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“Decent day out - hugely weather dependent” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Pyramiden

Ranked #7 of 35 things to do in Spitsbergen
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
478 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 276 helpful votes
“Decent day out - hugely weather dependent”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2014

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.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank avsm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 reviews from our community

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United States
Level Contributor
233 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
“Haunting, but not a "ghost town" as they say”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2013

Stopped here as part of our cruise with G Adventures. Beforehand, were told people either loved or hated Pyramiden. Not true, it was just okay for me. We also told by staff it was a "ghost town". A bit of a stretch... as we saw construction people, there's a bar (the only regularly staffed place I'm told), a man who operates a shuttle bus to the marina (when he feels like it) and other lights on in the city. Still, there's not a lot going on & you MUST be armed for polar bears. While in the city we saw a fox and a mom/yearling polar bear were spotted 1.5 kms from town.

Anyway, we walked (with an armed guide) from the ugly harbour into town. The harbour did have a pretty view of a glacier in the background. Indeed, this was a city & for this American, it was very foreign and cool to see all the Russian writing/busts. The town was officially abandoned in 1999 I believe, and there is a small statue commemorating this.

I don't believe this is part of EVERYONE'S Pyramiden experience, but we met up with Sasha (not sure if this was pre-arranged or if he's even staff of G Adventures). Anyway, he gave us a bit of a guided tour and unlocked the Recreational Center for us to explore for about 30 minutes. THIS WAS COOL! It was like stepping back in time and there I really saw how everyone just abandoned everything suddenly. No one bothered to pack/take any belongings. I will say it is a bit disappointing/sad that the Russians haven't cleaned this town up better. There are old metal parts & junk laying around, especially outside the city. That was a shame.

Visited June 2013
3 Thank gorocketdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
54 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“An amazing must see on Svalbard”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 20, 2012 via mobile

Pyramidna is an abandoned russian mining town about 4 hrs boat trip from Longyearbyen. However the town is left looking as it was when it was abandoned in 1998. This is an amazing Russian experience on Svalbard with intact statues of Lenin, all of the old dormitories and swimming pool and sport complexes that look like people just left. Fantastic photos and signs as well as soviet paraphernalia when this was the most western outpost of the soviet union, with the soviet union using this as a showcase of communism to the west. Pyramidna was viewed as paradise by its workers becuase they were paid more and had beter facilities then back in the USSR. Incredible views of the Nordenskiöld glacier from town. 10 hr trip by MS polar girl cost 1200 kr with 2 hr stop at Pyramidna and viewing of glacier, lunch included. Check out my photos.

4 Thank Alex R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lecco, Italy
Level Contributor
88 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“A gost town in the ice”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2012

Last year I stayed in Pyramiden. In the town there are a lot of perferct buildings. When I went in some buildings (a sport centre, the theatre, the hospital, some houses, the hotel) I sow some abandoned things, like people went away the day before. It is so strange. Now some russian guys Aare trying to open the old hotel for tourist. I don't know if this is the right way to conserve the town. But this is a personal idea. You must go to Pyramiden, You can take the boat.

Visited August 2011
4 Thank Diegoaps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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