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wojtekd Longyearbyen - A travel report by Wojciech
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Longyearbyen,  Svalbard - flag Svalbard -  Svalbard
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wojtekd's travel reports

Taste of The Far North

  24 votes
Page: 1 2

Longyearbyen travelogue picture
Svalbard or Spitsbergen - arctic territory administrated by Norway lies 78 deg. north - half way between the North Pole and mainland Europe. It is exotic travel destination. It is easy accessible by air from Oslo and Tromso. My best advice: you can travel there for free from Copenhagen if you are a member of SAS frequent flyer programme and have just 12000 miles on your account. That's what I did - a great deal!!
Only 1500 people live in Longyearbyen - the capital of the territory. Another thousand is spread out in two mining communities and two scientific stations. That's all humans. There is probably bigger number of polar bears...


Favourite spots:
Longyearbyen travelogue picture
There is only 25 km of roads around the capital. But there is a lot to do: mountain walks, glaciers, fjords, wildlife, boat tours, arctic coal mines. You can also explore the island interior on foot carrying all your equipment with you but you need to apply to the governor for permit. Outside Longyearbyen you must carry all the time a gun (polar bears are dangerous). Rifles are for hire in Longyearbyen for 80-100 NOK a day... Tours are expensive: be prepared to pay from 300 NOK for half-day walking with a guide to 1000 NOK for full-day boat tour to the glaciers...
Other activities offered: kayaking, horseback riding and in the dark winter also dog-team sled trips, ski and snowmobile trips. In the summer they offer also round-the-island ship excursions but they cost a lot... Further north of Longyearbyen there is tiny scientific settlement of Ny-Alesund accessible in the summer by boat (full day cruise each way, limited accommodation in Ny-Alesund).




What's really great:
Longyearbyen travelogue picture
1.Small ship (70 pax) day tour to the Russian settlement of Barentsburg and Esmark Glacier.
2.Glacier walk uphill from Longyearbyen - Svalbard Wildlife Service is recommended - they provide all necessary equipment
3. Midnight sun - there is no night from 19th April till 23rd August. And from 26th October till Feb 16th there is polar night - if you like darkness...


Sights:
Longyearbyen travelogue picture
The only easy accessible settlement is Longyearbyen. Distance from the airport is about 3 km. Bus transfers to the "town" are available for 40 NOK. Airport bus calls all hotels/guesthouses prior to flight departure. "City" highlights: Mine no.3 - open to group visits. Small but very interesting museum. Art gallery. Svalbard Church.


Accommodations:
Longyearbyen travelogue picture
Last expensive: Mary-Ann's Polar Rigg: 350 NOK single, 450 NOK double, linen 75 NOK extra, breakfast 75 NOK also extra(beware of unkind lady - the owner here)
102 Guesthouse: 450 NOK single, 550 NOK double linen and breakfast included.

Other recommendations:
Most important for independent traveler: supermarket Svalbardbutikken for groceries and souvenirs. Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-2pm.
There is very professional and helpful tourist info office: "Svalbard Tourism" info@svalbard.net
Their www page: www.svalbard.net
You can see more Svalbard pictures on my private Svalbard page:
http://www.kontynenty.tpi.pl/Svalbard1.h-tm



Published on Sunday October 6th, 2002


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Mon, Feb 11 2008 - 10:53 PM rating by krisek

Hey, is one of the names applicable to the entire archipelago and the other to one of the islands only? Anyway, a great report. Thanks for sharing.

Sun, Feb 26 2006 - 02:04 PM rating by ehs1193

Nice pictures.

Sun, Jan 15 2006 - 10:51 AM rating by frenchfrog

Very Informative, I did not know that Svalbard was the other Name for Spitsbergen.
Good report!
Well done

Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 09:19 AM rating by miguelmarchi

You have been to places that I can only dream. You are one of the best travellers of the world, if not the very best! Congratulations!

Mon, May 30 2005 - 12:13 AM rating by rangutan

Excellent report on a way-out place, very special.

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