Longyearbyen

The summit of Sarkofagen Mountain
Abandoned coal mines and polar bears
The Svalbard museum

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Longyearbyen/Spitsbergen

A remote, welcoming village

The Svalbard islands form the most remote province of northern Europe. Arriving in Longyearbyen on an MSC cruise therefore means reaching the northernmost municipality in the world.

Small but vital, the town offers interesting collections of old maps and books on the Svalbard in the town gallery, as well as slides by photographer - composer Thomas Widerberg and a display of paintings by Kåre Tveter. Longyearbyen was founded for extraction purposes due to the abundance of coal, so one often comes across abandoned coal mines.

The pylons that support the funicular are also vestiges and part of the local culture that still highlight the local coal extraction methods. The Svalbard museum offers insight into this activity, as well as hosting examples of local flora and fauna and illustrating the hunting methods used in the islands, where man had to compete with polar bears, the king of these lands and still present in the wild (all excursions in the wild are tackled following the local safety indications).

A curious feature of this remote locality is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground, anti-nuclear vault where all known and classified seeds are preserved. In Longyearbyen there are plenty of places where you can enjoy a relaxing beverage, but if you’re looking for something unique we advise you eat in one of the hunting lodges. You will only have the embarrassment of the choice of possible excursions.

You can go looking for marine birds, wander about the fjords on a kayak looking for seals, or even take a ride on a dog sleigh, either on the snow or on wheels. Some routes instead lead you to the peak of Mount Sarkofagen, from where you can enjoy a staggering view of Longyearbyen and its fjord.

Must see places in Longyearbyen

Discover our excursions

14 results found

  • A PANT IN THE COUNTRY: THE AMAZING
    DOG-SLED TOUR

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR05

    Keen as mustard, raring to go and sure-footed in traversing the terrain – and that’s just the handlers. Wait until you see the wagging tails and wet noses of the dogs that will take you on the sleigh ride of your life. Who needs Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen when you can have a pack of eager canines to pull you through the landscape? All this can be yours when you join this tour, which begins with a short transfer to the kennels from where you will set off on your ride. Channel your inner ice maiden or Arctic prince as you wrap up warm against the cold and get set to enjoy the scenery en route to Endalen. Apart from its vegetation, the region is also noted for its interesting mining history, of which the so-called “Mine 5” is a lasting reminder. Your tour of fabulous furry fun then comes to a close with your return to the port and your ship. Please note: guides available only in English. The average summer temperature is 6° C and weather conditions can change very quickly. We suggest wearing windproof or warm outer jackets, trousers and gloves. No restrooms available during this tour that is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. Guests will be on a carriage pulled by the huskies.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      3 h

    • AdultsAUD $239Price per person

    • ChildrenAUD $239Price per person

    • AdultsNZD $259Price per person

    • ChildrenNZD $259Price per person

  • BECOME A FOSSIL HUNTER ON SARKOFAGEN
    MOUNTAIN

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR04

    After leaving your ship to reach Nybyen – the part of Longyearbyen that began life as a settlement for miners working in the “Santa Claus Mine” – your hiking trip through the Arctic terrain up Mount Sarkofagen will begin. As you explore the wonderful landscape between the Lars and Longyear Glaciers en route to the moraine – a large accumulation of glacial debris – of the Longyear Glacier, you will have time to soak up the special atmosphere of the unspoiled surroundings and enjoy lovely views from your vantage point at 150 metres above sea level. And since glacial regions such as this provide excellent conditions for fossilisation to occur, this is also the perfect spot to discover the palaeontologist slumbering within you and try your luck at finding some plant fossils – a great memento to take back to the folks at home. The enjoyable outdoor tour comes to a scenic close with your return journey to the port and the comforts of your ship. Please note: the tour involves walking on steep and rough mountain tracks and can be classified a grade 4 hike. Participants must be physically fit as the hiking lasts ca. 2 hours both ways on uneven a slippery ground. Sturdy hiking shoes recommended. Guides available only in English. The average summer temperature is 6° C and weather conditions can change very quickly. We suggest wearing windproof or warm outer jackets, trousers and gloves.
    • Limited seats

