Chasing the Pomors
The Arctic Archipelago Spitsbergen. Norwegian Svalbard. Russian Grumant. The heart of the Arctic. Only a step to the North Pole. You will see austere Greenland sea, giant glaciers, majestic multi-colored mountains, wild arctic animals: reindeers, ringed seals, polar foxes. And if you are lucky enough you can see the Arctic King – polar bear! In February-March you have a high chance to observe mysterious northern light.
During the trip our guides will tell you the history of visited places: Cape Starostin, abandoned settlement Grumant, Capes Finneset and Heer, and many-many others…You will hear stories about polar explorers and scientists – Willem Barents, Ivan Starostin, Vladimir Rusanov, Umberto Nobile, Fridtjof Nansen and Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld – whose names are bound with the history of Spitsbergen forever.
This tour is carried out in the end of winter – the beginning of spring, when polar night has almost gone, but polar day is not yet due. So, there is a chance to see northern light at its finest. In February and the beginning of March the settlement Pyramiden could be inaccessible, and the whole program is dedicated to attractive places around Barentsburg, rich of the histories about pomor habitats, as well as Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and English settlements – from the age of whale hunters and fishermen to the beginning of coal mining.
Despite the North Pole is so close, the climate is Spitsbergen is quite mild for the Arctic region. The Western Spitsbergen Island and Isfjorden, where our tour takes place, are some kind of Arctic oasis thanks to warm current Gulf Stream passing nearby. The average temperature in February-March – 19 degrees below zero, in April – 13 degrees below zero. Long polar night ends to the middle of February and since the beginning of April polar day sets in.
This tour is suitable for those who are ready to embark on a voyage of Spitsbergen discovery, but don’t have enough time or unsure of his or her strength. You don’t have to be in a strong physical shape or be an experienced snowmobile driver, the route is easy enough and our guides will teach you everything you need! Accessible for children since 8 years.
Program duration: 5 days / 4 nights
Total snowmobiling distance: 400-450 km
Day 1. Longyearbyen – Todalen - Colesdalen – Grøndalen – Barentsburg.
Arrive in Longyearbyen, “the capital” of Spitsbergen, daytime flight.
Longyearbyen (also Longyear) - the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, the northernmost settlement with the number of inhabitants more than 1 000 (about 2 000 people) and the northernmost airport in the world.
Transfer from the airport to “Russky dom”, “Russian house” – the office of our travel company “Grumant” in Longyearbyen. Lunch, brief information about program, short safety training and snowmobile driving instructions, getting outfit and packing belonings.
Snowmobiling on the route: Longyearbyen – Todalen - Colesdalen – Grøndalen – Barentsburg.
Total distance – 70 km, duration: 3-4 hours
Barentsburg – Russian “capital” of Spitsbergen, the coal-mining settlement founded in 1921 by the Dutch company. Since 1931 belongs to Trust “Arcticugol”. Barentsburg nowadays is the arctic coal-mining settlement with the northernmost Russian mine, as well as attractive touristic place, where history and traditions meet modern Arctic development. Population of Barentsburg – 500 inhabitants including about 70 children.
Arrive in Barentsburg, accommodation in double rooms in Barentsburg Hotel
Sightseeing guided tour
Dinner at the hotel
Day 2. Barentsburg - Isfjord Radio – Starostin Cape- Barentsburg
Breakfast at the hotel
Snowmobiling on the route: Barentsburg - Isfjord Radio – Starostin Cape- Barentsburg
Circle route with diverse terrain and picturesque Arctic views. Total distance – 95-120 km (depending on the weather condition, ice and snow cover and preparedness of the group), duration – about 7-8 hours with lunch stop in the cozy Isfjord Radio restaurant.
Isfjord Radio – shore radio and meteorological station in the Cape Linné. A century ago it became the link between the archipelago and the mainland, acting as a navigation system and collecting meteorological data. Nowadays the station is completely automatically-controlled, and the cozy hotel and restaurant is arranged inside.
