Cabin is the most remote comfort-oriented tourist accommodation in Svalbard.

The secluded cabin is positioned strategically to deliver the best possible views of Svalbard’s wild, pristine scenery, and optimal viewing of the Aurora. Equipped with cushy beds, a fireplace, a Scandinavian-styled lounge room, kitchen, and a barrel-shaped standalone wood sauna, the Juva Cabin allows for comfort in an Arctic experience.

Customized by Aurora Experts

Designed by Off the Map Travel’s Aurora experts, A Polar Night takes travelers to a remote location marked by a dark, clear sky. Optimizing the possibility of witnessing the colorful Northern Lights, the program offers guests a comfortable experience, different from that of a traditional Arctic expedition. Beginning in Oslo, the program travels North to Svalbard, an archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

“To have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights you need a polar sky. Where the sun never rises, going as far north as possible, there’s greater possibility of viewing the brilliant colors,” noted Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel.

Priced from £2699 ($3252.54 USD per person at the time of this writing), based on two people travelling, the program is available from January to May and includes all meals, one night’s lodging in Oslo’s boutique Amerikalinjen Hotel, two night’s lodging in Funken Lodge in Longyearbyen, one night in Juva Cabin in Svalbard, transfers, and all activities. Flights are additional.

Program Summary

After a night in Oslo’s premier boutique hotel, the Arctic portion begins with a night at Funken Lodge, a luxury accommodation located in Longyearbyen, a small coal-mining town on Spitsbergen Island overlooking the Lars- and Longyear glaciers. The evening kicks off the Northern Lights search with a panoramic ice-and-snow filled tour on a snowcat.

From Funken Lodge, guests meet a dog sled team that will take them to the Juva Cabin in Svalbard. Once there, guests can cozy up by the fire or head to the barrel-shaped, glass-fronted sauna which offers panoramic views of the mountains.

Following breakfast, guests will mush their way back to the dog kennels before returning for a final night at Funken Lodge and dinner at the lodge’s international-cuisine Funktionaermessen Restaurant. The restaurant’s onsite Champagne cellar is a special attraction.

As with any itinerary from Off the Map Travel, the program can be customized to fit the wishes and requirements of the guest.

For more information visit www.offthemap.travel, call 1-646-701-0041 or email info@offthemap.travel

Full itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Oslo and make your way to the city center to your centrally located hotel, Amerikalinjen. Check into your superior room and get settled before heading out for dinner at one of the city’s many restaurants.

Day 2

Check out for your flight north to Svalbard. On arrival into Longyearbyen, you will meet your private transfer who will take you to the luxurious Scandinavian-designed Funken Lodge. Check in before heading out to explore the city. This evening you will head out on a panoramic snowcat tour to the viewpoint of ‘Linken’ on the side of the mountain ‘Hiorthfjellet’ on the other side of Adventdalen to take in the views of Longyearbyen.

Day 3

Today, after breakfast, you will meet your guide who will drive you to the kennels to meet your dog sled team. You will set off with the dogs and follow the riverbed that heads into Bolterdalen, surrounded by mountains. As you travel through the valley you will find a place to stop for lunch and after an enjoyable day behind the sleds, you will arrive at the new Juva Cabin in the heart of the wilderness, equipped with electricity, bedrooms, lounge room and kitchen. January offers the possibility of 24-hour Northern Lights searching. In February, March, April and May, the light is particularly magical, with limited hours of daylight. Unharness and feed the dogs, before enjoying your dinner in your comfortable cabin where you can relax and warm up in front of the fire. For more viewing in a warm, secure setting, the outside barrel-shaped sauna offers large glass windows facing the night sky.

Day 4

After breakfast, it’s time to get the dogs ready to head back to Longyearbyen. You will head west and mush your way into Helvetiadalen before you make your way back towards Bolterdalen. Relax in Longyearbyen prior to dinner at Funken Lodge’s own restaurant, or opt for a reservation at a town restaurant such as Huset.

Day 5 

Check out for your private transfer to the airport.

OFF THE MAP TRAVEL

The team at Off the Map Travel works with experiences and destinations that allow people to explore hidden wonders of our planet. Specializing in Soft Adventure OTMT creates tailor-made holiday itineraries offering authentic experiences not offered by many larger travel companies.  For more information on Off the Map Travel itineraries visit www.offthemap.travel; call 1-646-701-0041; email info@offthemap.travel  or join in the conversation on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube or Pinterest.

