Svalbard S pits b ergen
Welcome to Svalbard One of the world’s largest areas of untouched nature awaits you. In the summer, beautiful colours and contrasts provide the frames for dramatic glaciers, majestic mountain formations, buzzing bird mountains and endless arctic tundra with its diverse flora and fauna. Visitors find themselves enclosed by the unparalleled silence on Svalbard. The light lures us to this unique place in which the midnight sun shines from early spring till autumn. During the winter, the northern lights cast sparkles of light across snow-covered, pointed mountain peaks and an infinite landscape. The blue light caught between darkness and light turns reality into a pure fairytale. The surroundings become works of art. A stay on Svalbard is the perfect vacation if you want peace, quiet and space for thoughts and dreams.
Thoughts swell in the encounter with Svalbard’s exciting history and fascinating cultural monuments located across the archipelago. We move with respect in this vulnerable landscape. For the sake of your safety and to ensure that you get the most out of your stay on Svalbard, we recommend our local tour operators’ diverse selection of organised tours, which can be booked directly through our websites. Let the images and memories of wonderful experiences be what you bring back home from Svalbard. Warm regards, Tourism Manager
Facts about Svalbard The archipelago that constitutes Svalbard with its 61 000 square metres is located at 74º - 81º N and 10º - 35º E. The largest islands are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Barentsøya, Edgeøya and Prins Karls Forland. The archipelago is governed by Norway and regulated by the Svalbard Treaty. There are multiple settlements on Spitsbergen, and Longyearbyen is the Norwegian administrative centre with approximately 2000
inhabitants. Of these, about 240 commute to the mining community of Svea. Ny-Ålesund is an international research centre with approximately 40-100 inhabitants (depending on the time of year). Barentsburg is the centre of Russian mining activities and has about 500 inhabitants. In addition, Poland operates a research station in Hornsund with 10-12 inhabitants. There is no road connection between the settlements.
Short history In 1194, the ”Svalbarði fundinn” was noted in Icelandic texts, in which Svalbard was referred to as the ”land of cold coasts”. After Willem Barentsz discovered Svalbard in 1596, Svalbard became a site for international whaling (1600-1750), Russian all-winter hunting (1700-1850) and Norwegian all-winter hunting (1850-1973). In 1906, American John M. Longyear established the first mine and named the town Longyearbyen. In 1916, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani took
over the mining activities in Longyearbyen. Almost 40 countries signed the Svalbard Treaty in 1920, and Norway was granted sovereignty in 1925. In 2002, the responsibility for community services and public authority tasks were transferred from the Norwegian government to Longyearbyen Community Council. This Council is an extended local democracy based on a unique model adapted to the local circumstances.
Main photo: Synnøve Haga · Photo colomn (from top): 1 & 3 Synnøve Haga – 2 Leoei Lachani
Longyearbyen Longyearbyen is the seat of local government and Norway’s main administrative centre on Svalbard. The small and colourful community has developed from typical mining community into a community with a number of businesses and industries and a wide range of cultural activities and opportunities. The population of Longyearbyen is young with many small children and few senior members. There are currently 3 kindergardens and a school that covers all levels up to and including high school. In addition, it is possible to study subjects such as Arctic biology, geology, geophysics and technology at the University Centre of Svalbard (UNIS). Among the locals, trips to vacation cabins and outdoor activities are popular. As there are no roads between the settlements on Svalbard, snow scooters or boats are often used as forms of transportation. The Norwegian authorities have decided that Svalbard shall consist of 3 main industries: Mining, research and tourism. These industries attract people from different countries, and close to 40 nationalities are represented in Longyearbyen. In the autumn of 2007, Longyearbyen was the recipient of the honorary designation “International Local Community”. Culture and events There are plenty of sports and cultural events in Longyearbyen. The modern and well equipped sports hall was completed in the autumn of 2007. The swimming hall with its saunas serves as a beloved gathering point for people of all ages, especially during the polar night. Theme nights and lectures on popular science are regularly organised by among others the University Centre. Many famous musicians and artists visit Svalbard during the year, and there are many exhibitions, concerts and other entertainment events. Annual events in Longyearbyen: Polar Jazz Long weekend at the end of January/beginning of February with a number of musical events featuring jazz, blues and bluegrass. Solfestuka During Week 10, the sun’s return (8 March) is celebrated, featuring programs such as exhibitions, concerts, a revue, scooter races and a competition known as “Ta sjansen” (“Take the chance”) on the snow. Svalbard Ski Marathon Ski Marathon held at the end of April-beginning of May. Spitsbergen Marathon Marathon held at the beginning of June. Dark Season Blues Entering the polar night, last weekend of October, the blues festival features musical events and concerts throughout the city. KunstPause Svalbard A 3-5 days event during the second week of November with an emphasis on art and culture interacting with nature’s own works of art.
