How Long To Stay At Svalbard

Visiting the arctic island Svalbard is a unique experience that feels very different from a trip to mainland Norway. Not only do you have to be armed as a safety measurement against polar bears, but there are also plenty of other quirks and unique things about the island. But how long should you stay at Svalbard when visiting?

The most popular length of visits to Svalbard are 4 or 5 days, but there’s enough to do there to warrant a full week long trip if you got the opportunity. I would not advise visiting for less than 3 nights to get a real Svalbard experience.

Longyearbyen on Svalbard
Longyearbyen on Svalbard. Photo published with permission.

Svalbard has a lot of fun attractions and activities

Some people are under the impression that you can easily visit Svalbard for 2 days, but I would recommend adding at least 1 or 2 more days to that plan if you got the money and time for it. Svalbard it a huge island with a lot of different activities and attractions, and I’m pretty sure that you will regret not booking an additional night or two when visiting.

If you’re only staying for a few nights, you typically only have a single day for excursions. Some of the interesting excursions like visiting Pyramiden, going on a snow mobile safari or a coastal boat ride will require most of the day, so you can only really choose a single activity if you only got a single full day at Svalbard.

Most of the attractions are located outside of the only regular city there called Longyearbyen, so all excursions require planning and time. In other words, you will find it difficult to find activities to partake in the same day you’re arriving or leaving unless it’s very early or very late since most excursions are for the full day.

Also read: How to get to Svalbard.

Longyearbyen is the only inhabited city on Svalbard. Photo published with permission.

Is a week long trip to Svalbard too long?

Most trips to Svalbard are around 5 days long, but some chooses to stay for a few additional days. A full week in Svalbard could be a very nice vacation, but I would be careful about booking trips longer than 7 days.

While Svalbard does have a lot of interesting activities and excursions to offer, most of them are physically challenging (lots of walking and time outdoors in cold weather). This will bring a certain fatigue after 5 – 6 days of activities, so it’s nice to have a few days to relax in a more laid back place than Svalbard.

Another thing about longer stays on Svalbard is that they’re very expensive. Hotel accommodation, food and certainly the activities are much more expensive than in most of Europe, so a full week at Svalbard will be costly even if you plan for a budget.

So my recommendation is to stay 4 or 5 days, or a full week if you really find Svalbard interesting. I would rather recommend to revisit the island in another season than staying for an additional few days after the full week.

A glacier on Spitsbergen
A glacier on Svalbard. Photo published with permission.

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