Longyearbyen

The atmospheric Ciudad Vieja
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

10 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

    • Adults£125.00Price per person

    • Children£125.00Price 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

    • Adults£82.00Price per person

    • Children£82.00Price per person

  • HIKING ON FOXFONNA GLACIER PLATEAU

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR09

    If you want to experience a polar walk, then this is the tour not to miss! After leaving the port, a short coach drive will take you around Adventdalen valley for a scenic exploration along the fjord. Depending on the weather conditions and if terrain is snow-covered, you will be equipped with solid snowshoes and will set course up Breinosa on the way to the glacier plateau Foxfonna where a break is scheduled. You will have the opportunity to understand the meaning of the word “ice cap” as you will only see glacier as far as you can see! If weather conditions are mild and snow has melt, you will still experience the beautiful wilderness and enjoy the artic landscape, and even catch glimpses of a big part of Nordenskiöld. Take your camera ready as, with a little bit of luck, some artic animal life, notably the Artic Svalbard reindeer, may be viewed. During your 3.5-hour hike, you will have some stops en route and one of them will enable to gather strength tasting biscuits and drinking something warm. On returning to the port by the same path, you may opt to stay in the city and return to the port on your own. Please note: the tour is not suitable for guests with back/neck problems or with walking difficulties as it involves a very long hiking on muddy and snow terrain depending on the day of call. During July and August calls, there could be no snow and the iced landscape will be only in a distance. The hiking route may change at the discretion of the guide based on participants’ levels of physical fitness. 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. Guides available only in English. This tour is subject to weather conditions. Age to take part in the tour: 14 years old.
    • Snack included

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults£119.00Price per person

    • ChildrenNot available

  • THE ADVENT VALLEY EXPERIENCE BY QUADBIKE

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    LYR11

    Thrill-seekers take note: spend a few hours exploring the captivating landscapes of the Advent Valley in a two-person quadbike. Best of all, you can take the wheel yourself – or take turns with your companion. After leaving the ship, a 10-minute drive will first see you reach the quadbike station for a short safety briefing and to be issued with your vehicle. You will then be good to go, travel across the area around Longyearbyen. The magic summer in the Arctic is short but sun never sets; the migratory birds feed and nest during these months and it is not uncommon to see Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes or geese on this tour. Driving through the Advent Valley, you will follow the road past the old airport and up to Mine 7 Mountain. On the top of the mountain, you will see the Kjell Henriksen Observatory, where local and international scientists study the Northern Lights. Take a break and enjoy the incredible views of the Advent Valley and surrounding mountains before turning back to town. Your itinerary will include several stops along the way to take photographs and appreciate the amazing local wilderness and wildlife. Please note: as drivers are not included in the tour, guests shall drive the quadbike themselves, for which an international driving licence is compulsory. Each quadbike can accommodate a maximum of 2 guests, incl. the driver. This tour is unsuitable for guests with heart problems or limited physical abilities. Information only in English. The tour can be booked and paid in advance of or during the cruise, but not via the internet; price is per couple. Minimum age to take part in this tour: 12 years old. Guests must sign a waiver before taking part in the tour. Sightings of fauna cannot be guaranteed.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        2 h

      • Adults£189.00Price per person

      • ChildrenNot available

    • 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

      • Adults£89.00Price per person

      • Children£89.00Price 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

      • Adults£125.00Price per person

      • Children£125.00Price 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

      • Adults£79.00Price per person

      • Children£55.00Price per person

    • EXPLORING THE ARCTIC ON A POLAR BOAT

      SCENIC ROUTE

      LYR10

      If you want a close approach to Svalbard nature and its amazing Arctic landscape, join us on this full-day tour onboard engine-powered M/V Polar Girl. You leave Longyearbyen en route to Barentsburg with a stop at Esmark Glacier. Named after Danish geologist Jens Esmark, it is a 15-km long glacier in Oscar II Land – a land area between Isfjorden and Kongsfjorden – named after Oscar II of Sweden and Norway. Without leaving the boat, you will have a chance to look at this impressive glacier before sailing to Barentsburg, the second largest settlement in Svalbard whose inhabitants are mostly Russians and Ukrainians. You will enjoy a guided tour of the city before having some free time for independent exploration. Named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barents, the settlement is a mining town. 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. After leaving this tiny town, your boat exploration will pass by Grumant city – a by now deserted Russian settlement – and the spectacular Birdcliff. Your tour will be enhanced by a delicious light lunch served on the boat. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests using a wheelchair. Guiding is only in English. Drinks are not included in the light lunch but can be purchased at the boat bar; light lunch will include meat or fish depending on the day of call. Norwegian crowns and credit cards are accepted on the boat.
      • Tasting included

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

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        9 h

      • Adults£145.00Price per person

      • Children£59.00Price 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

      • Adults£65.00Price per person

      • Children£49.00Price 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

      • Adults£79.00Price per person

      • Children£55.00Price per person

    The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Cruises guests with an idea of the different tours which 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 programmes 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.