A town with snow-covered mountains and northern lights in the background

Northern Lights Winter

1 October – 28 February

Northern Lights Winter

Be well prepared for your Northern Lights Winter adventure by booking your activities and accommodation early!

1st of October – 28th of February

As October sets in the evenings have already started to darken, and the daylight fades away more by every passing day. While the daylight decreases, the darkness and chances to possibly see the northern lights if one is lucky increases at the same time. It won’t take long before the dark season is in full swing by the end of October, with its beautiful landscapes coloured in blue hues, midday twilight mood and total lack of direct sunlight. The dark season’s definite highlight in Svalbard is the polar night as Svalbard is the only place in Norway where one may experience this fascinating phenomenon from mid-November to late-January. The polar night feels darker than the regular dark season as the sun never rises past 6 degrees or more below the horizon, meaning there’s no noticeable difference between night and day. Thanks to this effect, the polar night is a true highlight of Svalbard’s Northern Lights Winter season as it makes it possible to see northern lights even in the middle of the day if one is lucky! As the polar night gradually draws to an end, so does the dark season in time. But not without going out in style with a last round of its famous “blue hour” lights to colour the landscapes in beautiful colours before the sun returns from its dark season vacation.

Buildings with mountains and a dark sky with northern lights in the background

The light in the dark

Throughout the dark season and polar night, the northern lights are far from being alone as a natural source of light. On clear and cloudless days, the stars shine bright all day round during the polar night. It’s also magical to witness the powerful light of a full moon on such days as it casts shadows and illuminates the landscape. Thanks to these natural lights, the dark season is far from being as dark as many imagine it to be!
Longyearbyen, our little “lightbulb”, also feels different during this season. When returning to town after a long, dark and wonderful day of winter adventures on guided trips in its vicinity, just the sight of the sphere of light emitting from the town feels warm and comfortable. Especially when one knows that a nice meal out on the town and a comfy hotel bed for the night is waiting there.

The lights in Longyearbyen seen from a distance in a dark landscape

Dark season cosiness in Longyearbyen

As the days grow shorter towards the dark season, the tempo of life in Longyearbyen also calms down, shifting both locals’ and visitors’ perspectives inwards towards themselves, the people around them, and what the town has to offer.
From varied culinary experiences to shopping opportunities, and from festivities to history and culture at Longyearbyen’s attractions. The season also features a full calendar of events from beginning to end. Yearly features during the Northern Lights Winter include the culinary festival Taste Svalbard, Oktoberfest, the blues festival Dark Season Blues, the chamber music festival Arctic Chamber Music Festival, and the jazz festival Polarjazz.
With a varied programme of events for both Christmas and New Year’s as well, one may safely say that the Northern Lights Winter is anything but a boring time in town.
This is truly the time of year to enjoy a polar city break!

A band on a stage in front of an audience

Experience the Northern Lights Winter

How would you like to experience the Northern Lights Winter? Further below on this page, or via our activity planner, you will find an overview of guided experiences and trips that allows you to enjoy some of the best features of this season yourself!
In addition to ourselves, the polar bears of Svalbard are also active through the Northern Lights Winter. It’s therefore highly recommended that one joins a guided organised trip with a professional guide from a local activity provider who can ensure one’s safety in nature, while guiding and lighting the way to fantastic new winter adventures!

Snowmobiles parked on a snowy plain with a group of people preparing some snowmobiles for a trip, and a colourful cloudy sky in the background


your activity now

  1. Activity Planner
    Plan the perfect Svalbard experience!
  2. How to dress in Svalbard
    When visiting the High Arctic, you need to dress accordingly both summer and winter
  3. Northern Lights adventures
    In Svalbard you may be so lucky as to spot the impressive Aurora Borealis both during the day and night in the Polar Night
  4. Dog Sledding
    Dog sledding in an Arctic landscape is peaceful and beautiful, both winter and summer.
  5. Snowmobile
    Everyone in Svalbard drives snowmobiles – and you should try too!
  6. 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.
  7. Ice Cave visits
    Join us into the frozen world, underneath the glaciers.
  8. Food and drinks experiences
    Food taste even better in the Arctic wilderness. Combine it with exciting activities!
  9. If you want to see and experience as much of the wild, raw and untouched Arctic nature as possible, go on a boat trip.
    If you want to see and experience as much of the wild, raw and untouched Arctic nature as possible, go on a boat trip.
  10. Brewery Visits
    Beer brewed next to the North Pole. Come and visit!
  11. Sightseeing and lectures
    Don’t be fooled by the population. Longyearbyen has more attractions and opportunities than most larger cities.
  12. Tips from a local, Lisa Djoenne
    Get inside information from a local in the world's northernmost town, Longyearbyen.
  13. Biking
    Get out into the Svalbard nature on a fatbike and experience the joy of a physical trip in the Arctic landscape.
  14. Hiking
    There are many memorable hikes you can choose between. Close to town or far out in the Arctic wilderness.
  15. An ATV safari is a fun and exciting activity, offering a sightseeing trip with a difference in the Longyearbyen area.
    An ATV safari is a fun and exciting activity, offering a sightseeing trip with a difference in the Longyearbyen area.
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