Polar City Break

Are you one of those who associate the concept of city breaks with skyscrapers, traffic noise and chaos? If so, we challenge you to try something completely different – a polar city break. In the small Arctic metropolis of Longyearbyen, you will find the best of both worlds: a wide selection of good restaurants, hotels and shopping – and magnificent nature-based experiences just a stone’s throw from the main street.

Longyearbyen, the main settlement in the Svalbard archipelago, has a population of around 2,400 who come from more than 50 different countries. These nature-loving people have tight bonds in harsh climatic conditions, with the Arctic wilderness right on their doorstep. The wilderness begins in the town centre – and it’s virtually endless!

However, the Polar Night is not the time to hike the length or breadth of Svalbard. The Polar Night, the time of the year when the sun is well below the horizon and it’s dark around the clock, is the time to enjoy, taste and see. You will be surprised by the excellent opportunities Longyearbyen offers for exploring and challenging your senses. Seal carpaccio at Huset? A vintage champagne from Funken’s wine cellar from the year you were born? Reindeer pizza at Barentz Gastropub? With some of Norway’s best restaurants, its own brewery and chocolaterie, you have many wonderful culinary experiences to look forward to in the far north.

  1. Learn more about Longyearbyen here
  2. Get a taste of what Longyearbyen has to offer

Want a city break with a difference? Head to Svalbard

Under the Polar City Break tab, you will find a range of experiences and activities that are perfect for those wanting to experience and get to know Longyearbyen during their visit to Svalbard. You will have plenty of time for socializing, excellent dinners and pleasant experiences in a place that is extremely different from other destinations. Although Svalbard is part of Norway, there is a lot about life in Longyearbyen that is different from the towns and cities in mainland Norway and other parts of Europe.

We encourage you to explore the distinctive features of Svalbard. Talk to the bartender, waiter or waitress about life in Longyearbyen, spend time in our wonderful library and read up on polar literature and everyday life in the Arctic or cheer on the local children on the ski slope (but please don’t photograph people without asking!). We encourage you to explore the distinctive features of Svalbard. Talk to the bartender, waiter or waitress about life in Longyearbyen, spend time in our wonderful library and read up on polar literature and everyday life in the Arctic or cheer on the local children on the ski slope (but please don’t photograph people without asking!).

  1. Christmas spirit in the Polar Night
  2. Meet the Svalbardian Guro who brought her family and moved to the Polar Night

Gain inspiration for your polar city break

Although the Polar Night has arrived and it’s dark in Longyearbyen, a wide range of activities awaits visitors, albeit just a bit more urban than during the spring and summer. We recommend visiting the Svalbard Museum! This is the place to immerse yourself in the history, wildlife and industry of Longyearbyen and the exciting exhibitions make it a fun place for children too! Gallery Svalbard is also well worth a visit. It’s situated in Nybyen (literally the “now town”), so you will get a nice walk from Longyearbyen between towering mountains. Combine your visit to the gallery with a delicious lunch at Coal Miners’ Cabins. In this interview with Olaf Storø, you can read about the local artist who is inspired by the Arctic light.

You can experience the beautiful Northern Lights here until around mid-March. However, they are perhaps most spectacular from November to January when it’s dark around the clock and it’s possible to experience the Northern Lights during the daytime as well. Join a Northern Lights excursion involving dog sledding, a wilderness evening, a snowmobile safari or snowcat. You don’t need to venture far before the artificial light disappears and you can experience the magnificent natural light in the sky.

Regardless of whether the aim of your holiday is delicious food, wonderful nature-based experiences or simply recharging your batteries, you will find the answer in Longyearbyen – the small town with the big city feel, just a stone’s throw from the North Pole.

“Kosen is Norway’s most important and representative contribution to world culture." – Author Knut Faldbakken.

  1. Check out what's on in our Polar city!
  2. A city break is not complete without some sightseeing!

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Number of results: 55

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  1. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 293 reviews293 reviews

    Seed to summit: Hike to Blomsterdalen and the Seed Vault - Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions

    Longyearbyen

    Join us for an exciting historical hike from the days of coal mining to The Global Seed Vault on Svalbard.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 3 - Demands average physical fitness. Not suitable if you have limited mobility (uneven and partly steep terrain).

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    Symbols

    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 293 reviews293 reviews
  2. Gallery Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    The Gallery and Longyearbyen Arts & Crafts Centre is in the same building, situated in Nybyen. Galleri Svalbard houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, amongst them the Kåre Tveter collection and the Svalbard collection. The…

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all
  3. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 490 reviews490 reviews

    Wilderness safari with electric snowmobile - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    This is the snowmobile trip for the ones who want to experience Longyearbyen's local vicinity at its best. On electric snowmobiles, we take you out into the beautiful valley “Adventdalen”. 

