Best time to visit Svalbard

Barentsburg in Svalbard

Although the time machine hasn't been invented yet, Barentsburg may become a place where you'll travel back in time to the USSR

Abandoned building in Barentsburg
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Barentsburg is a mining town and looks like a typical settlement at the time when people settled down Spitsbergen in the early 20th century. Here coal mine used to be a gold mine, but no more.

Coal mining on the island is no more profitable because coal reserves are running low, and there is no need to deliver them to the continent for such a high price. That's why settlement does not develop, and the continent is too far from bringing new things and trends. Therefore, Barentsburg looks like a living ghost that is stuck in a different time.

If you ignore glaciers, polar bears, and ten months of winter, this settlement looks like a typical place in the days of the USSR: Houses, a Lenin monument, and popular inscriptions such as: "Our goal is communism" and "Peace to the world".

Barentsburg is reachable by boat and can be an amazing place to visit between mid-May and early October when the shore is ice-free.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Barentsburg?

Barentsburg is best visited during mid-May to early October when the seas are ice-free, making exploration easier and safer. The summer months are characterized by long days, which are perfect for sightseeing and other outdoor activities. Show more

What makes Barentsburg unique compared to other towns in Svalbard?

Barentsburg is an exceptional mining town that has maintained a blend of Soviet heritage, which sets it apart from other towns in Svalbard. The town's physical characteristics, such as monuments and inscriptions, reflect its Soviet influence from the early 20th century. This makes for an immersive, authentic experience of Soviet living in the modern era. Show more

Where can visitors stay in Barentsburg?

While in Barentsburg, visitors can opt to stay at one of the hotels or guesthouses, including the Pomor Hotel or the Barentsburg Hotel. These facilities offer visitors a comfortable stay with their distinctive services ranging from bars to restaurants. The town is also accessible from offshore cruise ships, which provide a distinct, picturesque view of the town from the sea. Show more

How do visitors typically travel to Barentsburg?

Visitors commonly travel to Barentsburg by boat or cruise ship from Longyearbyen. This journey usually takes a maximum of four hours, during which tourists enjoy stunning views of the region, including glaciers and snow-capped mountains. Additional wildlife, such as polar bears and whales, may also be visible from a safe distance. Upon arrival, tourists can hire guides or explore the town on foot for a more intimate experience. Show more

Are there any safety precautions visitors need to take when exploring Barentsburg?

To safely explore Barentsburg, visitors need to be cautious and prepared for the severe winter conditions that may prove to be lethal without proper equipment and attire. It is important to avoid wandering alone in unknown territories, carry necessary equipment, and dress appropriately. Visitors should stay within marked areas and be cautious not to attract polar bear encounters. Old buildings and machinery are also hazardous, so appropriate attention should be devoted to safety measures. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin