Most accessible experience of tundra and far north
Short season of decent weather, polar bears are real
A very friendly and international atmosphere reigns.
Our cruise excursion took us to a Wilderness Center where we met Husky dog trainers who teach dogs to pull sleds. They told us about the dogs, how they are trained, and gave us a demonstration of hooking them up to sleds. The dogs were excited at the thought of pulling the sled, but, after a couple of minutes, they realized they wouldn't get to...more
This is the longest trip they have from Longyearbyen: usually it takes 8 to 10 hours. The most important thing about this trip is your clear awareness - are you a driver or a passenger? If this is your first time driving snowmobile (even if you are quite experienced car or any other sort of transport driver) it will probably be quite a challenge to...more
We went to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, with 2 friends. They took the huskie-pulling-wagon tour with Svalbard Villmarkssenter, and had a terrific time, with tea and cake in an old, historic cabin. They were also offered "warm suits", which they foolishly refused and froze. We took the tour with Svalbard Huskies, and weren't as impressed by the...more
It was great to kayak across the Adventfjord. I love kayaking, and enjoyed the opportunity to kayak in very cold water using first class equipment. We got dry-suits, with good instructions on how to put them on, wool socks, rubber boots, life jackets, and gloves. Recommendation - wear a good amount under your dry-suit; they're not that warm. I had...more
This was my personal highlight in Longyearbyen! The church of Longyearbyen is open all day (and night), and even if nobody is there to welcome you, you still feel welcome! Of course you have to take off your shoes (see my local custom tip), but there are plenty of slippers there to choose from! You then go up the stairs and enter a room with chairs...more
The Svalbard Museum was located in an old building on the edge of Longyearbyen until the end of 2005. It was then moved to the Svalbard Science Center.We visited the museum and its exhibitions on history, culture and wildlife in the old setting and I just loved the way it was set up! It did not look too professional, but rather like a fondly...more
The tourist information is in the center of Longyearbyen and has excellent information on the town, but most of all on interesting excursions, walks and visits. The staff is very helpful in trying to assist you in finding your personal thing to do!The tourist information is located in The Gateway to Svalbard (Svalbardporten). Their opening hours...more
I joined a boat trip to the Esmark galcier and Barentsburg. First we cross Isfjorden and sail up towards the calving glacier face of the Esmark glacier. Here we were served a barbaque lunch. In Barentsburg we had a guided tour with a Russian english speaking guide and we had some time on our own. On the way back to Longyearbyen we passed old...more
I joined a evening tour with MS Langøysund on Sassenfjorden with a panoramic view of Tempelfjellet and the Tuna- and Von Post glaciers at the innermost reaches of the Tempelfjord. In May the fjords become ice free and between June and September and it is possible to go by boat and experience, majestic mountain peaks and bird cliffs with nesting...more
P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen, 9170, Norway
Good for: Families
The SAS hotel has a very central location only 100 m from the main shopping area. It has 95 rooms...more
P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen, I 9171, Norway
Good for: Business
Great food, great atmosphere, friendly service, oldest restaurant in Longyearbyen.I visited every day during my holiday.The giant white bust of Lenin peeking from behind the bar .Situated in the town centre. Fully licensed bar, pub and á la carte restaurant. Beef sandwich was my favorite.Whale was special, toomore
When we visited Longyearbyen Church (see my To Do Tips), we were surprised to find a thermos full of coffee there, tea and waffles, cream and berries.Nobody was there to serve us, so we helped ourselves! There was a little written note asking us to leave the money there, so that is what we did - and with pleasure, too!It was so nice to sit in the...more
Huset ("the house") is the place to be! It has a restaurant, a café, a bar, a nightclub, a cinema (certain sundays only) and a duty free kiosk!In their cafeteria they serve a daily lunch at an exceptionally low price: Mondays - Fridays it only costs 76 NOK (2006), the Saturday steak is 99 NOK (2006) and Sundays reindeer steak is 125 NOK (2006) -...more
Husets Cafè is a historical place. A lot of Longyearbyens inhabitants eat most of their meals here. This place was open in the fifties and has been popular since. The menu is more or less the same and they have a daily lunch for a very nice price.Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 16.00-23.00.Friday: 16.00-04.00Saturday: 14.00-04.00Sunday:...more
The only way to get to Longyearbyen (asuming you're not allready on Svalbard) is by plane. There are currently two airlines flying to/from Longyearbyen, Norwegain and SAS. - Norwegian is considered the cheap airline, but you have to pay extra for bringing luggage that needs to be checked in. - With SAS one bag of 23 kg or less is included in the...more
By now you should be familiar with the Longyearbyen Church - not only a place to worship, but also a lovely café and a souvenir shop!!!
