Northern Lights in Russia: Arctic Winter Magic

Hunt Aurora Borealis in the Russian Arctic
From Moscow to the Arctic, discover a Russian Winter Wonderland in pursuit of the Northern Lights.

Russian winter turns cities a dazzlingly photogenic white, and reveal the true beauty of the Kola Peninsula, whose Arctic skies are often graced with the mythical Aurora Borealis.

Russian winters are harsh yet extraordinarily beautiful, and it’s the lands above the Arctic Circle where winter's transformational effects are most keenly felt. The Kola Peninsula is home to people and animals who not only survive but thrive despite the chilling temperatures. Ending in the 'capital' of the Arctic Circle, Murmansk, this Northern Lights tour shows you two sides to life in the Russian Winter, from the grandiose cities of Moscow and St Petersburg to the polar landscapes of the remote Kola Peninsula.

Northern Lights in Russia tour highlights: 

  • Moscow City Tour: Begin your journey in Russia’s mighty capital discovering Moscow's highlights. Start with a guided exploration of the Kremlin in its finest winter decorations, before heading underground to discover the famous Moscow Metro system and its lavishly decorated subterranean stations
  • Armed with the knowledge of an expert guide, uncover some of the most esteemed treasures among the 3 million works of art in St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum
  • Hovercraft Ride: Visit the small rural settlement of Kizhi Island, today an enchanting open-air museum with over 80 original wooden structures from the 14th to 17th  centuries. In the middle of Lake Obega, Kizhi is only accessible in winter via a hovercraft able to navigate the icy, aquatic terrain
  • Polar Nights and Astral Lights: Crossing into the Kola Peninsula, you'll spend four nights above the Polar Circle where the chance to experience the Northern Lights in all their splendour is a tantalising prospect each evening
  • Visit one of the Kola Peninsula’s largest indigenous Saami settlements. Learn about their ancient  culture, customs and cuisines and try your hand at essential Saami skills like reindeer lassoing and husky sledding

On this trip to see the northern lights in Russia, we begin in Moscow, where the city’s monuments, parks and churches are transformed into a scene from a winter fairy tale, all icing sugar snow and shimmering lights. Next, we head north to Saint Petersburg, where you can enjoy world-class attractions like the Hermitage at a leisurely pace, free of the tourist crowds typical of the summer months.

Forging closer to Arctic Circle, we’ll stop to admire the Ruskeala Mountain Park, spending a day absorbing the park's natural beauty, including shimmering waterfalls and the amazing, 100m deep Marble Canyon. During winter evenings, the canyon is illuminated by a dream-like display of multi-coloured lights. Next, we'll navigate the icy waters of Lake Onega on a day trip to historic Kizhi Island.

Finally, we’ll cross into the Polar North, arriving in the Kola Peninsula by train. Discover the customs of the indigenous Saami and traverse their snowy lands in sleds pulled by huskies and reindeer. Finally, we reach Murmansk, the largest city in the Kola Peninsula. While there’s the possibility to observe Aurora Borealis throughout our time in the Kola, Murmansk and the surrounding area is regarded as one of the best places in the world to experience the psychedelic light display in all its awe-inspiring glory.

This tour perfectly encapsulates the charm, allure and beauty of both urban and rural Russia in winter. From the cities to the mountains to the Arctic Circle, you'll witness magical sights and scenes that can only be experienced in the season of ice, snow and amazing astral projections that light up the darkest winter nights in unforgettable fashion.

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Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Moscow

Murmansk

3* hotels

Mixed

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

12 days / 11 nights

     

min 2 people

Guaranteed Departures

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Moscow

Arrive in Moscow and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Get your first taste of life in the Russian metropolis, exploring the city at your leisure.

Day 2:Moscow: Red Square, Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

Our first acquaintance with Moscow starts with a walking tour of the historical city centre. Almost every building in the historical centre of Moscow is associated with different events and celebrated personalities of Russian history and culture.

You will see and hear the stories of the most popular places in the city: Red Square, the hub of Russia, with its fantastic "stone flower"- St. Basil Cathedral, one of the symbols of Moscow; fancy Manezhnaya Square with the Zero Kilometer, a starting point for all Moscow roads; Alexander’s Garden with the eternal flame, a WW2 memorial, where you might watch a change of guards. These are places that make Moscow one of the most beautiful cities in Russia.

Have a delicious lunch in one of the multiple downtown cafes or restaurants and continue the day with a tour of the Kremlin grounds and Armoury Chamber. The Kremlin used to be a fortress then the residence of the Russian Tsars.

