Do as the locals

Do as the locals

Experience Svalbard's wilderness on a snowmobile

7 totally awesome snowmobile tours in Svalbard

In Svalbard snowmobiling is a natural part of the Svalbard lifestyle. As soon as the landscape is covered with snow, travellers and locals cruise into the Arctic wilderness – with the ultimate feeling of freedom.

Remember to always go organized with a local guide who can take care of your safety so that you can enjoy the adventure without a worry. We recommend you to do your research before choosing a tour, as previous snowmobile experience may be required for certain tours while others are suitable for most people.

Here are 7 snowmobile adventures worth checking out if you want to take part in the local lifestyle and experience the wilderness of Svalbard.

Jan Hvizdal

The famous Tempelfjord and Fredheim Trapper Station

50 kilometres from Longyearbyen you’ll reach the scenic Tempelfjord. This tour is a great choice for people who do not have a lot of experience with snowmobiling but would like to spend a full day out in the wilderness. In addition to the breathtaking nature, the tour also includes a visit to Fredheim Trapper Station, located on the shores of the fjord. The picture perfect cabin used to be the hunting base of the trapper Hilmar Nøis, who spent 38 winters on Svalbard. Some of the tours going here also include a visit to the Tuna Glacier if the ice conditions allow it.
Distance in km: ca. 150 km (Roundtrip)
Duration: 7-8 hours
Level of difficulty: 3

Ann Jensen Nordvålen

The majestic Advent Valley with el-sled

The ultimate way to experience the Arctic silence and the northern lights is on an el sled! Hurtigruten Svalbard’s new electric and emission-free snowmobiles will be ready to take you to the Advent Valley during the Northern Lights Winter. Even though the valley is close to Longyearbyen, it is both wild and impressive. This tour lasts for 3 hours and is suitable for most people. 
Distance in km: 20 km (Roundtrip)
Duration: 3 hours
Level of difficulty: 2

The dramatic East Coast

This long full day tour to the East Coast of Spitsbergen is a favourite among travellers coming to Svalbard. The east coast is generally colder than the west due to the distance from the Gulf Stream. This means the chances of seeing polar bears (at a safe distance!) are higher than that of other snowmobile tours. But remember, there are no guarantees, as the polar bears in Svalbard are all wild. Polar bear or not, this magnificent landscape will impress even the most adventurous globetrotter.
Distance in km: ca 200 km (Roundtrip)
Duration: 10 hours
Level of difficulty: 4

Jan Nordvålen

The scenic view point at Elveneset

If the 8 hour snowmobile tours are too long for you, we recommend a visit to beautiful Elveneset. This is where the wild, beautiful and untouched fjords of Svalbard meet, approximately 35 kilometers from Longyearbyen. You’ll get a view of the Sassenfjorden and Templet Mountain which was describes as “the world’s most beautiful mountain” by trapper Hilmar Nøis.
Distance in km: 70 km (Roundtrip)
Duration: 5 hours
Level of difficulty: 3

Jan Nordvålen

The magical ice caves

During the winter season, there are several ice caves in glaciers reachable by snowmobile from Longyearbyen that are popular to visit. The ice caves have a magical atmosphere of their own, with beautiful ice formations and a pressing silence once you've entered a cave. With several different ice caves that are available, the snowmobile trips to these can vary in terms of difficulty, duration and distance.
Distance in km: ca. 20 - 90 km (Roundtrip) 
Duration: 3-5 hours
Level of difficulty: 2-3

A person with a camera standing on wooden steps inside of an ice cave 

The boutique hotel Isfjord Radio

You might have heard about this unique boutique hotel and gourmet restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Most people visiting Isfjord Radio go there with an organized tour group and spend a night or two at the hotel, but you can also go there for a one day tour. No matter which of these options you go for, there’ll be stunning sceneries along the way and delicious local food served at the hotel. Be aware that this is a long day tour if you choose to go back to Longyearbyen on the same day.
Distance in km: ca 180 km (Roundtrip)
Duration: 9 hours
Level of difficulty: 4

Enjoy the northern lights on a snowmobile

With a snowmobile you can easily get away from the lights of Longyearbyen to chase the northern lights in the wilderness. You'll find both organiserd guided northern lights safaris by snowmobile in the area close to Longyearbyen and further away from town in Brattlidalen. With a range of guided trips that are available, there's a variation in the level of difficulty, duration and distance on the various trips so that there are trips that may be suitable for most people.
Distance in km: From ca. 20 km to 100 km (Roundtrip)
Duration: 3-7 hours
Level of difficulty: 2-3

To persons on snowmobiles looking out across a landscape with northern lights in the skies in the background 

Before you go:

Remember to always go for an organized tour and with a local guide. The nature in Svalbard can be unpredictable, the weather can change in an instant, and conditions out in the wilderness are ever changing. With an organized tour group and a local guide you can head out knowing you’re in safe hands.

Even though it possible to have a passenger with you on the snowmobile we recommend  you to drive solo on a snowmobile as it is easier to manoeuvre the snowmobile without a passenger, meaning you’ll have more control of your ride and experience!

The activity provider will lend you the necessary equipment like suits, helmets and shoes for snowmobiling. But remember to always bring warm underwear and clothing to wear beneath the snowmobile gear. Learn more about how to dress for the winter in Svalbard here.

To be able to go snowmobiling in Svalbard you need a valid drivers license. As a passenger you do not need a license.

Video by Jarle Røssland
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