Next to the goodies we found lots of lovely souvenirs for sale - and since nobody was there to sell it to us, we just went by the list and left the money required! I bought some Svalbard socks for my husband and a supercute polar bear bookmark for my stepdaughter. They also had pens, mugs, caps, little polar bear toys etc.
What amazed me most was the confidence they had in the visitors - they did not even have a place to put the money in, but they were sure we would put it somewhere!
Because of the threat of polar bears many people will (have to) carry guns with them, which is a necessary thing to do! But no guns are allowed inside any building - which is a very clever regulation as well!Still it is quite unusual to see this kind of sign: "hey, please leave your gun outside...."! This picture was taken at the Longyearbyen post...more
This is a custom that you will find all over the northern European countries and it Svalabard does not make an exception from that rule: wherever you go and enter a building, you are kindly asked to take off your shoes! This held true for the tourist information, the church, the museum - quite unusual for me! Okay, the supermarket, the post office,...more
Polar bears are real and they are in the area outside of town. There are a bit more than 2,000 people on Spitsbergen Island and about 2,000 polar bears. We heard the advice that if you are out of town then you should be armed and proficient in its use. Some people like to kayak/camp. The locals take specific actions to minimize the threat from...more
At first I could not believe it, but it definitely is true:Polar Bears are an acute danger in Svalbard - and even in settlements like Longyearbyen you are not safe! There is a warning out that you should always carry a rifle when leaving the settlement - and that is no joke at all! All over you can hear about encounters with polar bears - and many...more
Polar Bears are the largest land carnivore. A male polar bear weigh about 350 to more than 650 kg and are about 2.5 to 3 m long. Normally Polar Bears are not to be found in the centre of Longyearbyen, but occationally they get to the vicinity of the city. This means one should never leave the centre of Longyearbyen without firearms. The only Polar...more
Bring a lot of warm clothing even in summer. Just got back from Svalbard and the locals complained about the weather. It was too hot.. Well, it was between -4 and 0 degrees centigrades and to me it was cold. Hat, gloves and a good wind-proof jacket is a must. Also woolen underwear and good shoes is recommended. During winter you will even need...more
whatever u like in the winter u most not forget its almoust on the north pole, it can be below 30-50 degrees here nad its offen very windy, in the sommer its normally around 10 degrees up here..not so cold,but don't bring you're summer shorts.. bring you're best camera, and if you're lucky to meet a polarbear, you need a video...more
As almost everything else in Spitsbergen, this marathon has the attribute of being the northernmost marathon of the world! It is usually held in June and only the toughest people (men and women) run it!
When we were there we watched them run both marathon and half marathon and boy, did I admire them! Not only the distance, but also the temperature is difficult for those athletes. There was a participant who was almost 80 years old - it took him about 8 hours or even more to do it . We met him when everybody else was already celebrating! BUT HE DID IT!
The fastest runner needed 3:13 h!!
It is a utilitarian town made up of services and buildings designed to weather arctic conditions. However, it is the most accessible town on Spitsbergen Island. Piping is insulated and above ground. Buildings are on pillars. This is due to the land having permafrost. Longyearbyen is at 78-deg 13-min N. The Arctic Circle and Alaska are far south,...more
Longyearbyen has been founded 100 years ago (1906) as a mining town - and that is what it is all about! Until recently the coal mines were the main employer and the major income, but now this has changed. Still you are able to visit various coal mines and see the statue of the coal miner in the pedestrian area of Longyearbyen.Coal is what it is all...more