After the Revolution of 1917, the USSR Government moved in it. Now it is the seat of the Russian President and a unique cultural museum complex that consists of palaces, cathedrals and museums.

You will tour the grounds of the Kremlin and visit its strikingly beautiful cathedrals full of ancient frescoes and icons, such as Assumption Cathedral where Russian tsars and emperors were crowned; Archangel Cathedral - the burial vault of the Russian tsars until 18th centuries; and Annunciation Cathedral, a home church for the royalty. 

You will get to meet the 2 prominent Russian tsars in person: the Tsar Bell and the Tsar Cannon, the biggest in the world. Kremlin will surely reveal you some mysteries of the Russian state and soul.  

While touring the Kremlin you will also visit Armoury Chamber, famous for the Tsar's regalia such as jewellery crowns, orbs and sceptres, clothing of the Russian tsars and tsarinas, royal carriages, collection of arms and armour, gifts to the Russian Tsars from various countries of the West and the East, and the illustrious collection of Faberge Easter eggs.

Take your time to relax as we prepare something special as an option* for this evening. Head out for an unforgettable night at the opera or the Russian ballet at the iconic Bolshoi Theatre.

Day 3:Moscow: Panoramic tour, Metro and Tretyakov Gallery

Today, we explore Moscow further on a car tour of the city, giving you a sense of the city’s sheer size, and an impression of how Moscow has changed throughout the ages. Visit the starkly contrasting Theatre Square to see the stunning Bolshoi Theatre. Stroll along Tverskaya Street, the city’s main boulevard and home to the landmark Yeleseyevskiy Grocery Store, a former palace turned luxury providore.

We’ll also explore Boulevard Ring, where Russian nobles built their exquisite 18th and 19th-century mansions, and Kutuzoyskiy Avenue with its Triumphal Arch. Pass by the legendary Gorky Park and the White House before a stop at the architecturally stunning Novodevichy Convent, and the observation platform at Sparrow Hills, for a bird’s eye view over this staggering megalopolis.

Next, we visit the 19th century Tretyakov State Gallery, the world’s foremost depository of Russian fine art, containing over 130,000 exhibits, with work by Rublev, Kandinsky, Repin, and many others.

***The tour of Tretyakov Gallery can be changed to a tour of Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts upon request.

We will also explore the Moscow Metro. Opened in 1935, this striking feat of engineering is one of the largest and oldest underground railway systems in the world. Its grand stations are remarkably beautiful and have become tourist attractions in their own right. 

Day 4:St Petersburg city tour

In the morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the train station, where you board a fast train Sapsan, which will take you for a 4h journey to your next destination St Petersburg – also known as the cultural capital of Russia. On arrival to St Petersburg, you will be met by a driver and transferred to your centrally located hotel.

Your second half of the day starts with meeting your professional and friendly St. Petersburg guide in the lobby of your hotel to enjoy a walking city tour of St. Petersburg with picturesque stops in most popular places and by most spectacular sights.

At this time of year, the city is at its most beautiful. The streets are relaxed and uncrowded, the iconic Neva River becomes a wilderness of ice, and the city’s gilded monuments glow against a backdrop of the winter sky and bare trees covered in crystalline frost.

Stroll along the Nevsky Prospect - the main street of St. Petersburg, cross the Anichkov Bridge and admire the Anichkov Palace. Walk along the banks of Fontanka and Moika Rivers, stop at the Kazan Cathedral and St Isaac's Cathedral, visit the Palace Square and Senate Square with the Bronze Horseman monument to Peter the Great, walk inside of the Church on the Spilled Blood and be amazed by its architecture.

During the tour, you will also visit the Peter and Paul Fortress and its Cathedral - a burial place of Russian emperors from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and his family. 

As an option* for this evening, we invite you to enjoy the traditional Russian dance performance in Nikolaevsky Palace.

Day 5:St Petersburg: day trip to Pushkin and Pavlovsk

Experience the extravagance of the Imperial rulers on an excursion to the suburban estates of the Romanov Tsars. Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar’s village) is now part of the nearby town of Pushkin and is one of Saint Petersburg’s finest attractions. Amid exquisite parks and gardens, you’ll find the baroque Catherine Palace, a dazzling testament to Catherine’s love of luxury and royal excess.

