I posed part of my question on the Sweden forum, and got some great advice from Badger (thanks!), but I thought I'd move the inquiry here, in case there are other ideas specific to Norway. We are planning a visit to Scandinavia in December, split between spending the holiday with family in Sweden, seeing holiday markets, and heading up north for a chance to see the northern lights. We will have 5 or 6 days total to spend in the Arctic Circle, coming from Stockholm (either via night train or flight, TBD). Based on previous advice, I think we'd like to spend a night at Abisko, and then head into northern Norway. Guidebooks give a lot of ideas of where to go and what to see in the area, so I'm sure we will find plenty to explore. Would it be better to stay in Tromsø for the remaining 4-5 nights and venture out to the surrounding areas, or spend a couple nights in Tromsø, and try to add Svalbard/Spitsbergen for a couple nights? Would we be able to do Svalbard justice in that short time, or should we just stick to the mainland? Our primary reason for being up there is the northern lights, but we are also interested in dog sledding, maybe snowmobiling, nordic skiing, etc. Has anyone done this, or something similar?
Regarding Svalbard, no. Unless you really want to be able to say that you have been there. But I can't see it adding anything. It's too far north to be a good place to see the northern lights, so my suggestion is to actually stay in an area where you can walk around on your own as you like without having an armed guard with you.
"stay in an area where you can walk around on your own as you like without having an armed guard with you."
Pre-pandemic I bumped into my daughter's high school classmate who was carrying a long rectangular bag. I asked where she was going. "The shooting range" she responded. I asked the obvious question and she responded that she was guiding in Svalbard and had to go practice before she left.