Discover the World’s Northernmost Town
We’re taking you to the edge of the world. This mining town on the archipelago of Svalbard lies between Norway and the North Pole. It’s a place where reindeer roam free around town, where you can check the time on a 24-hour sundial (it’s easy to lose track of it in the “Land of the Midnight Sun”), and where the crack of calving glaciers breaks through the calm of the Arctic Tundra. In summer, birds flock to Longyearbyen in droves, and wildflowers blanket terrain that appears unforgiving, but is definitely worth exploring.
The compact downtown, with rows of brightly-painted houses, is home to a shopping mall, as well as restaurants that serve up a fusion of local and international cuisine that’s completely unique. Never had a whale stir fry? This is your chance to try it thanks to Thai residents that moved here during mining’s heyday. Outdoor adventure abounds in Longyearbyen. Kayak the placid waters of the harbor, walk in the footsteps of miners on a hike full of flora and fauna at Endalen, or embark on a glacier excursion to Esmarkbreen. For a once-in-a-lifetime cocktail experience, drop a cube of glacier ice into an Arctic martini. Amazing things happen when you explore off-the-beaten-path with Azamara Club Cruises, and the last town at the top of the world is no exception.
Speed across sweeping landscapes on a dog sled built for summer terrain. Drive the sled led by a team of huskies, or sit back and enjoy the ride as a passenger. It’s a unique way to see all the natural beauty surrounding Longyearbyen, with ample opportunity to see herds of reindeer and fleet Arctic foxes.
Named European Museum of the Year by the Council of Europe in 2008, Svalbard Museum is a must-visit in town. Unique wildlife exhibits look as if polar bears, seals, and more are lounging on floating ice floes. Learn about the human history of Svalbard Island, including whaling and mining industries, and gain insight on the nearby Global Seed Vault that protects the integrity of the world’s plant life.
Explore a ghost town above the Arctic Circle. A Soviet mining base from 1927 to 1998, the settlement was abandoned quickly and offers a freeze frame of Soviet life. Birds nest on vacant window sills, and facilities like a swimming pool, a movie theatre, and a basketball court retain nothing but empty echoes of once-vital mining community.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway At a glance