Check It out: The Top Ten Winter Experiences in Fairbanks, Alaska

Winter takes center stage for five full months in Fairbanks, Alaska, and offers a plethora of extraordinary things to do says my friend Jerry Evans, who goes on to list what to do when visiting. Mush a team of huskies? Check. Snowshoe through a winter wonderland? Check. Scan the skies for the aurora? Check. The list goes on. Fairbanks is like a trip inside a snow globe, so finding spectacular outdoor winter experiences is as easy as one, two, three!

Chase the Lights of the Aurora Borealis

@Sherman Hogue

Fairbanks is one of the best places on the planet to view the northern lights and this awe-inspiring activity tops everyone’s to-do list. We invite you to witness the magic and knock northern lights viewing off your bucket list.

@Sherman Hogue

Be spirited away by the captivating light of the aurora borealis while you partake in a multitude of other spectacular winter activities.                                                                                                                 

Hang with Reindeer

Fairbanks has plenty of ways to engage with Saint Nick’s furry friends including walking with these majestic critters through the boreal forest or seeing them in various locations near Fairbanks. You can even pay to visit them in nearby North Pole “where the spirit of Christmas lives year-round.” 

Fish a Frozen Lake

@Kevin Yokum

Drill down into clear lake ice, which can be up to four feet thick, craft the hole, drop your line, and presto! It’s dinnertime! Your fishing guide will help you catch chinook or coho salmon, arctic char, or rainbow trout. Some outfitters will even cook your freshly caught fish for you in a warm and comfortable ice hut on the frozen lake.

Explore the Inside of a Glacier

Yes, you heard that right…go inside a glacier. The Castner Glacier to be specific. Just a 2.5-hour pristine ride from Fairbanks, this amazing glacier cave will blow your mind. It does require a short hike (2.6 miles round trip) and a modicum of common sense…but the bragging rights are off the charts.

Snowmobile Through the Wilds

Riding a snowmobile, or “snowmachine” as it is most often referred to in Alaska, is one of the easiest ways to get into the spectacular snowy wilds surrounding Fairbanks. Get a local guide to outfit you, show you the ropes and experience the full-throttle rush for yourself.

Watch Artists Create Sculptures of Ice

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In Fairbanks, ice art is not only remarkable but commonplace during winter months with sculptures found all around town. Visitors can watch incredible artworks emerge from huge blocks of ice as sculptors work with chain saws and specialized ice carving tools.

Ice art peaks in February and March with two large ice events that include giant ice sculptures, ice mazes, ice slides and much more.

@Sherman Hogue

Journey Atop the Snow

Get off the beaten path and view amazing winter vistas with an invigorating jaunt via snowshoes. Or hit the miles and miles of world-class trails on a pair of cross-country skis. Take in the pristine wilderness and embrace the winter days, when the striking silver-blue sky is often embellished with alpenglow sunsets and sunrises, sundogs, or sparkling snowflakes.                                           

Soak in a Natural Hot Spring

Have a rejuvenating soak in a natural outdoor hot spring at the end of an adventure-filled day. At Chena Hot Springs Resort, you can relish the crisp winter air and the swirling northern lights above while your hair freezes in wild and wonderful ways. Let the healing, mineral-rich spring water relax your body and warm your soul.

Take a Roadtrip to the Arctic Circle or Denali National Park

The Arctic Circle and Denali National Park are two iconic destinations easily accessible from Fairbanks. The Arctic Circle is 195 miles (315 Km) north of Fairbanks and Denali is 120 miles (193 Km) to the south. Both of these majestic places are reached via inspirational drives through extraordinary winter landscapes.

Mush a Team of Huskies

@Sherman Hogue

Alaska’s sled dogs will champion the trail and win your heart…and getting into the backcountry by accessing Alaska’s state sport – dog mushing – has never been easier. You can book a 30-minute jaunt, a half-day mushing school or a legendary journey with these four-legged athletes.

@Sherman Hogue

Dog mushing is an exhilarating and soulful way to connect to the area’s pristine natural world.     

Make a List and Check It Twice                                        

@Sherman Hogue

Use this top ten list to plan an unforgettable winter expedition to the dazzling land of ice and snow. For more information check out ExploreFairbanks.com. To order our free 2021-22 Fairbanks Winter Guide and the companion piece, the 2022 Fairbanks Visitors Guide, contact Explore Fairbanks at 1-800-327-5774 or (907) 456-5774 or write to Explore Fairbanks, 101 Dunkel St, Suite 111, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4806. View or order both guides online at ExploreFairbanks.com.