Spitsbergen Living Costs: How expensive is it to live on Svalbard?

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live on Svalbard? Perhaps you’re considering a move to this remote, Arctic archipelago, but you’re not sure if it’s worth the high cost of living. In this article, we’ll explore the question, “Is living on Svalbard expensive?” and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

What is Svalbard?

Svalbard is a group of islands situated in the Arctic Ocean, roughly halfway between Norway and the North Pole. It’s a unique and beautiful place, characterized by vast, unspoiled wilderness, ice-capped mountains, and the Northern Lights. The archipelago consists of four main islands and several smaller ones, with Longyearbyen serving as the largest settlement and administrative center.

The cost of living on Svalbard

So, is living on Svalbard expensive? The answer is yes, compared to many other places in the world. The cost of living is high due to a number of factors:

  • The remote location, which makes it expensive to import goods.
  • The harsh climate, which means that many goods have to be specially made or imported.
  • The small population, which makes it difficult to achieve economies of scale.

According to a 2020 report by the Norwegian government, the cost of living on Svalbard is around 50% higher than the national average. Prices for groceries, fuel, and housing are particularly high.

Is it worth it?

Despite the high cost of living, many people choose to live on Svalbard because of its unique lifestyle and natural beauty. If you’re considering a move, it’s important to think about what you hope to gain from the experience. Some of the pros and cons of living on Svalbard include:


  • The opportunity to live in a beautiful, remote part of the world.
  • The chance to experience a unique lifestyle, with opportunities for outdoor activities such as dog sledding and snowmobiling.
  • A strong sense of community and camaraderie among residents.
  • No taxes on personal income or wealth.
  • The ability to see the Northern Lights.


  • High cost of living, including expensive groceries, housing, and fuel.
  • Isolation from friends and family, with limited transport links to the mainland.
  • The harsh Arctic climate, which can be challenging to adjust to.
  • A lack of career opportunities in some fields.
  • Restricted access to certain areas due to environmental protections.


So, is living on Svalbard expensive? Yes, it is. But whether or not it’s worth it depends on your personal priorities and goals. If you’re looking for an adventure, a unique lifestyle, and the chance to live in one of the most beautiful and remote places on earth, then Svalbard may be the place for you. However, if you’re more concerned with financial stability, career opportunities, or staying close to friends and family, then it may not be the best fit.

Ultimately, the decision to move to Svalbard is a personal one that should be based on careful consideration and research. We hope this article has provided you with some useful information and insights into life on this remote Arctic archipelago.

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