Pyramiden, Norway

Introduction to Pyramiden

Located at the foot of the beautiful Billefjord on the island of Spitsbergen, Pyramiden – a former Russian coal mining town – was once one of the Svalbard Archipelago’s most important and busiest settlements, but now its an abandoned ghost town and has no permanent residents.

However, as much of the town’s original infrastructure and buildings still exist, there is plenty to explore during your visit to this eerie settlement.

Large Soviet-era warehouses, living quarters and an old coal-fired power plant stand defiantly in the town centre and the empty mine shafts look exactly the same as they did on the day they were used for the final time, offering an strange, yet interesting look into the town’s important industrial past as you wander through the Soviet structures.

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BOAT TRIP TO THE NORDENSKJOLD GLACIER

  • Sail alongside the magnificent Nordenskjold Glacier
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the Arctic wildlife that calls the area home

 THIS TOUR IS NOW FULLY BOOKED - PLEASE CHOOSE AN ALTERNATIVE TOUR

Boat Tour
Price£75.00 - £85.00
DurationApproximately 2 hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

Have your camera to hand to capture images of this impressive Arctic landscape!

Departing the pier at Pyramiden, sail alongside the eight mile (13 kilometre) long glacier front; where you will have a unique opportunity to observe the Nordenskjold Glacier at close proximity. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the Arctic wildlife that is abundant at this time of year – with a bit of luck you will spot walruses, beluga whales, Arctic birds or even the elusive polar bear!

Throughout your cruise, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the history and nature of the area from your experienced guide.

THIS TOUR IS NOW FULLY BOOKED - PLEASE CHOOSE AN ALTERNATIVE TOUR

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017 ARCTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves minimal walking, however all guests must be able to get on and off the tour boat unaided. Guests are advised to dress warmly – a hat and gloves are recommended. You may wish to bring a pair of binoculars to enhance any viewings of wildlife. For reference, sightings of wildlife cannot be guaranteed.


Man standing near sign, Flakenhuset - Copyright Basecamp Spitsbergen

FLASKEHUSET WALKING TOUR

  • Uncover the ghostly remains of Pyramiden – a settlement frozen in time
  • Enjoy an interesting visit to the culture house as well as the town’s indoor swimming pool
  • Discover the Russian’s unique way of recycling glass bottles!
Activity Tour
Price£70.00 - £80.00
DurationApproximately 2 Hours
LimitationLimited spaces
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

On this walking tour, discover the highlights of Pyramiden including the unusual bottle house – made entirely from red, white and green bottles.

Leaving the quayside, by shuttle bus, you will travel to the centre of Pyramiden where you will then commence the walking tour. You will discover the highlights of Pyramiden, including the school, old canteen and the culture house; where the world’s northernmost piano is located in the auditorium.

Your guide will tell you the fascinating story about the abandonment of this eerie town, and you will make a short stop at the Tulip Hotel for refreshments.

Next you proceed to the bottle house, a small building made by hand from more than five thousand empty glass bottles! The shop was built as a unique place for residents to drink and socialise, much like a local pub. Today the building is similar to how it was left 18 years ago, and offers impressive views over the abandoned settlement as well as the nearby glacier. On your return to the centre of Pyramiden, you may wish to visit the souvenir shop or post office; or perhaps enjoy a shot of icy Russian vodka in the bar! A shuttle bus will run regularly to return you to your awaiting ship.

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2017 ARCTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? We would like to point out that whilst it is possible to explore Pyramiden independently, this tour is for guests who wish to visit with a knowledgeable guide, who will tell you the fascinating tale of this town. Your guide will be Russian and English-speaking, however they may have a strong accent. This tour involves approximately four and a half kilometres (two and three quarter miles) of walking, around half of which will be strenuous,  with a steep incline to reach the bottle house and some steps to negotiate.


