Things to do in
Longyearbyen

Our most recommended things to do in Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen: Historic Coal Mine Tour at Gruve 3

1. Longyearbyen: Historic Coal Mine Tour at Gruve 3

Start with pickup at the hotels and guesthouses in town before a short drive to the outside facility of Mine Number 3. On the way there, you will pass the world-renowned Global Seed Vault where over 1 million seeds from around the world are stored. The first seed bank on Svalbard was opened in Mine no. 3 in 1984. This is where the ideas to build the Global Seed Vault on Svalbard started — by storing seeds in the permafrost with no need for electricity.  Enter the facility and explore maps over Longyearbyen and Svalbard. Enjoy a historic coal mine and listen to the stories and anecdotes of what was the last mine in town where thin-seam production was applied. Expect in-depth information about the town’s history and why some men decided to settle here some 100 years ago. A model of the mine is used to illustrate how the coal was extracted using thin-seam techniques. Walk through the workshops and see machines and equipment that was left behind when the mine was shut down in 1996. Put on a miner’s overall and crawl through a replica of a mining shaft and get a feeling of how a miner spent his days. Towards the end of the tour, discover the mine itself by walking 300 meters in and entering two different side tunnels.

One-day trip to the ghost town of Pyramiden by open boat

2. One-day trip to the ghost town of Pyramiden by open boat

You will head along Isfjord towards the abandoned Soviet ghost town of Pyramiden. Along the way, you'll come very close to the famous Nordenskiöld Glacier and take a short walk along the Arctic bay of Skans. In Pyramiden itself, you will be treated to an extended guided tour and have lunch in a Soviet-style setting. The tour starts at 9 AM; we will pick you up from your hotel and head to the port, where we'll embark on an open boat journey to Pyramiden. You'll return to Longyearbyen in the evening, around 6-7 PM.

From Longyearbyen: Pyramiden Private Photo Tour w/ Transfer

3. From Longyearbyen: Pyramiden Private Photo Tour w/ Transfer

Get picked up at your hotel or vessel of choice. Travel from Longyearbyen by ship. Upon arrival in Pyramiden, be greeted by your own private photo-exploring guide who will then take you on the guided tour. Pyramiden was founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. It lies at the foot of the Billefjorden on the island of Spitsbergen and is named after the pyramid-shaped mountain with the same name adjacent to the town. In 1998, the settlement lost its last remaining inhabitant, thus rendering it a ghost town. This is a marvelous place to capture Soviet architecture and a Northern settlement fixed in time!

Longyearbyen: Private Guided Walking Tour

4. Longyearbyen: Private Guided Walking Tour

Longyearbyen was founded in 1907 by its namesake, mining company owner John Munro Longyear, and is to this day operational, the northernmost settlement in the world with more than a thousand inhabitants. The northern location has led to several unique laws, one of which renders it impossible to be buried there, as the permafrost doesn't allow for the bodies being reclaimed by the earth. A truly spectacular place to visit!

Barentsburg: Coal Mine Expedition

5. Barentsburg: Coal Mine Expedition

The mine in Barentsburg is the one with the shortest coal production and the northernmost one among all the Russian mines. On the mine tour you can 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. After the tour, you will get a certificate that confirms the visit to the northernmost Russian coal mine in the world. For the tour, we provide specialized equipment such as an overall that protects you from the dust, warm waterproof boots, protective gloves, a hard hat with a mining lamp, and a self-rescue device (a portable breathing device). Before the tour start, you go through the safety briefing prep and then confirm it acknowledged in a specific record book. Tours are guided by well-experienced miners.

One-day trip to the Russian town of Barentsburg by open boat

6. One-day trip to the Russian town of Barentsburg by open boat

Before the tour, a transfer will be organized from your hotel to the Russkiy Dom at around 9:00 AM. After meeting the guides, receiving instructions, and gearing up, you'll embark on the tour at around 10:00 AM. The tour starts with an open boat ride towards the Greenland Sea, heading to the residential settlement of Barentsburg. Along the way, you'll approach the Esmark Glacier and have the opportunity to observe whales and seals. Upon arrival in Barentsburg, you'll enjoy a guided tour of the settlement, exploring its unique features and history. Following the tour, a delicious lunch will be provided, included in the tour price. After lunch, you'll visit a Husky farm, where nearly all breeds of Arctic sled dogs reside. Here, you can also enjoy the thrilling experience of dog sledding if desired. At the conclusion of the tour, the return to Longyearbyen will be via an open boat, passing by the bird cliffs and the old mining settlement of Grumant, with an estimated return time of around 7:00 PM.

Walrus Safari tour by open boat

7. Walrus Safari tour by open boat

The tour will begin with a transfer from your place of accommodation in Longyearbyen to our expedition center Russkiy Dom, where you will meet the guides, receive a briefing, and get equipped. After changing into wetsuits, the excursion sets off around 10:00-10:30 AM on an open boat through Isfjord to Borebukta and then to the Borebreen Glacier. You’ll have the chance to observe whales, seals, and walruses. Then, you'll land in the Arctic tundra for a short hike, enjoy a lunch, and visit the old Dutch mining settlement, Reipsburg. The return journey to Longyearbyen crosses Isfjord by open boat. At the end of the tour, we will also provide a transfer to a location convenient for you. The tour is expected to conclude around 4:00-6:00 PM depending on the weather and the number of wildlife spotted.

Frequently asked questions about Longyearbyen

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What people are saying about Longyearbyen

Overall rating

4.6
(189 reviews)

If you want to understand Svalbard then this is a must. The whole family thought it was a great visit. Can really be recommended! The pick up in the morning didn't work for us. Although we had registered the pick-up location in the app, it had not been registered with the mining company.

It's great that you can systematically understand the history and current situation of the Longyearbyen coal mine. Our guide was very nice, humorous and knowledgeable. I recommend this activity to everyone traveling to Longyearbyen.

Thank you for an exciting, educating and fun tour in the mine. The guide was knowledgeable and had also humorous comments and made the tour as 5/5 🤩

Incredibly knowledgeable and skilled guide. Absolutely a nice experience.

Fantastic tour with information and history from Svalbard and mining.