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      3 h

    • AdultsAUD $155Price per person

    • ChildrenAUD $155Price per person

    • AdultsNZD $169Price per person

    • ChildrenNZD $169Price per person

  • Fjord cruise to Barentsburg

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR14

    Fjord cruise to Barentsburg
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      10 h

    • AdultsAUD $345Price per person

    • ChildrenAUD $179Price per person

    • AdultsNZD $379Price per person

    • ChildrenNZD $199Price per person

  • Fjord cruise to Pyramiden

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR15

    Fjord cruise to Pyramiden
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      11 h

    • AdultsAUD $345Price per person

    • ChildrenAUD $179Price per person

    • AdultsNZD $379Price per person

    • ChildrenNZD $199Price per person

  • HIKING ON FOXFONNA GLACIER PLATEAU

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR09

    Answer the call of the wild and spend about 3.5 hours hiking in the great Norwegian outdoors. To begin with, though, a short coach ride will deliver super views of the Adventdalen valley as you travel along the banks of the fjord. On arrival at the starting point and after being kitted out with suitable gear (solid snowshoes if snow is on the ground), you’ll set off in the direction of Breinosa en route to the Foxfonna glacier plateau. Keep your camera at hand as you hike to capture the stunning views and once you reach the plateau, a break is scheduled. Depending on the weather and time of year, Foxfonna presents itself either as an endless glacier or as an arctic landscape, complete with possible glimpses of the Nordenskiöld glacier in the distance and maybe even some Arctic Svalbard reindeer. Among the various stops made during the hike, one will be accompanied by a hot drink and biscuits to ensure you keep up your strength. After returning to the port via the same route, you can choose whether to go straight back to the ship or stay in town and make your own way back later. Please note: as the tour involves a long period of hiking on muddy and/or snowy terrain, it is considered to be unsuitable for guests with back/neck problems, with limited mobility or using a wheelchair. There may be no snow from July to August, with icecaps visible only in the distance. The hiking route may be changed at the discretion of the guide to suit participants’ fitness levels. Guests must be at least 14 years of age to take part and are generally recommended to wear thermal underwear, warm clothes, sturdy hiking/walking shoes, windproof outerwear, a woolly hat and warm gloves. Guests are also advised to wear the protective glasses provided. Guides are available only in English. This tour is subject to weather conditions.
    • Snack included

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      4 h

    • AdultsAUD $222Price per person

    • ChildrenAUD $0Price per person

    • AdultsNZD $242Price per person

    • ChildrenNZD $0Price per person

  • THE ADVENT VALLEY EXPERIENCE BY QUADBIKE

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR11

    What better way to explore the Arctic countryside around Longyearbyen and the Advent Valley than in a vehicle that matches the ruggedness of the landscape: a two-person quadbike? You can even drive yourself, take turns with your companion or simply enjoy the thrilling ride as a passenger. A 10-minute drive will first take you to the quadbike station to be issued with your vehicle and be briefed on safety matters, after which you can sally forth to explore the fascinating area, with several photo stops on the way. The sun never sets during the short, but sweet Arctic summer, a time of year when migratory birds, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes are quite common – so keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready for wildlife sightings. You’ll also head up to Mine 7 Mountain, at the top of which you’ll find the Kjell Henriksen Observatory where an international team of scientists is conducting research into the Northern Lights phenomenon. After a break to savour fabulous views of the Advent Valley, you’ll return to town and your ship. Please note: the tour is self-drive only and guests must be at least 12 years of age to take part. Guests wishing to drive must be in possession of a valid international driving licence. Each quadbike can accommodate a maximum of 2 guests, incl. the driver. The tour is considered to be unsuitable for guests with heart problems or limited mobility. Information will be provided only in English. The tour can be booked and paid for in advance of or during the cruise, but not via the internet. All guests will be required to sign a waiver before taking part. Sightings of wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        2 h

