Top Things to Do in Svalbard

Wednesday, 12th June 2019

Becky Masih

svalbard longyearbyen signpost adstk

An alluring haven at the world’s end; the Svalbard archipelago is one of the world’s largest untouched wilderness areas. From chasing the northern lights on a snowmobile to incredible wildlife encounters, read our top favourite things to do in Svalbard…


1. Go Polar Bear Watching

Around 3,000 polar bears live on on the islands of Svalbard – that’s more than one bear for every human that lives in Longyearbyen! Between the months of May and September, the ice begins to melt enough for ships to be able to circumnavigate around the Svalbard archipelago – this means summer is a prime time to experience the kingdom of the polar bear.

2. Snowmobiling in Svalbard

With no roads extending much beyond Longyearbyen and its airport, snowmobiles are the most popular transportation. Zoom past large glaciers, frozen fjords and snow-clad mountains. There are many other optional excursions on offer too; perhaps visit the glacier and explore the beautiful world inside the ice caves, or go dog sledding on the mountain.

3. Kayaking with the locals

Did you know? Kayaks originated in the Arctic Ocean and were used to hunt on inland lakes, rivers and coastal waters. Giving you an incredibly unique perspective of the remote Arctic, paddle between the frozen floes and icebergs of all shapes and sizes and drift quietly as you watch wildlife, absorbing the scenery around you.  An inquisitive seal may even decide to join you as they did with Liz, one of our Travel Specialists.

4. Visit the Mines in Longyearbyen

Have you ever been in a coal mine? Longyearbyen used to be a mining community, everywhere in town you can see traces of the region’s heritage. Dig deep in the history of the world’s most northerly town and find out about the miners, all the coal dust and their life in the mountains. As well as mines, Longyearbyen is also home to several hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops and a university. You can also visit the world’s most northerly brewery and chocolatier!

5. Experience the Polar Night (and if you’re lucky – the northern lights!)

Winter in Svalbard lasts for around 110 days when the sun never shines and is known as polar night. The greatest thing about the 24-hour darkness is that the aurora can light up the skies at any time of the day.

6. Combine Svalbard with other exciting destinations

Finally, while you’re heading in that direction, why not explore more wonders of the north? Get a taste for the experiences of the earliest polar voyagers and combine Spitsbergen with unusual and remote archipelago, Franz Josef Land. If you’re feeling adventurous, journey to the land of Viking legend and visit the largest fjord in the world in East Greenland. And if you prefer to contrast the wilds of Svalbard with a more urban vibe, then combine with the Arctic city of Tromso in Northern Norway.

Feeling Inspired?

Find out more about Svalbard holidays or contact our Travel Specialists for tips and holiday suggestions.

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