Man walking on glacier, Nordenskiold,  Pyramiden

GLACIER WALK ON NORDENSKIÖLD

  • Admire the magnificent Nordenskiöld Glacier during a boat trip
  • Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk on the impressive glacier
Activity Tour
Price£145.00 - £155.00
DurationApproximately 4 Hours
LimitationVery Limited spaces
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Embark on a boat trip to the Nordenskiöld Glacier and admire its impressive blue walls of ice, before enjoying a walk on the glacier itself.>

Leaving the pier, enjoy a short boat trip before arriving at the Nordenskiöld Glacier, one of the most beautiful in Svalbard. After disembarking the boat, you will have a short safety briefing and introduction, before heading out onto the glacier on foot.

During your walk, explore the mighty glacier and admire the magnificent ice which surrounds you. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, which are sometimes seen here relaxing on the ice.

After your adventurous walk on the glacier, you will head back to land, where you can enjoy a warm drink and a snack before heading back to your awaiting ship in Pyramiden.

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2017 ARCTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This adventurous tour is ONLY suitable for guests who are very fit and healthy, as it involves a strenuous amount of walking over icy rough, uneven ground with inclines. Please note that two hours will be spent on the glacier, and approximately an hour of that will be spent hiking. A pair of solid walking boots is a must, preferably with ankle support. Wear sensible clothing – preferably layers, including a warm jumper and windproof jacket and trousers that you can add or remove as necessary. A hat and gloves are also recommended, and you may wish to bring a bottle of water with you. Crampons and trekking sticks will be provided for the glacier walk. A local guide will accompany you, and you must listen to their instructions at all times. You will be required to stay with the group at all times. Please note that there will be no toilet stop on this tour. Guests will travel to the glacier by open Polarcirkel boat which will take approximately 15 minutes.  A meeting will be held on board to further explain the tour, and to ensure interested guests would be suitable to take part.


Pyramiden in Svalbald, Norway - Copyright Basecamp Spitsbergen

IMPORTANT INFORMATION PYRAMIDEN

Located at the foot of the beautiful Billefjord on the island of Spitsbergen, Pyramiden – a former Russian coal mining town – was once one of the Svalbard Archipelago’s most important and busiest settlements, but today it is an abandoned ghost town and has no permanent residents. However, as much of the town’s original infrastructure and buildings still exist, there is plenty to explore during your visit to this eerie settlement.

Located at the foot of the beautiful Billefjord on the island of Spitsbergen, Pyramiden – a former Russian coal mining town – was once one of the Svalbard Archipelago’s most important and busiest settlements, but today it is an abandoned ghost town and has no permanent residents. However, as much of the town’s original infrastructure and buildings still exist, there is plenty to explore during your visit to this eerie settlement.

Large Soviet-era warehouses, living quarters and an old coal-fired power plant stand defiantly in the town centre and the empty mine shafts look exactly the same as they did on the day they were used for the final time, offering a strange, yet interesting look into the town’s important industrial past as you wander through the Soviet structures. The town’s stunning natural surroundings are well worth exploring too. The town of Pyramiden, with its setting and history, is an experience itself.

Please note that tours in Svalbard have limited capacity and are therefore likely to fill up very quickly; early booking is recommended. This is due to the limited facilities and guides available. It should be noted that the standard of guides available may not be comparable to those elsewhere in Northern Europe.

All shore excursions will involve walking along a partially unsurfaced road, therefore they may not be suitable for all guests. Please check the tour description and walking information before booking and please dress in warm, windproof clothing, and remember to bring hat, gloves/mittens and scarf.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Please note that independent visitors are not encouraged to visit Pyramiden on their own and there may be restrictions in place. This is for safety reasons, and due to the remote location, polar bear risk and the abandoned buildings which are unsafe to enter. Guests on tour must stay with the guide at all times. Further information will be given out onboard for guests who wish to go ashore independently. Please check recommendations on safety developed by VisitSvalbard in cooperation with the Governor of Svalbard http://www.visitsvalbard.com/en/svalbardrules

Although polar bears are unlikely to be seen, please adhere to the warning signs and do not walk outside the settlement without proper polar bear protection.