      • AdultsAUD $339Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $0Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $372Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $0Price per person

    • TREK TO THE MOUNTAIN TOP

      ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

      LYR03

      Crisp Norwegian air, snow-capped peaks, plus a hike up to 327 metres above sea level are the main components of this enjoyable outdoor excursion. Make the journey your destination and give yourself half a day off the ship on a tour that teams a little invigorating exercise with a chance to experience some of the most beautiful, untamed and unspoiled scenery anywhere in the world. The effort you put in while climbing up the mountain will then be more than rewarded by breathtaking vistas of the city, the surrounding mountain ranges as well as Adventfjorden and Isfjorden at the top. Do bring your camera to capture this spectacular eye-candy for the album at home. A well-deserved rest then awaits you at the ship after your descent back down to the port. Please note: the tour involves walking on very steep and slippery ground. Participants must be physically fit as the tour involves hiking uphill on uneven ground. Sturdy hiking shoes recommended. Guides available only in English. Due to the substantial hiking the tour entails, it is classified a grade 4 hike. The average summer temperature is 6° C and weather conditions can change very quickly. Guests are recommended to wear windproof or warm outer jackets, trousers and gloves. This tour is feasible for children aged 12 years on.
      • Limited seats

      • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

        Difficulty Level
        Strenuous

      • Duration
        3 h

      • AdultsAUD $139Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $139Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $152Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $152Price per person

    • ARCTIC ADVENTURE: BOAT TRIP TO
      FUGLEFJELLA

      NATURAL WONDERS

      LYR08

      Don’t leave Longyearbyen without experiencing the exhilarating thrill of sailing through the waters of the Arctic circle in a large purpose-built speedboat on a route that will take you through the Bjørndalen valley to Fuglefjella – or Bird Mountain – to see thousands of nesting seabirds. During your boat trip, fascinating tales about the old mining days will be told for your entertainment, while the Arctic scenery provides a captivating backdrop throughout the tour. Ending with your return to the ship, the tour promises to deliver lasting memories of the very best kind. Please note: the tour is not suitable for guests with back/neck problems or in a wheelchair. We suggest wearing woollen underwear, warm clothes, sturdy shoes, windproof outer and headwear, a woolly hat as well as warm gloves. We also suggest wearing the glasses provided in order to protect your eyes from the strong wind. Guides available only in English. This tour does not include any stop and, in case of adverse weather conditions (too much wind), may have a different route. The duration of the tour includes also the briefing. This tour is feasible for children aged 8 years on.
      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        2 h

      • AdultsAUD $252Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $252Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $275Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $275Price per person

    • LIFE ON THE ARCTIC EDGE: HIGHLIGHTS OF
      LONGYEARBYEN

      NATURAL WONDERS

      LYR02

      As the capital of Svalbard – the Arctic Archipelago midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole –Longyearbyen is the region’s principal city. In addition, if it struck you that the town has a very English-sounding name, you’d be right – almost, anyway. In fact, the town was named after its founder, the American entrepreneur John Munro Longyear who set up Longyearbyen in 1906. After leaving the port, this tour takes you to Svalbard Church, the world’s northernmost place of Christian worship. Next up is Svalbard Museum, whose many natural exhibits and historical artefacts provide insight into life in the Arctic. Last on the list of highlights is a drive through the starkly beautiful Adventdalen valley to visit a husky farm, where a short introduction will be followed by a chance to meet the dogs and learn a little about the art of mushing before you head back to your ship. Please note: guides available only in English. This tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. The visit of the museum will be unguided. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. The average summer temperature is 6° C and weather conditions can change very quickly. We suggest wearing windproof or warm outer jackets, trousers and gloves.
      • Snack included

      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        3 h

      • AdultsAUD $149Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $109Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $162Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $119Price per person

