More about Spitsbergen (Svalbard)
Why go to Spitsbergen (Svalbard)?
Catch the midnight sun (from mid-April through mid-August) in this stunning Norwegian archipelago
Passengers shouldn't head outside of town -- where polar bears roam -- alone
Spitsbergen is home to a historical frontier town, and is the gateway to untold adventures in the Arctic wilds
Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Cruise Port Facilities?
There are no facilities at the piers, as the town is very close.
Good to Know?
No one should go beyond the edge of town because of real danger from polar bears. If you venture out of Longyearbyen by any means of transportation or on foot, you must be accompanied by someone who knows how to use a rifle. That rule is simply a given, and there are no exceptions. When you do walk around town, you may come upon small Svalbard reindeer, as they often come into the edge of the settlement to graze.
On Foot: It's a short walk into town, and most places there are reachable on foot.
By Shuttle, Bus or Taxi: If you do not wish to walk from the pier into town, you can take a bus shuttle, tour bus or taxi. Once you're in town, most places are walkable.
By Bike: You can also borrow a bike for free from the tourist office in the center of town (47 79 02 55 50).
There is no local transit, and there are only 30 miles of roads. No roads lead from Longyearbyen to any of the other settlements, such as Barentsburg and Ny-Alesund. Travel to these destinations is by plane or boat in summer and snowmobile and dogsled in winter. In summer, the dogs are kept in an open kennel compound at the edge of town.
If you're taking an expedition cruise that departs from Longyearbyen, you can find flights from Tromso and Oslo (Bergen) in mainland Norway. A bus transfer is provided between the airport and hotels or guesthouses.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Currency is the Norwegian Kroner (NOK), but the shops in Longyearbyen will also accept euros. Major credit cards are fine, and there are ATM machines at the Spare Bank next to the post office in Longyearbyen. For up-to-date conversion rates, go to www.xe.com.
The official language is Norwegian, but most Norwegians -- and certainly those with whom you will be in contact at Longyearbyen -- speak very good English.
Where You're Docked?
Longyearbyen has three uncovered piers. If there is more than one large vessel in port, one will have to anchor off with a very short launch transfer. Two of the three piers are within reasonable walking distance of the center of Longyearbyen, but buses will likely provide a shuttle service from any of the three.