Envision Catherine strolling with her beloved dogs through acres of private gardens, where remarkable structures like the Marble Bridge, the Dutch Admiralty and the Creaking Pagoda were constructed for her amusement. We also explore the stately neoclassical Alexander Palace, whose tumultuous history paints a fascinating portrait of the Romanov family and the replica of the world-renowned Amber Room.

You will also visit Pavlovsk Palace and Park, the summer palace of Emperor Paul I, commissioned by his mother Catherine the Great. The palace borders with a park of 600 hectares in area, which is one of the largest landscape parks in Europe.

If there’s one must-do in St Petersburg in winter, it’s a traditional troika ride! Perhaps the quintessential image of the Russian winter, a troika is a sled-like carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side. Be swept up in the magical winter scenery, passing beautiful wooded areas and meandering streams.

As an option* for this evening, we invite you to experience:

An evening of Russian classical music at one of St. Petersburg’s beautiful palaces. Take a seat in the magnificent Hall of the Palace, then, lose yourself in much-loved works by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and others, played by one of the world-class orchestras of St Petersburg. Before the raising of the curtains, enjoy an interesting pre-concert tour of the palace's halls and a glass of sparkling wine.

Day 6:St Petersburg: The State Hermitage Museum

On our last day in St Petersburg, we pay a visit to its most lauded attraction. The State Hermitage Museum houses some 3 million masterpieces, spread across six magnificent historic buildings, including the splendid Winter Palace. Here you’ll feast your eyes on Rembrandts, Leonardos and Michelangelos, and get an up-close look at some of the world’s most important archaeological finds.

After lunch at a café in the Hermitage, you can seek to discover more of the museum at your own pace or head elsewhere.

As an option* for today, enjoy a tour (audio-guide) of the recently opened Faberge Museum, a private collection of over 4,000 Faberge Eggs and other bejewelled objects of desire, elegantly displayed inside the stunning Shuvalov Palace.    

In the evening, we transfer from to the Ladozhsky railway station for the train bound to Petrozavodsk – the capital of Karelia, a scenic mid-sized town built along a bay on vast Lake Onega.

Day 7:Karelia: Ruskeala Park and Kinerma village

Your local guide will meet you at the Petrozavodsk train station, for a tasty hot breakfast at one of the city cafes. After a short tour of Petrozavodsk, you will embark on a scenic, several-hour-journey to the Ruskeala Mountain Park. Unique for its waterfalls and varicoloured marble quarries, the quarry pits were once mined to provide building material for the royal palaces.

The park is now protected and one of the most spectacular natural sites in the Karelia region. Its most famous attraction is the 100m high, 450m wide Marble Canyon, which is filled with crystal clear water from underground springs. In winter, the canyon is illuminated with multi-coloured lights – a truly unforgettable scene.

The return journey will take us back to Petrozavodsk. En route, we will stop at Kinerma village, which in 2016 was named the most beautiful village in Russia. We’ll be met by a local resident for a personalised tour around the village, made up of late 19th century houses and a wooden chapel to the Virgin Mary erected in the 17th century. Afterwards, we’ll be invited to dinner in a traditional Karelian house.

Closer to evening, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Petrozavodsk.

Day 8:Karelia: Kizhi Island

Today we visit the Kizhi Island in the centre of Lake Onega. Getting here in winter requires a ride on a hovercraft. Only a small rural settlement remains on Kizhi, and the island has become an open-air museum with over 80 historical wooden structures, some dating to the 14th century.

After returning to Petrozavodsk, it’s time to get ready for our overnight train, which will take us above the Arctic Circle.

Day 9:Kola Peninsula: Murmansk city tour

We have now crossed the northern polar circle and at arrived in Murmansk, the northernmost city in Russia, with a population of around 300,000 people, by far the largest city above the Arctic Circle. An important Russian naval base, Murmansk served as a port for the Arctic convoys during WWII.

After hotel check-in and lunch, we embark on the Murmansk city sightseeing trip, and a tour of the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ship, Lenin.

Spend your free evening discovering the surprisingly vibrant nightlife in this quirky Russian outpost. With any luck, the Northern Lights will make an appearance, we will go hunt this beautiful phenomenon.

Day 10:Kola Peninsula: Saami village and husky dog sledding

Head to one of the largest Saami settlements in the Kola Peninsula, where many traditional dwellings are still in use. The settlement was built around important grazing land for the Saami’s precious reindeers, who are surprisingly affectionate and enjoy being stroked and fed by visitors. Also look out for wildlife in the surrounding countryside, including polar foxes, hares and hunting birds.

