Longyearbyen Cruise

The atmospheric Ciudad Vieja
Abandoned coal mines and polar bears
The Svalbard museum

Find Northern Europe Cruises

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
    • Limited seats

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

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      3 h

    • Adults£124Price per person

    • Children£124Price per person

    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.
  • BECOME A FOSSIL HUNTER ON SARKOFAGEN
    MOUNTAIN

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE
    • Limited seats

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      3 h

    • Adults£81Price per person

    • Children£81Price per person

    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.
  • FJORD CRUISE TO BARENTSBURG

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

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

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      10 h

    • Adults£189Price per person

    • Children£98Price per person

    LYR14

    Spend a day enjoying the majestic Norwegian landscape on a fjord cruise to Barentsburg, a mining town with a sizeable Russian and Ukrainian population. After boarding the boat, the first views for you to savour will be of Esmark Glacier, which winds through the valley like a giant frozen river. Do take some photos of this amazing natural phenomenon while you have lunch. Moving on again, the next stop is Barentsburg itself, which is named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barents and is Svalbard’s second largest town. You’ll have about 2 hours to spend in town, shop for souvenirs and take photos before re-boarding the boat to cruise to Grumant, a former Soviet Russian settlement that was founded in 1912 and abandoned in 1965. After a sail-by look at this ghost town, you’ll also pass the bird cliff, so named for the numerous seabirds that nest there. Your return to the ship then brings your tour to a close. Please note: as the tour involves negotiating approx. 300 steps in Barentsburg as well as walking on uneven ground and hilly terrain, it is considered to be unsuitable for guests of limited mobility or using a wheelchair. Guides are available only in English. The light lunch will include either meat or fish, depending on the day of the call. 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. Guests are recommended to wear warm, windproof clothing and to bring a hat, scarf and warm gloves. The boat is non-exclusive and window seats are available only on a first come, first served basis.
  • FJORD CRUISE TO PYRAMIDEN

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE
    • Lunch or dinner included

    • Limited seats

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

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      11 h

    • Adults£189Price per person

    • Children£98Price per person

    LYR15

    North, north and even further north. Board a boat and sail north through the Isfjord and glide slowly past the bird cliff at Hatten. Like all bird cliffs in Svalbard, the cliff shines in bright shades of green, yellow and orange. We will cross Sassenfjord and see the mighty mountain Tempelet guarding the entrance to Tempelfjord. At the top of Billefjorden we will pass Brucebyen, a reminder of the Scottish influence, and then we are there, right under the glacier and its powerful blue walls of ice. If we are lucky, we may hear it crackle and bang. Here, lunch will be served on board while enjoying views that would be hard to match at any meal. We will finally dock at Pyramiden. Founded by Sweden in 1910, sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, but situated within the sovereign territory of Norway, the once thriving little town of Pyramiden – named after the shape of the local mountain – continued to operate as a Russian mining outpost until its abandonment in 1998. You’ll move on to the former cultural and sporting centre as well as take a look at the world’s northernmost Lenin statue. Next up is the Tulipan Hotel to browse for a memento before re-boarding your boat to begin the return back to the ship. Please note: as the tour involves a longer period of walking on uneven ground in Pyramiden, it is considered to be unsuitable for guests with limited mobility or using a wheelchair. Guides are available only in English. Additional food and drink can be purchased at the boat 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. Guests are recommended to wear warm, windproof clothing and to bring a hat, scarf and warm gloves. The boat is non-exclusive and window seats are available only on a first come, first served basis.
  • HIKING ON FOXFONNA GLACIER PLATEAU

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE
    • Snack included

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults£127Price per person

    • Children£0Price per person

    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.
  • THE ADVENT VALLEY EXPERIENCE BY QUADBIKE

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

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        2 h

      • Adults£187Price per person

      • Children£0Price per person

      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.
    • TREK TO THE MOUNTAIN TOP

