Welcome to an island realm, with glaciers, monumental mountains and polar bears halfway to the North Pole, offering snow scooter trips and glacial caving in the winter or kayaking and trekking in the summer.

The world’s northernmost destination

900 kilometres north of mainland Norway, and 1,100 kilometres from the North Pole, lies an archipelago of islands large and small, with pyramid-shaped mountains, glaciers and deep fjords. This is the northernmost place in the world you can travel to using scheduled air services, stay at a normal hotel and eat at a normal restaurant.

On an excursion

You depart compact Longyearbyen on long snow scooter trips or with dogs during the winter and in kayak or by foot in the summer. You are not at the top of the food chain here, and the polar bears are keen on tourists, so all trips are carried out in groups with armed guides.

On expedition

The more adventurous types head north on a cruise to Ny-Ålesund, the walrus island of Moffen and perhaps all the way to Kvitøya, furthest to the east. Snow scooter trips to the east coast and week-long trips by foot take real endurance.

Five popular sights

  • Barentsburg, a Russian mining community south-west of Longyearbyen
  • The Svalbard Museum; expeditions and animal life from the entire island realm
  • Isfjord radio, an outpost furthest out in the Advent Fjord
  • The “Pyramid” is an abandoned Soviet mining community north of Longyearbyen 
  • The Svalbard Gallery 

Three popular summer activities

  • Walking tours in the arctic scenery
  • Kayaking or cruising on the Advent Fjord
  • Fossil hunting around Longyearbyen

Three popular winter activities

  • The snow scooter season in February to May provides fantastic short or longer trips  
  • Dog-sledding is done at top speed in a landscape that is without trees
  • Ice caving

Five Svalbard surprises

  • The Northern Lights are a common sight on Svalbard, as the climate is so dry 
  • The dark period lasts from 26 October until 14 February in Longyearbyen 
  • The Midnight Sun lasts from 19 April until 23 August in Longyearbyen 
  • During the whaling era of the 1600s, hundreds of whalers came to Svalbard 
  • Svalbard has no sales tax or duty, so it is an excellent place to go shopping

Read on

www.visitsvalbard.com is the website of the Travel organisation Svalbard Reiseliv