Attractions Svalbard Museum In April 2006, the new exhibition opened in a venue in Svalbardporten. The museum features a highly comprehensive collection and provides an insight into everything from the discovery of Svalbard, 17th century whaling history, expeditions, winter trapping techniques, the war on Svalbard, flora, fauna, and geology and not least of all mining history. There are also smaller museums in Barentsburg and in Ny-Ålesund. Galleri Svalbard This Gallery presents artworks by artists inspired by the nature, light, colours and contrasts on Svalbard. Through a variety of media such as paintings, graphic works, photography, multimedia, ceramics, glass and jewellery art, Gallery Svalbard displays permanent and alternating sales exhibitions. Furthermore, the Gallery is proud to present its permanent collections, paintings by the ”Master of illumination” Kåre Tveter, historical maps, books and money notes in the Svalbard Collection, and litographies in the Recherche Collection. The city’s artists and craftsmen are located in Longyearbyen Arts and Crafts Centre. This centre offers an insight into the creation of local applied art through various forms of expression. Spitsbergen Airship Museum Museum opened in November 2008 and presents the history of three airships trying to reach the North Pole, all starting from Svalbard: “America” in 1906 – 1909, “Norge” in 1926 & “Italia” in 1928 as well as the search and rescue expeditions where among others Roald Amundsen lost his life. The exhibition consists of pictures, documents, films, and different models of landscape, ships, aero planes and airships. The museum is located in the older part of Longyearbyen, close to the church. The museum shop offers books, plane models, magazines, airship, jewellery and other related material. March/September open every day. October/February Wednesday to Sunday. Svalbard Kirke In addition to the regularly church services, Svalbard Church also houses a number of other activities. A large and cosy fireplace lounge in the church is open daily. One evening a week, you can stop by for a cup of coffee, delicious, Norwegian waffles and daily newspapers. Both concerts and lectures are offered occasionally on the church premises. Svalbard Church also organises excursions and outdoor church services. Taubanesentralen A very characteristic building is located on Skjæringa, the funicular centre. In earlier times, the transportation of coal in Longyearbyen took place by the funicular system. This centre was a junction for the transportation between the different mines. The protected building contains historical information about this kind of transportation on Svalbard.
Main Photo: Synnøve Haga · Photo colomn (from top): 1 Miguel Caselles – 2 Sysselmannen på Svalbard – 3 Gjermund Lund – 4 David Thyberg – 5 Kenneth Sunde
SUN DIAGRAM FOR LONGYEARBYEN
DAY SUN TWILIGHT
POLAR NIGHT NO DAY
LOCAL MEAN TIME
LOCAL MEAN TIME
• SUN DOWN
0100 0200 0300 0400 0500 0600 0700 0800 0900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 2100 2200 2300 2400
0100 0200 0300 0400 0500 0600 0700 0800 0900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 2100 2200 2300 2400
POLAR NIGHT NO DAY TWILIGHT
NO DAY SUN MORE THAN 6º BELOW THE HORIZON • TWILIGHT SUN 0º-6º BELOW THE HORIZON MIDNIGHT SUN SUN ABOVE THE HORIZON • POLAR NIGHT SUN BELOW THE HORIZON
Seasons, weather and climate The polar night and midnight sun seasons vary depending on latitude. Longyearbyen enjoys the midnight sun from 19 April to 23 August; while in the period 28 October to 14 February, the sun never peaks over the horizon. From 14 November to 29 January, the sun stays more than 6 degrees below the horizon. Light winter (March – May)
As the light returns, the activity level and amount of energy increase. Everyone wants to get out, to see and to explore! March through May is an exciting time on Svalbard. The days become increasingly longer, and by the end of April, the midnight sun has returned to warm a wintry landscape. The migrating birds start returning, the mountain sides are filled with bustling life, and the seals enjoy the rays of sunshine on the fjord ice. Facing the spectacular blue-green glacier fronts invite you to inner reflection. This time of year is ideal for outdoor activities and wilderness adventures. Summer (June – August)
The snow disappears, small flowers blossom, and a rush of bird activity replace the quiet of winter. This is summertime on Svalbard. Mountains, valleys, glaciers, the sea, flowers, animals and birds attract you to adventures you will never forget. The summer in the Arctic region is short and hectic. Even with daylight around the clock, the days never seem long enough to fit everything you want to get done. Autumn (September – October)
