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Find your very own inspiring adventure with Explore.
Our dedicated adventure travel experts continue to innovate and create exciting and pioneering adventures. Relaxed or active - the choice is endless.
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Our Explore family adventure holidays are designed for families looking for a fun and memorable holiday, allowing you to explore exotic and unique destinations, with all of the logistics taken care of.
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Packed with adventure, these tours offer inspiring destinations and authentic travel experiences at a reasonable price. Using all kinds of transport and accommodation, we’ll take you off the beaten track to discover the true heart of the people and places you visit.
Travelling in small groups is more flexible and allows us to be less conspicuous: we travel and eat with the local people, stay in smaller, family-run hotels and visit places inaccessible to larger groups.
Easy paced tours with plenty of time to relax and absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.
The information below is intended to assist you as you consider your travel options with Explore. In addition to the detailed itinerary each trip has been supported with some useful information to provide you with an overview of your accommodation & meals, all things money, passports, visas, vaccinations, insurance, clothing, personal equipment and much more to help you with your travel preparations.
Each departure date has it's own dedicated trip note, detailing all you need to know about that trip. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.
We have the following different versions of the Realm of the Polar Bear - Expedition trip available at present.
Please select a date:
Accommodation and Meals Expand
Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date.
For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.
Budgeting for your trip Expand
You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the trip price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.
The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide.Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.
Lunch £: 12.00 - 16.00
Dinner £: 35.00 - 40.00
The prices for drinks can vary greatly depending upon location and the prices detailed below are an average guide. In general you would expect that drinks purchased in a supermarket or local bar to be less expensive, whilst drinks in an upmarket bar or restaurant may be more expensive.
Area Text: Encircling the northern hemisphere, the Arctic Circle marks the latitude which runs 66° north of the equator. Much of the area within the Arctic Circle is ocean, but it also runs through the northern extremities of Canada, Russia, the USA (Alaska), Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as a large portion of Greenland. At its centre lies the North Pole where all lines of longitude come to an end. There is no land here, but there is almost always a thick sheet of floating ice. In the winter months, the Arctic region endures long hours of darkness, plunging temperatures and a dramatic increase in snow and ice cover on both sea and land. All of our polar voyages to the Arctic take place during the summer months (May to September) to take advantage of the longer daylight hours (24-hour daylight at the June summer solstice) and the warmer temperatures. As the sea ice retreats, it becomes possible for ships to navigate further north. The summer sun thaws the surface of the land for an all too brief time of abundance for the flora and fauna. Rare flowering plants, mosses and lichens spring into life and an array of wildlife makes the most of the season for spawning and preparing to survive the coming winter. Hungry polar bears can be seen roaming the land, walruses and seals take to the waters, while Arctic foxes raid nests for eggs and vast flocks of seabirds feed on an ocean teeming with fish. Travel to this region rewards adventurous travellers with areas of pristine wilderness, the enchanting beauty of the blues and whites of sea ice and wildlife encounters which are unique to this part of the world.
Area Text: Deep within the Arctic Circle, the untamed landscapes of Norway's Svalbard archipelago stretch out into the Arctic Ocean. The largest island in the archipelago is Spitsbergen - arguably the best place in the world to see polar bears in the wild. Adventurous travellers journey to Spitsbergen to admire its pristine, snow-covered landscapes and to go in search of its wildlife. The area is home to a surprising number of species, some of which are endemic to the Arctic. The sea supports strong populations of marine mammals including walrus, five species of seal including the polar bear's favourite prey - the ringed seal and 12 species of whale including the ghostly white beluga whale. On land, Svalbard reindeer graze on whatever vegetation they can find while Arctic foxes search for bird eggs and chicks with which to feed their hungry cubs. Top of the wildlife list for most people is the polar bear. In the summer months, shrinking ice sheets deny the polar bear of its main way of hunting. Hungry bears take to scavenging whale carcasses and raiding bird nests to supplement their main source of nutrition - seals - which are best hunted from the ice. Female bears with cubs have a particular challenge in making sure their young get enough to eat. To see this top carnivore in the wild is truly thrilling. In the summer months, birds flock to Svalbard to take advantage of the abundant supply of food. Little auks turn cliffs into noisy breeding colonies while in the lakes and lagoons grey phalaropes, red-throated divers and common eider take up residence. Off shore, northern fulmar, puffins and kittiwakes are commonly seen. The area also supports a population of the rare ivory gull. While on land you may also see Arctic skua, Svalbard Rock ptarmigan and barnacle or Brent geese. The best way of travelling in Spitsbergen to maximise every wildlife viewing opportunity is by small expedition ship. Standing on the viewing decks you can enjoy a fantastic vantage point from which to spot and photograph the surroundings. And with so many pairs of eyes and binoculars constantly scanning the horizon, the chances of spotting what is there are excellent. Zodiac inflatable boats get you even closer and provide the perfect transport to take you to shore to explore on foot (polar bears permitting!). Our polar rates ships are capable of nudging their way through sea ice and the team of polar experts on board enhance the experience with lectures to impart their extensive knowledge. As these voyages operate in the summer months, long daylight hours mean that you can make the most of every minute.
