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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. Perhaps 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 our letters 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.

Jarle Røssland

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 quaint café more frequently than usual. Fruene, which is also the world’s northernmost chocolaterie, is busy filling the many 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. On the four first Sundays of December, Gruvelageret offers a family Christmas dinner, with traditional Norwegian Christmas food and dessert. Dinner is served from 16:00, but remember to book a table in advance! You can find the Christmas menu at Vinterhagen Restaurant from the 1st of December. 

The legendary Huset restaurant is beautifully decorated for Christmas, and is open every day during the holiday. On New Years Eve they offer a fantastic five course meal. Kroa Svalbard also offers a delicious five course feast on the last day of the year. Be quick to decide, you may want to book well in advance. 

Polfareren Restaurant invites you to both Christmas dinners and brunch. On the 15th of December you can try the traditional Norwegian "Christmas porridge", or have a nice Christmas Brunch on Christmas day and New Years Eve. On Christmas Day they invite you to a classic turkey dinner. 

Several of the tour operators offer amazing package deals for those of you who want to celebrate the holidays with the North Pole as the closest neighbor. Join Basecamp Explorer on their five-day Christmas adventure. You will experience everything from spectacular hikes to an overnight at a trapper’s cabin. 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 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. If you want a historical break from the Christmas shopping, you should pay a visit to Svalbard Museum. They are open everyday before Christmas, except from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day.  

Jarle Røssland

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 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 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!
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