What to do in Longyearbyen?
On our 9-day Svalbard trips, we always include one hotel night in Longyearbyen and you will usually have some time to explore this Arctic village on your own. Longyearbyen is not only Svalbard's administrative centre, there are also restaurants, cafes and museums to discover here. Mia Lundqvist works as Staff Manager at the PolarQuest office, but also as guide on our Svalbard expeditions and has spent a lot of time in the village. Here she shares her best tips on things to do on site!
Looking for fine dining? Visit Longyearbyen's best restaurants, Huset and Gruvelaget.
– Huset mixes local products and Nordic flavours with an impressive collection of wines. It is said that the restaurant’s wine cellar store more than 20,000 bottles, making it one of Scandinavia's largest.
Gruvelagret is to be found in an old mining storage and the interior reflects early mining history in Longyearbyen. Here you can enjoy a unique and cosy dining in the outskirts of the village.
Taste Svalbard's own beer! Since 2015 there is a brewery on Svalbard. Why not make a visit and try their five different beers?
– The beer is also served at several other bars and restaurants in the village like Kroa, Svalbar and Huset.
Have a fika at the cafe Fruene.
– Order a bun or buy some locally made chocolate - of course shaped like the king of Svalbard; the polar bear!
Learn more about Svalbard in the village’s museums.
– I recommend both the classic Svalbard Museum and the somewhat more recessed North Pole Expedition Museum.
Take a walk to Nybyen.
– After a 30-minute walk into the valley, you reach a range of houses that were built as accommodation for the miners, named Nybyen. Today, in addition to the restaurant Gruvelagret, you find a small art gallery and a nice bar called Coalminers Cabin here.
Get 300 meters into the mountain during an exciting visit to Gruve 3.
– The process of mapping the coal resources of the valley started as early as 1928, with mining in Gruve 1 and Gruve 2. In 1971, mining also started in Gruve 3 and continued until 1996 when it was closed. Today it is open for public visitations and well worth one!
Admire the entrance to the global seed vault.
– You are not allowed to visit the actual vault, but you can still imagine it, situated 125 meters deep into the mountain. Preserved by the permafrost, over 900,000 different seeds from all over the world are stored here.
Since 1999, we have taken travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago. Unpredictability and flexibility are the main keywords when you travel with PolarQuest as the exact route depends on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encounters. Sometimes you might be woken up in the middle of the night if a polar bear has been spotted on the ice.