Welcome to Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is like a portal to a magical sub-polar world. Just about every Svalbard experience begins here, but if you came to Svalbard and spent the whole time in Longyearbyen (Svalbard's only town of any size), you'd leave disappointed. That's because although Longyearbyen enjoys a superb backdrop including two glacier tongues, Longyearbreen and Lars Hjertabreen, the town itself is fringed by abandoned mining detritus and the waterfront is anything but beautiful, with shipping containers and industrial buildings. The further you head up the valley towards the glaciers, the more you'll appreciate being here. Even so, Longyearbyen is a place to base yourself for trips out into the wilderness rather than somewhere to linger for its own sake.