Longyearbyen - A view from our expert author

Longyearbyen Svalbard by Natalia Davidovich Shutterstock© Natalia Davidovich, Shutterstock

You can’t miss Svalbardʼs main city, where you can stock up on outdoor adventure gear, filling pints of Norwegian lager and plenty of Arctic war stories.

Longyearbyen is Svalbard’s capital and the oldest existing settlement in the archipelago. The aim of developing Longyearbyen into a modern Norwegian town, comparable with those on the mainland, has for all intents and purposes been met. There are good connections with the mainland through regular, year-round flights and communications technology has improved immensely.

The town’s infrastructure is similar to that found elsewhere in Norway in considerably larger places. While this range of facilities might surprise, it should be kept in mind that anything lacking in Longyearbyen is just an hour-and-a-half’s flight away; on the mainland it is similarly no problem to organise supplies or assistance from a neighbouring community when needed. With Longyearbyen, there is no neighbouring settlement and in winter when ice hinders shipping, the community is still largely dependent on its local resources, which therefore have to be more extensive than in larger mainland settlements.

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