Cape Starostin, Kapp Starostin – attractive, picturesque place with a special atmosphere. It got its name after legendary pomor trapper Ivan Starostin, who spent 39 winters in Spitsbergen and the last 15 years never left the archipelago. His main habitat was at the mouth of river Russekeila, close to Gronfjord. Our guides will show you the reconstruction of Starostin winter camp and pomor funeral cross, you have a look around a functioning cabin. One interesting fact – Cape Starostin and its surroundings became the location during the shoot of Norwegian movie “Operasjon “Arktis”.
Return to Barentsburg. Visit our museum dedicated to Pomor culture and history of Spitsbergen and Arctic discovery. Except the main archeological exhibition devoted to pomor trappers and Russian arctic explorers of 16-19 centuries, you have a chance to see the unique items of Willem Barents expedition 1596 year and Art Arctic Gallery.
Dinner at our famous brewery bar and restaurant “Krasniy medved” (“Red bear”). You will taste the northernmost freshly-made Russian beer and traditional Russian cuisine, will try local codfish from Gronfjord.
Breakfast at the hotel
Snowmobiling. Lunch stop
Depending on the weather conditions, our destination point will be one of the glaciers: Paulabreen or Fridtjofbreen.
Every glacier has its own unique beauty, as well as the routes itself.
Paulabreen is situated in Van-Meyen fjord close to the conserved mining settlement Sveagruva. The itinerary goes through wide valleys to the top of the Shlakbreen glacier plateau, go down to the fjord, and then will reach the the Paulabrin glacier. The route will take 8-10 hours, its length is about 200 km. We prefer this trip in calm weather and good visibility
Fritjofbrin glacier is located closer to Barentsburg. The road runs on a more expressive and varied terrain than previous route and takes from 6 to 8 hours. The distance of the route is about 100 to 140 km, depending on the weather condition.
Dinner at the hotel
Day 4. Barentsburg- Coals bay (Colesbukta)- Fardalen- Longyearbyen
Early in the morning we offer you a tour to the Mine (paid additionally). It is one and the only tour into the working mine in the world! At first we get familiar to safety instructions, change our cloth and take miner’s equipment. Guided by a professional miner the tour starts at the wooden gallery with short insight of the mining history, then through the main entrance we go underground and visit two mine galleries.
Breakfast at the hotel
Free time. You can choose among different variety of activities:
Visit our souvenir shop and one of the northernmost Norwegian post office, from where you can send postcards from 78 North latitude anywhere to the world
Visit husky farm. It is an unique tourist attraction where under one roof we have gathered dogs of main Arctic sled breeds: Siberian husky, Samoyed, Yakut laika, Alaska malamute. Our friendly and joyful dogs are waiting for your visit. Moreover we provide dog sledding.
Take part in traditional workshops in our Handicraft centre: make a traditional pomor protective amulet doll, felt a polar bear toy or make a handmade soap.
All these activities are paid additionally.
Lunch in the hotel
Snowmobiling Barentsburg- Coals bay (Colesbukta)- Fardalen- Longyearbyen/
Total distance – 60 km, duration: 3-4 hours
Upon arrival in Longyearbyen check-in at the guesthouse Russkiy Dom. Walk around Longyearbyen and dinner in one of the most stylish Spitsbergen restaurant “KROA - At the edge of the world’’.
Breakfast, walk around Longyearbyen. You can visit post office, souvenir shops, Svalbard museum.
Transfer to the airport to your ﬂight back home
Travel Dates in 2020
10.02 - 14.02 30.03 - 03.04
17.02 - 21.02 06.04 - 10.04
24.02 - 28.02 13.04 - 17.04
02.03 - 06.03 20.04 - 24.04
09.03 - 13.03 27.04 - 01.05
16.03 - 20.03 04.05 - 08.05
23.03 - 27.03
Driver on the snowscooter
17 690 NOK
Passenger on the snowscooter
13 090 NOK
Extra charge for accommodation in SINGLE rooms in Barentsburg:
The Price Includes:
Accommodation and meals
Activities according to the itinerary
Snowmobile rental (Ski-doo Expedition 600/Lynx Commander 600 ), fuel
Rental of winter overalls, boots, gloves and a helmet
Insurance covering research and rescue, evacuation costs in case of emergency
The Price Does Not Include:
Flight to/from Longyearbyen
Optional tours and activities
Alcohol drinks and dishes/drinks beyond the menu
Tips to the guide