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Stay safe in Svalbard

Stay safe in Svalbard

We recommend you to read this before you come

Safety in Svalbard

Svalbard’s nature is astonishingly beautiful – but also very unpredictable and full of surprises. 

The climate is rough, weather changes rapidly and the polar bear threat is an ever present factor. A trip into the arctic wilderness thus requires good preparations in order to minimize the risk of severe happenings and injuries. Here you can get updated on our advice for when you want to venture into the wilderness during your visit to Svalbard.

Go organized! 

Use the professional tour operators if you want to go into the vast wilderness of Svalbard. The guides are well qualified to take care of the guests, by esteeming the weather conditions, avalanche risk, ice conditions, polar bear threat, etc. They also bring along the required equipment for more or less all thinkable situations, including communication systems when visiting places where no cell phones will do.

To book organized tours, click here.
You may also be able to book a private guide through some local tour operators. Contact the tour operators directly in order to check for the availability of a private guide.

If you enter the wilderness on your own; think safety and environmental protection in all your planning and preparations. Here are a few tips:

  • Have adequate clothing and equipment for the trip; wool, many layers, windbreaker, food, hot drink, etc.

  • Ask for advice at any of the shops selling sports equipment.

  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back from a tour in the wilderness.

  • Check the weather forecast – and bear in mind that there are huge local variations and rapid changes in the Arctic. The weather forecast for Longyearbyen, Svalbard may be found here.

  • Cell phones will not function outside of Longyearbyen, so a satellite phone and a distress beacon is a must. These can be rented at local shops or through tour operators.

  • Polar bear protection is required; flares, a gun, etc might be rented at several shops or through tour operators.

Be sure to know the laws and regulations regarding where you can go and what you can and cannot do to ensure the caretaking of nature and protection of cultural remainings. The tourist information and the Governor’s Office might advice you on this.

The Svalbard Guidelines give you a brief overview on what you should take in consieration before leaving the settlements. Ask for advice!

The Governor of Svalbard has a lot of useful information on safe and environmental friendly behaviour. Check also out the brochure Safety in Svalbard.

If you are a guest aboard an expedition cruise visiting Svalbard then you can find AECO's expedition cruise-specific visitor guidelines here.

Longyearbyen Hospital

Longyearbyen Hospital is a public hospital. Since the EEA rules do not apply to Svalbard, the European Health Insurance Card does not apply. Entries are expensive and must be covered by the patient themselves (not applicable to citizens of the Nordic countries and those covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme). Everyone has to pay deductible for consultation at the hospital. This also applies to citizens of the Nordic countries.

The safe-zone in Longyearbyen

Keep in mind that you should not venture out from the settlements in Svalbard without the proper safety-equipment as listed above. In Longyearbyen there is a safe-zone within which you do not have to carry a gun, flares, etc. with you. The safe-zone is marked with a red colour on the map below which you can find a free physical copy of in the tourism information office in downtown Longyearbyen marked with the red box below.

  1. Svalbard Guidelines
    We recommend you to read these important guidelines before coming to Svalbard.
  2. Sustainable Destination
    Longyearbyen is one of Norway's sustainable destinations.
  3. Polar Bear, King of the Arctic
    The polar bear is one of the world’s largest carnivores. There are around are 3 000 animals in the Svalbard archipelago.
Visit Svalbard Sustainable Destination

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