Spitsbergen Travel Guide

Browse travel reviews, travel blogs and 194 travel photos from real travelers to Spitsbergen.

People Traveling to Spitsbergen

A Tra… Guy Jordi Dennis A Tra… Clém… Jean-…

Spitsbergen Overview

Spitsbergen is the former name of the arctic archipelago which is now part of Norway and officially called “Svalbard”. The name Spitsbergen was given by the Dutch: “spitse Bergen” means “pointy mountains”, a name that is easy to understand once you have seen them.
The flight from Oslo to the capital of Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen, takes a few hours.
Spitsbergen is probably one of the last wild places in Europe. Most of its inhabitants live in the capital, the rest of the archipelago is mainly sea, frozen sea, glaciers, mountains, birds, seals and polar bears.
There are a couple of ways to explore Spitsbergen; the best ways are by boat. You can either book a trip on a cruise ship or on a smaller ship. The cruise ships can’t navigate into the narrower stretches of water so the chance of seeing polar bears are slim. If you book onto a smaller ship that can navigate in between the islands the chances of seeing polar bears are very good.
There are also lots of organizations or individuals that offer trips by land which are probably not as comfortable because being more exposed to the elements.
Longyearbyen has a few hotels, a hospital, shops (some of them sell really good outdoor apparel), pubs and a museum.
For the real wilderness experience: go to Spitsbergen!
Watch out for the bears though and don’t go off wandering by yourself. There is no boundary between the wilderness and the places where people live and the bears are not shy.