Located just 1300km from the North Pole, Svalbard is the perfect destination for those seeking an arctic adventure. With only around 2,100 people calling Svalbard home, the place has a unique tranquility to it. In fact, there are more polar bears in Svalbard than there are people!
If you’re looking to visit Svalbard you’ll want to come to Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost urban community. When I visited Longyearbyen I was amazed to see that such a small place offered so many accommodation options.
Visiting Svalbard has to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Sorry I couldn’t resist the pun! I went during the 24 hour darkness and it was incredible to experience this. Longyearbyen is also home to the world’s northernmost brewery which should be on any beer lovers bucket list!
- 1 Hotels in Longyearbyen
- 2 Hostels in Longyearbyen
- 3 Airbnb in Longyearbyen
- 4 Camping in Longyearbyen
- 5 How to get to Longyearbyen from the Airport
Hotels in Longyearbyen
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel
Situated in the heart of Longyearbyen, Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is the world’s northernmost full service hotel. While it’s the most modest Radisson Blu I’ve come across, the ski lodge feel to the place is half the charm.
Svalbard Hotell – Polfareren
With a great central location, Svalbard Hotell Polfareren is a beautiful sleek and modern hotel that offers both standard guest rooms plus self catering apartments.
Breakfast is included in the price and they also offer free tea and coffee in the lobby. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves up Nordic, French and Asian inspired dishes. Even if you don’t stay here I recommend checking out the restaurant.
Svalbard Hotell – The Vault
One of the newest hotels in Longyearbyen, The Vault has a stylish and modern feel to it that guests love. Breakfast is included in the price and the rooms come equipped with a kettle which is perfect for warming yourself up after a day sightseeing.
The Vault offers fantastic views of Longyearbyen and they have a terrace so you can really take in the stunning surroundings.
Mary Ann’s Polarrigg Guesthouse
Definitely Longyearbyen’s most unique hotel, Mary Ann’s Polarrigg say that staying here you will meet the real Svalbard both inside and outside. With a converted bus and a coal mining wagon they certainly know how to make their hotel stand out!
They have an onsite bar and a restaurant serving Arctic inspired dishes. Breakfast is included in the price and guests also have access to a shared kitchen which is great for those wanting to stick to a budget. If you were looking to splash out however, they do have a spa where you can get a massage at the world’s northernmost spa.
If you’re looking for more of a traditional lodge style hotel, Basecamp Hotel will be perfect for you. They offer individually decorated rooms with beautifully made driftwood furniture and fur rugs.
What’s great about this hotel is they have The Cognac Attic which has glass ceiling so guests can enjoy views of the midnight sun or Northern Lights (depending on the time of year you visit).
Once an administrative building for a mining company, the building was bought in 1993 and renovated into the cosy Funken Lodge. Situated on top of a hill, Funken Lodge offers stunning views of the nearby Adventfjorden and Hiortfjellet mountains.
The onsite restaurant offers guests fantastic views while serving up a variety of delicious French inspired dishes as well as typical Arctic specialities. Worried about over indulging? Fear not because they also have a fitness centre on site.
Hostels in Longyearbyen
Gjestehuset 102 Svalbard
A popular budget hostel (at least by local prices!), Gjestehuset 102 is not your typical hostel. In fact you could argue it’s more like a guesthouse. Either way, if you’re looking for somewhere comfortable to stay that won’t break the bank this is a good option.
They have 4 bedroom dorms and twin rooms available with shared bathrooms. There is a shared kitchen available which is perfect if you don’t want to spend the money eating out for every meal. Plus they also have drinks and snacks you can buy at the hostel. They also rent out bikes which can be the perfect way to explore the area.
Haugen Pensjonat Svalbard
More like a hostel than a hotel, Haugen Pensjonat is perfect if you’re just looking for a basic accommodation in Longyearbyen. Although not centrally located, they are only a short walk to the town centre.
While not a traditional hostel, they offer shared rooms that also have shared bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen for guests to use.
Coal Miners’ Cabins
Another great budget option in Longyearbyen is Coal Miners’ Cabins. When the area was still a mining town these cabins were used to house the coal miners. Hence the name!
Situated further away from the town centre, this is the perfect place to stay if you want to be closer to the mountains for some hiking or skiing. Guest accommodation is in annex buildings which have access to shared bathrooms and a common living room. They also have a bar and grill restaurant on site serving up reindeer burgers as well as other delicious dishes.
Airbnb in Longyearbyen
I was surprised that Airbnb was available in Svalbard but with the rise in tourists visiting and with a limited amount of hotels available, Airbnb is becoming more popular there. There are around 30 places you can stay ranging from single rooms in apartments to whole houses and apartments, some of which offer fantastic views.
Since the price of hotels in Svalbard are quite expensive, Airbnb is a good option for anyone wanting to save some money on accommodation. During my visit to Svalbard I opted to use Airbnb to get a room in an apartment. We didn’t have the place to ourselves but it was great to have a local with us full of handy tips.
What I found great about using Airbnb for this trip was it meant we had a kitchen. Very handy when eating out is so expensive! This is also a great advantage for any vegans visiting Svalbard. While the restaurants don’t offer a huge amount of vegan options, the local supermarket has many tofu and vegan alternatives available. Plus plenty of fruit, veg and nuts.
Camping in Longyearbyen
I never would have thought they would offer camping in the arctic but for the more adventurous explorers there is camping in Svalbard. Probably one of the most unique places to go camping, Longyearbyen Camping is the world’s northern most camping site.
The camping site is not far from Svalbard Airport so easy to reach. Tents, sleeping bags and insulation mats are available to rent when you get there. On site you’ll find an area for setting up tents as well as toilet and bathroom facilities and a kitchen in the camping house. There are also friendly staff around to help with any questions or help you plan excursions.
How to get to Longyearbyen from the Airport
Since there are only a couple of flights to Longyearbyen Airport a day there is a very convenient shuttle bus service set up to correspond with arrivals and departures. While the service is not free (costing 75 NOK), it does not need to be booked in advance. Once you have collected your bags you simply head out the exit to a bus already expecting you. The bus will then stop off at each hotel in Longyearbyen. It will be the simplest airport transfer you ever do!
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