There’s a Jazz Festival in a Norwegian Town That’s Famous for Its Views of the Northern Lights


The 15th-century fortified island of Sveti Stefan now links to Montenegro’s mainland via an isthmus, but the Aman Sveti Stefan that occupies the village, with 58 rooms arrayed in stone cottages, maintains a sense of remove. Maroon yourself in palm-shaded lanes or swim to pink beaches ashore. (Most of the resort is open only spring through fall.)

File this one under one of the coolest things we’ve ever heard of… literally: There’s a jazz festival in the middle of the arctic circle, in a Norwegian town called Longyearbyen, which is known for its views of the Northern Lights. Since 1998, jazz enthusiasts and world travelers have flocked to Polarjazz, and for good reason.

As if jazz music weren’t soothing enough, Polarjazz takes place in the middle of the “polar night” — meaning you’ll be in darkness the entire time. In fact, according to Cecilia Blomdahl of Arctic Travel Concepts, the town is slowly coming off pitch black dark season and moving “into a month of blue.” Imagine standing around listening to music while the world arounds you turns blue?

a close up of a sunset: A peak in the polar night with moon in Longyerbyen Spitzbergen Norway Scandinavia Europe. (Photo byClickAlps/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images).

This year’s Polarjazz will take place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. You can find more information on the festival’s website here, but we should warn you that you might want to brush up on your Norwegian first. To get there, we recommend flying to Oslo (OSL) and then connecting onto Svalbard (LYR) on SAS.

The Norwegian town, Longyearbyen, is also home to the northernmost brewery and settlement on the planet. The town itself is Svalbard’s largest settlement; Svalbard, of course, is known for the Global Seed Fault, which in the case of catastrophe, represents the world’s biggest chance for longterm survival. TPG himself went to visit it last year. Those are some pretty solid accolades if you ask us.

If you’re headed to the festival, just don’t forget to pack your winter jacket. Your really, really heavy winter jacket.

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