The landscape dons its autumn frock when orange colours cover valleys and mountains while the topsoil slowly freezes. Temperatures sink down toward zero. Gradually, the days become shorter, and suddenly one morning you wake up to find that the sky has sprinkled a layer of white frosting over the mountain peaks. Hikes at this time of year leave lasting memories. The frozen topsoil is easy to walk on, the air is pure,
and a reddish-orange evening sun is on display in all its glory. Winter and polar night (November – February)
By the end of October, the sun has sent its final rays for the year over the landscape, and Svalbard enters into a period of darkness. For more than two months, from mid- November to the beginning of February, darkness prevails around the clock. Yet when the weather is good, the moon is full, the skies are starry and the Northern Lights are dancing, it is possible to experience the characteristic blue lights that characterise polar nights. Many find the month of February the most beautiful month of the year. The polar night gives way to the rising sun, inching higher and higher for each passing day. On a clear day, the sky’s many blue hues blend with a shade of pink – and finally the day comes when the first pink rays from the sun touch the mountain peaks. After starting at the top, the sun gradually makes its way down the valley. At this time of the year, the area is filled with a unique atmosphere and mood which simply must be experienced. The weather on Svalbard
Despite Svalbard being so close to the North Pole, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to areas at the same latitude. In Longyearbyen, the average temperature ranges from -14°C during the winter to +6°C during the summer. The very lowest temperature was measured in March 1986 at –46.3°C, while the very highest temperature was measured in July 1979 at +21.3°C. It is not uncommon on Svalbard to have long periods during the winter with temperatures between –20 and –30 °C; add to that a wind-chill factor that usually seriously compounds the cooling effect of the low temperatures. Periods of fog are common during the summer. In terms of precipitation, however, Svalbard may be described as an ”Arctic desert” with annual rain- and snowfall at a mere 200-300 mm. The weather on Svalbard can shift very quickly, and local variations are often considerable.
Main photo: Synnøve Haga · Photo colomn (from top): 1 Kenneth Sunde – 2 Lognyearbyen lokalstyre – 3-4 Synnøve Haga
Trips and activities The trip options on Svalbard are numerous, and it is often possible to combine various activities – especially when the trip extends across several days. During the summer and autumn (June – September), it is possible to combine hikes with boat transportation or cruises. The experience of a summer on Svalbard is guaranteed to be enhanced if you sit down in the slope underneath a bustling bird mountain, camp among tall mountains and mighty glaciers, or paddle in a kayak while a seal is sunbathing on an ice floe nearby.
Ski trips – day trips/multiple days Equipped with skis, you can experience the unique nature surrounding Longyearbyen and perhaps try your skills on Telemark skis. For multiple daytrips, you will find more options in the local areas near Longyearbyen including accommodation in cabins or tents, where you will take part in carrying out the tasks of camping life. The day trips last from 3-8 hours and the long trips from 5-7 days. Additional charge for ski rental (personal equipment may be used).
The winter season (November/December – May) offers many possibilities. Some travellers dream of reaching Svalbard’s tallest mountain peaks by ski, whereas others prefer to experience the winter landscape by dog sledge or snow scooter. On Svalbard, it is easy to feel engulfed by the sense of infinity and the raw nature.
Ski trips with dogs and sledges – multiple days Greenland dogs pull the sledges, provide pleasant company and stand night guard against polar bears! Duration between 3 and 12 days. Tailored trips in accordance with the customers’ wishes. Contact your operators for more detailed descriptions of the trips.
Many of the activities are contingent on seasons, and the length of the seasons varies from year to year. Some of the tour operators tailor events for larger or smaller groups. For more information regarding activities and operators and for direct booking of trips/activities, please visit our website www.svalbard.net.
