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Christmas in Longyearbyen

Christmas in Longyearbyen

A magical time!

Christmas in Longyearbyen

 

Authentic Christmas atmosphere at 78˚ North
Christmas time in Svalbard is magical. Jarle RøsslandPerhaps it’s the best place in the world to experience the ultimate Christmas atmosphere. It may have something to do with the beautiful and calm Polar Night which descends on it, enabling you to experience the mystical Northern Lights in the daytime as well as in the evening. The darkness gives us peace and time for reflection while we decorate our small town with Christmas lights and stars. We are so close to the North Pole that Santa Claus receives letters from here first – and Santa Claus gets a lot of letters from Longyearbyen! A small letter box in Nybyen attracts excited children, who have written long lists addressed to Santa Claus. On the first Sunday in Advent, a torchlit procession takes place past Mine 2 to the letter box, which is lit up by a small lamp. All streetlamps in Longyearbyen are turned off as the the torchlit procession takes place, and if we're lucky we might by accompanied by the Northern Lights.

The main street in Longyearbyen is adorned with Christmas decorations, including a Christmas tree brought in from the Norwegian mainland. True to tradition, the Christmas tree lighting takes place on the first Sunday in Advent, at the main square in the city center. The smell of fresh Christmas baking at Fruene is enough to make your mouth water so we visit this sweet café more frequently than usual. Fruene, which is also the world’s northernmost chocolaterie, is busy filling the large chocolate orders that tick in as Christmas approaches.

Christmas is the time for delicious food
The aroma of Christmas food cooking wafts over Longyearbyen Jarle Røssland as the hotels and restaurants prepare to serve Christmas dinners and it’s hard not to be tempted. After all, Christmas is the season for socializing and enjoying delicious food. Coal Miners Cabin serves traditional rakfisk (partially fermented trout) on 2 December and a tasty Christmas buffet on Christmas Eve. There is also considerable activity at the Radisson Hotel on Christmas Eve with porridge and cured meats during the daytime and a Christmas buffet in the evening. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit slightly earlier, there is a family Christmas party on 10 December.
The legendary Huset is decorated for top to bottom and you can dine on delicious Christmas fare here too. Svalbard Hotel also has a rich Christmas programme, including a Christmas lunch on 23 December and a Christmas breakfast and Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. Perhaps you want to stay at a hotel decorated in traditional trapper style? If so, head to Basecamp Hotel, which offers a package including accommodation and a Christmas dinner at cosy Gruvelagret – a unique restaurant in a former warehouse of the mining company.
Many companies in Svalbard offer special package tours including accommodation, activities and Christmas dinner or celebrations. You can combine your Christmas dinner with unforgettable activities like a snowmobile safari or dog sledding trip in the Polar Night.

Buy Christmas presents at tax-free prices
The shops in Svalbard stock everything from outdoor clothing and equipment to reindeer skins. You can buy unique and exciting presents at pleasant prices. Svalbard is a duty-free zone so lower tax-free prices apply for everything you buy here. You will find bargain prices on outdoor clothing and equipment at Longyearbyen’s sports stores, while gift ideas at Gullgruva include watches and jewellery. Skinnboden is well worth a visit. A stuffed polar bear greets you at the door, and you can choose between a large range of skin and leather products, jewellery and shoes. You will also find a broad selection of souvenirs, gold products and quality clothes in Longyearbyen, and the shops are open year-round.

Longyearbyen’s local Christmas traditions
We have our own local traditions in Longyearbyen. It would not be Christmas without a concert by Store Norske Mandskor, the mining company’s men’s choir, which sings in Christmas. And it certainly would not be Christmas without the traditional Christmas market at Kulturhuset, where locally made products are sold in the spirit of Jarle Røssland sustainability. Some families save a leg of reindeer from the autumn hunting season to roast for Christmas dinner, while others pack up food and warm clothes and head out of town by snowmobile 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 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!
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