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Northern Lights Winter

Northern Lights Winter

1 October – 28 February

Northern Lights Winter

As we nudge into October, it’s already dark in the evenings and there is noticeably less daylight as each day passes. We refer to the dark season in Svalbard as the “Polar Night”. This two-and-a-half-month period lasts from mid-November to late January. The sun is at least 6 degrees below the horizon during this period and it’s totally dark 24/7. The darkness is the same around the clock so it does not give you any hints about what time it is.

The only light sources outside the settlements are the moon, the stars and the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). Being outdoors on a cold and clear day (or night!) during this season provides amazing perspectives of life. You can sense the contours of the terrain, but the light show in the sky dominates your attention. Millions of stars twinkle to us from space lightyears away and, when it’s full moon, the landscape emerges more clearly from the darkness. However, what most people look forward to experiencing is the magical and mythical Northern Lights. The unique thing about Svalbard is that you can experience the Northern Lights around the clock (conditions permitting)! Svalbard is the only permanently settled place on earth where you can experience dayside Northern Lights, which differs in colour and strength from what normally occurs in the evening and at night.

Poline BublikIn the weeks before and after the Polar Night, we have what is called the “blue light” (or the “blue hour”). This is the period when the sun moves below the horizon (down towards 6 degrees) and back over the horizon again. This provides Svalbard with unique light conditions during the daytime, and the beautiful blue tone is something you must experience to fully appreciate. This period of the year is a favourite among photographers because they get to capture the unique blue light by day and the magical Northern Lights in the evening and at night.

During the Northern Lights winter, the appearance of Longyearbyen changes and the focus of the local population switches from outdoor activities to indoor socialising and cosiness. Good food and drink and a rich cultural offering including several festivals makes the Northern Lights winter a very nice time to visit Longyearbyen. The town’s attractions and tax-free shopping opportunities are available like other times of the year, while there is a wide range of activities and experiences close to town to participate in. Many of the activities are associated with the Northern Lights and the starry sky, and you don’t have to head far out of the settlements before light pollution diminishes and the light phenomena in the sky control the darkness alone.

Svalbard

Inspiration

  1. How to dress in Svalbard
    When visiting the High Arctic, you need to dress accordingly both summer and winter.
  2. Northern Lights adventures
    Svalbard the only inhabited place in the world where you can see the impressive Aurora Borealis also during daytime.
  3. Snowmobile
    Everyone in Svalbard drives snowmobiles – and you should try too!
  4. Dog Sledding
    Dog sledding in an Arctic landscape is peaceful and beautiful, both winter and summer.
  5. Snowcat
    This is an excellent way to experience the Arctic wilderness for those who can’t or don’t want to explore on foot or drive a snowmobile.
  6. Food and drinks experiences
    Food taste even better in the Arctic wilderness. Combine it with exciting activities!
  7. Skiing
    Longyearbyen is surrounded by majestic mountains and nature, perfect for unique skiing adventures.
  8. Ice Cave visits
    Join us into the frozen world, underneath the glaciers.
  9. Expeditions
    Book your expeditions and challenge yourself summer and winter on a memorable several day trip in Svalbard.
  10. Photo safari
    Photo safaris in Svalbard, don't forget your memory card!
  11. Boat trips
    If you want to see and experience as much of the wild, raw and untouched Arctic nature as possible, go on a boat trip.
  12. Wellness
    Indulge in a day of wellbeing at 78 degrees north!
  13. Brewery Visits
    Beer brewed next to the North Pole. Come and visit!
  14. Sightseeing and tours
    Don’t be fooled by the population. Longyearbyen has more attractions and opportunities than most larger cities.
  15. Meet an expedition guide
    A Svalbard expedition guide gives you his tips and stories from th High Arctic.
  16. Biking
    Get out into the Svalbard nature on a fatbike and experience the joy of a physical trip in the Arctic landscape.
  17. Hiking
    There are many memorable hikes you can choose between. Close to town or far out in the Arctic wilderness.
  18. ATV Safari
    An ATV safari is a fun and exciting activity, offering a sightseeing trip with a difference in the Longyearbyen area.
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