Gems of Karelia – Kizhi Island, Solovki and Valaam

All major sites of Karelia in one tour

Experience Karelia’s unique blend of modern and ancient Russian and Scandinavian-influenced culture.

Karelia is situated to the north of St.Petersburg: it stretches along the border with Finland up to the Arctic Circle and abandons with forests, lakes and rivers, including the Ladoga and the Onega - the two largest lakes in Europe. This singular place in the Russian North is truly the land of primordial nature. This Karelia tour will take you on a boat ride in one of the many lakes or rivers, trekking with huskies along the beautiful pine forest and picking berries in the woods; just wander around and enjoy the scenery.

In a week you will experience some of northern Russia’s most visually spectacular architecture, and find solace exploring some of the region’s most striking natural wonders, including the islands and coastline of the White Sea.

Your tour begins in Petrozavodsk, the largest city in Karelia and the gateway to Kizhi Island, the region’s most visited attraction. Here we’ll explore the World Heritage Kizhi Pogost, an elaborate collection of 17th and 18th century churches, crafted entirely out of wood. You’ll find freedom in the great outdoors in two of Karelia’s finest eco-destinations - the primordial forests of Kivach Nature Reserve, and Ruskeala Mountain Park, a former marble quarry that nature has slowly transformed into a magnificent flooded canyon. You’ll also learn about local Karelian crafts, food and language, and take an excursion to see the 6000-year-old White Sea Petroglyphs.



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3* hotels


Action rating

Group size

7 days / 6 nights


2-6 people

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Petrozavodsk and Kizhi Island

Arrival to the Petrozavodsk train station (by an overnight train from Moscow or St Petersburg). After breakfast at the city cafe, you will embark on a glance tour of the city. At noon, you will depart to Kizhi by hydrofoil and enjoy a guided tour of the island. We will visit old Karelian villages and the iconic Kizhi Pogost UNESCO site.

Day 2:Sortavala and Valaam

In the morning depart to Sartavala, from where we take a boat for the tour of Valaam Island and Monastery. Upon arrival we visit the central Transfiguration Cathedral, the Church of the Resurrection, observe fairy-tale Gethsemane Skete, and enjoy the beautiful fore. Return to Sortavala in the evening.

Day 3:Ruskeala and Kinerma

Today is spent in the Nature Park "Ruskeala", where you take a stroll along the marble quarries and enjoy breathtaking Karelian nature. En route to the park we make a swift stop at the old village of Kinerma, where you will taste the traditional Karelian food.

Day 4:Trekking with huskies and Elama cultural centre

This morning you meet new fluffy friends, huskies, which will take you for a hike along the beautiful forest. Enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding nature and breath in the fresh air. Next we head to the cultural centre of Elama, where you will immerse yourself in the Karelian history and arts.

Day 5:Kem, Kivach and White Sea petrogyphs

Transfer to Kem early in the morning. On the way we will make a stop at Kivach nature Reserve, where you will spot the Europe second largest plain waterfall. After lunch you will visit the White Sea petroglyphs from the primitive epoch.

Day 6:Solovetsky and Zayatsky islands

Today we jump into the boat for a short cruise to Solovki Islands. Enjoy a walking excursion around the Central Architectural Complex of the Solovetsky Monastery. Next we take a short boat ride to Zayatsky Island. You will have a chance to observe the impressive monuments of the past and admire a special beauty of this small island.

Day 7:Departure from Petrozavodsk

Today you will visit the highest point of Big Solovetsky Island, Hill Sekirnaya. We take an excursion to the Botanical Garden, where you visit one of the most northerly botanical gardens Russia and see unique planting of various periods in the history of the Solovetsky Islands. In the evening you will be transferred to the Petrozavodsk airport or train station.



3* hotels


Breakfasts in the hotels

Some meals during day excursions (see detailed itinerary)


Train station transfers

All transportation according to the itinerary


Local professional English-speaking guide

Experienced driver

Activities and sights

All excursions and sites according to the itinerary


Russian visa support document

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, tips

7 days
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If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816