      ACTIVE & ADVENTURE
      • Limited seats

      • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

        Difficulty Level
        Strenuous

      • Duration
        3:30 h

      • Adults£76Price per person

      • Children£76Price per person

      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.
    • ARCTIC ADVENTURE: BOAT TRIP TO
      FUGLEFJELLA

      NATURAL WONDERS
      • Limited seats

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

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        2 h

      • Adults£144Price per person

      • Children£144Price per person

      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.
    • LIFE ON THE ARCTIC EDGE: HIGHLIGHTS OF
      LONGYEARBYEN

      NATURAL WONDERS
      • Snack included

      • Limited seats

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

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        3 h

      • Adults£81Price per person

      • Children£59Price per person

      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.
    • BARENTSBURG BY CATAMARAN

      SCENIC ROUTE
      • Snack included

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

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4:15 h

      • Adults£136Price per person

      • Children£68Price per person

      LYR12

      Although the town of Barentsburg is the second largest settlement in Svalbard, it numbers no more than about 500 inhabitants – most of whom are Russian and Ukrainian nationals working the local coal mines. This catamaran tour from Longyearbyen, therefore, takes you on a journey to Norway’s most Russian town. During the cruise, you’ll have plenty of time to savour panoramic views of the Arctic landscape, including thousands of seabirds on the so-called bird cliff just before you pass the long-abandoned former Soviet settlement of Grumant. You can also have tea or coffee with biscuits on board the boat while you tour guide provides you with an introduction to Barentsburg. On arrival, you’ll be met by a local guide who will then proceed to show you the town. You’ll also have some time to shop for a souvenir and take photos before the catamaran begins the return leg to Longyearbyen, with more superb views to enjoy en route. Please note: as the tour involves negotiating approx. 300 steps in Barentsburg as well as walking on uneven ground and hilly terrain, it is considered to be unsuitable for guests with limited mobility or using a wheelchair. Guides are available only in English. Additional food and drink can be purchased at the catamaran 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. Guests are recommended to wear warm, windproof clothing and to bring a hat, scarf and warm gloves. The catamaran in non-exclusive and window seats are available only on a first come, first served basis. The tour runs only in the mornings.
    • CATAMARAN TRIP TO PYRAMIDEN

      SCENIC ROUTE
      • Snack included

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

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        6:15 h

      • Adults£164Price per person

      • Children£85Price per person

      LYR13

      Founded by Sweden in 1910, sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, but situated within the sovereign territory of Norway, the once thriving little town of Pyramiden – named after the shape of the local mountain – continued to operate as a Russian mining outpost until its abandonment in 1998. Your trip to this eerie ghost town begins on a fast catamaran through Isfjorden and Billefjorden, with views of Arctic wildlife, the stark landscape and examples of Svalbard’s industrial heritage to enjoy on the way. Coffee or tea with biscuits will be served during the cruise and your guide will fill you in on what you need to know about Pyramiden before you arrive. After meeting your local guide, you’ll move on to the former cultural and sporting centre as well as take a look at the world’s northernmost Lenin statue. Next up is the Tulipan Hotel to browse for a memento, after which you can catch views of Billefjorden and the Nordenskiöld Glacier calving ice floes in the distance. Part 2 of the tour will see you return to the catamaran and head for this natural phenomenon – so keep your camera at hand to capture the unforgettable on film. The outing then draws to a close with your return to the ship. Please note: as the tour involves a longer period of walking on uneven ground in Pyramiden, it is considered to be unsuitable for guests with limited mobility or using a wheelchair. Guides are available only in English. Additional food and drink can be purchased at the catamaran 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. Guests are recommended to wear warm, windproof clothing and to bring a hat, scarf and warm gloves. The catamaran in non-exclusive and window seats are available only on a first come, first served basis. The tour runs only in the afternoons.
    • EXPLORING THE ARCTIC ON A POLAR BOAT

      SCENIC ROUTE
      • Tasting included

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

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        9 h

      • Adults£144Price per person

      • Children£59Price per person

      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.
    • SHORT-BUT-SWEET: SIGHTSEEING IN
      LONGYEARBYEN

      SCENIC ROUTE
      • Limited seats

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

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        2 h

      • Adults£65Price per person

      • Children£49Price per person

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

      SOMETHING SPECIAL
      • 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£76Price per person

      • Children£51Price per person

      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.

    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.