I visited Pyramiden as a part of the boat trip to Pyramiden and Nordenskold glacier.
The success of this trip largely depends on the weather of the day. It was sunny for my trip and I had excellent experience.
Although glacier and the town of Pyramiden doesn't seem to be very far from Longyearbyen, as boat makes about 10knots max, it took us ~8 hours of sailing to get between all attractions.
We departed Longyearbyen at 8:45am and first started sailing northeast along the shore. Shortly after departure we've seen beluga whales, which was added bonus.
After about 2 hours into our cruise we reached bird cliffs and were bird watching for some time. After that we sailed due north to reach the glacier. We arrived at about 1pm and so crew fired up the barbecue and started preparing lunch of cooked salmon and BBQ whale meat which was served on a way to Pyramiden. We managed to get quite close to the glacier and seen how it sheds ice into the fjord as we'll noticed several seals on the ice.
Our main destination - an abandoned town of Pyramiden was coal mining settlement that Russians purchased from Sweden at the beginning of 20th century and then abandoned in 1990s when there was no coal left to mine. We were welcomed by our Russian guide (dressed in costume more belonging to the museum, and had a short ride on a bus from the pier into the city. The town leaves eerie feeling - it looks like towns of Pripyat that was evacuated after Chernobyl disaster - But with much less looting. It looked like people just left 20 years ago and are planning to return. To my surprise, the town have working hotel, which can be booked over the internet and judging by the feedback of our guide, can be fully booked in April when many people will drive to Pyramiden on snowmobiles.
After being in Pyramiden for about 90 minutes we sailed back and arrived Longyearbyen at about 7pm.
All in all this cruise is my best impression about Spitsbergen so don't be put off by the price (NOK 1500) and do it.
The thing you need to remember is that they have right to cancel the trip if there will be less than 8 bookings - and believe me they do - without notice, so it is essential you check one day in advance - every hotel receptionist in Longyearbyen can do it for you.
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