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Explore the Northern Lights Winter

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:

Jan Hvizdal

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.

Northern Lights cruise to the ghost town of Pyramiden

Join us on a fjord cruise to the Russian ghost town of Pyramiden. This memorable excursion also offers the unique opportunity to experience daytime Northern Lights. The mining town that was abandoned in 1998 after 53 years of mining offers fascinating history and exciting buildings. This excursion includes a guided tour of the Pyramid and a meal cooked on the boat’s barbecue.

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.

Jan Hvizdal

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? The small sauna has windows offering good views if the Northern Lights appear in the sky above. After enjoying the warmth in the sauna, you will be served a delicious meal.

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.

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.

Terje Nilssen

Hunt the Northern Lights in the restaurant bus

If you are not tempted by a dog sledding or snowmobile safari, a trip on Polar Permaculture's Arctic Tapas restaurant bus may be a good alternative. You will be able to enjoy drinks and snacks while sitting in comfortable seats covered by sheepskins and with candles on the tables. A historical film about the Northern Lights will be shown on the bus and, if you are lucky, you will be able to leave the bus and experience the Northern Lights in the sky above.

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.

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!

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