Svalbard: Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the largest town on the Svalbard Archipelago and the northernmost settlement in the world (with over 1,000 residents) at 78 degrees north, way above the Arctic circle. Originally a coal-mining town named after the American minerals tycoon John Longyear, it is now a tourist hub for everything to do around Svalbard – cruises, hiking, adventure of all sorts. The picturesque and colorful town is located at the bottom of Longyear Valley with massive cliffs towering above it and often snow-covered. Tourist shops co-exist with snowmobiles, sleds, and avalanche barriers. Signs along the roads warn about polar bears. And everything in town is “the northernmost in the world” – northernmost church, northernmost post office, northernmost gas station, northernmost bar and so on.