Svalbard Stories Vault, 4 days
Have you ever been to the USSR? Welcome to our Arctic time machine and experience real Soviet atmosphere far in the north – in the ghost town Pyramiden which comes in Top 10 ghost towns in the world.
It was an Arctic Paradise for those who lived and worked there. After the fall of USSR Pyramiden was closed and has since then remained abandoned with all its infrastructure in place, ‘’conserved’’. All the buildings are in a good state and the settlement seems inhabited, but the silence reigns over Pyramiden, there is no living soul around… but the polar bears.
On the way to the town aboard daily boat MS Langøysund you will enjoy the view of the impressive Esmark Glacier. While on the stop there, you will be served a warm barbequed lunch and whisky with glacier ice. You will go back by the express-boat Aurora Explorer.
Program duration: 4 days / 3 night
Day 1. Friday. Longyearbyen-Barentsburg
9:00 (approximately) Boat trip from Longyearbyen to Barentsburg by regular pleasure craft including a stop near Esmark glacier and barbecue lunch aboard.
Barentsburg is the Russian “capital” of Svalbard, a coal-mining settlement founded in 1921 by the Dutch company. Since 1931 it has been belonging to Trust “Arcticugol”. Nowadays Barentsburg is the Arctic coal-mining settlement with the northernmost Russian mine in the world, being at the same time an attractive tourist place, where history and traditions meet the modern Arctic development. Population of the settlement is almost 500 people including 70 children.
Upon arrival you will have a sightseeing tour around Barentsburg with an opportunity to immerse yourself into atmosphere of the Russian mining town full of various and exciting stories. To solve a tangle Svalbard - Grumant - Spitzbergen, to learn the growth of Barentsburg coal mining, to have a look at the local present-day life - you will have a chance to cover it all during a guided tour.
After that there will be a hiking tour up to satellite station installed on Olaf Mountain. At the bottom of the mountain at height of 250 m above the sea level, there is a great viewing point where you will see a picturesque view on Barentsburg, Grønfjord and its west coast. You can also take a thermos and drinking a hot tea, admiring views of the Greenland sea and mountains, you can get acquainted with the history of the archipelago and the Arctic in general.
Then you will have a visit to the Museum exhibition complex ArtArctica Gallery which also includes a guided tour. Former consulate-general of the Soviet Union located on a hill in the town centre of Barentsburg, nowadays it is a museum exhibition complex ArtArctica Gallery with the major exhibit, a part of the ship of Willem Barents in honour of which Barentsburg was named. You will see a unique exposition of pomors’ artefacts of XVII – XVIII found during archaeological excavations held on Svalbard. The collection includes: wooden icons, carved orthodox crosses, knifes, wood choppers, chess, dices, clothes and fishing tackle.
After such a fruitful day, there will be a dinner with Russian cuisine meals and tasting of the local beer made in the brewery “Red Bear” by the best Belgian tradition and on the ice water from a glacier.
Optionally, you can go to a concert (at extra cost) dedicated to the traditional Russian folklore. Kokoshniks, valenki (felt boots) and kalinka-malinka are included.
Overnight stay at the hotel Barentsburg.
Day 2. Saturday
10:00 Mine Tour. You will visit only one operating coal mine in the world where you can get into with a tour. You will see a war between man and nature, mechanisms of getting into the ground depth and of mine reinforcement and collapse protection. You can learn how the coal is being produced and transported onto the surface. You can talk with a miner, a person who spends a big part of his life underground. You can hear sounds of the underground mine core and feel a breath of the wind going up to the surface from the half-kilometer depth.
Breakfastat the restaurant.
Dog tracking or walking tour to the cape Heer along the littoral area of the Greenland sea accompanied by the stories about the World War II period, the military campaign Zitronella, the German battleship Tirpitz and the Norwegian cannon which is now located on the shore. There, during a short coffee-break you will have a chance to admire a great view on Isfjord, Esmark glacier and Protektor mountain.
Sledge dog kennel «Husky-farm» visit. 70 dog booths on the Grønfjord shore against the background of the magnificent glacier Esmark. Sledge dogs’ rigid faces that right after the first sniffing turn to cheerful ones with bright little stars in their tender eyes. The kennel is a place where images of the pole exploring of Amundsen and Peary take on life right in front of your eyes. Cuddles and pics with doggies are included.
Dinner at the restaurant.
Overnight stay at the hotel Barentsburg.
Day 3. Sunday: Barentsburg - Pyramiden
Breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
Post office and Souvenir shop visits. Interiors of our post office are something that we are proud of. Don’t forget to come over and have a look on the little museum dedicated to the Norwegian post office of the XIX-XX century turn. In order to learn more and to collect the information, we went to Lillehammer museum of the Norwegian post, did research on its history and looked through and photographed decorative elements and furniture.
Catamaran transfer from Barentsburg to Pyramiden.
Check-in at the hotel Pyramiden, lunch at the restaurant.
Sightseeing tour around the settlement. Pyramiden. The ambiance of this town frozen in time creates an extraordinary effect on any experienced explorer. It was founded by Swedish miners in the early 20th century and then sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. There are numerous speculations around its value during the Cold War. But one thing is certain: it was not only the Arctic out-post, but also the Arctic Paradise for those who lived and worked here in the Communist spirit. The town was a showcase for the West exhibiting to the world the excellence of communism. The atmosphere is still here! In the late 1990s, Pyramiden was closed and since then, has been considered abandoned. All the buildings are in a good state and the settlement seems inhabited, but the silence reigns over Pyramiden, there is no living soul around…
Optionally, you can go for the northernmost movie show in the world (at extra cost). Last autumn, we renovated authentic film projectors still-standing from the Soviet period so that you will have a unique opportunity to see a unique movie in the town frozen in time.
Dinner at the restaurant.
Overnight stay at the hotel Pyramiden.
Day 4. Monday: Pyramiden - Longyearbyen
Breakfast at the restaurant.
Optionally, you can try out some of the possible day activities in Pyramiden (at extra cost): Bike trip to Blue lake, Trekking tour to the water station near Goose lakes or Walking tour to Petunia bukta. That would be a fine option to get out of the settlement as well as get familiar to Pyramiden spectacular surroundings, breathtaking landscapes and diversified reliefs.
Lunch at the restaurant.
Catamaran transfer from Pyramiden to Longyearbyen.
Travel Dates in 2019
14.06 - 17.06
21.06 - 24.06
28.06 - 01.07
05.07 - 08.07
12.07 - 15.07
19.07 - 22.07
26.07 - 29.07
02.08 - 05.08
09.08 - 12.08
16.08 - 19.08
23.08 - 26.08
30.08 - 02.09
06.09 - 09.09
11 490 NOK per person
The Price Includes:
Accommodation/ Hotel, Twin/Dbl room
Boat trip -Longyearbyen- Barentsburg -Pyramiden - Longyearbyen
Activities in Barentsburg and Pyramiden according to the program
The Price Does Not Include:
Accomodation in the single room
Alcohol drinks and dishes beyond complex menu
Tips to the guide