Longyearbyen, (pronounced 'lungyer-byin'), is the largest populated area and the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago.

34 things to do

All Places Svalbard and Jan Mayen


Across the Isfjorden from Longyearbyen (''2-3 hours by boat'') lies Pyramiden, a Russian mining settlement that was abandoned in 1998. A small Russian contingent is now based on-site to prevent vandalism and take care of basic infrastructure needs. As of 2013, basic accommodation in Pyramiden is available at the Tulip Hotel, including cooked meals. A small number of converted shipping containers, located on the old docks, are also available to rent. Bringing your own food and water may be recommended. Contact the Russian company Trust Arcticugol, which maintains the town of Pyramiden, for booking. Because Pyramiden is no longer inhabited, a hunting rifle is required for protection if you are not part of a tour group. Polar bears are frequently seen in the area. Wireless services (phone and internet) are not available here so please use caution.

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Year round activities with Spitsbergen Travel

Snowmobile safaris, ice caving, hiking, boat trips etc. Safaris vary from 4 hours to 10 hours. Snowmobile tours and ice-caving are offered during the winter season. Generally between December and mid-May, dependent on the snow conditions. Experienced and safety-conscious guides. Destinations include: Elveneset, Tempelfjorden, Pyramiden, Barentsburg and the East Coast. During the summer months the waterways open up and the midnight sun shines on Svalbard. Thousands of migratory birds come to the area, and nest in the cliffs. You can enjoy the landscape and wildlife with an open boat trip to the bird cliffs, a calving glacier or to a popular fossil hunting location, with experienced guides. One possibility is a demanding yet rewarding trip to Trollsteinen (849m over sea level) or a hike from sea to summit.

DO   —  +47 7902 6100 —  Map

Longyearbyen Camping

Promises an "intensive experience of nature" at the northernmost full-service campsite in the world. Stays per night start at 120 kr, not including tent rental (NOK150/day) or even warm showers (NOK10/6 min). The site is open all year round, but the service building (showers and toilets) is open only during the summer. Visitors traveling to Svalbard outside of the high season (end of June until September) will be permitted to use the campsite free of charge, but must bring their own provisions and equipment. If your plans include trekking in Svalbard, the camping site is an excellent place to meet fellow trekkers, seek advice or maybe even join a larger group.

SLEEP   —  +47 79021444 —  Map


Opposite Lompensenteret. Svalbard's sole supermarket and department store rolled into one. Has a surprisingly wide selection, but prepare for sticker shock, especially for anything perishable: half a cucumber costs NOK10 and a kilo of bananas on sale is NOK20. A hot deli offers a few staples and occasionally some ethnic themes. Open weekdays from 11 to 20, reduced hours Sat/Sun.

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Basecamp Spitsbergen

The most atmospheric of Longyearbyen's luxury hotels, this attempts to simulate a trapper's lodge with seal skins and driftwood aplenty. Don't let the humble name fool you though: 'camping' here will cost you from NOK1590/night in peak season (but only half that in winter).

SLEEP   —  +47 79024600 —  Map

Mix kiosk

Hot dogs, sausages, burgers and sandwiches, sometimes offered on sale at what are bargain prices for Svalbard. Also has a limited supply of groceries, along with snack foods and sweets. Prices are high compared to Svalbardbutikken, but the kiosk is open longer hours.

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The Russian settlement of Barentsburg is accessible from Longyearbyen by boat. Organized tours are available. Accommodation and meals can be found at the Hotel Barentsburg, for prices somewhat lower than you would find in Longyearbyen.

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Gjestehuset 102

Miner's lodge converted into a basic but comfortable guesthouse, with shared bathrooms and lounge/kitchen; the main downside is the location, a 20-min walk from downtown. It is however well serviced by the airport shuttle bus. S

SLEEP   —  +47 79025716 —  Map

Dog Sledding with Green Dog

Green Dog offer a variety of dogsledding trips all year round. These range from 3 hour trips to 5 day expeditions. During the summer guests can experience dogsledding on wheels, with specially-made sleds which seat 2-3 persons.

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Svalbard Museum

Reopened 2006 in large new premises, this award winning museum features many displays about the human history of the archipelago, especially whaling and mining, as well as various exhibits about arctic flora and fauna.

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Spitsbergen Hotel

Restaurant, bar, Champagne cellar, sauna, training room and free wireless Internet access. Historical building, now atmospheric hotel. Closed for winter (Dec-Jan). Excellent views down the valley from the restaurant.

