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Guest Post: 24 Hours in Longyearbyen

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If you're planning to take one of our wildlife-intense Spitsbergen voyages, you'll find yourself in Longyearbyen, Svalbard before embarkation on your trip. Longyearbyen is the largest settlement in Svalbard, Norway, and is considered the world's northernmost town. Award-winning travel blogger Jennifer Dombrowski of jdombstravels.com shares her tips on the best ways to spend 24 hours in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

 

Svalbard’s only town with more than a handful of inhabitants, Longyearbyen, is a city of northernmosts. In fact, Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost city at 78°N and where many of Quark’s Arctic voyages depart from. So what should you do with 24 hours in this quirky mining town?

The best way to get acquainted with Longyearbyen and its surroundings is to take a Maxi Taxi tour! Not only will you get a fantastic local guide full of fun facts, but you can safely venture far beyond Svalbard’s famed polar bear sign. There are stellar views over the Adventfjorden from high up at the mines and you might even get a piece of coal to take home.

 

Svalbard Museum Svalbard Museum

 

Have your Maxi Taxi guide drop you off at the Svalbard Museum, the world’s northernmost museum, on the edge of town. The exhibitions highlight Svalbard’s 400 year history and culture and you’ll learn a bit more about all of the Arctic wildlife you’ll no doubt see as your embark on your voyage with Quark!

 

 

Longyearbyen’s Main Street. Fun fact: Longyearbyen’s streets don’t actually have names! Longyearbyen’s Main Street. Fun fact: Longyearbyen’s streets don’t actually have names!

 

From the Svalbard Museum, make you way through town. Be sure to stop in the world’s northernmost Post Office to send family and friends a postcard with a special post mark! Most shops in Longyearbyen are open from 10am – 5pm weekdays and 10am – 2pm on Saturday. You’ll find unique gifts like moccasins made from reindeer and seal fur and patches to iron on your parka. (You can even you’re your bank a thrill and take money out of the world’s northernmost ATM.) Then head for Svalbar for lunch to gobble up the world’s northernmost burger! Svalbar has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and is a regular haunt for locals.

 

 

Svalbard Kirke Svalbard Kirke

Fueled up, walk up to the world’s northernmost church, Svalbard Kirke. The church was inaugurated in 1958 after the original was destroyed in World War II. It’s a multi-denominational church and serves all the people of Svalbard. The road from Svalbard Kirke leads past Svalbard’s only cemetery, though it hasn’t accepted burials for over 70 years. Why? Because the bodies never decompose. Scientists found that bodies are perfectly preserved because of the permafrost, so it is actually illegal to die on Svalbard!

If you like wine, don’t miss the world’s northernmost wine cellar at Huset! It’s one of Europe’s largest wine cellars with more than 20,000 bottles. The cellar even received the prestigious Best Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator. The house sommelier will guide you through Europe’s famous wine regions with champagne, white, and red wines all accompanied by canapés.

 

 

Chef’s tasting menu at Huset Chef’s tasting menu at Huset

Finish off the night with a world class meal at the world’s northernmost gourmet restaurant, Huset. The tasting menu is a great way to indulge in Arctic fare and includes specialties like reindeer carpaccio with caviar, Arctic scallops, and roast reindeer with turnip puree. A sweet cloudberry sorbet is the perfect balance to the rustic meal.

In Svalbard, the sun doesn’t rise for four months and it doesn’t set for four months. Stroll back to your hotel under the midnight sun, pull your blackout curtains shut, and get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow you embark on the journey of a lifetime with Quark Expeditions!

About the author: Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter and bases herself in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communication manager in higher education and is a regular contributor on johnnyjet.com. Her website, jdombstravels.com, is an award winning travel blog and has been featured as one of the best blogs of 2013 by the Huffington Post.

 

 

 

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Featured passenger photo: Spitsbergen Cruising

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This photo was sent to us by passenger Lotte Furlong, who recently traveled with us on our Spitsbergen Explorer voyage. Lotte was kind enough to send us a few fantastic photos from her expedition, and had this to say about her trip:

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"It was an amazing trip! The expedition staff was phenomenal. I would recommend it to anyone and I can't wait to book Antarctica."

Thanks Lotte! We can't wait to have you back traveling with us!

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Polar bear snow bath

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Although they are often placed together in cartoons and drawings, it is a common misconception that polar bears and penguins live in the same polar environments. Polar Bears can be found in five nations: U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway. Luckily for penguins, polar bears do not live in Antarctica.

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Our #IcePhoto today is from the passenger slideshow on our Spitsbergen Explorer voyage. Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island within Norway's Svalbard island chain, is often referred to as the wildlife capital of the Arctic!

Got an ice photo of your own to share? Post it to twitter and tag with #IcePhoto! Follow Quark Expeditions on twitter @quarkexpedition where we share photos and videos and chat about all things polar!

Follow us: @QuarkExpedition on Twitter | QuarkExpeditions on Facebook

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Who is that handsome devil?

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A polar bear admires his reflection in icy arctic waters - the perfect submission for #IcePhoto Wednesday!

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Photo from the passenger slideshow on our Spitsbergen Explorer voyage, July 2010.

 

Got an ice photo of your own to share? Post it to twitter and tag with #IcePhoto! Follow Quark Expeditions on twitter @quarkexpedition where we share photos and videos and chat about all things polar!

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Little brother of the North

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A colourful puffin is spotted on our Spitsbergen Explorer Expedition. It's name is derived from it's Latin genus name Fratercula which roughly translates to "Little Brother of the North." Aww!

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Spitsbergen Explorer Expedition, 23rd July to 2nd August, 2012. Photographer unknown.

 

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Spitsbergen Reindeer

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Two of Santa's helpers stop to have a meal.

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Photo by Quark Expeditions passenger "Robyn" on our Spitsbergen Explorer expedition, July 2012. See them for yourself with us!

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