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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  1. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 319 reviews319 reviews

    Hiorthhamn: 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.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 319 reviews319 reviews
  2. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 311 reviews311 reviews

    Svalbard church

    Longyearbyen

    Svalbard Church located in Longyearbyen, is the world’s northernmost church.

    Svalbard Church is part of the Church of Norway and organised by the Bishop in Nord-Hålogaland.

    The Church is a meeting place and a venue for both religious…

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 311 reviews311 reviews
  3. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 93 reviews93 reviews

    PopUp Mine 3 - Gruve 3 AS

    Longyearbyen

    We invite you to a PopUp food and cultural experience in Mine 3!

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 93 reviews93 reviews
  4. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews

    Sea Fishing in the Arctic - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    There's plenty of fish in the Isfjord in Svalbard. The last few years, Longyearbyen has had an abundance of large cod during the late summer season and during the fall. The locals in Svalbard have been able to harvest these resources for a long…

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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 - 528 reviews528 reviews
  5. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 379 reviews379 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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    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 379 reviews379 reviews
  6. WildPhoto Gallery

    Longyearbyen

    Welcome to WildPhoto Gallery, the northernmost photo gallery in the world at 78,22°N!

  7. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews

    Visit in Ny-Ålesund with the hybrid boat Kvitbjørn - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join an exciting trip to the world's northernmost settlement! On the way we will enjoy the beautiful nature and scout for wildlife.

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    Grading

    • 3 - Average physical fitness

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    Symbols

    • Closed boat
    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Food
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews
  8. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 9 reviews9 reviews

    All in one - Sightseeing, Bird watching and Husky Visit - Discover Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    This is a tailor-made trip, if you would like to have it all in one package.
    After picking you up from your accommodation, we will start with a sightseeing tour by car all around Longyearbyen, to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and to a dog yard!

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    Grading

    • 1 - Available for all

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    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 9 reviews9 reviews
  9. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 88 reviews88 reviews

    Coal Mine 3

    Longyearbyen

    Have you ever been in a coalmine before? Join us today and dig deep in the history of Longyearbyen, the miners, all the coal dust and their life in the mountains.

    The Mining history is important for the existence of Longyearbyen, where this…

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 88 reviews88 reviews
  10. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 412 reviews412 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 - 412 reviews412 reviews
  11. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 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”. 

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Snowmobile

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews
  12. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 9 reviews9 reviews

    Huskies & Common Eider Visit - Discover Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join us and visit Svalbard Villmarkssenter`s Dog Yard, say hello to their huskies, and take in an up close sight of a Common Eider Colony

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Photo safari
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 9 reviews9 reviews
  13. 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
  14. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews

    Longyearbyen Panorama - a magical sunset - Hurtigruten svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Bring the family along on a fantastic snowcat tour to enjoy the view of Longyearbyen as the sun sets over the pointy mountains on the other side of Isfjorden.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Handicap-friendly
    • Snowcat

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews
  15. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 387 reviews387 reviews

    Fjord Safari to 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.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

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

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 387 reviews387 reviews
  16. Arctic sauna – Private group - 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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    Symbols

    • Wellness
  17. Share the Expert’s Knowledge on Svalbard - Rana Itinerans

    Longyearbyen

    Various topics explained in 45min by competent specialists.

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    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet
  18. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 387 reviews387 reviews

    ATV Safari in The Polar Night - Svalbard Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    Darkness and minimal light pollution are typically key to witnessing the Polar ‘fireworks’ -known as Northern Lights. Join us for an ATV-safari trip where we head into the darkness and the frozen Advent Valley.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • ATV safari
    • Environmentally-friendly company

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 387 reviews387 reviews
  19. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews

    Evening cruise with hybrid-driven speedboat - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    ​​​​​​​Join us for an evening cruise with MS Bard. On this tour we will go entirely with electrically powered propulsion, meaning we will navigate in complete silence.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Closed boat
    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Food
    • Photo safari

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 528 reviews528 reviews
  20. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 353 reviews353 reviews

    Bjørndalen walk with BBQ -Experience for everyone - Spitzbergen Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    Bjørndalen is a place which offers you several characteristics from Svalbard in one location. The surroundings offer both impressive mountains, fjord and wildlife. You will find everything in one valley. You can spend hours in this valley and keep…

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

    Facilities

    Symbols

    • Food
    • Hiking
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 353 reviews353 reviews
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