Longyearbyen, with a population of around two thousand, is Svalbard's main town, with colourful wooden houses and a distinctly frontier feel. Accommodation is in cosy guesthouses and former trapper lodges full of furs and Arctic memorabilia, or upmarket hotels with modern comforts. There are a handful of shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants serving Arctic flavours, all of which give the little town a little bit of buzz.
Most visitors use Longyearbyen as a base from which to explore the ice-clad mountains nearby, or venture further into the Spitsbergen wilds with an experienced Svalbard guide. The town was founded when John Longyear, an American mine owner, established the Arctic Coal Company here, and the entrances to several disused coalmines can be visited.
Longyearbyen is well equipped for adventure tourism - camping, hiking, snow mobile tours and dog sledding are some of the activities that can be tried in this remote but beautiful region of Norway.
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This spectacular expedition voyage discovers the remote reaches of Norway's isolated and unspoiled north, from Svalbard's polar bears to Bear Island's rugged bird cliffs. You'll spot an abundance of wildlife that thrives among these mountains, glacial fjords and dominating icy expanses.
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Book by: 31 January 2019
Discover the staggering beauty of Iceland’s Westfjords, remote and seldom-visited Jan Mayen island – the world’s northernmost active volcanic island, and Svalbard’s northwest coast.
Top itineraries in Longyearbyen
Explore the wilds of Svalbard's Polar Night on this tailor-made break, which includes a half-day husky safari and a stay at the stunning Funken Lodge, Longyearbyen's finest hotel.
This twin-centre break is a superb introduction to the Arctic region, pairing the fun of a stay in Tromso with high adventure in Svalbard, just a short hop from the North Pole.
The Akademik Sergey Vavilov – designed for polar research – has been transformed into a modern, safe and supremely comfortable Arctic cruise ship and it's onboard this ice-strengethened vessel that you'll undertake this brand new Svalbard cruise.
Top places to stay in Longyearbyen
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