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 490 reviews490 reviews
  4. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 656 reviews656 reviews

    Guided tour in the North Pole Expedition Museum - Poli Arctici

    Longyearbyen

    Let’s travel in time! During this guided tour we'll provide you with insights into the expeditions aimed at conquering the North Pole, as well as into the personal stories of fearless and enthusiastic polar explorers

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    Grading

    • 1

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    • Handicap-friendly
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 656 reviews656 reviews
  5. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews

    Sightseeing winter with electrical fatbike - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    A round trip with electric bikes enables you to experience a lot of Longyearbyen’s sights in a comfortable and efficient way, while getting close to nature. It is not uncommon to have to stop for reindeer and polar fox when you travel silently and…

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 3 - Average physical fitness

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    Symbols

    • Biking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews
  6. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews

    Northern lights evening - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Experience the magic of the Aurora Borealis at 78 degrees north! A northern lights evening at Camp Barentz is a must-do experience whilst visiting Longyearbyen.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews
  7. Longyearbyen City Walk with Arctic Meal - Rana Itinerans

    Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen from fundation to nowadays: How to live in a remote and inhospitable place. A 2h30 entertaining stroll around Longyearbyen with arctic meal.

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    Grading

    • 1 - suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Food
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet
  8. Arctic fox - wildlife & nature photo exploring, with max 3 participants - See & Explore

    Longyearbyen

    See & Explore are based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. On this daytime, and limited tour, up to 3 persons, will we offer you a perfect and genuine wildlife experience from our Arctic environment and we are only using the close areas, in and around…

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Hiking
    • Photo safari
  9. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 490 reviews490 reviews

    Hybrid-driven Catamaran to Billefjorden & Nordenskiöldbreen - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join Hurtigruten Svalbard on a boat tour with a hybrid-electric catamaran. With this new vessel, an exciting and more environmentally friendly boat trip awaits you. The tour takes you through breathtaking landscapes, to Billefjorden and the glacier…

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Closed boat
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 490 reviews490 reviews
  10. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 293 reviews293 reviews

    Hiorthamn: Nature hike to a historical mining settlement - Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions

    Longyearbyen

    Join us for an exciting adventure, out of town to an old historical mining settlement. If we are lucky, and the night is clear, we can see nature's own magical lights: The northern lights.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 293 reviews293 reviews
  11. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 340 reviews340 reviews

    The exclusive Northern Light chase - Spitzbergen Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    Come with us to chase the northern light. We pick you up from your hotel and will get into a comfortable minibus.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Handicap-friendly
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 340 reviews340 reviews
  12. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 490 reviews490 reviews

    Walrus safari to Borebukta - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join us on a fun boat trip to Borebukta. The home of the odd animals with long teeth.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Closed boat
    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 490 reviews490 reviews
  13. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 363 reviews363 reviews

    Fjord Safari towards Pyramiden and Nordenskiöld Glacier - Svalbard Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    We drive out with a closed RIB to Billefjorden and the Nordenskiöld glacier in scenic and historic surroundings on Svalbard.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Closed boat
    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 363 reviews363 reviews
  14. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 83 reviews83 reviews

    Coal Mine 3 Visit - Gruve 3 AS

    Longyearbyen

    Step into the history of Gruve 3 and Longyearbyen’s coal mining industry.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Mine visit

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 83 reviews83 reviews
  15. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews

    Follow the Trappers' Footsteps - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Imagine life as a trapper in Svalbard: the loneliness, the challenges of a beautiful but harsh landscape.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews
  16. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 90 reviews90 reviews

    Dogsledding on wheels - Svalbard Villmarkssenter

    Longyearbyen

    Some drive guided tours by taxi or bus, why not try dog sledding on wheels?

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Dog sledding

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 90 reviews90 reviews
  17. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews

    Northern Lights hunting with electric snowmobile - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Shh! What’s that sound? Nothing. It is just arctic silence. As you press the gas, your snowmobile silently starts moving, while it lights up the dark polar night. No sound of a roaring engine. The only thing to be heard is "the Arctic silence". The…

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most without any snowmobile experience. Very easy and flat terrain.

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Snowmobile

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews
  18. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews

    Longyearbyen Panorama - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join us for a lovely snowcat trip out from Longyearbyen.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Handicap-friendly
    • Snowcat

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews
  19. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews

    Sightseeing summer with electrical bike - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Combine comfort and efficiency on our electric bike tour, which enables you to see a range of Longyearbyen’s sights while getting close to nature. The birdlife is at its best during the summer months, and silently moving through the wilderness with…

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 3 - Average physical fitness

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Biking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 491 reviews491 reviews
  20. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 668 reviews668 reviews

    Catching the light - Aurora Borealis with dinner - Better Moments

    Longyearbyen

    Join our hunt for the Aurora borealis on snowmobile. On the way we will stop by our Gamme to enjoy a 3-course dinner together with our guide.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most without any snowmobile experience. Very easy and flat terrain.

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Food
    • Snowmobile

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 668 reviews668 reviews
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