10 Pictures From The World’s Northernmost City

Hello from Longyearbyen, the northernmost city in the world, just 800 miles from the North Pole.

Longyearbyen has long been on my bucket list and intrigued me, in no small part due to the drastic conditions up here. For four months of the year there’s 24 hours of daylight, while for four months of the year there’s 24 hours of darkness. That’s insane.

In April I finally got around to planning a trip here, which I was super excited about. We finally got here yesterday, and all I can say is “WOW.”

I didn’t know what to expect before coming here. On one hand it’s exactly what I expected, while on the other hand it’s totally different than I expected. We’re only here for a couple of days so I’ll save most of my thoughts for when we get out of here. For that matter I still haven’t fully processed how I feel about the place. In the meantime I figured I’d share some pictures.

But wow, what a place. Sure, the place is naturally beautiful, but what has fascinated me most are the people. What causes people to live in a place with such extreme conditions? The most shocking part is that everyone seems to love it.

“How do you sleep when it’s always light out?”
“We don’t.”
“How do you not always sleep when it’s always dark out?”
“We do, we sleep like 14 hours a night.”

The people living here are so diverse. Our taxi driver from the airport to the hotel was Filipino. The first restaurant we stopped at was a Thai restaurant with staff who have lived here for a few years. And then you have lots of Norwegians as well, who for whatever reason decide to stay here and love it.

I’m still not sure if this place exceeds my expectations or disappoints, but it sure is fascinating.

More to come… in the meantime, below are 10 pictures from my first afternoon and evening in Longyearbyen…

Svalbard - 1
View on approach to Longyearbyen

Svalbard - 2
Deplaning at Longyearbyen Airport

Svalbard - 3
Which way to the North Pole?

Svalbard - 4
The town of Longyearbyen

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The food in Longyearbyen is fascinating, like this Thai restaurant — fancy a burger or pizza?

Svalbard - 6
Every business here is milking the opportunity to call themselves “the northernmost ____”

Svalbard - 7
The Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, supposedly the northernmost hotel in the world

Svalbard - 8
Violators will be towed and impounded.

Svalbard - 9
A midnight glacier cruise

Svalbard - 10
This is Longyearbyen at 1AM… seriously

Comments

  1. I went to the Lapland region in northern Finland in the middle of January. There was only four hours of daylight, but there was snow everywhere and the night sky was just absolutely beautiful. It was the most enchanting place I have ever been to. When I go to Longyearbyen, I’ll definitely go during the winter. Or at least the fall. To see that town layered with snow and to be able to look up at the night sky with all the stars will be a dream.

  2. Haha, it’s hilarious that you can see Ford in the “please don’t park your dog here” photo! He’s not your dog, Lucky! 😉

  3. I know a lot of people go up there for scientific research. An old classmate of mine went up there to study arctic marine biology, so I’m sure it’s rather diverse. But Norwegian nonetheless! Just remember to say… SKÅL! 🙂

  4. Ben I don’t see anything different from Alaska. Visit Kneai fords or Juneau and it’s exactly the same thing prob better mountain ranges and more wildlife than Norway. Cheers!

  5. Any Mexican food there? Since Pepi’s North of the Border burned in Barrow it has been very hard to find Mexican food up in the artic circle.

  6. Lol for claiming to be a travel blog your infrequent visits to non-major cities and non-chain establishments are quite humorous. 400k miles per year and yet you’ve rarely been off the beaten path. Welcome to the real world!

  7. Can’t wait for your full report. Mind you, I feel like doing this in summer is cheating. We visited Tromsø in northern Norway last Christmas, and it was fabulous, especially seeing the Northern Lights (aurora borealis). Not the northern most anything, but pretty close to where you are. You can see some of the shots, and very soon a report on our Northern Lights adventure – links below.

    Tromsø: http://www.2paxfly.com/2016/07/what-do-you-do-when-someone-is-already.html
    Northern Lights (coming in the next 24 hours) http://www.2paxfly.com/2016/07/the-chase-to-see-northern-lights-aurora.html

  8. It’s interesting seeing your reaction to some real travelling to a genuine place, unlike your usual ‘spoilt child’ reactions when a hotel doesn’t give you a room upgrade.

  9. I know that I gave you a bit of crap about booking a hotel for a few hours for several hundreds of dollars, but I really enjoy your posts, which I routinely read. I have to say, you have some total twats that routinely post nasty comments to you..YES YOU JAMES! Don’t follow if you are going to be a dick.

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