Svalbard is an enchanting archipelago sandwiched between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. Wild, rugged and remote, the islands immerse you in the raw natural beauty of the Land of the Midnight Sun. Base yourself in the lively town of Longyearbyen and join guided adventure tours that take you to shimmering glaciers, windswept tundra plains and jagged icebergs.
Things to do in Svalbard
Svalbard is one of Europe’s premier summer hiking destinations, with trails for every fitness level. Set off on a family-friendly fossil-hunting hike or lace up your boots for a gruelling glacier hike or a multi-day backpacking trip through the Arctic wilderness.
The industrial town of Longyearbyen is a gateway to the Svalbard archipelago. Set between two glaciers, Longyearbyen is a great base for planning wilderness trips and connecting with tour agencies. There are a handful of attractions to visit in the town centre, including the excellent North Pole Expedition Museum and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault buried deep inside a mountain. The Wild Photo Gallery features stunning prints by iconic Norwegian photographers Roy Mangersnes and Ole Jørgen Liodden.
Guided tours are a great way to venture beyond the tourist trail and discover the Svalbard wilderness. Multi-day sailing trips take you through iceberg-filled fjords and past soaring sea cliffs. Other favourites include guided glacier hikes, snowmobile expeditions and husky sledding adventures.
Polar bears, Arctic foxes and Svalbard reindeer are just some of the wild animals that inhabit the Svalbard archipelago. Around 3,000 bears live in the region, with May to September offering the best chances of spotting the magnificent creatures.
In winter, Svalbard is one of the best places in Norway to chase the mesmerising Northern Lights. Visit in summer and you’ll experience the famous Midnight Sun, which sees Svalbard drenched in light for 24 hours a day.
Getting around Svalbard
Guided tours are the best way to explore Svalbard, as the archipelago has very few roads. All tours depart from Longyearbyen. The town is compact and easy to get around on foot or by bicycle. Svalbard Airport in Longyearbyen offers direct flights to Oslo and Tromso.