Snow scooter trips – day trips/multiple days Day trips are arranged to other destinations like the Russian settlement Barentsburg, the abandoned Russian settlement Pyramiden, Kapp Linné, the East Coast or to the mighty Tuna/Von Post glacier. Duration 7-9 hours. Multiple day trips with lodging in tents, cabins, “The Boat in the Ice” or Isfjord Radio. Duration 2-4 days Participants must possess a driver’s license class B and/or S.
Below you will find an overview of many of the activities that Svalbard offers. Additional information can be found in the programs of the tour operators. During certain periods, the demand is great,and therefore, we recommend that you book accommodation and activities well ahead of your trip to Svalbard. WINTER ACTIVITIES
Hiking trips – day trips/multiple days Hiking trips may also be practicable during winter. These hiking trips with or without snow shoes, use permanent camps (cabins, tents, igloos or snow caves) as starting points. Dog sledge trips – day trips/multiple days/ expeditions Choose between running your own dog team and sitting in a large sledge. Day trips with durations of 3-8 hours, or multiple day trips from 2-12 days with lodging in tents, the ”Boat in the ice” or Isfjord Radio. Ice cave trips From Longyearbyen, you can experience the inside of one of the nearby glaciers and formations of ice and rock created by nature’s own forces. Experience with glaciers is not necessary. These trips are not recommended for people suffering from claustrophobia or people with limited mobility. Duration 3-5 hours.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES Glacier hiking Multiple options are available for hiking trips that include glacier hiking. The group will cross glaciers connected by ropes, and spectacular viewpoints will be visited. Duration approximately 5 hours. Boat trips – evening trips and day trips Longyearbyen is the starting point for different boat trips. Day trips to the Russian settlements Barentsburg and Pyramiden (now abandoned) are popular destinations. In addition, there are trips to among others Tempelfjorden, Skansbukta and Prins Karls Forland. Most trips visit mighty glaciers, and lunch is served during the trip. Some trips include stops at places in between the settlements. Duration from 6-10 hours. Boat trips – multiple days From mid-June till the end of August, you can join boat trips along the West Coast or around the entire Spitsbergen. The group will go on shore to visit historical sites and places of natural beauty. Lodging is offered on shore or on board the boat. The trips last between 3 and 11 days. Contact the operators for more detailed information.
Fossil hunting The geology of Svalbard can be read like an open book, and it is often easy to find magnificent fossils. The trips are made on foot in different areas with varying ground conditions. Duration from 3-6 hours. Hiking trips – day trips The area surrounding Longyearbyen offers great nature experiences both along the ocean, in the mountains and on the glaciers. The selection of trips ranges from Bjørndalen, Bolterdalen, across Platåberget or Foxfonna, or to mountain peaks such as Sarkofagen and Trollsteinen. Duration from 3 hours. Hiking trips – multiple days During the summer, longer hiking trips are arranged to the North West of Spitsbergen, Prins Karls Forland and other areas surrounding Isfjorden. Many trips use permanent tent camps as starting points, whereas other trips require movement across a larger area. Duration from 2 days. Contact the operators for more detailed descriptions of the trips and programs. Hiking trips with pack dogs Trips are arranged in the areas surrounding Longyearbyen featuring dogs that pull parts of the equipment. There are possibilities for mountain trips and glacier crossing. Hot drinks and snacks are served. Duration 4-5 hours. Bird watching Telescopes and binoculars allow us to take a closer look at the Arctic flora and fauna, birds and mammals. We will use cars to visit several places in Bjørndalen and Adventdalen. Dog sledge trip - summer When the snow disappears in the lowlands, the dog teams are moved up to the mountains. Duration 3-5 hours. Dog sledge trip on wheels The summer is the best time to enjoy a rich plant, animal and bird life. Instead of the dog sledge, we will use a carriage pulled by the polar dogs. This trip may be combined with a visit in a dog kennel, and the trip will take place in Adventdalen for approximately 3 hours. Kayak trips – day trips Equipped with steady kayaks, dry suits and floating vests, this trip will cross Adventfjorden close to land with Hiorthhamn, also named Advent City as destina-
