Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands overview

Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands are located in the Greenland Sea between northern Norway and Greenland. They are a group of islands under Norwegian sovereignty with 60 per cent of the islands covered by glaciers. The two main islands are Spitzenberg and Bear Island.

Brink of Svalbard

Brink of Svalbard

There is plenty to do on the islands for the active and adventurous traveler including hiking, taking out a rubber boat to explore the ice fjords, going kayaking, having a go at dog sledding or take a cruise onboard either the MS Nordstjernen or the ice breaker MV Polar Star. Many visitors enjoy trying out ice caving or go further afield on a multi-day trip using snowmobiles.

Isolated village - Svalbard

Isolated village – Svalbard

Many events and festivals take place throughout the year in the region. The most popular are the Polarjazz Festival that takes place at the beginning of February, the Sunfest Week in March that celebrates the sun’s return and the Dark Season Blues Spitsbergen, a blues festival that takes place in October.

Accommodation in Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands

Accommodation is fairly limited on the islands so advance reservations are recommended. There is a wide range of accommodation available in Longyearbyen, with everything from small, cosy guesthouses to luxury hotels. Accommodation is also available at Isfjor Radio, in Barentsburg and at the boat in the ice (in Tempelfjorden).

Airports in Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands

To reach Svalbard, there are flights to Svalbard Airport Longyear from Oslo and Tromsø, Norway. Flying time is about four hours from Oslo and two hours from Tromsǿ. The airport on Svalbard is small and rather chaotic but it’s only a 10 minute ride into town on the inexpensive airport bus.