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 be 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.

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 the cafés is enough to make your mouth water. 

Christmas is the time for delicious food

The aroma of Christmas food lingers throughout Longyearbyen as the hotels and restaurants prepare to serve Christmas dinners, and it’s hard not to be tempted by the wonderful smells. Christmas is after all an ideal time to enjoy each other's company as well as a lot of well-tasting food, and Longyearbyen's many restaurants have something for just about everyone, be it a Christmas dinner with the family, colleageus, friends, or perhaps your better half?

The Worlds Northernmost Christmas hotel

A yearly even you just have to experience is the magical Christmas hotel at Basecamp Hotel. Their halls and rooms are decked out to create the most magical Christmas spirit throughout their unique hotel, which in December makes for the perfect combination with a proper Christmas holiday in Svalbard. 

2023 sees the return of designer Halvor Bakke and stylist Berit L. Vildalen at Basecamp Hotel where they'll deck the halls with a true Christmas spirit and decor. The Christmas hotel will open on 11. November with a fully packed programme featuring a pop-up shop, book signing by Halvor bakke and an intimate concert. Read more here!

Outdoors activities in the Christmas season

Don’t forget that there are plenty of activities on offer in December!
Get into the festive mood by joining a dog sledding tour on a hunt for the Northern Lights, followed by warm drinks and snacks in a heated cabin in the wilderness close to town.

We can also recommend joining a guided hiking trip in the mountains next to Longyearbyen, granting you a beautiful view of the town lights from above. And perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to get to experience the northern lights from the mountain tops as well!

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. Skinnboden in the main street is also 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 Svalbard Museum a visit.

Longyearbyen’s local Christmas traditions

It certainly would not be Christmas without the traditional Christmas market at Kulturhuset, 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

On Christmas Eve and Christmas day there will be a Christmas service in Svalbard Church, where you will meet the local population dressed up in colourful regional costumes from all parts of Norway. Another excellent and longstanding local tradition is having the communal Christmas dinner at one of Longyearbyen’s restaurants. This tradition dates back to Longyearbyen’s days as a company town, when miners used to enjoy their Christmas eve dinner together in the mining company mess.



  1. Two persons toasting with their glasses over a dinner table
    With unforgettable Christmas adventures out in the wilderness and in town in cosy Longyearbyen
Visit Svalbard Eco-Lighthouse

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