tion. We will go on shore 1-2 times and take a closer look at the remnants of mining activities from the early 20th century. Duration 6-8 hours. Kayak trips – multiple days Trips lasting between 4 and 8 days in the area around Billefjorden, Dickson-/Eckmansfjorden, Kongsfjorden or Krossfjorden. Kayaks and special clothing are included. Contact the operator for more information and descriptions of daily agendas. Trips in open boats On board small rubber boats, you can join our trips in the Isfjord area to the bird mountains and glaciers with enormous glacier fronts. We will visit places with interesting histories or places suitable for fossil picking. Duration 6-9 hours. Half day trips and overnight trips are available upon demand. ALL YEAR ACTIVITIES Events including meals outside Longyearbyen Depending on the season, the evening will be spent around the bonfire on the beach, in a turf hut, in a large tent or in a log cabin. There are lectures,and slide show presentations and exciting storytales from the Svalbard history. Duration approximately 3-4 hours. Visits to dog kennels, hunting stations or the Wilderness Centre After a short drive into Adventdalen, multiple dog kennels and a “Trapper’s hunting station” can be visited. These places offer you an introduction to the history of the polar dog and information about the Trapper’s life. Transportation and meals are included. Duration 2-3 hours. Horse back riding During the summer, participants will ride among different colourful flowers and a bustling bird life. This trip is also suitable for beginners and children. Duration 2-4 hours. Sightseeing Trips by car or bus are available in Longyearbyen and the surrounding areas, giving the opportunity to learn about the exciting history of Svalbard and the society of today. These trips often include visits to Gallery Svalbard, Svalbard Museum or the research station EISCAT Svalbard Radar. Some of the trips offer the possibility of shorter hikes in the terrain with an emphasis on the flora and fauna. Duration 3-4 hours.
Flora About 60% of Svalbardâ€™s land mass is covered with a huge number of small and large glaciers. Only 6-7% of the land area is covered by any type of vegetation. The most fertile areas are found in the inner fjord regions of Spitsbergen. Permafrost covers the entire landmass of Svalbard, with only the top metre of earth thawing during the summer. The flora is subject to a very short growing season, low temperatures, lack of precipitation and a relatively barren ground soil. Nonetheless, a number of small plants are able to survive in this hostile environment. In the area around Longyearbyen alone, more than 100 different species of plants have been registered, while the entire Svalbard features around 170 species of plants. The flora is very fragile, and everyone travelling on Svalbard must take great care to avoid causing any damage. Destruction of vegetation can leave permanent traces in the landscape. Therefore, all vegetation is protected. Feel free to photograph Svalbardâ€™s colourful flora, but please do not pick it.
Birds and animals The Barents Sea nurtures most of the animal life on Svalbard. This Arctic ocean area has a relatively high organic output owing to the Gulf Stream with its mixture of warm and cold water, the shallow shelf and intense sun radiation during the summer season. The largest bird mountains are located here in the North Atlantic region with millions of pairs of the most common nesting species, namely auk, kittiwake and fulmar. The area along the coast of Svalbard as well as across the tundra in the large valleys feature large populations of geese and wading birds. The eider duck nests on all the islands of Svalbard. Most of the birds on Svalbard are migratory, spending the winter in the Barents Sea, along the coast of Norway or on the continent. The Svalbard ptarmigan is the only bird species that stays on Svalbard throughout the winter. In all, around 30 bird species nest on Svalbard. The Svalbard reindeer and Arctic fox are the only land mammals that naturally originate from Svalbard. These species are found on most of the islands. In addition, a species of mouse called sibling vole has found its way to the Isfjord area, most likely as stowaways on boats. Various seal species are found around Svalbard, among others the ringed seal, the bearded seal, the common
harbour seal and the walrus. Of the whale species frequently visiting the coasts of Svalbard, the White Whale is the most common. All in all, there are 19 different species of marine mammals in the waters surrounding Svalbard. The polar bear The polar bear is considered a marine mammal as it spends most of its life on the drifting pack ice. A large number can be found on the surrounding islands east of Spitsbergen, yet you should be prepared to encounter a polar bear anywhere on Svalbard. The bears give birth to their cubs in snow caves on land, and the young bears walk with their mothers until they are about 2 years old. Their diet consists primarily of ringed seal, which is the most common seal species in the waters surrounding Svalbard. It is prohibited to disturb, catch, damage or kill animals and birds. All birds are protected during the nesting season, as well as eggs, nests and habitats. Never touch a dead animal, as instances of rabies have been reported on Svalbard. The polar bear is fully protected, and it is prohibited to coax, pursue, seek out or disturb polar bears in a manner that may endanger people or the polar bear itself.
