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Jan Mayen is an island between Greenland and Norway in the Arctic Ocean, administered by Norway. The island has 18 inhabitants, employed by the Norwegian Armed Forces or the Norwegian Institute of Meteorology.

Beerenberg Volcano


Jan Mayen

This desolate, mountainous volcanic island was named after a Dutch whaling captain who supposedly discovered it in 1614 (though earlier claims have been reported). It was visited only occasionally by seal hunters and trappers over the following centuries, and the island came under Norwegian sovereignty in 1929. The long dormant Haakon VII Toppen/Beerenberg Volcano (2,277 m) resumed activity in 1970; it is the northernmost active volcano on Earth.



Entry is perilous as this is in the Arctic maritime with frequent storms and persistent fog.

Get in


Jan Mayen is a part of the Schengen area, but does not have any border control. As a result, it is not permitted go directly from a non-Schengen area and land on Jan Mayen, at least when citizens of non-Schengen countries are onboard. Instead, you must visit border control in Iceland, Norway or some other Schengen country before going to Jan Mayen.

Additionally, special permission is needed to visit the island.

By plane


There is an 1600-m unpaved airstrip. No commercial flights. A NDB (JAN 362kHz) is available for air traffic.

By boat


There are no natural harbours. You must bring your own boat or follow a dedicated trip. The Kvalrossbukta and Båtvika bay are often used for getting on shore using rubber zodiacs. A Norwegian company called EcoExpeditions organises 15-day trips to Jan Mayen from Tromsø.

By cruise ship


Some expedition cruise companies organise voyage stopping in Jan Mayen. Landing and a permit to visit the weather station may be granted from the Norwegian officials. Landing is weather dependant (since there is no harbour for ships, so landing must be done in small boats).



The Beerenberg volcano is probably the main sight on Jan Mayen.




A beach on Jan Mayen

You are free to hike around the island, but not to camp. This means that the hiking range is limited.



Climbing the Beerenberg is worth the journey; it has the highest sea view in the Nordic countries outside Greenland, if there is no fog, which there usually is. A climb is an expedition requiring experience and a high level of fitness.

However, since camping is forbidden, it is virtually impossible to climb the mountain legally, as the climb takes a lot of time. Getting permission is unlikely, but if you want to try, read The midnight sun during summer time makes night hiking possible.



Whilst Jan Mayen is a Norwegian tax-free zone, there is no economic activity on Jan Mayen.

Eat and drink


As there are no shops or restaurants on the island; you will have to bring any provisions you will need yourself.



There is no public accommodation on Jan Mayen. The only settlement, Olonkinbyen, houses Norwegian soldiers and meterologists only. In addition, there are 9 small cabins around the island but these are for the use of these soldiers and meterologists only.

Camping is forbidden.

Stay safe


The harsh Arctic climate and occasional volcanic activity are the greatest hazards. In January 2021, soldiers died in an avalanche.

Go next


If you want to explore extreme Norwegian lands, see also Svalbard in the Arctic and Bouvet Island in the Antarctic.

This rural area travel guide to Jan Mayen is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.