Generally regarded as the northernmost town in the world at 78° north, Longyearbyen, is the largest settlement in the stunning Svalbard archipelago. Located deep in the incredible Norwegian Arctic wilderness on Spitsbergen, it is the largest of the Svalbard islands.
Set at the end of the Advent Fjord, and framed by flat-topped, snow-covered peaks, Longyearbyen is home to some 2000 inhabitants, several reindeer and the odd polar bear. The town Longyearbyen was only established as a permanent settlement in 1906 to exploit local coal reserves, and is named after American mining specialist, John M. Longyear.
Only one mine remains working, but Mine 3, which was turned into a living museum in 1996 on its closure, can still be visited. The museum guides are all former miners who give first-hand accounts about life underground. The Svalbard Museum also provides insights into the life of miners, and the other local industry, whaling. The 24-hour sundial reminds visitors that the sun doesn’t set for months during summer, and the Spitsbergen Airship Museum, which has exhibits from the era of polar exploration, is worth discovery.
The Svalbard Museum provides an excellent insight into the life of miners, as well as the other local industries including whaling. Learn what flora, fauna and geology flourish here in Longyearbyen and discover more about the history of the town and nature in the Arctic.
The Alaskan Husky is a crossbreed which can be traced back to North American Indian dogs. Over thousands of years these dogs have become a robust, social and a friendly breed which love to live out in the harsh Arctic conditions. The Huskies will be happy to meet you – all of the dogs are friendly and happy whenever anyone comes to visit, which may mean muddy paws greeting you!
One of the world’s largest areas of untouched wilderness awaits you. During the summer months Longyearbyen comes alive with glaciers and wildlife against a back drop of mountains and fjords.
Go in search of the world’s most northern church, and the only church on Svalbard. Apart from being able to attend a mass here, the church also runs a little café where waffles are welcomed by visitors. The interior of the church might not be comparable to the Vatican, but it is still worth a visit and will only require a small detour on your way through the town.