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! The gallery Nordover is also well worth a visit. After a visit at the gallery, why not head up up to Nybyen for a scenic walk with a delicious lunch waiting at Coal Miners’ Cabins

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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  1. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 14 reviews14 reviews

    All in one - Sightseeing, Husky Visit & Scenery - Discover Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    This is a tailor-made trip for those who would like to have it all in one package. When the summer is over and the flowers and birds are gone, we will get to enjoy other things instead, such as the beautiful displays of the Aurora Borealis if we are…

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 14 reviews14 reviews
  2. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 460 reviews460 reviews

    Kayak 4 hours: Explore the fjord - Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions

    Longyearbyen

    We will use the kayaks as transport to get closer to the nature and birdlife in the fjord. There are qualified kayak guides joining so everything the tour fits for almost everyone that want to experience this adventure. 

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    • 3 - 3 - Average physical fitness

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Kayak

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 460 reviews460 reviews
  3. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 434 reviews434 reviews

    Family sightseeing by dog wagon - Svalbard Husky

    Longyearbyen

    This is a relaxing trip together with our dogs where the guide drives the wagon and you enjoy the view. We will tell you about Svalbard and all the different animals we see on our way. This is an activity that suits everyone, so bring the whole…

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Dog sledding
    • Environmentally-friendly company

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 434 reviews434 reviews
  4. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 391 reviews391 reviews

    North Pole Expedition Museum

    Longyearbyen

    The museum recounts the heroic efforts made by pioneers to reach the North Pole at the turn of the last century.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 391 reviews391 reviews
  5. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 1367 reviews1367 reviews

    Svalbard Museum

    Longyearbyen

    Svalbard Museum is a museum of natural and cultural history. We aim to provide broad and comprehensive knowledge about Svalbard's 400 year long history, as well as present the natural resources that is the basis for all life in the archipelago.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Handicap-friendly
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 1367 reviews1367 reviews
  6. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews

    Wilderness evening - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Experience the magic of being in the Arctic wilderness! Join a wilderness evening at Camp Barentz, a very special experience which you really should experience during your stay in Longyearbyen.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews
  7. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews

    Northern lights hunting with snowcat - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Your guide will take you out of town, away from the light pollution of Longyearbyen, and into the magical polar night. You will drive out over the frozen Adventdalen, with several stops along the way to look for the northern lights.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Handicap-friendly
    • Snowcat

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews
  8. German Longyearbyen Sightseeing - Svalbard Photography

    Longyearbyen

    Join us on a captivating 2-hour German sightseeing journey through Longyearbyen and its surroundings, where the Arctic beauty, a lot of history and modern life intertwine.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Handicap-friendly
    • Photo safari
    • Sightseeing and lectures
  9. Customised Hikes and PhotoHike: The guide's choice - Rana Itinerans

    Longyearbyen

    Do you have 30kg of photo-gear? Are you travelling with children? Do you want to take it easier, slower, later or longer? Whatever the reason, we provide you with a unique experience fitting your interests and the way you want to hike, from 2 to…

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Hiking
    • Photo safari
  10. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews

    Sea Fishing in the Arctic - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    There's plenty of fish in the Isfjord in Svalbard. The locals in Svalbard have been able to harvest these resources for a long time, and now it's finally your turn to go fishing in the Arctic!

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    Grading

    • 3 - Average physical fitness

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Fishing
    • Open boat

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews
  11. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews

    Sightseeing winter with electric bike - 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…

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    Grading

    • 3 - Average physical fitness

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    Symbols

    • Biking
    • Environmentally-friendly company

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews
  12. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 434 reviews434 reviews

    Dogs on wheels - Svalbard Husky

    Longyearbyen

    When we are done with the instructions and all the dogs are put into the team we drive out into the arctic wilderness of Svalbard. Everyone drive equal amount of time as we switch half way.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Dog sledding
    • Environmentally-friendly company

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 434 reviews434 reviews
  13. Northern Lights Photo Safari - Svalbard Photography

    Longyearbyen

    This Northern Light photo-safari takes us leisurely into Adventdalen, where we wait to hopefully with a little luck will be able to watch the colourful lights dancing in the sky.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Handicap-friendly
    • Photo safari
    • Sightseeing and lectures
  14. Drive & Stroll: Exclusive tailor-made sightseeing of Longyearbyen and its surroundings - Rana Itinerans

    Longyearbyen

    We drive to different points and walk the few extra meters to reach the best view / interesting object / wildlife . Maximum walk 15min.
    Ideal for photographers, families, people who want to learn more about the place.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Sightseeing and lectures
  15. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 16 reviews16 reviews

    Guided afternoon tour around Longyearbyen and surroundings - concludes over dinner - Longyearbyen Guiding

    Longyearbyen

    Join an exciting guided afternoon tour around Longyearbyen and finish with dinner at Mary Ann’s Polarrigg!

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 16 reviews16 reviews
  16. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 79 reviews79 reviews

    Explore the polar night and visit the Basecamp huskies - Basecamp Spitsbergen

    Longyearbyen

    Explore Longyearbyen's surroundings together with your Arctic nature guide. Experience Svalbard’s fascinating history and meet our beautiful, four-legged colleagues. An exciting trip in the polar night, and a visit to the charming Trapper’s Station.

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    Grading

    • 1 - Level of difficulty 1 - suitable for all

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 79 reviews79 reviews
  17. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 393 reviews393 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 - 393 reviews393 reviews
  18. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 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.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 738 reviews738 reviews
  19. Arctic sauna - SvalBad

    Longyearbyen

    Take a time-out and find inner peace at SvalBad, our floating, wood burning sauna. Here you can enjoy the view of Hiorthfjellet or, if you’re lucky, see the northern lights during the polar nights. If it gets too warm in the sauna, you can take a…

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Wellness
  20. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 16 reviews16 reviews

    Guided morning tour around Longyearbyen and surroundings - concludes over lunch - Longyearbyen Guiding

    Longyearbyen

    Guided minibus tour in the morning combined with a culinary, local food experience.

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    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 16 reviews16 reviews
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