Your ship is scheduled to be at anchor with a tender to take you ashore.

Is this tour right for you?

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Please note that independent visitors are not encouraged to visit Pyramiden on their own and there may be restrictions in place. This is for safety reasons, and due to the remote location, polar bear risk and the abandoned buildings which are unsafe to enter. Guests on tour must stay with the guide at all times. Further information will be given out onboard for guests who wish to go ashore independently. Please check recommendations on safety developed by VisitSvalbard in cooperation with the Governor of Svalbard http://www.visitsvalbard.com/en/svalbardrules

Although polar bears are unlikely to be seen, please adhere to the warning signs and do not walk outside the settlement without proper polar bear protection.

Your ship is scheduled to be at anchor with a tender to take you ashore.


Pyramiden in Svalbald, Norway - Copyright Basecamp Spitsbergen

PYRAMIDEN – A WALKING TOUR

  • Discover the fascinating story of Pyramiden
  • View buildings and belongings that have been left exactly as they were 18 years ago
  • Be intrigued by the history of this forgotten town
Activity Tour
Price£55.00 - £65.00
DurationApproximately 1½ Hours
LimitationLimited Spaces
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Embark on a historical guided walk through the settlement of Pyramiden. Discover why the residents never returned, and see how the town still stands today - much of it as it was when the last locals departed.

Pyramiden is a former mining community situated in the inner part of Billefjorden, and is named after the nearby mountain summit. In 1927 the Swedish government sold the settlement to the USSR and in 1930 the Russian mining company Trust Arktikugol took it over. In 1998 the settlement was discontinued and abandoned, and Pyramiden became a ghost town. Nature began to take back parts of Pyramiden, and you will see evidence of this as you walk around. The oldest buildings, which are wooden rather than brick, are found in the main street, and in recent years some of the structures have been repaired by Trust Arktikugol.

During your guided walking tour, you can admire this intriguing ghost town and visit the culture house, swimming pool and old canteen, which retain their Soviet atmosphere. Enjoy refreshments at the Tulip Hotel, which re-opened in 2013. At the end of your walking tour, you may wish to visit the souvenir shop or post office; or perhaps enjoy a shot of icy Russian vodka in the bar! A shuttle bus will run regularly to return guests to your awaiting ship.

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2017 ARCTIC CRUISES

 

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? We would like to point out that whilst it is possible to explore Pyramiden independently, this tour is for guests who wish to visit with a knowledgeable guide, who will tell you the fascinating tale of this town. Your guide will be Russian and English-speaking, however they may have a strong accent. This tour involves a moderate amount of walking – approximately one and a half miles (two and a half kilometres), with some steps to negotiate.


WALKING TOUR TO THE GOOSE LAKES

  • Discover some of the local flora and fauna
  • Admire Pyramiden Mountain
Activity Tour
Price£65.00 - £75.00
DurationApproximately 2 hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Discover the Goose Lakes – formed by melting glacier water; the main supply of water to Pyramiden.

On leaving the pier, a short bus transfer will take you to the Cultural Centre, from here you will embark on a walk in the picturesque Mimenvadellen. The Goose Lakes were formed by melting glacier waters, and are the main water supply to Pyramiden. During your tour, learn more about the development of the water supply system to the settlement, the Arctic flora and fauna, and the history of industrial development on Svalbard.

As you return, admire the top of Pyramiden Mountain against the magnificent backdrop of the Nordenskiøldbreen glacier. End the tour with refreshments at the Pyramiden Cultural Centre, before returning to your awaiting ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2017 ARCTIC CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a strenuous amount of walking – approximately two miles (three and a half kilometres) along an unsurfaced, natural road. Guests are advised to dress warmly (layers are best), sturdy walking shoes or boots are essential.


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