Immersion in the Russian Far North
Price upon request
What you will do
In the snow-dusted forests of northern Russia, the night sky routinely transforms into a canvas for neon green-and-pink bands of light hovering just above the treetops. Widely known as the Northern Lights, this display of light from sun-borne particles has captivated people for centuries—and we’re journeying out to one of the best places in the world to watch it. Beginning in Saint Petersburg, we’ll board an overnight train to Murmansk, the capital of the Arctic, where we’ll learn about life on the Kola Peninsula. We’ll mount snowmobiles, visit frozen waterfalls, sleep in glass-roofed cabins, and delve into the Soviet history of Arctic exploration—learning from local experts about this stunning northern corner of the world. We’ll traverse tundra and taiga, learn about reindeer herding from a Saami community, and soak in a traditional Russian banya. The highlight of this trip, however, comes each night after sundown, when we’ll cast our gaze to the sky in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the aurora’s otherworldly glow.
Welcome to Saint Petersburg!
Arrive in Saint Petersburg, a bustling port city overlooking the Baltic Sea…
Arrive in Saint Petersburg, a bustling port city overlooking the Baltic Sea. A private vehicle transfer will take you comfortably from the airport to our charming, centrally-located hotel. We’ll gather in the lobby for introductions before walking to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner. We’ll get to know our guide and fellow travelers over traditional Russian fare and raise a glass to the adventures to come!
The Tsar’s Capital
We’ll kick off the day with a trip to the Arctic…
We’ll kick off the day with a trip to the Arctic and Antarctic Museum, where we’ll dive into the history of Russian and Soviet polar expeditions. After lunch near the museum, we’ll take a walking tour of the city and discover some of the secrets behind the spellbinding architecture of Saint Petersburg. Late this evening we’ll travel to Ladozhsky Railway Station, where we’ll climb aboard an overnight train and head toward Murmansk, crossing the Polar Circle. In cozy, four-person compartments, we’ll toast to the scenic journey ahead of us. Settle in, get some food, and mingle with fellow passengers as our kupe speeds north through the quiet night.
Into the Polar Circle
Wake up in our comfortable compartment aboard the train…
Wake up in our comfortable compartment aboard the train and sample tea from a traditional samovar while watching the sun light up the splendid, snow-covered landscape. Consider spending some time this afternoon reading, playing a game of chess, or trying your hand at a few Russian board games such as Durak or Mafia—perhaps with a bit of vodka and some smoked fish. We’ll arrive in Murmansk in the late evening, where our guide will meet us and drive us to a nearby chalet. Once we settle in, we’ll have a late, light dinner together and, depending on the weather, prepare for our first Northern Lights excursion. This majestic display of light is a breathtaking natural phenomenon in which, due to charged particles from the sun interacting with Earth’s atmosphere, the sky lights up with dancing bands of neon green and pink. Though tracking down this otherworldly wonder is often a four-to-six-hour endeavor, witnessing this larger-than-life spectacle of the sun is beyond worth it.
Ship Graveyards & Glass Cabins
we’ll depart Murmansk and head northeast to Teriberka…
After breakfast at the chalet, we’ll depart Murmansk and head northeast to Teriberka—about a two-and-a-half-hour drive. Teriberka is a small village on the Kola Peninsula that sits on the shores of the Barents Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. As you wander the village, you may recognize scenes from Leviathan, the widely acclaimed film shot here in 2014. While much of Teriberka has been abandoned, it’s retained an atmosphere of quiet vitality. We’ll visit a ship graveyard, where the half-submerged skeletons of massive wooden vessels have begun to decay, then hop on snowmobiles and speed off to a frozen waterfall, where we’ll pause to take in the astonishing sight against the backdrop of the Arctic Ocean. Then it’s off to Dragon Egg Beach, where we’ll walk along a shoreline made of countless, satisfyingly ovaliform stones—and, if we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of whales and orcas. Later in the afternoon, we’ll head to Teriberka’s sole restaurant, where we’ll chow down while taking in stunning views of the Arctic Ocean. Tonight we’ll head to Aurora Village, where we’ll stay in glass-roofed cabins that offer the possibility of falling asleep directly beneath the Northern Lights.
Murmansk, the Capital of the Arctic
we’ll drive to the Arctic city of Murmansk…
This morning, we’ll drive to the Arctic city of Murmansk. With a population of 300,000, Murmansk is the largest city in the Polar Circle. It was also once home to the soviet Northern Fleet—this would later become the Russian Northern Fleet—which earned Murmansk the status of Hero-City after World War II. This military heritage is present throughout the city, from its museums to its massive military monuments. We’ll take a walking tour, visiting the memorial for the seamen-submariners and the Church of the Savior-on-the-Waters, then break for lunch at a restaurant where we can sample local delicacies such as reindeer, northern fish, and bear. We’ll take a tour of the vessel-turned-museum that honors the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship and the first nuclear-powered civilian vessel, erected in the 1950s. Later in the evening, we’ll relax in a private northern Russian banya, where the brave among us can opt to jump into the snow after emerging from the steamy room.
This morning takes us deep into the forest…
This morning takes us deep into the forest, where we’ll arrive by snowmobile at a Saami basecamp near Lovozero Lake. The Saami, or Lopari, are the indigenous people of the Murmansk region, as well as northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland. We’ll spend the morning at the camp, chatting with local families, glimpsing reindeer (they’re incredibly respected here on the Kola Peninsula), and hanging out with friendly Siberian huskies. We’ll have the opportunity to dog-sled around the camp and across a frozen swamp. Поехали! With the guidance of local experts, we’ll learn how to fish beneath the ice, a Russian tradition and a particularly crucial skill in this arctic region. Tonight, if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to watch the Northern Lights as they float over the frozen lake, setting the starry sky ablaze in stunning shades of green and pink.
We’ll transfer back to Murmansk…
After breakfast at the basecamp, we’ll transfer back to Murmansk where our adventure will come to a close. We’ll say farewell to the glowing Arctic skies—and the friends we’ve made beneath them—and head to the airport for homeward flights. Until the next adventure!
The price includes
The price does not include
General terms and conditions
- 30% deposit upon reservation
- Balance payment one month before departure
- The order of the excursions can be modified according the touristic sites or for any other technical reasons
- Non-binding pictures
- If the cancellation is made more than 30 days before departure, the fee is 100€
- Between 30 and 20 days before departure, cancellation fee equals 25 % of the total amount of the trip price
- Between 19 and 13 days, the fee equals 35 %
- Between 12 and 9 days, the fee equals 60 %
- If the cancellation is made less than 9 days before departure, the cancellation fee is 100% of the total amount