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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.

View of Jan Mayen showing 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 meters) resumed activity in 1970; it is the northernmost active volcano on Earth.


Arctic maritime with frequent storms and persistent fog.

Get in[edit]

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 a 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[edit]

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

By boat[edit]

There are no natural harbors. 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 organizes 15-day trips to Jan Mayen from Tromsø.


The volcano Beerenberg is probably the main sight 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.


There is no economic activity on Jan Mayen. Jan Mayen is a Norwegian tax-free zone.

Eat and drink[edit]

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


There are no public accommodations on Jan Mayen.

Camping: The status as a natural reserve means it is forbidden to camp, except at the village.

Stay safe[edit]

The harsh Arctic climate and occasional volcanic activity are the greatest hazards.

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.