Pyramiden (Russian: Пирами́да, Piramída) is in Svalbard. It is a Russian mining settlement that was abandoned in 1998 and lies northeast across Isfjorden (and thus its smaller sub-sections of Adventfjorden, Sassenfjorden, and Billefjorden as well) from Longyearbyen. A small Russian contingent is now based on-site to prevent vandalism and take care of basic infrastructure needs.
As of June 2017, several operators offer boat tours to Pyramiden from Longyearbyen. It appears that the guided tour at Pyramiden is the same for all of them. It is handled by local staff.
Pyramiden was founded as a coal mining settlement by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. The mine and the town along with it closed in 1998, reopening for limited tourism in 2007.
Pyramiden is about 50 km north of Longyearbyen, but the only practical way in is by tour boat.
As of June 2017, there are four operators offerings tours from Longyearbyen to Pyramiden on a regular basis. For a period during the spring ice makes it impossible for boats to dock in Pyramiden. Not all tour operators inform travellers in advance about this even when they know they will (probably) not be able to go on land.
All of them stop by Nordenskioldbreen and Skansenbukta on their way. In Longyearbyen, visitors are collected and dropped of by bus at their hotels before and after the trip.
In alphabetical order:
- Arctic Explorer[dead link] offers daily trips with a high-speed boat: Start from Longyearbyen: 13:30. Stay at Pyramiden: 16:00–18:00. Duration: 6 hours. Price: NOK1700 per person (children aged 2–14: half price).
We follow the coast of majestic Billefjorden towards Pyramiden where we explore the abandoned Russian coal mining settlement with a local guide. We come up-close with the Nordenskioldbreen glacier, where you have the chance to view the enormous blue walls rising up from the sea. This trip can be enjoyed either from the outer deck or from inside the vessels warm and cozy saloon, surrounded with panoramic windows. On board you will also find a kiosk, where you can buy something to quench your thirst, or subdue your hunger with a “Real Turmat”. Coffee, tea and biscuits is for free at all the times!
- Henningsen Transport & Guiding (HTG)[dead link] offers daily boat tours. Start from Longyearbyen: 08:30. Stay at Pyramiden: 02:00–03:30 Duration: 11 hours. Price: NOK1950 per person.
We set course towards Billefjorden and the Nordenskiöld glacier. A warm lunch is served by the glacier. Marinated whale meat, baked salmon and pork rib, is on the menu. Served with a pasta salad, rice and our own locally baked bread. Fully licensed bar. Waffles, snacks as well as some souvenirs can be purchased on board. If weather and ice-conditions allow, we will dock in Pyramiden. On our way back to Longyearbyen, we will pass by Skansbukta, where the guide will tell us about the tragic happenings at Svenskhuset (The Swedish house). Binoculars are also available for rent in the bar on the ship.
- Polar Charter offers boat tours on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Start from Longyearbyen: 09:00. Duration: 10 hours. Price NOK1700 per person (seniors NOK1500; children aged 6–15: NOK700).
On our way [to Pyramiden], we pay a little visit to Skansbay. After your visit [at Pyramiden], you get served a warm lunch on the aft deck on the boat, before it takes us to go to the Nordenskiöldglacier. And we also go by the bird mountain Diabas, before we go back to Longyearbyen again.
- Svalbard Adventure Group offers regular (not daily) trips with an open RIB. Start from Longyearbyen: 8:30. Duration: 8 hours. Price: NOK1550.
The guide gives us a tour in the Pyramiden and we enjoy our expedition lunch outside before we head back to Longyearbyen. On our way back we drive up to the majestic Nordenskiöldbreen.
- 1 Pyramiden Museum.
- The world's most northerly Lenin statue
Bringing your own food and water may be recommended.
- Pyramiden Hotel (Tulip Hotel), ☏ +47 94130128. Refurbished in 2014, offers basic accommodation including cooked meals. Twin rooms 2,000 kr.
A small number of converted shipping containers, located on the old docks, are also available to rent.
Wireless services (phone and internet) are not available here so please use caution.
Because Pyramiden is no longer inhabited, a hunting rifle is required for protection if you are not part of a tour group. Polar bears are frequently seen in the area.
The only way out is back to Longyearbyen.