Enjoy the polar summer!

Enjoy the polar summer!

Top 10 summer experiences in Svalbard

10 summer experiences in Svalbard

Here is a selection of 10 of our most popular summer experiences, which are “must-do” activities during your trip to Svalbard.
Remember that the polar summer is a popular time to visit Svalbard, so we recommend booking accommodation and activities well in advance.

The fairytale Isfjord Radio

About 100 km from Longyearbyen, in the far west of the Isfjord, is Isfjord Radio, a former radio station that enabled communication between the mainland and Svalbard which was later converted into a hotel and gourmet restaurant with a focus on quality and comfort. In the summer, daily departures from Longyearbyen by boat enable you to visit Isfjord Radio.

Experience Svalbard in hiking boots

Put on your hiking boots for a close-up encounter with nature. Although hiking is possible year-round in Svalbard, it’s especially enjoyable in the polar summer when the Midnight Sun creates a never-ending day. Several of the hikes offer spectacular views of magnificent landscapes or little Longyearbyen. There are no hiking trails in Svalbard and an endless wilderness starts right outside Longyearbyen. With good hiking boots, warm clothes and a guide carrying a firearm on their back to ensure your safety, you will have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Pyramiden, a time capsule

During its heyday Pyramiden had a population of more than 1,000 people, but it was abandoned in 1998/99 after 53 years of mining.
Most of the town's buildings are still intact, so you feel like you're wandering around in a living museum, because Pyramiden is actually not completely abandoned.

You have the option of spending the night there at the fascinating Pyramiden Hotel, where a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant as well as the hotel's sauna awaits. Among the staff at the hotel you'll find guides that are eager to show you the town and it's surroundings. A popular choice for guided hiking tours in the summer is the mountain Pyramiden that towers over the town. During the summer, you can go on a half-day or full-day trip to Pyramiden by boat. Most trips pass the spectacular Nordenskiöld glacier, which the imposing Lenin statue looks down on from its place in the middle of the town square. When the hotel opens for the winter season you can travel there by snowmobile.

Go on a walrus safari!

Svalbard is home to some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife, including the mighty walrus. This beautiful animal can weigh up to 1,700 kg. Large herds of walruses can often be found sunbathing on the beaches during the polar summer. Each spring they pop up at Poolepynten in the Isfjord (a two-hour boat trip from Longyearbyen), where they remain until August. Sometimes they even swim up beside the boat. Two of Longyearbyen’s activity providers offer walrus safaris as day trips.

Paddle among icebergs

If you really want to experience the wonderful Arctic silence, there is no doubt that kayaking is one of the most beautiful options. The animal life along the water’s edge will make you glad you did not leave your camera at home. For most people, paddling past glacier fronts surrounded by floating blue icebergs is a transforming experience. Put down your paddles, sit still, and hear the crackling ice. You will soon understand what we mean.
Several activity providers offer short and long sea kayaking trips.

Visit the lively bird cliffs

The steep cliffs towering directly up from the sea are home to tens of thousands of birds during the polar summer. There are fewer bird species in Svalbard than on the Norwegian mainland, but this is compensated by the vast numbers of them. Perhaps the greatest highlight is watching the Brünnich’s guillemot chicks leaving their nests and jumping down to the sea below. It’s not uncommon to witness the polar fox creatively hunting for food below. From the boat out at sea, you have the best seat in the house!

Walk on 4,000-year-old ice

Almost 60% of Svalbard is covered by majestic blue glaciers. There are several glaciers near Longyearbyen that are worth exploring which will fascinate even the most experienced globetrotter. A guided glacier walking excursion should be near the top of every to-do-list during a visit to Svalbard. Perhaps you will be tough enough to take a dip in one of the crystal clear (and freezing) deep blue pools!

Do as the locals do - go dog sledding

We have more than 800 huskies around Longyearbyen. These nice four-legged friends are always eager to go on a trip in the beautiful Arctic landscape of the Advent Valley. During the summer season, the traditional sleds are replaced by wagons on wheels. You can still have a close-up experience with the dogs and drive your own dog team.

Expand your cultural horizon in the world’s northernmost settlement

There is more to Svalbard than beautiful nature. Even when the sun is shining in little Longyearbyen, you will find many cultural offerings, shopping opportunities, and good places to eat. We have our own brewery, chocolaterie and a greenhouse where we harvest local produce. At Svalbard Museum and North Pole Expedition Museum you can immerse yourself in Svalbard’s history, as well as learn more about the archipelago's flora, fauna, mining- and trapping history, polar expeditions and research.

If you go sightseeing in Longyearbyen, you can pick and choose between fascinating cultural monuments that help you understand Longyearbyen even better. This settlement on top of the world is a bit out of the ordinary. Join a sightseeing tour of the settlement and learn why Longyearbyen is a bit different from most other places.

Enjoy a dinner in the sun!

Yes, the polar summer counts as summer too. Although the temperature rarely tops 10 ˚C, there are plenty of opportunities to relax outdoors at one of Longyearbyen’s many restaurants, bars or pubs. Timing your dinner correctly on sunny day is important, as you'll then be able to enjoy your meal while also basking in the rays of the midnight sun! Remember to bring your gloves or mittens though.

Polina Bublik 

Visit Svalbard Eco-Lighthouse

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