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Welcome to Christmas in Longyearbyen

Welcome to Christmas in Longyearbyen

Christmas spirit in the Polar Night

Christmas in Longyearbyen


Authentic Christmas atmosphere at 78˚ North

Christmas time in Svalbard is magical, and it may the best place in the world to experience the ultimate Christmas atmosphere. As the beautiful and serene Polar Night descends over Svalbard, the Northern Lights may follow suit, and you'll perhaps be lucky enough to experience the lights both in the daytime and evening. The dark season calms down the pace in town, granting us the time and peace for reflection while we decorate our small town for Christmas. Being so close to the North Pole, the first letters that Santa Claus receives are the ones posted here - and Santa Claus gets a lot of letters from Longyearbyen! Every year he finds the letters in the small letter box in Nybyen, where children can put the lists they've written for him.
On the first Sunday in Advent, we gather up for a walk from town, past Mine 2, and to the letter box in Nybyen, which is lit up by a small lamp. All the streetlights in Longyearbyen are turned off for the occassion, and we walk with firelit torches that will light the way for us. And, if we're lucky, we might even be accompanied by the Northern Lights.

Jarle Røssland

The main street in Longyearbyen is adorned with decorations for the season, and a Christmas tree brought up from the Norwegian mainland is placed in the town square every year. True to tradition, the lighting of the Christmas tree takes place on the first Sunday in Advent. The smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies and snacks at Fruene is enough to make your mouth water. And Fruene, being the world’s northernmost chocolaterie, is also busy with the season's preparations as the orders for chocolate keep ticking in as Christmas approaches.

Christmas is the time for delicious food

The aroma of Christmas food lingers throughout Longyearbyen Jarle Røssland as the hotels and restaurants prepare to serve Christmas dinners, and it's hard not to be tempted by the wonderful smells. 

Gruvelageret offers a family Christmas dinner with traditional Norwegian Christmas food and dessert the first four Sundays in December. Dinner is served from 16:00, but remember to book a table in advance!

At Mary Anns' Polarrigg, you can find the Christmas menu for Vinterhagen Restaurantfrom the 1st of December. 

In Funktionærmessen Restaurant and Restaurant Nansen you'll find festive feasts on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. Throughout December you will also find their Christmas menus in the restaurants. And if you decide to stay in town past Christmas, then feel free to bring your jolliest Christmas sweater to the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Barentz Gastropub on the 27th of December. 

The legendary Huset restaurant is beautifully decorated for Christmas, and will be open every day throughout the holidays. On New Years Eve, both Huset restaurant and Kroa will be offering fantastic five course meals. Be quick to decide, you may want to book well in advance. 

Polfareren Restaurant will be serving both Christmas themed dinners and brunch throughout December. On the 15th of December you can even take part in the Norwegian tradition of "Christmas porridge". On both Christmas Day and New Years Eve brunch will be served.

Several of the local tour operators offer amazing package deals for those of you who want to celebrate the holidays with the North Pole as your closest neighbor.
Join Basecamp Explorer on their five-day Christmas adventure. You will experience everything from spectacular hikes to an overnight at their Trapper’s station just outside of town. If the weather allows it, Christmas eve day will be spent out on a snowmobile trip, before you end the day with a Christmas feast at Polfareren Restaurant.

You can also join Svalbard Adventures who has a fully packed schedule for a spectacular Christmas in the Arctic. Join them for a peaceful dogsledding trip and a hunt for the magical Northern Lights with a snowmobile. On Christmas Eve, they welcome you to a tasty and delicious Christmas buffet at Polfareren Restaurant.

Jarle Røssland

Buy your Christmas presents at tax-free prices

The shops in Svalbard have everything from outdoors clothing and equipment to reindeer skins. You can buy unique and exciting presents at pleasant prices. Svalbard is a duty-free zone, which means that tax-free prices apply for everything you buy here. You will find bargain prices on outdoor clothing and equipment at Longyearbyen’s sports stores, and gift ideas at Gullgruva include watches and jewellery. Both Skinnboden in the main street and Skinnboden in Lompensenteret are well worth a visit. Here you'll find a wide range of hide and leather products, jewelry and shoes. Elsewhere in town you can also find a broad selection of souvenirs, gold products and quality clothes, and the shops are open year-round. If you want a historical break from the Christmas shopping, you should also pay a visit to Svalbard Museum. They are open every day in the pre-Christmas time, except from on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day.  

Jarle Røssland

Longyearbyen’s local Christmas traditions

We have our own local traditions in Longyearbyen, and it wouldn't be Christmas without a concert by Store Norske Mandskor, the mining company’s men’s choir, which sings the Christmas time in. And it certainly would not be Christmas without the traditional Christmas market at Kulturhuset on the 23rd of November, where locally made products are sold in the spirit of sustainability. Some families save a leg of reindeer from the autumn hunting season to roast for their Christmas dinner, while others pack up food and warm clothes and head out of town on snowmobiles to celebrate Christmas in a small cabin in the Arctic wilderness. Many residents of Longyearbyen dream of celebrating Christmas at the historic Villa Fredheim by the beautiful Tempelfjord. The Governor of Svalbard rents it out to two lucky local families each year, who must choose between celebrating Christmas or New Year at the former trapping station of the legendary Norwegian trapper Hilmar Nøis

An evocative concert featuring local singers and choirs is held on the 15th of December at Longyearbyen Church. If you attend the beautiful church service here on Christmas Eve, you will meet the local population dressed up in colourful regional costumes from all parts of Norway. Another excellent and longstanding tradition is the communal Christmas dinner at one of Longyearbyen’s restaurants, which attracts all the residents of this Arctic town and reminds us of the great concord and togetherness we have. 

 

Svalbard

Inspiration

  1. Svalbard Church
    Svalbard Church welcomes you year-round
  2. Shopping
    Svalbard is a duty-free zone so lower tax-free prices apply for everything you buy here.
  3. Northern Lights adventures
    Svalbard the only inhabited place in the world where you can see the impressive Aurora Borealis also during daytime.
  4. Longyearbyen
    Longyearbyen, the administrative center in Svalbard. It's a tiny arctic Norwegian metropole with an international wide.
  5. Where to Stay
    Choose between Svalbard's hotels, guesthouses, Apartments and camping.
  6. Food & Drink
    Try some delicious food from around the globe in the world’s northernmost town!
Visit Svalbard Sustainable Destination Eco-Lighthouse

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