    • CATAMARAN TRIP TO BARENTSBURG

      SCENIC ROUTE

      LYR12

      All aboard! This is an invitation to discover the Russian side of Svalbard. Board a speed catamaran and sail along the coast all the way to Barentsburg. While cruising you have the opportunity to gaze at the scenic landscape, and, en route to Grumant, you can observe a stunning wildlife display, with the thousands of birds gathered on the rocks. During the sailing, your guide will describe the scenery and provide you with an introduction of Barentsburg, your destination, so that you are well prepared on your arrival in town. Enjoy tea or coffee with some biscuits on the catamaran before setting foot to Barentsburg, the Russian capital of Svalbard. A local guide will provide a sightseeing tour of the settlement before having some free time for souvenir shopping and photos! Next, you will board the catamaran and set off to Longyearbyen: this leg of the trip promises amazing views and the sailing back to the port will feel like flying into the past. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair as the tour in Barentsburg includes approx. 300 stairs to negotiate and walking on uneven roads and hilly areas. Guiding is only in English. Additional drinks & food can be purchased at the catamaran bar. Norwegian crowns and credit cards are accepted on the boat. We recommend dressing in warm, windproof clothing and bringing a hat, scarf and gloves. The ship is not exclusive and window seats are available on a first come, first served basis. This tour is available in the morning.
      • Snack included

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4:15 h

      • AdultsAUD $249Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $122Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $272Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $135Price per person

    • CATAMARAN TRIP TO PYRAMIDEN

      SCENIC ROUTE

      LYR13

      Even though the town is under Norwegian sovereignty, the Svalbard Treaty signed by many nations, allows these nations exploitation of natural resources in the area, with Russia being one of the countries conducting coal mining. This amazing excursion includes a sailing into the wilds to discover the abandoned Soviet town – Pyramiden! Board a speed catamaran and sail through the Isfjord and the majestic Billefjorden: you will have the opportunity to observe the unique Arctic wildlife, the magnificent landscape, and see historical sites from Svalbard’s industrial heritage. During the sailing, your guide will describe the scenery and provide you with an introduction of Pyramiden, so that you are well prepared on your arrival in the deserted town. Enjoy tea or coffee with some biscuits on the catamaran before setting foot to Pyramiden where a local guide will introduce you to the abandoned Russian settlement. Explore some of the abandoned buildings, like the impressive cultural and sporting centre and see the statue of Lenin with its steely expression looking over the town. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Tulipan Hotel, where you can find local souvenirs. Pyramiden has, without a doubt, the most picturesque location of any town on Svalbard. The outlook across the Billefjord is directly towards the massive Nordenskiöld Glacier, with its impressive walls of calving ice. Your second leg of the tour will see you board the catamaran again and head directly towards this impressive ice formation to view the enormous blue walls rising up from the sea. Take your camera ready to catch shots of the fascinating sceneries occurring before your own eyes. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair as the tour in Pyramiden includes walking on approx. 2km on uneven roads. Guiding is only in English. Additional drinks & food can be purchased at the catamaran bar. Norwegian crowns and credit cards are accepted on the boat. We recommend dressing in warm, windproof clothing and bringing a hat, scarf and gloves. The ship is not exclusive and window seats are available on a first come, first served basis. You can book this tour only during your cruise and is run in the afternoon.
      • Snack included

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        6:15 h

      • AdultsAUD $299Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $155Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $329Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $169Price per person