Main photo: Giles Breton Âˇ Photo colomn (from top): 1-4 Giles Breton â€“ 5 Kenneth Sunde â€“ 6 Per Harald Olsen
ÂŠ 2007 Norsk Polarinstitutt, Avtalenummer: 5/2007
Nature and environmental protection The nature on Svalbard is extremely vulnerable, and even minor disturbances can cause permanent damage. Therefore, environmental protection legislation has been developed specifically for Svalbard. The purpose of the Svalbard Environmental Act with appurtenant regulations includes among others to secure the preservation of Svalbard’s vulnerable nature, environment and its many valuable cultural monuments. The most applicable laws and regulations include: • Act on Environmental Protection on Svalbard, 2001 (Svalbard Environmental Act) • Regulation regarding transportation with motorised vehicles in the terrain and regarding the use of aircrafts for purposes of tourism (the Motorised Transportation Regulation) • Regulation regarding camping, 2001 (the Camping Regulation) • Regulation regarding tourism and other travelling activities on Svalbard, 1991 (the Tourism Regulation) • Regulations regarding the various protected areas on Svalbard (cf. chapter ”Svalbard’s protected areas”) • Regulation regarding local regulation of hunting of the Svalbard grouse and Svalbard reindeer, 2003 • Regulation regarding harvesting on Svalbard, 2002 (the Harvesting Regulation) • Regulation regarding environmental toxins, waste and fees on waste on Svalbard, 2002 (the Pollution Regulation) Cultural monuments The Svalbard Environmental Act establishes that all traces of human activity from before 1946 are protected. This applies both to permanent cultural monuments such as sites, graves, erected buildings and facilities of any kind, and loose objects. In addition, the following cultural monuments are protected, regardless of age: • human graves and traces thereof, including crosses, bones and skeletal remains from humans outside the original graves • skeletal remains on slaughtering places for walruses, whitefish and in connection with shooting of polar bears The protection of a cultural monument includes an area stretching 100 metres in all directions around a cultural monument. Within the protected area, it is prohibited to set camp, erect a tent or burn fires. The prohibition of fires also applies to all areas covered in vegetation. The cultural monument regulation states the following: • protected loose cultural monuments may not be removed from the discovery site. If there is reason to
believe that the cultural monument has not already been discovered, the Governor of Svalbard must be notified thereof • protected cultural monuments may not be removed from Svalbard Tourism and travel The tourism and travel on Svalbard is subject to regulations that are established to protect the natural environment, cultural monuments and the safety of travellers. Special rules apply to travel and tour operators and tourist vessels. These rules stipulate among others that the operator is responsible for the safety of the travellers and for ensuring that the travellers are aware of and comply with laws and regulations. Furthermore, the travel operator must keep the Governor of Svalbard informed regarding its tours ahead of each season and take out insurance that covers rescue missions and similar assistance. If you are going out for a trip alone and plan to go beyond Administrative Sector 10 (the central parts of Spitsbergen), you must report your planned trip to the Governor of Svalbard. The obligation to report applies to all trips both on land and on sea, and such reports shall be made on specific forms. Make sure you contact the Governor of Svalbard a long time in advance. You will also be required to take out a search and rescue insurance or provide a guarantee for the same in connection with such a trip. Furthermore, please familiarise yourself with regulations regarding travelling and camping. The nature of Svalbard is mighty, and the weather changes quickly. Wind, fog and drifting snow may cause you to get lost quickly. The environmental protection legislation contains certain restrictions for traffic within Svalbard. Among other things, the use of motorised vehicles on bare grounds is prohibited, and the use of scooters is only permitted in certain areas. All traffic in the bird sanctuaries and in some other protected areas is regulated or prohibited. Special rules apply to camping. Please familiarise yourself with the environmental legislation of Svalbard, especially prior to setting out on a trip by yourself. For your own safety and to ensure a richer experience, we recommend that you go on trips with local guides. Svalbard is an Arctic pearl. The nature and historical monuments set the premises for all activities, and this is the way we want it to remain. With this in mind, we encourage all visitors to “TAKE CARE OF SVALBARD”.
