Spitsbergen, also known as Svalbard, is an island as large as the Netherlands and Belgium combined. It’s located just 1.000km from the North Pole and is populated more by polar bears than humans. There are roughly 2.500 inhabitants and 4.000 polar bears. The capital of Spitsbergen is Longyearbyen with 2.100 inhabitants. It’s a cozy village with lots of bars and restaurants. You’re not allowed to go roaming about on your own on Spitsbergen because of the imminent threat of polar bears. Instead you need to be accompanied by a guide at all times unless you know how to handle a rifle. So, a very special and adventurous destination indeed, Spitsbergen with kids!
Spitsbergen with kids; possible from all ages?
That’s a very good question. There’s a reason pregnant women who live on Spitsbergen are obligated to visit mainland for a couple of months to give birth there. The safety of mother and child are very important. So it’s rather difficult to pin an age to this destination. Some parents take their kids everywhere (like us ;), because young children learn a lot from all these new impressions, and some parents are more careful and don’t wish to travel further than Belgium. So the answer to the question really is, whatever makes you feel best.
If you’re planning on visiting Spitsbergen with kids during winter I would advise you to go when your child is capable of telling you whether it’s feeling cold or not. From January until the start of April the temperature can drop as low as -25 degrees Celsius and the cold winds can make it feel like -45 degrees at times. These are harsh weather conditions that can be pretty hazardous to very young children.
So are you planning on visiting Spitsbergen during winter anyway? From mid-April until the end of May the weather conditions tend to calm down. This is the best time to visit Spitsbergen with kids.
What are good accommodations for Spitsbergen with kids?
On Spitsbergen you’ll find not all accommodations are suitable for kids. Some rooms are so small you won’t be able to fit an extra cot in there and seeing as there are only a limited amount of rooms for families we advise to book early.
Must do’s in Spitsbergen with kids
Spitsbergen has lots to offer families with young kids, just check out the following:
1# Snow mobile & cuddling with huskies
Hop onto a snow mobile and take a ride to the Husky kennel. This trip is suitable for kids from the age of 4. The fun thing is, they attach a heated sleigh behind the snow mobile. Here, a parent can be seated with the kid(s) while the other parent controls the snow mobile. When you arrive at the husky kennel you can go and cuddle some huskies. Some are still adorable puppies, making this excursion extra fun!
When you’re at such a wonderful and beautiful destination as Spitsbergen you surely want a couple of good snapshots of your family. Take the time to visit a nice location with a professional photographer. These shots will be the most valuable souvenir of your trip!
3# Discover Longyearbyen
Sightseeing with a guide. The guide takes you to all the special places of Longyearbyen. This trip is suitable for kids from age 2.
4# Husky sleigh ride
A four hour husky sleigh ride through the beautiful white landscapes of Advent Dalen, a 30 km long valley with amazing views. This trip is suitable for kids aged 5 and up. One of the parents controls the sleigh and the other takes place in the sleigh with the kids. Such an amazing experience as a family!
5# Go on an adventure with the snowcat
A caterpillar vehicle is always fascinating; take the snowcat for a spin. This way you’re escorted comfortably to the most beautiful spots in the area. This trip is suitable for all ages.
6# Discover Spitsbergen by boat
Taking a boat trip for a day is the best way to visit other places such as Barentsburg or Pyramiden. You’ll sail past beautiful glaciers and get the chance to spot whales, walruses, sea lions and even polar bears on the way. This trip is suitable for all ages.
7# Spot the Northern lights
Go out together and spot the northern lights. Let’s go Dutch: prepare some thermos cups with hot chocolate, bring some cookies and try to find a dark spot. Now just quietly enjoy the beautiful starry night’s sky. If you’re in luck you may spot the northern lights. You can spot the northern lights between October and the end of March and you’re chances are best between the beginning of December and the beginning of February. During this time it’s dark day and night on Spitsbergen making your chances even better to witness this magnificent light spectacle!
8# Svalbard Museum
You can find all there is to know about the history of Spitsbergen here. There are lots of stuffed animals that roam the area to see up close. Suitable for all ages.
9# Visit a coalmine
During this exciting trip the guide will tell you everything about the dangers of working and living in a coalmine. This trip is suitable for kids from ages 2 and up.
10# A walk through Longyearbyen
Wouldn’t it be lovely to go for a wonderful walk through the wintery landscape? Big chance you’ll run into some reindeer or a polar fox. If your kids are still small, be sure to bring a good carrier so they can sit up against you nice and snug.
In addition, Spitsbergen is the first place on earth where global warming is noticeable. Inhabitants can tell you all about the consequences this has for them. Durability and economical treatment of our earth is certainly something you want to pass on to your kids. Spitsbergen is a place that can clearly demonstrate to your children the effects of “carelessly treating” our beautiful earth.
Spitsbergen seems to be a very special destination and is high up on my bucket list! Are you planning on visiting Spitsbergen or would you like some more information on the possibilities and costs? Check out Ontdek Spitsbergen. Bjorn and Debra are huge Spitsbergen fans and have made many trips to this special destination. They know the best hotels and excursions and can help you plan your perfect trip to Spitsbergen!