Spitsbergen - Svalbard
The northern most city of the world in dramatic scenery.


The northern most city of the world in dramatic scenery.

A day as a tourist in the World's Northernmost Town | $$$ + Local tips | Svalbard Travel Guide
Svalbard - Glacier
The archipelago of Svalbard, a land of ice and polar bears, is found midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.


The archipelago of Svalbard, a land of ice and polar bears, is found midway between mainland Norway and the...

Svalbard and Jan Mayen flag

Svalbard and Jan Mayen Travel Information

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Key facts




Northern Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea, and Norwegian Sea, north of Norway


Norwegian kroner (NOK)


62,045 sq km


2,926 (January 2021 est.)


Norwegian, Russian


Most of the population is Christian and affiliated with the Church of Norway. Catholics on the archipelago are pastorally served by the Territorial Prelature of Tromsø.



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Things to Do

  • 1. Admire the Arctic Wildlife

    Embark on a thrilling adventure to observe the diverse wildlife in the Arctic region of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Get up close to magnificent polar bears, reindeer, whales, and various species of seabirds. Don't forget your camera to capture these unforgettable moments!

  • 2. Explore the Glaciers

    Discover the breathtaking beauty of the glaciers in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Take a boat tour or go hiking to witness the icy wonders up close. Marvel at the stunning blue hues of the ice formations and let the serene atmosphere leave you in awe.

  • 3. Go Dog Sledding

    Experience the thrill of dog sledding through the Arctic landscapes of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Harness your team of energetic huskies and glide through the snow-covered terrain. Feel the rush as you navigate the icy trails and take in the surreal beauty of the surroundings.

  • 4. Visit the Ice Caves

    Venture into the mesmerizing ice caves of Svalbard and Jan Mayen for a truly unique experience. Marvel at the intricate ice formations and the calming blue hues that surround you. Explore the labyrinth-like caves and let the enchanting beauty take your breath away.

  • 5. Take a Polar Expedition Cruise

    Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime polar expedition cruise in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Sail through icy waters to remote and stunning destinations, spotting polar bears, walruses, and stunning landscapes along the way. Immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Arctic.

  • 6. Witness the Midnight Sun

    Experience the magical phenomenon of the Midnight Sun in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. During the summer months, the sun never sets, casting a golden glow over the Arctic landscape. Enjoy endless daylight and stunning views that will leave you in awe.

  • 7. Go Snowmobiling

    Embark on an exhilarating snowmobiling adventure in the snowy landscapes of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Ride through the Arctic wilderness, speeding across frozen lakes and snowy trails. Feel the adrenaline rush as you explore this winter wonderland.

  • 8. Visit the Russian Mining Town of Barentsburg

    Explore the historically significant Russian mining town of Barentsburg in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Learn about the town's past and present, visit the Russian orthodox church, and immerse yourself in the unique cultural blend of the Arctic.

  • 9. Go Birdwatching

    Svalbard and Jan Mayen are home to a wide variety of bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Explore the diverse bird habitats, from rocky cliffs to pristine tundra, and spot species like the Atlantic puffin, Arctic tern, and more.

  • 10. Hike to the Summit of Newtontoppen

    Challenge yourself with a hike to the summit of Newtontoppen, the highest peak in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. This thrilling expedition will reward you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Arctic landscapes and a sense of accomplishment.


Svalbard and Jan Mayen are located in the Arctic region and have a polar climate with long, dark winters and short, cool summers.


The climate in Svalbard and Jan Mayen is cold and dry, with average temperatures ranging from -14°C (7°F) in winter to 6°C (43°F) in summer. The region experiences polar night in winter, with no daylight for several weeks, and midnight sun in summer, with 24-hour daylight.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Svalbard and Jan Mayen is during the summer months, from late May to early September. This is when the weather is mildest and there is 24-hour daylight, allowing visitors to make the most of their time in the region. It is also the best time for outdoor activities, such as wildlife safaris, hiking, and kayaking. The winter months, from November to February, are a good time to visit for those who want to see the Northern Lights, but the extreme cold and darkness can make it challenging for some visitors.


