The Recreational Mariner's Guide

3. Svalbard

Food, Alcohol and Water


Svalbardbutikken, the grocery store in Longyearbyen, has a good selection. Prices for perishable goods such as milk and vegetables can be nearly twice the mainland price but canned and dried foods and longlife milk may be cheaper.


Tax-free alcohol is available at Nordpolet, which is part of Svalbardbutikken. Visitors can purchase wine freely but must show evidence that they are not residents and therefore not subject to the quota scheme if they wish to purchase beer or spirits.

Ordinary import quotas for alcohol and tobacco will apply when you return to mainland Norway.


It is possible to fill your water tanks alongside the docks in Longyearbyen and Ny Ålesund. We would not recommend that you fill with stream water or drink from streams without filtering the water in some way because of the presence of caribou and the resultant risk of giardia, unless the water is coming directly off a glacier—in which case it is probably full of glacial flour, the ground-up rock that gives streams coming from glaciers their milky colour.