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Svalbard accommodation: where to stay in Longyearbyen

You’re heading to the far, far north and are working your way down your ‘to-do’ list. The next thing is to figure out your Svalbard accommodation – where to stay in Longyearbyen.

View of the snow-capped fjords in Svalbard, bathed in a gentle, pink light. Water is flowing in the foreground.
If you go to Longyearbyen, expect to see this kind of beauty everywhere.

Svalbard accommodation options are varied, ranging from the ‘cheap’ (for an expensive Nordic country) to the very quirky.

If cabin core gets your heart racing, then this is the destination for you.

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Svalbard accommodation: Where to stay in Longyearbyen

The exterior of Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel in Longyearbyen. Svalbard accommodation ranges from cute cabin-type rooms to ex-miner accommodation.
The entrance to the Basecamp Hotel.

Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel

I daresay it’s mostly due to coming from a country where the weather tends to go from hot to stinking hot, but I constantly dream of having a cabin-in-the-woods type experience.

Imagine, a weekend in a wooden cabin, with a roaring fire, piles of blankets and an endless supply of hot chocolate. Bliss.

The closest I’ve come to this, was when I travelled to Svalbard and spent the night in the Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel.

Inside Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel, where a polar bear, fashioned into a rug, is adorned to a wall.
Not exactly how I’d hoped to first see a polar bear, I’ll admit.

I’d read about this particular hotel in Longyearbyen online and had fallen in love with the single click of a mouse.

I pictured a cosy setting, with wooden walls that were littered with maps and artefacts and some weird taxidermy.

Wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Inside Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel

Guns affixed to the wall of the Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel.
They’re serious in Svalbard when they tell you to “leave your guns and boots at the door”.
A long dining room table in a cosy, wooden room.
The dining room.

[bctt tweet=”Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard? Here are a few unique places where you can lay your head for the night.”]

The underside of a taxidermied sea bird.
The sort of thing shouldn’t delight me… and yet it does.

This is a twin room, which is furnished with two single beds, a small bookcase, a couple of comfy looking chairs and a small table.

The window looks out onto the city of Longyearbyen and there is an adjoining bathroom.

The room is kept warm at all times – a comfortable room temperature, unlike other places around town, which can be stiflingly hot.

A single bed in a cosy hotel room, with striped bed sheets.
A cosy but practical place to sleep.
A little nook adorned to the wall of the hotel room, filled with books.
A room with a bookshelf will always get my vote.

We spent a very cosy night here, sleeping the deepest of sleeps.

Best of all was waking up snug in our beds the next morning and looking out our window to be met with this view.

The view from Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel of Old Longyearbyen. Svalbard accommodation ranges from cute cabin-type rooms to ex-miner accommodation.
The view from our window the next morning.

Breakfast is included when booking the hotel room and is typically Nordic – continental European, but with all the fish thrown in.

I piled my plate high with salmon and paté.

Two chairs sit with a wooden table between them.
Can sit here and contemplate life, or just drink wine.

Most importantly, the hotel is also located smack bang next to a local bar – appropriately named Svalbar Pub.

You can wile many hours away in this establishment, eating reindeer pizza and drinking sparkling cider.

The exterior of the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. A sign out front reads, unironically, 'dog parking'.
Be sure to park your dogs here before entering the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Radisson Blu Polar Hotel

Alternatively, another wonderful Svalbard accommodation option is the Radisson Blue Polar Hotel.

On entering, you are required to take your boots off at the door, as with many places in Svalbard.

However, the hotel quite kindly provide purple slippers that you could pop on your feet and pad about the place in.

There’s a bar attached to the hotel and a large dining area with massive windows, which look out onto the nearby mountains.

We had dinner there our first night in town. A super tasty meal.

The place feels very “Twin Peaks”-ish.

I don’t know why, because that show definitely doesn’t take place in Longyearbyen.

I suppose the general ethereal feel of the town gives off a cuckoo David Lynch-type vibe.

Old Longyearbyen – a scattering of red buildings including a steepled church, in front of a snowy mountain.
Old Longyearbyen.

Spitsbergen Hotel

This hotel was originally built as accommodation for Store Norske Spitsbergen Coal Company and was considered to be the grandest building in Longyearbyen.

Consequently, there’s a lot of history to be found in these rooms – perfect for anyone wanting to discover as much as possible about this fascinating little city.

This hotel is a little bit further out of town than the ones we stayed at, but offers up pretty damn good views of the town of Longyearbyen, as well as the Lars- and Longyear glacier.

And there’s a bar onsite, so you’re pretty much sorted.

A window with logs stacked behind it.
Wintery goodness.

Coal Miners’ Cabin

Of all the Svalbard accommodation options, this is the cheapest.

This hotel is located in the upper part of the Longyear Valley, close to mountains or glaciers, making it ideal for hiking trips.

Although it’s within walking distance (or ‘cooee’ as we say in Australia) to Longyearbyen, it might be a bit too far if your itinerary is mostly based in town.

However, the cabins exist as another piece of Longyearbyen’s history and are ideal for those wanting to see how the miners who called the archipelago home may have lived their lives.

Red shelves stacked with pairs of shoes.
You have to take off your shoes to enter most buildings in Svalbard.

Tulpan Hotel

And if you go to Pyramiden a ghost town which was once a Russian mining settlement, you can stay in Tulpan Hotel, although the hotel is only open March through to October.

Pyramiden is accessible by snowmobiles in the winter (now apparently pending on where this global warming thing is going to take us) and cruiser boats in the summer.

I am very upset with myself for not visiting this town, particular as it has the northernmost statue of Lenin in the world AND I WANT TO SEE IT.

Apparently there is a caretaker who looks after the hotel during the winter, which makes me envision a ‘The Shining’ type situation, which I suppose is something I shouldn’t be delighted about.

A sign affixed to a wall reads: 'Please do not park your dog here. Dog parking available by flagpoles'. There is a picture of a dog with a circle and a line drawn through it.
Quite possibly my favourite sign in the world.

Last tips on Svalbard Accommodation

The most inexpensive option in Longyearbyen are the Coal Miners’ Cabins.
The most unique is the Basecamp Hotel.
Check out other accommodation options in Longyearbyen here.
See how you can travel to Longyearbyen on a budget.
Read my other posts on Svalbard.

Have you been to Longyearbyen, or stayed at any type of Svalbard accommodation?

Pin me baby, one more time. 📌

Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and looking for somewhere cosy to stay? Here are a few options for accommodation in this Norwegian archipelago.

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  1. Is that an ACTUAL polar bear on the wall?!? Cray!
    I’ve had several “cabin in the woods” experiences — once or twice in actual woods — but none of them seem anywhere near as cool as yours!

    1. It is! There were stuffed polar bears all around town – on walls, at the supermarket and airport. It was a bit discombobulating!

  2. Ooooh, that cabin hotel does look good! I assume breakfast is a communal affair given the fabulous timber table in the Polar Bear Hall??

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