Svalbard with it’s unofficial capital city Longyearbyen is one of Norway’s most exotic and unique places, and a popular destination for large tourist cruise ships.
Many cruise ships spend a full day or even multiple days in the Port of Longyearbyen, so what’s the best method to get between Longyearbyen harbor and the city center?
Port of Longyearbyen is roughly 2 minute by car or a 10 to 15 minute walk away from Longyearbyen city center. You can get to Longyearbyen by the Airport Express bus that stops at the harbor, ride a taxi, or just do the walk on foot. The entire walk to the city is within the polar bear safe zone.
Longyearbyen is a rather small city, and it’s perfectly possible to get from Longyearbyen Cruise Port to the city center without needing public transportation.
All hotels in Longyearbyen are within walking distance from the harbor if you got a backpack (and not a suitcase), but you can always get on the bus to make life easier.
Ride the bus between Port of Longyearbyen and Longyearbyen City center
The Airport Express Bus that goes between Longyearbyen and Longyear Airport will stop at Port of Longyearbyen as the next-to-final stop before the airport. You can get on the bus both ways and just get off at the harbor instead of the airport.
The Airport Express Bus will stop at all hotels in Longyearbyen, so it’s a nice and comfortable way to get from the cruise ship harbor to your hotel. It only costs 100 NOK per person, so it’s actually pretty cheap as well.
Some cruise ships offer bus rides for their passengers, so check in with your cruise ship to see if they have a deal like this.
Walking from Port of Longyear to the city center
The walk from Port of Longyear to the Longyearbyen city center is rather short, and you will reach the city in about 10 minutes at a regular pace. Add another 10, and you’ve reached the far end of the city.
Jokes asides, the hike is flat and easy, so it’s a relaxing stroll if you’ve only got a backpack or no luggage with you. Just head in the direction of the city (which you can clearly see from the port) to get there.
There is only one road, with signs towards Longyearbyen (the correct choice), or Svalbard Airport Longyear (the wrong way).
It’s illegal to hike or walk on Svalbard without being armed to protect yourself against polar bears, but the entire walk between the port of Longyearbyen and the city center is within what’s known as the polar bear safe zone. This is the city perimeter where you can walk without fear of being attacked by polar bears, so it’s safe to walk between these two locations.
Riding a taxi or driving a car between the cruise ship port and Longyearbyen
There are a few taxis on Svalbard, but not that many. It is possible to book a taxi to take you the 2 to 4 minute car drive between the harbor and your hotel, which is a nice option for those who for one reason or another don’t want to ride the bus.
Expect to pay around 200 NOK for this short ride between the harbor and your hotel or the city center. It’s quite expensive, and the reason is that the taximeter begins at over 150 NOK, so even short taxi rides are pretty expensive in Norway and on Svalbard.
There will occasionally be taxis waiting by the harbor, but not always, so it might be a good idea to book ahead of time to make sure you get one to take you to the city center. Give Svalbard Taxi ring at +47 7902 1305 or visit their website for more information.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.