1. Longyearbyen: Northern Lights Evening with Dinner
This tour combines a delicious rustic dinner with knowledgeable local hosts, an informative presentation on the aurora borealis and an excellent location for spotting the lights for yourself. This tour begins with a bus transfer from the hotel, taking you out into the Advent Valley to Camp Barentz, which is literally located at the end of the road. Your host for the evening will meet you at the bus, rifle over their shoulder, and provide a quick safety briefing before you head to the cabin. A shot of akevitt will be offered to warm you up as you enter, and the crackling open fire place will ensure you are comfortable in no time. The evening will begin with a little introduction to Svalbard and the discovery of the archipelago in 1596 by Willem Barentz, the namesake of the camp. One of the cabins here is actually a replica of the cabin he and his crew built on Novaya Zemlaya when they got stuck in the ice there after visiting Svalbard. Beer, wine and soft drinks will be served, and you may start to notice a delicious aroma in the cabin, coming from the pot bubbling over the open fire. This pot contains Bidos, a traditional Sami soup consisting of reindeer and root vegetables. The hosts will serve this at your table—and feel free to ask for seconds! A presentation about the northern lights will follow, including how they are formed and why, as well as local information on research that has taken place in this area. During the evening the hosts will be keeping an eye on the night sky, so don't be surprised if the evening is disrupted by a call to head outside and enjoy the show. A delicious chocolate brownie will be served for dessert, together with campfire coffee. The bus will arrive to collect you at about 9:30 PM, at which point you will return to civilization full of delicious food, interesting facts, and incredible local stories.