Raspberry cake

Raspberry cake

Raspberry cake, known as Hjortronkake in Svalbard and Jan Mayen, is a delightful dessert featuring a moist and fluffy sponge cake layered with sweet raspberry filling and topped with a light whipped cream frosting. It's a popular treat enjoyed during special occasions and gatherings in the region.

Reindeer stew

Reindeer stew

Reindeer stew, or Reinsdyrstuing, is a traditional dish made with tender reindeer meat, root vegetables, and aromatic herbs. This hearty and flavorful stew is a staple in Svalbard and Jan Mayen, reflecting the region's reliance on reindeer as a source of sustenance for centuries.

Arctic Char

Arctic Char

Arctic Char, locally known as Røye, is a prized fish in Svalbard and Jan Mayen, known for its delicate flavor and flaky texture. It's often prepared by pan-searing or grilling and served with a light buttery sauce, showcasing the fresh and natural taste of this cold-water species.

Cloudberry Jam

Cloudberry Jam

Cloudberry jam, called Multe syltetøy, is a sweet and tangy preserve made from wild cloudberries handpicked in the arctic tundra of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. This exclusive delicacy is enjoyed on bread, pastries, and desserts, and is a cherished part of the local culinary heritage.

Seal Meat

Seal Meat

Seal meat, also known as Selkjøtt, has been a traditional protein source in Svalbard and Jan Mayen for centuries. It is often prepared in stews, soups, or jerky, and is valued for its rich, gamey flavor and nutritional qualities that have sustained the indigenous population through the harsh arctic climate.



There are a few hotels in Svalbard, mainly located in the town of Longyearbyen. These hotels range from basic to more luxurious options, with amenities such as restaurants, bars, and spa facilities. Jan Mayen does not have any hotels, but visitors can stay in the research station on the island.


There are a few guesthouses in Longyearbyen that offer basic, affordable accommodation. These guesthouses are often family-run and provide a more intimate and personal experience for visitors.


Camping is a popular option in Svalbard during the summer months. Visitors can camp in designated areas and enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife of the region. However, camping is not allowed on Jan Mayen.

Research stations

Visitors to Jan Mayen can stay in the research station on the island. The station has basic accommodation facilities and is only accessible to those who have permission to stay there.

Cruise ships

Cruise ships often visit Svalbard and Jan Mayen as part of their Arctic itineraries. These ships provide comfortable and luxurious accommodation for visitors, along with the opportunity to explore the region from the water.



The easiest way to get to Svalbard and Jan Mayen is by air. Longyearbyen Airport (LYR) is located in Svalbard and is served by several airlines that operate flights from mainland Norway. Jan Mayen has a small airstrip that is only accessible to military and research personnel.


Cruise ships are a popular way to reach Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Several companies offer Arctic cruises that stop in Svalbard, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the region from the water. Jan Mayen is only accessible by sea for research and military personnel.


Snowmobiles are a common means of transportation in Svalbard during the winter months when the ground is covered in snow and ice. Visitors can rent snowmobiles and explore the region's rugged terrain and stunning scenery.


Boats can also be used to explore Svalbard's coastline and nearby islands. Local operators offer boat tours that allow visitors to see glaciers, fjords, and wildlife such as whales and seals.

Dog sled

Dog sleds are a unique and traditional means of transportation in Svalbard during the winter months. Visitors can take dog sled tours and experience the region's stunning landscape while being pulled by a team of huskies.



  • The currency used in Svalbard and Jan Mayen is the Norwegian Krone (NOK).

Cash And Cards

  • Credit cards are widely accepted in major establishments and hotels.
  • It is recommended to carry some cash for small purchases and in case credit cards are not accepted.


  • ATMs are available in some towns and settlements.
  • It is advisable to carry enough cash with you as ATMs may not always be readily available.


  • Tipping is not a common practice in Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
  • However, if you receive exceptional service, a small tip is appreciated.

Cost Of Living

  • The cost of living in Svalbard and Jan Mayen is considerably higher compared to mainland Norway.
  • Accommodation, food, and transportation expenses are generally more expensive.


  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen have low crime rates and scams are rare.
  • However, be cautious of scams targeting tourists, such as fake tour operators or online rental scams.