    • EXPLORING THE ARCTIC ON A POLAR BOAT

      SCENIC ROUTE

      LYR10

      This all-day outing will see you board an engine-powered polar boat – the M/V Polargirl – to venture out into the frozen wastes of the Svalbard’s Arctic landscape. You’ll set sail from Longyearbyen and head for Barentsburg, with a stop planned at the 15-km/9-mile Esmark Glacier. You’ll have a little time to view and photograph the glacier from the boat before you set off again for Barentsburg, named after the Dutch explorer, Willem Barents, and Svalbard’s second largest town. Thanks to the Svalbard Treaty that permits the area’s natural resources to be exploited by the signatory nations, the Russian coal mining town of Barentsburg is home to numerous Russian and Ukrainian nationals. Next up, the boat will also take you past the former Soviet Russian settlement of Grumant – established in 1912 and abandoned in 1965 – as well as the so-called bird cliff, the well-populated nesting site of seabirds. A light lunch will also be served during your boat cruise, which ends with your return to the ship. Please note: the tour is considered to be unsuitable for guests using a wheelchair. Guides are available only in English. The light BBQ-lunch will include either meat or fish, depending on the day of the call. Any food allergies shall be notified to the shorex office onboard. However, while lunch does not include any beverages, these can be purchased at the boat’s bar (at extra expense not covered by the price of the tour). Local currency in cash (Norwegian krone) and credit cards are accepted as forms of payment.
      • Tasting included

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        9 h

      • AdultsAUD $302Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $132Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $332Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $145Price per person

    • SHORT-BUT-SWEET: SIGHTSEEING IN
      LONGYEARBYEN

      SCENIC ROUTE

      LYR06

      Designed to give you a quick taste of Longyearbyen’s main historical and cultural highlights as well as a look at the fascinating world of husky farming, this 2-hour tour begins with a an external viewing of Svalbard Church, the world’s most northerly place of Christian worship. Next up is a visit to the husky farm; following an informative briefing at the farm, you will then be introduced to the dogs and learn a little about what dog mushing involves. Your return to the ship then brings your tour to a close. Please note: guides available only in English. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. The average summer temperature is 6° C and weather conditions can change very quickly. We suggest wearing windproof or warm outer jackets, trousers and gloves.
      • Limited seats

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        2 h

      • AdultsAUD $119Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $85Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $129Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $95Price per person

    • THE CALL OF THE WILD: A VISIT TO CAMP
      BARENTZ

      SOMETHING SPECIAL

      LYR07

      Beginning with a short coach drive out of Longyearbyen through the scenic Adventdalen valley, this tour gives you a chance to get away from it all for a few hours and learn a little about Longyearbyen’s exciting past at Camp Barentz, Arctic wilderness and a pack of polar dogs. An interesting presentation will be given in the camp’s large gamme, a faithful if smaller reproduction of a traditional type of Norwegian building, after which you will meet the pack of friendly huskies. Your outing to the Arctic edge then comes to a close with your return to the cosy comforts of your ship. Please note: guides available only in English. This tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. The average summer temperature is 6° C and weather conditions can change very quickly. We suggest wearing windproof or warm outer jackets, trousers and gloves.
      • Snack included

      • Limited seats

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        2 h

      • AdultsAUD $155Price per person

      • ChildrenAUD $109Price per person

      • AdultsNZD $169Price per person

      • ChildrenNZD $119Price per person

    The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
    Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
     
    Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

    Norway

    The magic of the northern lights
    The magic of the northern lights

    A holiday in Norway is a dream. A dream along a fjord, the most evocative and characteristic natural formation of this land.

    The Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord are listed as part of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites, but it's also worth mentioning the longest of all the Fjords, the 204 km long Sognefjordas well as the Hardangerfjord where cherry and apple blossoms can be seen on the cliff-side during spring.

    But a Northern Europe MSC cruise also means experiencing the spectacular beauty of the Northern lights; while those of you who travel in the summer can admire the spectacular midnight sun, once north of the Arctic Circle. A cruise to Norway also means discovering the culture of two ancient populations: the Vikings, not just pirates and warriors, but merchants, explorers and colonisers who, for over three hundred years until the 11th century governed Scandinavia and the northern Atlantic: and then, the Samis, the natives of these lands, dressed in multicoloured clothes with immense herds of reindeer, who have lived in the deep North for more than 10,000 years.

    Finally, watch out for the Trolls! Many of the places you will visit are named after these legendary creatures: Trollheimen, Trollstigen (with the spectacular Troll’s path), Trollhatten and Trollveggen.