An inner world of glaciers is filled with icicles and sparkling snow crystals. While the outside world is immersed in an Arctic winter, the glaciers keep a consistent temperature of -3 °C. Longyear Glacier caves are located within walking distance of Longyearbyen. This glacier is one of the few places in the world where you can have the unique experience of getting underneath a giant cob of ice, equipped with a helmet, crampons and a head torch.
Passages and caverns make the space inside the caves navigable. The floor consists of a mix of scoured gravel and rock or hard ice. You'll see outstanding upside-down "spruce trees" hanging from the ceiling, twinkling in the light of your headlamp. There are no straight lines at all—you'll only find roughness here.
It is also possible to combine ice caving with dog sledding or snowmobiling directly to the entrance. You can even be delivered to this ice 'palace' in a comfortable snowcat. Generally, people choose to experience ice caving with their snowshoes or skis on.
The season of ice caving runs from November to May: some tours operate from November to January, others between January and May.
When is the best time to go ice caving in Svalbard?
Ice caving tours in Svalbard take place from November to May, offering a range of options. For instance, from November to January, some tours operate, then from January to May, others. The months of January to May, when the temperatures consistently hover around -3℃, are the best for an ice caving experience. It is during this time that the ice formations are most impressive and massive. Show more
Where are the Longyear Glacier caves located?
The Longyear Glacier caves, a rare ice caving destination, are an accessible walking distance from Longyearbyen, the largest town in Svalbard, Norway. The caves are situated on the edge of the glacier and are surrounded by striking views of the beautiful rugged mountain range and open valleys, making them a unique experience. One can get to the entrance of the glacier by either dog sledding, snowmobiling, or a comfortable snowcat ride. Show more
What should I wear and bring to the ice caving experience?
For an ice caving experience in Svalbard, one should wear warm layers of clothing designed for outdoor winter activities. Thermal underwear or wool base layer, together with a well-insulated jacket and pants, are suitable. It is also advisable to bring along waterproof gloves, thick socks, hats, and scarfs. Tour operators generally provide crampons, helmets with a headlamp, and snowshoes or skis depending on your preference. Show more
Can I combine ice caving with other winter activities?
Definitely, ice caving aficionados in Svalbard can enjoy other winter activities like dog sledding or snowmobiling. One can take a snowmobile or a dog sled right from Longyearbyen and reach the entrance of the Longyear Glacier caves. Additionally, joining a snowcat ride makes it possible to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Typically, tour operators offer packages combining ice caving with multiple winter activities. Show more
Are there any age restrictions for ice caving tours in Svalbard?
Ice caving tours in Svalbard necessitate a level of physical preparedness, such as hiking and navigating uneven terrain within the caves, making the minimum required age 12 years. Additionally, the cold temperature in winter requires individuals to consider appropriate attire. There are no specified age restrictions to participate in the tours, but tour operators encourage participants to be in decent physical condition and able to hike over uneven terrain, including up and down hills. Show more