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 - 366 reviews366 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…

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    Grading

    • 3 - Average physical fitness

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    • Biking

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 reviews
  2. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 586 reviews586 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 - 586 reviews586 reviews
  3. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 313 reviews313 reviews

    ATV Safari - Svalbard Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    We drive our ATVs into a classic Svalbard landscape in the Adventdalen, a valley shaped by glaciers and surrounded by mountains and interesting cultural monuments. Often, we see both Svalbard reindeers and Arctic foxes on this.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • ATV safari

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 313 reviews313 reviews
  4. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 636 reviews636 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.

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

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    • Food
    • Snowmobile

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 636 reviews636 reviews
  5. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 313 reviews313 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
    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 313 reviews313 reviews
  6. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 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.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Food
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 reviews
  7. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 327 reviews327 reviews

    S.M.A.B / Sauna, Meal & Arctic Breeze Summer edition - Spitzbergen Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    With this trip you will combine several very unique pleasures into one activity. Each of those things is already very special up here in Svalbard, but combining those into one experience has not been done before. We have set up a camp close to town…

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    • 1 - Suitable for all

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    • Food
    • Handicap-friendly
    • Wellness

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 327 reviews327 reviews
  8. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 74 reviews74 reviews

    Coal Mine 3 Visit - Gruve 3 AS

    Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen would most likely not exist if it wasn’t for the mining industry. Come visit Mine 3 and learn about our town’s fundamental mining history.

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    • 1 - Suitable for all (see more info in description)

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    • Mine visit

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 74 reviews74 reviews
  9. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 reviews

    Hybrid-driven speedboat to Pyramiden - Hurtigruten Svalbard

    Longyearbyen

    Made for the future - join us today! Join Hurtigruten Svalbard and Brim Explorer 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…

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Closed boat
    • Sightseeing and lectures
    • Toilet

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 reviews
  10. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 327 reviews327 reviews

    Ice Adventure - Spitzbergen Adventures

    Longyearbyen

    Join us for a great ice adventure. It does not matter if it is the polar night and we are walking with head lights or if it is the sun winter. Ice formations and Ice caves are something of the most beautiful things which exists.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Ice cave

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 327 reviews327 reviews
  11. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 367 reviews367 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 - 367 reviews367 reviews
  12. 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
  13. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 4 reviews4 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 - 4 reviews4 reviews
  14. 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…

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    • 1 - Suitable for all
  15. 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
  16. TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 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…

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

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    • Snowmobile

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

    TripAdvisor Traveller Rating - 366 reviews366 reviews
  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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    • 1 - Suitable for all
  18. Northern Light chase with pro photo guide & instructions - See & Explore

    Longyearbyen

    This is a tour where photography and photography knowledge are our main focus. Our guide is a professional photographer, and one of his specialties is night and northern lights shots.

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    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    • Hiking
    • Photo safari
  19. 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
  20. Arctic fox - Wildlife photo tour around Longyearbyen - See & Explore

    Longyearbyen

    We bring you out to the local wildlife in and around Longyearbyen. At this tour, is limited up to 8 persons. Our primary focus, on this tour, is the Arctic fox, Svalbard rock ptarmigan, Svalbard Reindeer, Little auk and to find the good views for…

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    Grading

    • 2 - Suitable for most

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    Symbols

    • Hiking
    • Photo safari
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