Bottle of Beer £: 6.00 - 8.00
Water £: 2.00 - 3.00
Area Text: At the northern tip of Europe is this land of deep, dramatic fjords, mighty glaciers and midnight sun. Part of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, including the isolated archipelago of Svalbard, but other regions are also unspoilt, uninhabited wildernesses and nearly as remote. Norway’s most iconic symbol is the fjord, a sheer-sided inlet gouged out by glaciers. West Norway is fjord country and has Europe’s longest, the Sognefjord, which is one of the most visited, along with the Hardangerfjord. Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord are equally impressive, with their vertiginous sides, snow-capped peaks and magnificent waterfalls. One of Europe’s most spectacular train journeys is in Norway. The Flam Railway runs from Myrdal in the mountains dropping down over 800 metres to Flam on the shores of Aurlandsfjord and passes roaring waterfalls. From Flam cruise ships operate on Aurlandsfjord to Sognefjord. Given Norway’s wealth of wild beauty, it’s not surprising that it offers many stunning natural attractions. For one of the best views in Europe, head to the viewpoint at Dalsnibba at 1,500 metres above sea level. Here, you can gaze down over the surrounding mountains, the Geirangerfjord and its UNESCO protected area. At over 200 metres high, the Kjosfossen waterfall is one of the most impressive sights along the Flam Railway. Or go on a glacier hike in Jostedalsbreen National Park and see mainland Europe’s largest glacier. The vast Austfonna in Svalbard is the world’s third largest ice cap, after Greenland and Antarctica, and Europe’s largest glacier. Norway is one of Europe’s top destinations for winter sports. Even in the capital city, Oslo, you’re only 30 minutes away from thousands of kilometres of cross-country skiing trails, at Oslo Winter Park Tryvann. Snowboarding is also excellent at Tryvann. You can ski 2,000 metres down the mountain in the Sunnmore Alps from Stranda Ski Resort to Geirangerfjord in western Norway. Much further north, in Svalbard, get out in the wilderness with dog sledging or on a snowmobile across the frozen tundra. Norway’s settlements are in some stunning locations. Bergen sits on a peninsula surrounded by seven mountains and fjords, with a brightly painted waterfront warehouses dating from the 15th century, when the town was a Hanseatic trading post. Oslo is sandwiched between Oslofjord and vast forests, while Svalbard’s main settlement is Longyearbyen, set in a barren treeless landscape, snow-covered in winter and which spends an equal amount of days in the year in the midnight sun and polar night.
This optional extra is only available if you book prior to departure - please speak to one of our polar experts for availability and to reserve your place.
ATM Availability: Cash can be drawn on credit or debit cards from ATMs in major cities.
Credit Card Acceptance: Credit cards are useful and can be used in many places, but may be subject to a service charge. The ship accepts Visa and Mastercard.
Travellers Cheques: Travellers Cheques can be difficult to exchange and are not accepted aboard.
Recommended Currency for Exchange: A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. It is advisable to take a minimum of US$200-500 of your total spending money in cash, in mixed denominations (notes should be in good condition).
Where to Exchange: Banks or Forex offices in major cities.
Major Language: Norwegian
ATM Availability: ATMs are available in Myre and at Oslo and Evenes Airports.
Credit Card Acceptance: Credit cards are generally accepted at many hotels and optional excursions may be paid for by credit card.
Travellers Cheques: Not recommended.
Local Currency: Norwegian Krona
Recommended Currency for Exchange: Take Norwegian Krona with you
Where to Exchange: Recommend you buy some Norwegian Krona before departing the UK (or whist in transit in Oslo).
Joining your trip Expand
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found on our website at www.explore.co.uk, in the tour specific dates and prices section.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer. For more information please refer to https://www.explore.co.uk/transfers.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer please refer to https://www.explore.co.uk/transfers.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Important Information Expand
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Under 18 immigration guidance
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
Vaccinations & Protection
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.
The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.
