Svalbard is a place you might not have heard of, I hadn’t for the majority of my life. Svalbard is a series of mountains covered in ice and snow that sit on an island in between the Greenland Sea and the Barents Sea in the Artice Ocean.
The island belongs to Norway and is a wonderful place to visit if you love to ski, fish, explore the rugged by beautiful remote landscapes, and of course, gaze upon the northern lights. If you have ever wanted to see the Arctic, then Svalbard is the place to go.
In the summertime, what Svalbard describes as a winter summer, the sun doesn’t set and the mountains are still covered in snow so you can enjoy 24 hours skiing if you want to. The birdlife is also spectacular and so are the mammals – you’re guaranteed to see polar bears and arctic foxes.
Getting to Svalbard is easy, just hop on a direct flight from Olso or Tromsø on either Norwegian or SAS airlines, but where to stay in Svalbard once you’re there? You might be surprised to know that there are quite a few options, which we’ll run through now.
One of the most affordable options of where to stay in Svalbard is at a campsite. Longyearbyen Camping is the world’s northernmost campsite and they offer all the facilities you might need including a kitchen for cooking, hot showers, and bathrooms.
You can pitch a tent or rent a yurt but you will be camping in polar bear territory, and there are quite a lot of them around. This is exciting because you’re almost guaranteed to see a polar bear but also a little disconcerting that you could face an encounter that is a little bit too close to be comfortable.
Luckily, you’ll be staying at the campsite in summer so there is 24-hour daylight and the lovely staff live onsite and carry rifles just in case a polar bear does come in too close.
The Longyearbyen Camping is just a 10-minute walk from the airport, so getting there with your gear is very easy and the town is just a 4km walk away where you’ll find shops that have all the supplies you need for your stay.
Another affordable option for places to stay in Svalbard is Airbnb. You can find lovely wilderness cabins for around $150 US a night that have 2 bedrooms, sleep 4 people, and have all the facilities you need including a fire, dining rooms, kitchen, and bathroom with hot water.
It’s quite a step up from camping but there is nothing quite like coming back to a fire-warmed cabin after spending hours out in the cold exploring the beautiful landscapes and see all the amazing animals and birds in the area.
If you’re traveling in a group, then Airbnb is definitely one of your most economical options, especially if sleeping in a tent isn’t what you fancy.
The homes on Airbnb are all near the main town and airport of Longyearbyen so getting to and from your flights will be easy as will resupplying from the shops.
The Coal Miners’ Cabins are also in the main town of Longyearbyen and close to the airport. The hotel looks down the Longyearbyen valley and has incredible views of the Arctic wilderness as you might expect.
The hotel has 72 twin rooms, 3 family rooms, a self-catering kitchen, restaurant, bar, lounge, laundry facilities, and some incredibly friendly staff who are there to make your trip as wonderful as possible. All the rooms come with free Wifi and include a delicious breakfast to get you pumped up for your artic adventures.
While being a budget option on Svalbard, the Coal Miner’s Cabins are by no means cheap. For a single adult, you’d be looking to pay around $150 US a night. But, you have to remember that Svalbard is in Norway and a burger at a gas station in Norway costs around $15 US. So when you put it like that, this hotel is actually very affordable.
One thing to be aware of before you book your stay at the Coal Miner’s Cabins is that the rooms are not ensuite but they do come with a sink. All the bathrooms and showers are shared and you’ll find them in the corridor down from your room. The hotel does put lovely robes in your rooms so your trip to the shower is a little more luxurious.
Gjestehuset 102 was once a luxury house that was reserved for the best coal miners in Svalbard until it was converted to the hotel/guesthouse it is today.
It’s one of the more affordable options at around $100 per night per person and you will save a lot more booking direct with them than via websites like booking.com. You have the option of a single room, twin/double room, or a 4-bed dormitory. Every room comes with a sink and shared bathroom and your booking includes breakfast and free wifi.
Extra facilities include a 24/7 tea & a coffee room, a TV room on each floor, a self-catering kitchen/dining area, paid laundry service, and there is an activities desk where you can get advice and book all your adventures.
The staff are very friendly and it’s a lovely place to stay especially if you want to meet like-minded Arctic enthusiasts.
Haugen Pensjonat is one of the best options in terms of balancing budget and comfort if you don’t mind doing self-catering. There is no breakfast served at this guest house but parts of its charm are how small it is and that you get to know others staying with you.
There are just 9 rooms at this guest house plus 2 apartments all of which have beautiful views of either mountains or glaciers. You have the option of renting a single room, double room, or an apartment that sleeps up to 6 people.
