A person with a headlamp in dark snowy surroundings with a mountain and partly cloudy sky with northern lights in the background

Explore the Northern Lights Winter

10 spectacular Northern Lights experiences in Svalbard

10 spectacular Northern Lights experiences in Svalbard

Book activities and accommodation early if you are travelling to Svalbard during the Northern Lights Winter.

The Northern Lights winter season in Svalbard runs from October 1 to February 28. The darkest period is the Polar Night, which extends from mid-November to late January. During this period, it’s completely dark and the sky is only illuminated by the moon, stars and the Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) create incredible experiences that most people will remember for the rest of our lives. When conditions permit, Svalbard is the only inhabited place in the world where you can see the Northern Lights around the clock – including during the daytime.

The following list presents our top 10 Northern Lights experiences in Svalbard during the Northern Lights winter:

Northern Lights safari by snowmobile

Having as little light pollution as possible is crucial for the best possible experience of the Northern Lights. By choosing a Northern Lights snowmobile safari, you will travel into the wilderness outside Longyearbyen and get optimal conditions for the Northern Lights. When the guide has led you out of Longyearbyen, you can enjoy the silent Polar Night with a hot drink while hopefully catching a glimpse of the beautiful green light phenomenon.

Historical hikes with chances to spot the Northern Lights

Combine the hunt for the Northern Lights in the Polar Night with a historical hike! Learn about Svalbard's trapping history on your way to Todalen or experience the historical remnants of the abandoned mining settlement Hiorthamn, and perhaps you'll be able to spot the Northern Lights on the way?

Chase Northern Lights photos on a guided photo safari

The Northern Lights are beautiful, and many want to preserve the experience for posterity. Join us on a guided photo safari and learn about optimal conditions for night and Northern Light photography. The professional guide has vast knowledge of photography in the dark.

  1. A group of guests on snowmobiles in a dark landscape with northern lights shining in the sky in the background
    Join a guided snowmobile trip away from the town's light pollution. Maybe you'll spot northern lights you'd not been able to spot among the town lights?
  2. A person standing behind a camera on a tripod with a dark sky and northern lights in the background
    Learn more about northern lights photography on a guided photo safari in Svalbard's Polar Night

Experience the Northern Lights with a dog team

If you want an authentic and evocative trip during the Polar Night, you should go on a Northern Lights dog sledding safari. After harnessing the dogs and attaching them to the sled, the restless and eager huskies will take you on a trip outside Longyearbyen. The dogs will soon gain a steady pace that allows you to enjoy the evocative silence that prevails in Svalbard’s wilderness. On clear days, you can be lucky enough to experience the Northern Lights stretching across the landscape and reflected in the white snow.

Arctic spa experience

How about spending time in a wood-fired sauna while enjoying the unique atmosphere provided by the Northern Lights? Relax in the heat before jumping out into the Arctic nature when the green lights appear and feel the raw Arctic nature and temperature underneath the spectacular green sight! Don't forget to heat up again in the sauna as you dream yourself away while enjoying the lightshow!

Visit the ice caves

Join us and discover the magical ice caves in the glaciers outside Longyearbyen. Equipped with a headlamp, helmet and crampons, you can explore the blue colours, icicles and silence of the caves. There are several ways to get to the ice caves: snowmobile, snowcat, dog sled – or on foot! The walk in the darkness up to the glacier is illuminated by the moon, the starry sky and maybe also the Northern Lights.

  1. En person med hodelykt som står på en slede bak et hundespann med nordlys som skinner på himmelen over fjell i bakgrunnen

A person with a headlamp on a sled behind a sled dog team with northern lights shining above mountains in the background
    Join our four-legged fluffy friends and head into the Polar Night to enjoy the Arctic silence while chasing the lights
  2. A snowcat seen from the side with a dark sky and northern lights in the background
    With enough space for the whole family, a northern lights safari by snowcat is perfect if you're travelling in a group

See the Northern Lights during a snowcat ride

A Northern Lights safari by snowcat is a great activity for all people of all ages. This is a wonderful option to experience the Arctic wilderness in a comfortable and easy manner for anyone who cannot or does not wish to explore on foot or by snowmobile or dog sled. The snowcat will take you out of Longyearbyen on a chase for the Northern Lights.

Northern lights hunting for everyone

Go hunting for the Northern Lights on the roads in the vicinity of Longyearbyen with Spitzbergen Adventures! With their comfortable heated minibus, this tour is suitable for everyone and offers a handicap-friendly option for those looking to get a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.

Evening at Camp Barentz

Camp Barentz is located at the foot of Mt. Breinosa, just below Mine 7 in the Advent Valley. The building is a copy of the hut that Willem Barentz wintered in when he discovered Svalbard in 1596. We recommend a Northern Lights evening at Camp Barentz during your stay in Svalbard. When you arrive at the camp, you will be served a delicious reindeer stew, dessert and fresh coffee brewed on the fire. After dinner, the guests gather around the fire and the guide will explain about the Northern Lights. If conditions permit, you will be able to experience the natural phenomenon with your own eyes outside the hut.

  1. A cabin with snow in the foreground and northern lights shining under a dark sky in the background
    But make sure to not flip your plate if you've got to run out to catch a glimpse of them if they show up!
  2. An audience in the foreground watching a philharmonic orchestra playing music on a stage in the background
    Re-charge your batteries indoors with a nice meal, or perhaps a concert? Enjoy a Polar City Break while visiting Longyearbyen!

Indoor cosiness

The darkness of the Polar Night is also the time to enjoy yourself indoors. The focus of the local population in Longyearbyen switches from outdoor activities to socialising and cosiness inside in the warmth. Good food and drink and a rich cultural offering including several festivals makes the Northern Lights winter an excellent time to visit Longyearbyen. The Polar Night is a social time when Longyearbyen’s many vars and restaurants are filled by locals and visitors alike. Sit down and have a nice chat with the locals but remember to go outside if you hear rumours about the Northern Lights!

Find your perfect adventure in Svalbard via our activity planner.

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