Svalbard: Our most recommended tours and activities

Longyearbyen: Historic Coal Mine Tour at Gruve 3

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

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.

Walrus Safari tour by open boat

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.

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

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.

From Longyearbyen: Pyramiden Private Photo Tour w/ Transfer

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!

From Longyearbyen photo tour: Mysterious Barentsburg

From Longyearbyen photo tour: Mysterious Barentsburg

Barentsburg, founded in 1920, is a mining settlement that to this day remains operational. It is a fantastic opportunity to capture images of both run-down, Soviet architecture as well as state-of-the-art mining equipment set against the jawdropping backdrops of the fjords with their majestic mountains reaching into the heavens. You'll travel from Longyearbyen by ship and enjoy a complimentary lunch w. soft drinks onboard. Upon arrival in Barentsburg, you'll be greeted by your own private Photo Exploring guide who will then take you on the guided tour. You will be picked up at your hotel or vessel of choice.

Things to Do in Svalbard

Cities in Norway

Other Sightseeing Options in Svalbard

Want to discover all there is to do in Svalbard? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Svalbard

Overall rating

4.6
(220 reviews)

What an experience!! Fantastically interesting and an incredibly knowledgeable and engaged guide who told about the history of the mine with such empathy! He took us 700 meters into the mine where you really got to see the life and work of the miners. A must to take this tour if you are in Longyearbyen!

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.

I reluctantly agreed as the rest of the group wanted to see the mine. This was definitely worth the money and I wish we could have seen more of the mine. For example, by going further into it or ending up on the other side of it, that would have been rude!

The mine tour was really interesting and I enjoyed learning the history of mining in Longyearbyen. It was mad to see and experience the space were you crawl through at the very it, it was so much fun!!

Fantastic tour with information and history from Svalbard and mining.