Preparing for your trip Expand
Seasonal Climate Despite the northern latitudes the climate in Norway is not extreme, due to the affects of the North Atlantic Drift. Between May and September is the best time to visit this region, with summer temperatures reaching the high teens and rain a regular feature year round along the coast. North of the Arctic Circle the sun does not set between the middle of May and the end of July, so you can expect to encounter the midnight sun during this period.
A refilllable water bottle
Camera and memory cards (and something to protect the camera when out in the elements)
Personal First Aid
- men's UK size 12 & 13 1/2
- women's UK size below three & seven and above
Guests must bring their own if they are:
- men's UK size six 1/2 or smaller
- men's UK size 13 1/2 or larger
- women's UK size two or smaller
- women's UK size nine 1/2 or larger
These are rubber, waterproof boots that are just below your knees with a strong, ridged non-skid sole.
You usually have to step from the Zodiac into icy water up to 30 cm high on most landings. Do not bring heavy, cumbersome boots that make it difficult to walk or boots with metal cleats as they cannot be used for landings. For maximum warmth, wear loose-fitting boots and two pairs of socks. Try out your boots before the voyage.
This will be provided by the ship operator. Please register your size with us before travel and we will arrange for your parka to be available in your cabin on arrival.
Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost).
Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava.
Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good.
Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet.
Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship.
Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.
General Information Expand
Electric Supply & Plugs
2 Pin Round
2 Pin Round
Why choose Explore Expand
We’ve been creating award-winning pioneering adventure holidays for over 30 years, earning the trust of thousands of delighted customers, who feel safe in our hands. Our tour leaders have expert local knowledge and our tours are designed to take you off the beaten track to see the most exotic, inspiring and dramatic places in the world.
- With over 30 years' experience, we are passionate about what we do.
- Pioneering small group adventures, self-guided, private journeys & tailormade holidays.
- Award winning tour leaders who you can trust.
- Responsible travel is and always has been one the driving principles of Explore.
Our adventure holidays are full of exciting things to see and do, exploring in small groups travelling by bus, boat, plane, rickshaw, camel, or any number of unusual forms of transport . Often you will stay in family run hotels and village houses and enjoy authentic local cuisine. In this way, it’s easy to discover the true heart of the people and the place you travel to – and make some new friends along the way. Each tour is uniquely different, so please feel free to browse through our tours to see what may whet your appetite.
When you travel with Explore, you are directly contributing to local economies and helping empower the people you meet. We currently support a range of charities and good causes, including: Toilet Twinning (helping to flush away poverty), Lone Buffalo Foundation (a community project based in Laos providing creative skills for young people), Dekamer ( a turtle rescue centre in Turkey) and Kids Saving the Rainforest (a wildlife rescue centre in Costa Rica supported through the LATA foundation). We also care passionately about the world’s wildlife. We are patrons of the Born Free Organisation and Friends of Conservation.
- The Travel Foundation
Explore are active members and supporters of the Travel Foundation which has established a variety of sustainable tourism projects in destinations and works with industry to improve practice. Visit their website www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk
- Tourism Concern
Explore support the work of Tourism Concern who campaign for fairly and ethically traded tourism, and are part of its Ethical Tour Operator Group www.tourismconcern.org.uk
- For further information on responsible travel go to www.explore.co.uk/ResponsibleTourism/
Know before you go
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice follow the link at www.explore.co.uk/travel-safety
Booking your holiday Expand
You can book your Explore holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected. Explore is a fully bonded tour operator licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and by ABTOT.
The air holiday packages (Tours including flights) that we advertise are ATOL protected, since we hold an Air Travel Organiser's LicenceÂ granted by the Civil Aviation Authority.Â Our ATOL number is ATOL 2595. In addition, As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), Explore has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with Explore.
To reserve your place on this tour you will need to check availability on the Explore website or through our dedicated call centre based in the UK where you can. Our tours can fill up quickly so you are advised to book as early as possible. If your chosen date is ‘Available’ or ‘Guaranteed’ we will be able to provisionally hold you a space for up to 48 hours.
For Self-Guided holidays and Private Journeys simply choose your date of travel and let us know so we can confirm all ground services.
The easiest way to confirm your booking is through our website. When you are ready to book, we normally require a 10% non-refundable deposit, but for some holidays this may be more to cover such items as permit fees, internal flights or other non-refundable services. If your travel starts within 60 days of booking, full payment will be required at the time of booking
The price paid for our holidays is no longer subject to change. Once booked and confirmed we will guarantee the price you pay will not increase, whatever the circumstances. You will not be approached to pay fuel surcharges unlike the vast majority of other adventure tour operators. The price guarantee applies to all new bookings departing between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2017.
Have you tried?
Explore Worldwide Ltd is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 01577018. Registered office: Nelson House, 55 Victoria Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 7PA