Main photo: Synnøve Haga · Photo colomn (from top): 1 & 3 Synnøve Haga – 2 Norsk Polarinstitutt © 2007, Avtalenummer: 5/2007 – 4 Giles Breton
Good to know Alcohol / Intoxication limit The same rules apply on Svalbard as on the Norwegian mainland. For operating a car/snow scooter, the intoxication limit is a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.2. Activities A rich selection of activities is available in Longyearbyen that will contribute to the great Svalbard experience. The level of cost for trips and activities may seem high, but in return you will be ensured of good levels of safety and quality. Activities may be booked online on www.svalbard.net Rivers The flow of water in the rivers is often very heavy from June through till August. The rivers grow rapidly after precipitation and snow melting. Often, they are wide, ice cold and difficult to cross. Footwear There is plenty of uneven terrain on Svalbard, and solid shoes and mountain boots are highly recommended. The large amounts of snow and ice melting during the summer cause rivers and streams to swell and large areas to become wetlands. Rubber boots are therefore very useful during this period. During the winter, it is important to wear as warm footwear as possible. Indoor footwear On Svalbard it is a tradition to take off your shoes when visiting someone’s home, or upon entering accommodation sites, shops and offices. This tradition goes back to the days when the coal mines were located in the middle of the settlement. To avoid dragging coal dust into the houses, the locals would always take off their shoes. It is therefore smart to bring a pair of indoor shoes or warm socks when travelling to Svalbard. Internal transport There are no roads connecting the settlements on Svalbard. There are, however, approx. 50 km of road in and around Longyearbyen. During the summer, boats go to Barentsburg several times a week. A small plane route to Ny-Ålesund is in principle reserved for researchers and workers headed for Ny-Ålesund. During the summer, you can travel to Ny-Ålesund by boat. There is an airport shuttle from Longyearbyen in connection with flight departures/arrivals, and several taxis are available in Longyearbyen. Hunting and fishing In principle, Svalbard’s animal life is protected; however, hunting and fishing of certain species is permitted. Travellers have limited hunting and fishing rights. Those interested in hunting and fishing are recommended to visit the websites of the Governor of Svalbard for more information. www.sysselmannen.no Driving by car in Longyearbyen Familiarise yourself with the recommended main routes, and show great caution when driving by car in Longyearbyen, which is a family-oriented society with many vulnerable road-users. Remember that the snow scooter
have an unqualified obligation to give way to all road-users from both directions upon crossing roads. In river beds, the speed limit is 50 km/hr. In all other places in Longyearbyen, the speed limit is 30 km/hr. This applies both on and outside the road. Clothing During the winter, use the warmest and best you have. Several layers of wool, as well as windproof outer garments, are important. However, if you are going snowmobiling, this will still not be enough. On organised snowmobile excursions, the necessary clothing and equipment is usually included. Snowmobile equipment can also be purchased or rented locally. During the summer, we recommend clothes appropriate for a typical autumn tour in the Norwegian mountains. Windproof outerwear and mittens/warm hats are recommended throughout the year. You should always bring extra warm clothes to be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Local guides For your own safety and to ensure a richer experience, it is recommended that visitors participate in trips with local guides. Passports Svalbard is Norwegian territory, so there is no need for a passport/visa to visit the island or to visit the Russian settlements. Please note, however, that all non-Norwegian citizens must show their passport when returning to the Norwegian mainland. Travel Personal transportation to Svalbard takes place by airplane from Oslo or Tromsø. The total flight time from Oslo is approx. 3 hours, and approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes from Tromsø. The amount of weekly flights varies on a seasonal basis from 5-12 flights per week.
of the ice before you head out. Do not venture out on a glacier alone without experience. When moving on a glacier, go with a guide or at least go in a group so that all the participants are connected by a safety rope. Remember to bring crampons (ice spurs) and an ice axe. Telephones/Mobile telephones Svalbard is connected to the telephone network on the mainland through a fibre optic cable. This ensures good coverage in Longyerabyen, Barentsburg, parts of the Isfjord area, Svea and Ny-Ålesund. Outside these areas it may be difficult to achieve coverage. Rental In Longyearbyen, it is possible to rent various tour equipment, such as emergency beacons, weapons, tents, sleeping bags and scooter clothing. You can also rent bicycles, charter boats, scooters or cars. For more information, please look up our websites or contact us via telephone or e-mail. Equipment and clothing All trips into the nature are planned by taking into consideration extreme weather conditions and possible delays. Organised trips that require extra clothing and special equipment often provide this as part of the package. If any doubt, you should ask the tour operator about what type of clothing and equipment you will need to bring with you. Currency The Norwegian currency are used throughout Svalbard, including the Russian settlements. The most common credit cards are accepted at most of the accommodations, tour operators and in the shops. You will also find a cashpoint close to the bank in Longyearbyen
Shopping Svalbard is not subject to customs and VAT regulations. This means that many goods are cheaper here than on the mainland of Norway. Other goods, such as fruit, vegetables and fresh goods may be more expensive as a result of the higher freight costs. In Longyearbyen, there are small and large shops selling everything from groceries and fresh foods to sports and leisure equipment, gifts and souvenirs, etc.
