A child laying in a meadow, Photo: Green Dog Svalbard

Spend your autumn holiday in Svalbard!

It’s exotic! Good food is a matter of course. It’s safe for the children, and maybe the adults can get some relaxation time in as well? Why not add in some culture or history? With lots of activity, the children will definitely sleep well at night. Autumn holidays in Svalbard are perfect for the whole family!

Imagine standing and looking out over the mountain Hiortfjellet from Longyearbyen on a sunny autumn day. The children are running around, turning over rocks and looking for fossils. “Who wants a cup of hot chocolate?” The valley Adventdalen is bathing in golden autumn tones and the air is crisp and clear. The mountains tower on all sides and are reflected in the fjord.

Closeness is an important factor, not just closeness to nature but also closeness to your children.

In Svalbard the adults can unwind and relax – have time for each other, time with their children, and time for adventures. Autumn is a perfect time to take the whole family to the High North.

400 locals can’t be wrong

You will notice it as soon as you land at the airport. Both the younger and the older children rejoicing over their reunion with the stuffed polar bear beside the baggage carousel. The taxis have child car seats, children’s bikes are parked outside the cafés in town, and children’s play areas are easy to find around town.

Svalbard is a perfect place for children, as the almost 400 children who live here can testify to. With access to a wide range of activities, nice hiking opportunities close by, and more relaxed parents are among the many reasons they enjoy it here. 

Tranquil autumn days in the north

The summer and the Midnight Sun are eventful, but sunshine around the clock can be a bit intense for the youngest visitors. In September and October, the days and nights are almost normal, the sunsets are wonderful additions to everyday life, and it may even be possible to spot the Northern Lights! There is also plenty of daylight to experience Longyearbyen and its surroundings.

The fact that adults get to relax away from the stresses of everyday life does not mean the days are uneventful. In Longyearbyen, you won’t have to go far from your hotel before you may start to encounter the exotic Svalbardian wildlife!

Reindeer often roam around town and create a completely different type of traffic jam. The Arctic fox sneaks around the houses in the early morning and evening, and the Svalbard rock ptarmigan struts around seemingly without a care in the world. Look! Look there! Is that a pod of white whales entering the harbour? 

Food for every taste

One wants steak, two want fish, the youngest one wants pancakes and the oldest child has recently become a vegetarian. No problem! Longyearbyen is a wonderful place to go out for a meal and, with several award-winning restaurants, the menus are surprisingly extensive and extremely impressive.

Here in Longyearbyen, you can get a cinnamon bun and coffee, French fries and a chocolate milkshake (for those times the children just needs something quick and easy!) and even enjoy a five-course dinner in peace and quiet while the children are asleep in the room upstairs. You will find sushi and burgers, whale and seal meat, pizza with your choice of crust and locally sourced reindeer beautifully served with root vegetables and sauce, to give but a few examples.

Fill your days with adventures

Perhaps where Svalbard scores best is when it comes to experiences. Even though the children have different ages, interests and activity levels, you will find activities the whole family can do together. For instance, you can take the boat trip to Barentsburg! Everyone eagerly runs to the large glass windows to try to spot whales and birds in the fjord. If you are lucky, a polar bear may even show up on the shore – at a safe distance for both you and the polar bear.

Off the coast of Grumant, you can learn about the coal mining history of former times. It’s hard to believe but, in its heyday, 1,200 people lived in this small valley beside Isfjorden.

When you arrive in Barentsburg, the level of activity increases. Who is the first to climb up all the stairs to the town? Are you hungry? Red Bear Bar & Brewery has delicious food for young and old alike.

The sightseeing trip around town takes you on such an exciting journey, it almost feels like you are in Russia. You must remember to write home about this!

Tips for families with children

When the children are happy and content, the adults are very happy and very content. Here are some tips on how to really succeed with a family autumn holiday in Svalbard:

  • Bring enough warm clothes! The temperature may drop to freezing point, so remember a hat and mittens. It’s also a good idea to bring a seating pad, so you are always ready for a short break.

  • Bring a thermos! Coffee or blackcurrant toddy is served on many guided tours, but a thermos of hot water can be a lifesaver. Having hot chocolate powder or instant soup in your backpack is cheap insurance to ensure a successful excursion.

  • Rent your own guide! Several companies in town offer private customized tours. This makes it easier to the adapt the pace to suit the youngest (or oldest?) in the group, you can take several breaks and spend as much time as you want in the moraine searching for fossils.

The short distances around town make it very easy to do activities in both the morning and the afternoon yet be able to have a good break in between if the young and old ones need one. It’s also possible for your oldest to go to the museum while the youngest one challenges their fear of heights at the polar bear playground in town and still be able to meet for lunch together.

To put it simply, holidays in Svalbard are stress-free. And isn’t that the key to creating good holiday memories?

Two children hiking in an autumn coloured landscape, Photo: Green Dog Svalbard

Visit Svalbard Eco-Lighthouse

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