Northern light - Hurtigruten Svalbard - Photo Agurtxane Concellon
HomeseasonsNorthern Lights Winter | 1 October – 28 February

Northern Lights Winter | 1 October – 28 February

A season dominated by 24 hours of darkness. Experience the polar night, the northern lights, the Arctic silence, and a spectacular starry sky. Explore the town's fantastic restaurants and enjoy local produce.

Experience the Northern Lights Winter on Svalbard

Experience the mystical northern lights winter and polar night on Svalbard, where darkness envelops the archipelago from late October to mid-February. During the polar night, Svalbard's landscape is dramatically transformed as snow and ice blanket the fjords and valleys, while the northern lights dance in the sky.

The northern lights winter is a fantastic season for those seeking micro-adventures! In Svalbard, you don't need to travel far or engage in extreme activities to experience something spectacular. A short walk in Longyearbyen can offer incredible experiences. Here, you might encounter reindeer wandering through the streets and see the northern lights dancing above the buildings.

Magical nature experiences in the hunt for the northern lights

Svalbard is renowned for its impressive nature, and the polar night offers you the chance to experience this fantastic area in a truly unique way. Join snowmobile tours through the dark landscape, where the stars and northern lights illuminate your path. Dog sledding is also a popular activity that provides a great sense of accomplishment. At the family-run Green Dog kennel, there are usually puppies ready for a cuddle after your sledding adventure, something we highly recommend!

Unique culinary experiences

A dinner in the historic building Huset is an experience we recommend to everyone. At Huset Restaurant, chefs use innovative techniques to create an exciting tasting menu featuring flavours from Svalbard. With a focus on local ingredients and storytelling, this is more than just a meal; it’s a journey through Svalbard.

Although Longyearbyen is a small town so far north, it has an impressive offering comparable to a big city. At Funken Lodge, for example, you can participate in champagne tasting in their historic cellar, which was once used as an alcohol outlet for the locals. They have an impressive selection that includes vintage champagne, which you won't find anywhere else in the country. In the hotel's restaurant, you can also enjoy delicious dishes, and we recommend trying their signature dishes, king crab and dry-aged côte de bœuf.

5 Fun Facts about the Northern Lights winter on Svalbard

See the Northern Lights in the middle of the day

The polar night provides one of the best opportunities to experience the northern lights. Svalbard's dark and clear nights create perfect conditions for viewing this fantastic phenomenon, which dances in green, purple, and pink across the night sky. Due to the polar night and constant darkness, Svalbard is the only place in the world where you can see the northern lights in the middle of the day.

Another interesting fact is that on Svalbard, the northern lights are usually seen in the south, unlike other places in the world where they are seen in the north! This is because Svalbard is located so far north that the archipelago lies above the geomagnetic North Pole, where the northern lights are most often centred.

Santa Claus in Mine 2

Did you know that Santa Claus lives in Svalbard? Rumour has it that he resides in the abandoned mine in Longyearbyen. With a distance of only 1300 kilometres to the North Pole, this seems quite plausible! Every December, lights are lit up at the mine site, and Santa's post box is placed by the road so that you can drop off your wish list. This is perfect to combine with a walk around the town (known as the "town round").

Svalbard is the only inhabited place with polar night

A commonly misunderstood term is "polar night." In fact, Svalbard is the only place in Norway that experiences the polar night. In Northern Norway, they have the "mørketid" (dark season), but not the polar night. The polar night is when the sun is constantly at least 6 degrees below the horizon, resulting in neither daylight nor twilight, making the day as dark as the night. On Svalbard, the polar night lasts from 14 November to 29 January, while the dark season spans from 1 October to 13 November and from 30 January to 16 February.

Christmas March – pub to pub in santa costumes

Every year, the local Christmas March is held in Longyearbyen. This is a pub-to-pub walk that the locals love. It can be a fun sight, as participants dress up in Christmas-inspired costumes and decorate their means of transport, often a kick-sled or sleigh. They light up and spread good cheer in the streets as they move to the next bar.

Small town, but many events

Many might think that the dark season is a quiet time in Longyearbyen, but this is not true. When darkness falls, the town comes to life. Festivals, concerts, and various other events are frequently organised. In November and December, there is also a Christmas market, and the local choir usually hosts a concert. At the town's restaurants, you can enjoy Norwegian Christmas food, and in the shops, you can buy Christmas gifts at tax-free prices.