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Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in the Svalbard archipelago, Norway and its capital. The archipelago, formed several million years ago, has a unique environment with high, snowcovered mountains – 60% covered by glaciers – spectacular rock formations and low growing colourful flora. There are great many different species of animal life. Seals, walrus, polarbear and whales have their habitat all along the coast.

Longyearbyen is the seat of local government and Norway’s main administrative centre on Svalbard. The small colourful community of approx. 1800 inhabitants has developed from being a typical mining community into a community with a number of businesses and industries and a wide range of cultural activities and opportunities. In general, the population of Longyearbyen is rather young, with many small children.

Leisure and cultural activities abound. Since there are no roads between the settlement areas on Svalbard, snowmobiles and boats are a common means of ttransportation. Locals are very fond of outdoor activities, as well as taking weekend trips to cabins and huts.

There are plenty of sports and cultural events in Longyearbyen. A new sports hall with a swimming pool is a popular focal point for many of the sports activities. Lectures and talks on various topics are regularly organised, often at the university. Many famous musicians and artists visit Svalbard during the year and there are many exhibitions, concerts and other special events, particularly during the weekends.

Things to See & Do

* Svalbard Gallery
* Svalbard Museum
* hiking, dog-sledding, kayaking and snowmobile safaris
* Funicular Centre

General information

Cruise Season – May – Oct
Currency – Norwegian Krone (NOK)
Language – Norwegian
Land Area – Norway 324,220 sq km
Population – 1800
Electricity – 2 pin Round pins European style
Time – GMT plus two hours (Oslo)
International Country Telephone Code – +47

Port Location – The Longyearbyen port is located approximately 1km from central Longyearbyen.

Transport Links – Longyearbyen Svalbard Airport (LYR) is the largest airport in Svalbard. It fields a daily SAS flight to Tromsø all year around, and there are additional flights as well as twice-weekly services direct to Oslo in the summer high season. Chartered planes occasionally connect elsewhere in the islands as well, including bases up north for starting your trek to the North Pole.
The airport has a cafeteria/gift/tax-free shop but no other services. Shuttle buses timed to flight departures and arrivals connect the airport to all hotels and guesthouses for a flat 40 kr per person.
Longyearbyen’s port is accessible only in the summer when the pack ice recedes. There are once-weekly boats to Tromso and regular (near-daily) cruises visit Barentsburg in the summer.

There is no public transportation aside from the airport shuttle bus. Walking is a viable option, although rather tedious if you need to move around outside the center. Alternatively, you can try your luck hitchhiking, or rent a bike from Basecamp Spitsbergen. Taxi and car rental are also available.

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