Traffic regulations The Norwegian Road Traffic Act also apply on Svalbard. You may operate a snow scooter after you have turned 16 years if you have obtained a valid driver’s license. Driver’s licenses for cars are also valid for snow scooters. The speed limit outside the settlement is 80 km/hr for snow scooters, and wearing a helmet is mandatory. Weapons/Safety equipment Due to the polar bear danger, it is recommended to carry weapons when travelling outside of Longyearbyen. A rifle is definitely the best weapon for defence; and other scaring mechanisms such as flare gun or signal pen. Without any weapon experience you should join organised trips with guides. Documentation of weapon experience and/or hunting licenses should be carried and may be required for weapon rentals. Visitors are recommended to use tripwires around camping sites, maps/compasses and emergency beacons on longer trips.
Pack ice and glaciers Travelling on pack ice and glaciers involves risks. Watch out for brash of ice, holes and cracks in the glacier. Gather information about the local conditions and conduct thorough measuring and evaluations
Opening hours Opening hours may vary from shop to shop and from season to season. We therefore recommend that you obtain a guide over opening hours when you arrive in Longyearbyen.
Services The number of services available in Longyearbyen is wide-ranging. Among the shops and services available are the following: a bakery, a bank, bars, a library, camping, shops, hair stylists, an art gallery, a sports hall, accommodation facilities, cafes, a cinema, a church, a museum, a post office, restaurants, a swimming hall, a hospital, a dentist, a taxi service, telephone services, a tourist information centre, a store selling wine and spirits.
Main photo: Synnøve Haga · Photo colomn (from top): 1, 3 & 4 Synnøve Haga – 2 Alejandro Moreu – 5 Frederic Widmann
Svalbard Reiseliv AS P.O. Box 323 9171 Longyearbyen Tel. +47 79 02 55 50 Fax +47 79 02 55 51
This label is carried by authorised Svalbard guides. In order to become a Svalbard guide, it is required to complete a series of courses administered by the Guide and Tour Leader Training Committee on Svalbard and to obtain the necessary experience. The authorisation is given in five categories: ”Longyearbyen”, ”Field – summer” and ”Day trip – summer”, ”Field – winter” and ”Day trip – Winter”. This programme is currently being reviewed in order to develop a formal education.
Take care of Svalbard A visit to Svalbard is a visit to one of the Earth’s last wilderness areas. The natural environment is pressured by a changing climate and by environmental toxins transported to these pure areas from remote locations. The biology of the animals is adapted to the unique climatic circumstances and habitats, and disturbances to these may be fatal. No matter which animal you encounter, the best option is to avoid contact. Humans can take care of Svalbard’s vulnerable natural environment both by conducting themselves in an ecologically responsible manner in everyday life and by respecting the local conditions during a visit. Playing on Nature’s team will lead to a richer experience. www.npolar.no http://svalbard.miljostatus.no
Svalbard common Rules of sense It is impossible being an invisible tourist, but we do appreciate you trying to 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Don’t be an arctic litterbug! Leave no lasting signs of your visit. Birds and other animals are not to be disturbed. Remember, you are the guest. Help take care of the biodiversity. Do not pick flowers. Leave old cultural remains alone. Law protects all traces of humans from before 1946. Pursuing, attracting or enticing polar bears is strictly prohibited. They are dangerous animals, but also vulnerable. Do not leave the settlements without a suitable gun, and experience in using it. Be considerate of others. Contact the Governor’s office (Sysselmannen) if planning a longer field excursion. A mandatory registration applies for travel to large parts of Svalbard. 9. Acquaint yourself with the rules and regulations pertaining to travel and other tourist activities on Svalbard. 10. For the sake of both the environment and yourself, we recommend organised tour arrangements. As per 01.01.2008 We reserve the right to make changes and accept no liability arising from misprints.
Lundblad Media as, Tromsø · Coverphotos: Giles Breton