Barentsburg and Pyramiden

Barentsburg and Pyramiden are two very distinct communities in Svalbard run by the Russian state-owned company Trust Arcticugol. Although both communities started out as company towns established by companies from other countries, they’re perhaps best known for their historical connection to the Soviet Union early in the 1900s, and to Russia in more recent times.
There are no road connections between the various communities in Svalbard.

Information about Barentsburg and Pyramiden on

The war that Russia is waging in Ukraine is also affecting life in Svalbard through our proximity to the Russian settlements of Barentsburg and Pyramiden. In recent years, the tourism companies in Barentsburg and Longyearbyen have cooperated closely on tourism development, and the Russian history and settlements in Svalbard are among what guests come to Svalbard to experience. The cooperation with our Russian neighbours has been constructive and has been based on a common interest in the sustainable development of the tourism destination Svalbard. We have jointly succeeded in creating an attractive year-round destination.

However, owing to Russia’s aggressive and illegal warfare in Ukraine, the prerequisite for this cooperation has now completely changed. Russia’s action’s constitute violations of international law and human rights. The Russian tourism company Arctic Travel Company Grumant in Barentsburg is wholly owned by the state-owned mining company Trust Arcticugol and is hence an extended arm of the Russian state in Svalbard. Consequently, most of Longyearbyen’s tourism companies have decided that further cooperation and trade with the state-owned company is incompatible with the ethical and moral norms and standards our industry represents.

The decision to end this cooperation has not been an easy one. Although there are no winners in such a situation, the local tourism industry believes that this is the right thing to do. Consequently, we no longer offer ordinary tours to either Barentsburg or Pyramiden during winter or summer through the joint body Visit Svalbard. It’s uncertain how long this will last as it’s dependent on many factors, not least the situation in Ukraine. The Svalbard Tourism Council will continuously assess the situation.

In the meantime, we kindly ask guests visiting Svalbard for their understanding of our position and the fact that Visit Svalbard is not currently marketing trips to Barentsburg and Pyramiden through our channels. Nevertheless, we would like to emphasise that Svalbard’s attractiveness lies primarily in the wonderful nature-based experiences available here, which are not affected by the war. Fortunately, we remain confident that you will find alternative, unique and memorable experiences during your time in Svalbard – on the snow and ice during winter or the bare land and at sea during summer. We can assure you that there are still many wonderful  experiences to choose between here in the High Arctic. Feel free to navigate your way around our comprehensive website to find inspiration and specific offers.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Visit Svalbard’s tourist information centre for tips and advice by calling us on +47 79 02 55 50 or sending an e-mail to We are here to help you.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Kindest regards,
Ronny Brunvoll
CEO, Visit Svalbard

For more information, see the media release from Svalbard Tourism Council and Visit Svalbard.



  1. A former mining community which is often referred to as a "ghost town"
    A former mining community which is often referred to as a "ghost town"
  2. A mining community 60 kilometres away from Longyearbyen on the shores of Grønfjorden
    A mining community 60 kilometres away from Longyearbyen on the shores of Grønfjorden
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