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, chocolaterie and greenhouses supplying the chefs with fresh herbs and vegetables, 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 - 628 reviews628 reviews

    Sarkofagen Trekking - Poli Arctici

    Longyearbyen

    Explore Longyearbyen’s backyard by hiking to the top of Sarkofagen, a high point overlooking town. Then, descend from Sarkofagen by hiking across the Longyear Glacier.

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

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    • Food
    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 628 reviews628 reviews
  2. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 173 reviews173 reviews

    Longyearbyen in a nutshell - sightseeing with the local expert - Svalbard Buss og Taxi

    Longyearbyen

    2 hour round trip to see the area around Longyearbyen and the driver will tell the story of how this society was built up while watching parts of the wonderful nature of Svalbard.

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    • 1 - 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Handicap-friendly
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 173 reviews173 reviews
  3. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 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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    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 reviews
  4. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 reviews

    Hybrid-driven speedboat to Pyramiden - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Join Hurtigruten Svalbard on a hybrid-driven speedboat to Pyramiden. With our new vessel you can join an exciting and more environmentally friendly boat trip, to the Nordenskiöld glacier, and the fascinating town of Pyramiden.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Closed boat
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 reviews
  5. 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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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Hiking
    • Photo safari
  6. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 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.

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Closed boat
    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 reviews
  7. 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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    • Wellness
  8. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 282 reviews282 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.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Environmentally-friendly company
    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 282 reviews282 reviews
  9. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 344 reviews344 reviews

    Fjord Safari to Pyramiden and Nordenskiöld Glacier - Svalbard Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    Join us on an exclusive trip in a closed RIB boat to the Russian ghost town Pyramiden and the mighty Nordenskiöld glacier.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 344 reviews344 reviews
  10. Share the Expert’s Knowledge on Svalbard - Rana Itinerans

    Longyearbyen

    Various topics explained in 45min by competent specialists.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet
  11. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 89 reviews89 reviews

    Husky Slider - Dog Sledding Tour - Svalbard Villmarkssenter

    Longyearbyen

    Variable weather, northern lights, crystal-clear skies full of stars, moonlight or sunshine both day and night; these are variations only the Arctic can give. Experience Svalbard by dog sledding.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Dog sledding

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 89 reviews89 reviews
  12. Arctic fox - Exclusive wildlife & nature photo exploring, with your own personal photo guide - See & Explore

    Longyearbyen

    An exclusive full day tour for ONLY 1-ONE person. See & Explore bring only YOU out for a wildlife exploring. We are based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. We offers you a perfect and genuine wildlife experience from our Arctic environment and we are…

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Hiking
    • Photo safari
  13. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 331 reviews331 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…

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Food
    • Hiking
    • Sightseeing and lectures

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 331 reviews331 reviews
  14. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 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

    • Hiking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 reviews
  15. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 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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    • Biking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 reviews
  16. 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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    • 1 - suitable for all

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    • Food
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet
  17. Gallery Storø

    Longyearbyen

    The blue light The Svalbard nature offers unique sceneries. These mighty impressions can only be captured - and reflected through genuine art.

    Painter Olaf Storø lives permanently in Longyearbyen and stays here most of the year. He visited…

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    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all
  18. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 89 reviews89 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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    • Dog sledding

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 89 reviews89 reviews
  19. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 163 reviews163 reviews

    Boattrip with Polargirl to Barentsburg & Esmarkglacier - Polar Charter

    Longyearbyen

    A boattrip with MS Polargirl to Barentsburg and the Esmarkglacier.
    The trip will first go to the glacier before sailing to Barentsburg, where one will go ashore.

    Facilities

    Grading

    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    Symbols

    • Closed boat
    • Food
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 163 reviews163 reviews
  20. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 402 reviews402 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 - 402 reviews402 reviews
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