SLEEP   —  +47 79026200 —  Haugen


This surprisingly comprehensive library has an excellent selection of books on Svalbard (some in English), a rather more limited selection of English fiction and, most useful of all, three free Internet-connected PCs.

OTHER   —  Lompensenteret 2F

Galleri Svalbard

Permanent exhibitions of Kåre Tveter, lithographies from the Recherche expeditions and a 'Svalbard collection' with maps, books and local currency. The adjoining café, shop and artists' workshops are free to visit.

SEE   —  +47 79 022340 —  Map

Esmarkbreen Glacier

Across the Isfjorden (''2-3 hours by boat''). Scenic glacier across the bay, colored a striking blue. Drop a cube in your glass for an arctic martini. Often combined with cruises to Barentsburg.

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Sells a full range of beer, wines and spirits, but quotas apply and you must show your plane ticket to purchase. Special opening hours around public holidays and religious festivals.

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Spitsbergen Airship Museum

Displays materials and ephemera from the era of polar exploration using dirigibles and other aircraft, mainly by Norwegians, Italians and American explorers.

SEE   —  +47 91383467 —  Map

Svalbard Church

The world's northernmost church. Always open, and has coffee and cookies for the visitors. Also sells postcards, books, etc.—just leave the money in a bowl.

SEE   —  +47 79 025560 —  Map

Radisson BLU Polar Hotel Spitsbergen

The world's northernmost full-service hotel, with restaurant, pub, sauna, free Internet access and a guest computer. Book activities in the reception.

SLEEP   —  +47 79023450 —  Map


Espresso, sandwiches, salads and daily specials such as soups and Thai dishes. One of the few locations in town with free wireless internet access.

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Mary-Ann's Polarrigg

Former miner's barracks converted into a bed and breakfast. A bit pricier than the competition, but the selling point is the central location.

SLEEP   —  +47 79023702 —  Map


Popular among locals and visitors for fare ranging from ribs to reindeer wraps. Portions are huge, making the prices more palatable.

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Barentz Pub & Spiseri

Cosy atmosphere, pizza, burgers, steak. The world's northernmost bar - skilled bartenders, often live music, busy on weekends.

EAT   —  +47 7902 3466 —  Map

Svalbard Reiseliv

Svalbard Museum. The official tourist information office, a mine of information for Longyearbyen and the rest of Svalbard.

OTHER   —  +47-7902-5551 —  Map

Restaurant Nansen

Restaurant Nansen offers a modern menu with an Arctic twist. Reindeer, seal and whale are often available.

EAT   —  +47 7902 3457 —  Map

Spitsbergen Guesthouse

Comfortable, approximately 2km from the main shopping area. Pricing includes breakfast, linen and towels.

SLEEP   —  +47 7902 6300 —  Map

Mary Anne's Polarrigg

Arctic and Thai food (sometimes combined, such as whale stir-fry). Takeout available.

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Reindeers roam free in the city. You can also see polar foxes and birds.

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Kroa Bar

Offers a range of decent drinks and meals in a pleasant environment.

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Funktionærmessen Restaurant

Funtionærmessen offers fantastic views and a French inspired menu.

EAT   —  +47 79 02 62 87 —  Map


Huset is the town nightclub on Friday and Saturdays with a DJ.

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24-Hour Sundial

Not big, but it does 24 hours a day in the summer.

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Good bar with reasonably priced cafe food.

DRINK   —  +47 79025003 —  Map


In the post office building, has an ATM.

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About Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the largest populated settlement on the Svalbard archipelago, located in the high Norwegian Arctic. The settlement is generally regarded as the northernmost town in the world as well as the most easily accessed frontier in the Arctic, and is an ideal base for the greater exploration of Svalbard and the high Arctic.

The settlement is named after American entrepreneur John Munro Longyear (1860-1922), who as head of the Arctic Coal Company founded the town and the neighboring coal mine, the first large mine on Svalbard. Mining remains an important component of the economy, and historical remnants of the mining past can be seen on the nearby mountain slopes and throughout the town. Today, however, most mining is done at the Svea mine to the south. The economy of Longyearbyen is now driven primarily by scientific research and tourism.

With approximately 2,500 inhabitants, the town is the de facto "capital" of the islands, and is today a vibrant, modern, and international settlement with much of the character of mainland Norwegian towns. It features an airport, a school, a shopping center, hospital, hotels, restaurants, and a university. People from approximately 40 different countries call Longyearbyen home, and this is reflected in the events offered in the town.

Source: wikivoyage