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Longyearbyen

Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway
Page 8
Continued from page 7

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ABOVE: The approach to Svalbard Airport Longyear, as viewed from a Boeing 737 of SAS in mid-June.

Arrival and departure

Svalbard is a collection of islands, and there are no passenger ferries to the archipelago from the Norwegian mainland. To reach Svalbard, you have three options: fly in, arrive by yacht, or visit on a cruise ship.

photoBy air. Svalbard Airport Longyear (LBY) is the territory's only commercial airport. The airport, which opened in 1975, offers daily flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen via Tromsǿ year-round and direct Oslo-Longyearbyen flights during the summer.

photoService is on Boeing 737s of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). Select your preferred country and language on the SAS Norway Web site to plan your trip. Flying time is about 4 hours from Oslo and 1 hour 40 minutes from Tromsǿ.

Longyearbyen's airport is small, overcrowded, and a bit chaotic. The good news: It's only 10 minutes from town, and an inexpensive airport bus will be waiting outside after you've fought your way through the crowd to your suitcase in the baggage room and exited past the stuffed polar bear. Tell the bus driver where you're going, and you'll be dropped off at your hotel or guesthouse.

photoBy sea. The Port of Longyearbyen has a floating dock for visiting yachts. Services include electricity, water, fuel, showers, and a laundromat. During my visit in June, I saw a few sailboats anchored offshore.

A small but growing number of cruise ships are visiting Svalbard during the summer, and nearly all of them call in Longyearbyen. (Shore excursions are available for passengers who want to see the Arctic wilderness, tour a coal mine, etc.) 

Local transportation. Walking is the easiest and cheapest way to get around town, but taxis are available.

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