Welcome to our Longyearbyen travel guide. Longyearbyen is the most Northernmost town on the planet and gateway to Svalbard. The name of the town comes from John Munroe Longyear, an American who founded Longyear City, now called Longyearbyen, in 1907 as a mining settlement.
Longyearbyen Travel Guide
Longyearbyen: An Introduction
From its early origins as a remote mining community, today Longyearbyen would barely be recognisable to its founders. The mining operations are long gone, replaced by hotels, museums, bars, cafes, a supermarket and a library. The relics of the former mines dot the hills all around as a reminder of its industrial past. Today only one mine is left in operation, and debate about its future uncertain.
Longyearbyen’s main industry is now tourism and it is the start and endpoint of all our cruises to Svalbard. If you have the time it is worth spending a few days here before your cruise to get acquainted with the Arctic. There is lots to see and do including guided tours, museums that offer fascinating insights into Svalbard, and if you dare you can even descend a former coal mine.
In this guide, you will find everything you need to plan your visit to Longyearbyen including arrivals information, where to stay, places to eat and things to see and do all based on our experience.
The airport provides the only gateway to arrive and depart Svalbard by on commercial flights.
How To Get To Longyearbyen
- The quickest and cheapest way to get to Longyearbyen is to fly.
- The town of Longyearbyen is the arrival point into Svalbard and has the only domestic airport with flights to mainland Norway.
- There are daily flights from Oslo in Norway to Longyearbyen.
- From North America and other destinations take an international flight to Oslo, Norway and then take a connecting flight to Longyearbyen.
- The Longyearbyen airport is situated a few miles from the main settlement of Longyearbyen and is the most northerly domestic airport in the world.
Longyearbyen is served by two airlines, SAS and Norweigan who both have daily flights from Oslo in Norway. The flight time from Oslo to Longyearbyen is 2 hours and 55 minutes. It is also possible to fly from Tromso, Norway.
If you are flying from within Europe, fly to Oslo which is easily accessible and has regular daily flights from most European cities. Take a connecting flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen (LYR) in Svalbard.
If you are flying from North America take an international flight to Oslo in Norway and then a connecting flight to Longyearbyen. SAS is a member of Star Alliance and runs a codeshare with Air Canada and United.
If you are flying from other international destinations, connect via Oslo.
On long haul flights, we recommend a stopover in Oslo to break up the journey. Oslo is a great city to explore with lots to see and do. We highly recommend visiting the Fram museum to get a taste for the polar exploration that lies ahead.
If you are boarding an expedition cruise we recommend you arrive in Longyearbyen at least 24 hours prior to your departure. This gives you a safety window in case your baggage or flight is delayed.
The flight prices vary depending on the season. It is often worth shopping around and looking at different dates to find the best price. We recommend using websites such as Kayak and Skyscanner to find the best price.