Sør-Spitsbergen National Park Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to stay, and local culture in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park. Explore the natural and cultural attractions, hiking and biking routes, nearby destinations, and transportation options.

Introduction to Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is a breathtaking destination located in Svalbard, Norway. It spans over 13,287 square kilometers and offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance. The park is home to glaciers, mountains, and diverse wildlife species, including polar bears, reindeer, and Arctic foxes. It is also a historical site that has witnessed the footsteps of explorers and coal miners. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know before visiting Sør-Spitsbergen National Park. From cultural attractions and outdoor adventures to local cuisine and lodging options, this guide has got you covered.

List of Places to Visit in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

One of the must-visit places in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is the Svalbard Museum. It is located in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in Svalbard, and showcases the history of the Arctic explorations, coal mining, and the local Sami culture. Another historical attraction is the abandoned mining town of Pyramiden. It was once a Soviet settlement that operated the coal mines in the region. Today, it serves as a ghost town, offering an eerie glimpse into the past.

Natural Attractions of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

There are several natural attractions in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park that are worth visiting. A hike to the summit of the mountain Trollsteinen offers stunning panoramic views of the park and its surroundings. Another scenic spot is the Calypsobyen glacier, which provides an opportunity to witness the beauty of the landscape from a different perspective. Kayaking along the glacier’s edge is also a unique experience that offers an up-close encounter with the ice and the wildlife.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

Sør-Spitsbergen National Park has several hiking and biking trails that cover different types of terrains. The Teltet to Reindalspasset hike is a challenging but rewarding trail that takes you through scenic valleys and mountain passes. The Nordenskiold Glacier hike is an easier option that offers views of the glacier and the surrounding fjords. For biking enthusiasts, a ride from Longyearbyen to Bjørndalen provides a scenic route through valleys and mountains.

Best Things to Do in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park: Activities and Tours

There are several activities and tours available in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park that cater to a range of interests. Dog sledding tours are a popular winter activity that provides a unique way to explore the park. A snowmobile tour to Barentsburg, a Russian settlement, is another exciting option that offers a glimpse into the local culture. For thrill-seekers, a helicopter tour of the park provides a bird’s eye view of the stunning scenery.

Week-Long Itinerary for Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

If you plan to spend a week in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park, here is a suggested itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Longyearbyen Day 2: Visit the Svalbard Museum and explore Longyearbyen Day 3: Hike to Trollsteinen Day 4: Kayak along the Calypsobyen glacier Day 5: Take a dog sledding tour Day 6: Visit Pyramiden and explore the abandoned mining town Day 7: Departure from Longyearbyen

Food and Drink Scene of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

Must-Try Dishes

Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is known for its local cuisine, which features traditional Norwegian dishes with a regional twist. Some of the must-try dishes include fish soup, reindeer stew, and Arctic char. These dishes are hearty and flavorful, perfect for the cold Arctic weather.

Local Beverages

Local beers and spirits are also popular in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park. The Svalbard Brewery in Longyearbyen produces a range of craft beer that is made using glacier water. The local spirit, called Karsk, is made by mixing coffee and moonshine.

Where to Stay in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There are several lodging options available in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park, ranging from hotels to guesthouses. In Longyearbyen, the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel is a popular choice for its luxurious amenities and scenic location. For a more budget-friendly option, the Svalbard Lodge offers comfortable and affordable rooms. Outside of Longyearbyen, the Isfjord Radio Adventure Hotel provides a unique lodging experience in a remote location.

What to Buy in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Some of the best souvenirs to bring back from Sør-Spitsbergen National Park include handcrafted Sami jewelry, polar bear skin rugs, and locally-produced jams and preserves. These items are unique to the region and make great gifts for friends and family.

Local Culture and Customs of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

The local culture of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is rooted in the Sami culture, which is an indigenous culture of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The Sami people have lived in Svalbard for over 10,000 years and have a deep connection with the land and the wildlife. They have their own language, music, and traditional clothing that reflects their culture.

Best Time to Visit Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

The best time to visit Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is milder, and the days are longer. The park is also accessible during the winter months, but the extreme weather conditions and limited daylight hours require proper planning and preparation.

Do’s and Don’ts of Sør-Spitsbergen National Park


  • Dress appropriately for the cold Arctic weather
  • Respect the local culture and customs
  • Follow the park rules and regulations
  • Bring appropriate gear for outdoor activities


  • Approach wildlife or feed them
  • Leave trash in the park
  • Ignore safety precautions

Safety and Health

Safety in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

Sør-Spitsbergen National Park has unique safety risks that require proper planning and preparation. The extreme weather conditions, polar bears, and limited medical facilities are some of the potential dangers. It is important to carry proper gear, such as a satellite phone and a first aid kit, and to follow safety protocols when exploring the park.

Health in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

The Norwegian government requires all visitors to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and search and rescue operations. It is also important to carry any necessary medications and to inform your doctor of your travel plans beforehand.

Getting to Sør-Spitsbergen National Park: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

The closest airport to Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is the Longyearbyen Airport, which is served by several airlines, including SAS, Norwegian, and Air Greenland.

Bus Stations Near Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

There are no bus stations in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park. However, there are several bus services that operate between Longyearbyen and other settlements in Svalbard.

Other Options

Other transportation options to Sør-Spitsbergen National Park include boat tours and private cruises. These options provide a unique way to explore the park and its surroundings.

How to Get Around in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park

Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is a remote destination that requires proper planning and preparation for transportation. Some of the available transportation options include snowmobiles, helicopters, and dog sleds. Visitors should research and book transportation ahead of time to ensure availability and appropriateness for their interests and fitness level.

Where to Go Next from Sør-Spitsbergen National Park: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Some of the nearby destinations and excursions from Sør-Spitsbergen National Park include the town of Barentsburg, the Russian settlement in Svalbard, and Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, known for its glaciers and polar bears.


Sør-Spitsbergen National Park is an extraordinary destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance. From exploring the abandoned mining town of Pyramiden and hiking to Trollsteinen to trying the local cuisine and visiting the Svalbard Museum, there is no shortage of things to do and see in the park. Proper planning and preparation are essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. With this comprehensive guide, you are now ready to embark on your once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Sør-Spitsbergen National Park.