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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 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.

Jarle Røssland

On the first Sunday in Advent, we gather up for a walk from town, past Mine 2, and to the letter box in Nybyen, Jarle Røssland 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 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 as the hotels and restaurants prepare to serve Christmas dinners, and it’s hard not to be tempted by the wonderful smells.

In Restaurant Nansen at the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel there’ll be festive fests both on Christmas and New Year’s eve. Throughout the rest of December you’ll be able to get a taste of their exciting Christmas menu.
December 27th you can also join the “Belated Christmas Party” at the hotel in Barentz Gastropub.

Polfareren Restaurant will be offering both Christmas and New Year’s Eve feasts. In Polfareren you’ll also have several opportunities to try rakfisk (fermented fish) and lutefisk (dried fish pickled in lye) which are traditionally eaten in Norway around Christmas times. A champagne brunch will be served in the restaurant on New Year’s Eve.

Several of the local activity providers can offer packaged programmes for those that wish to join us here in Svalbard for the festive season.
Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen can offer a six-day long “Christmas adventure” including snowmobiling, dog sledding, and a dinner at Fangststasjonen not far from Longyearbyen. Should you feel like spending New Year’s in Svalbard as well they’ll also be offering a five-day long New Year’s-programme.

You can also join Svalbard Adventures or Hurtigruten Svalbard, both of which have varied and fully packed programmes ready for the Christmas season. Enjoy Christmas in Svalbard like the locals by joining a Christmas movie screening, the church’s Christmas service, or one of the many delicious dinners on offer around Christmas.

Green Dog Svalbard

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!

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. To add that final touch to the Christmas mood you may want to check out the scented candles “Jul” (Christmas in Norwegian) from Skandinavisk at Frost in Longyearbyen.  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.

Jarle Røssland

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

This year’s Christmas celebrations in Svalbard Church will be a bit different due to ongoing renovations in the church and the ongoing situation with Covid-19. As such, the church’s Christmas events will be held elsewhere in town.
Sunday 15. November there’ll be a hymn concert at Huset, and Sunday 20. December there will be a Christmas concert at Kulturhuset.
Lastly, this year’s Christmas service will be held at Huset, 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.

 

 

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 Eco-Lighthouse

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