Every room has a sink in it and it shares a bathroom with another room while the apartments have a kitchen, laundry facilities, lounge, and two bedrooms, each with a bunk bed and sofa bed each.
Prices per person per night start at around $70 which is very reasonable and you get access to other facilities like wifi and a large shared kitchen/lounge area. Also, there is a sports center with a pool and sauna around the corner plus a good restaurant, and the town is just a 15-minute walk away.
Hostel Pomor has 30 newly refurbished double and triple rooms that all come with shared bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen on each floor for around $60 US per person per night. You’ll also find washing machines are dryers that are free of charge. No food is served at the hostel but there is a great bar, cafe, and restaurant down the road that serves hearty meals and great beer.
Hotel Barentsburg is a little more upmarket and they all have ensuite bathrooms, free wifi, and breakfast included. You should expect to pay around $100 US per night per person. Extra facilities include a bar, restaurant, paid sauna, paid laundry, a 24/7 reception, and a dry room. The hotel also offers suites for some extra luxury or for families.
Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg hotel offers an affordable but upmarket stay in Svalbard. The hotel has over 70 rooms each of which is uniquely decorated to give you a homey feel. You have the option of a standard single or double, luxury suite, or luxury double which are great for families.
The standard rooms are comfortable and come with a shared bathroom whereas the luxury rooms have an ensuite, the luxury suite also has a king bed and a huge whirlpool bath.
Prices start from around $180 per night and go up from there depending on the room your choose. Breakfast and Wifi are included with the price, there is also a kitchen for you to cook your other meals in, a delicious onsite restaurant, a fully equipped bar, and a large lounge/dining area to relax in at the end of the day.
The Basecamp Hotel in Svalbard is in the heart of Longyearbyen and is decorated as a trappers lodge. This means it’s fully authentic with walls covered in sealskin, maps, driftwood, and object from the Arctic. Every room is individually decorated and comes with comfy beds, a private bathroom, and free Wifi.
There are 4 different room options available from standard singles, doubles, and triples to suites and family rooms. the cost of sharing a double is around $100 per person per night, which is very reasonable considering the standard and all rates include breakfast.
You can also book all your Arctic adventures from the reception, the staff are very friendly, and the atmosphere is about as authentic as it could get. For the price, this place is hard to beat.
Funken Lodge is a boutique hotel that sits on Haugen hill overlooking the valley of Longyearbyen and has stunning views of the mountains, glaciers, and the ocean.
There are 6 different rooms from a standard single all the way up to a junior suite. They all come with comfy beds, a coffee machine, private bathrooms, and great views of the surrounding landscapes. The large rooms have bigger beds, a workspace, a living room, and a bathtub for relaxing in.
Prices start from around $130 US per person per night and include a delicious breakfast. While at the lodge you can also enjoy the fully serviced bar, delicious restaurant, peruse the wine and champagne cellars and use the hotel gym and sauna. There is also free Wifi, laundry, and room service available.
It truly is an incredible place to stay and should be high up on your list if it’s within your budget.
The Svalbard Hotell has a huge range of accommodations for anyone visiting Svalbard. You can choose to rent a 4/6 person apartment with a lounge, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms or stay in one of the many beautiful hotel rooms on offer.
Every room comes with its own bathroom, comfortable bed, Wifi, TV, coffee/tea, and blackout blinds so you can sleep in the summer. Prices start from around $150 US per person per night and include breakfast and access to all the hotel’s facilities. There is a lounge, polar library, bar, restaurant all of which are decorated in a very log cabin-esq way.
If you fancy living it up in some luxury then you can go for the Polar Bear suite which offers some of the best views of the area, has a king bed, a spacious living area, a large bathtub, and comes little extras like a daily newspaper and chocolates from Fruene.
The hotel sits in the heart of Longyearbyen which gives you excellent access to all the local bars and restaurants too. The staff are very helpful and friendly, they will give you advice, help you book adventures and make your stay as wonderful as possible.
The Radisson Blu Polar Hotel offers what you’d expect from Radisson services but all the way up in the artic of Svalbard. The hotel has a lovely restaurant and bar, dry cleaning facilities, and free wifi. You have 3 different rooms to choose from including a standard, superior, or junior suite.
All the rooms come with tea/coffee making facilities, free breakfast, a rain shower, and more. The suites have a large lounge area too. To be honest, the cost of this hotel is a little too much at $150 per person per night for a standard room as it’s missing a lot of facilities the others offer such as a gym or sauna.
As you can see, Svalbard is ready and waiting for you. An artic adventure really is a trip of a lifetime and with a whole range of affordable options, no matter your budget, you’ll be able to experience all it has to offer.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!