You’ll get the chance to learn about the ancient Saami culture and be invited to play traditional games, test your lasso throwing skills and reindeer sledding abilities, and maybe even try on some traditional Saami clothing. The locals will put on an authentic lunch spread including fish soup, berry pie and herbal tea, after which you’ll be given the opportunity to purchase handicrafts.

After lunch, we head to a Siberian husky farm. Here, you’ll learn the wonderful story behind the evolution of this iconic northern breed, and spend time getting to know the charming resident dogs here as well as their reindeer stablemates. Take an exhilarating sled ride through the starkly beautiful winter forests with the Husky team.

In the evening, we get back into the hotel where we’ll spend the remainder of the evening.

Day 11:Kola Peninsula: Snow village and snowmobiling at Khibiny Mountains

We start our day with the chance to carve it up on a snowmobile safari in the Khibiny Mountains, making our way down the valleys for a sensational view of the mountain ranges. This experience doesn’t require any special skills or physical abilities. After a safety brief, you will truly feel yourself “in the saddle” and will be able to enjoy the stunning winter landscapes and tranquillity of the mountains.

Next destination is the Snow Village, an ambitious tourism project that has been running since 2008. The Snow Village has been painstakingly constructed almost entirely out of ice and snow and features ornately decorated buildings, sculptures and labyrinthine tunnels with intricately patterned rooms, walls and corridors. This enchanting place is the work of true artists and a chance to open your imagination to the magical spirit of winter.

Day 12:Departure from Murmansk

After breakfast, it’s time to check out of our Murmansk hotel. You’ll be transferred to the airport to catch a flight back to either Moscow or on to your next destination.

Inclusions

3* hotels in Moscow, St Petersburg, Petrozavodsk and Murmansk

Breakfasts in the hotels, some lunches (download the detailed itinerary for more information)

Airport and train station transfers

All transportation, according to the itinerary

Local licensed English-speaking tour guides in each region

Professional drivers

All excursions, including entry fees

1 night of Northern Lights hunt

Train tickets

Russian tourist visa support document

Flights

Travel insurance

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

Alcohol

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
10 Feb - 21 Feb, 2020
Private Tour
Available US $3,550 US $450 Reserve
2 Mar - 13 Mar, 2020
Private Tour
Available US $3,550 US $450 Reserve
Your dates - Private group
Private Tour
Available US $3,550 US $450 Reserve
12 days
Moscow to Murmansk
from
$
3,550
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary Personalise this tour

Day 1: Welcome to Moscow

Arrive in Moscow and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Get your first taste of life in the Russian metropolis, exploring the city at your leisure.

Day 2: Moscow: Red Square, Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

Our first acquaintance with Moscow starts with a walking tour of the historical city centre. Almost every building in the historical centre of Moscow is associated with different events and celebrated personalities of Russian history and culture.

You will see and hear the stories of the most popular places in the city: Red Square, the hub of Russia, with its fantastic "stone flower"- St. Basil Cathedral, one of the symbols of Moscow; fancy Manezhnaya Square with the Zero Kilometer, a starting point for all Moscow roads; Alexander’s Garden with the eternal flame, a WW2 memorial, where you might watch a change of guards. These are places that make Moscow one of the most beautiful cities in Russia.

Have a delicious lunch in one of the multiple downtown cafes or restaurants and continue the day with a tour of the Kremlin grounds and Armoury Chamber. The Kremlin used to be a fortress then the residence of the Russian Tsars.

After the Revolution of 1917, the USSR Government moved in it. Now it is the seat of the Russian President and a unique cultural museum complex that consists of palaces, cathedrals and museums.

You will tour the grounds of the Kremlin and visit its strikingly beautiful cathedrals full of ancient frescoes and icons, such as Assumption Cathedral where Russian tsars and emperors were crowned; Archangel Cathedral - the burial vault of the Russian tsars until 18th centuries; and Annunciation Cathedral, a home church for the royalty. 

You will get to meet the 2 prominent Russian tsars in person: the Tsar Bell and the Tsar Cannon, the biggest in the world. Kremlin will surely reveal you some mysteries of the Russian state and soul.  

While touring the Kremlin you will also visit Armoury Chamber, famous for the Tsar's regalia such as jewellery crowns, orbs and sceptres, clothing of the Russian tsars and tsarinas, royal carriages, collection of arms and armour, gifts to the Russian Tsars from various countries of the West and the East, and the illustrious collection of Faberge Easter eggs.

Take your time to relax as we prepare something special as an option* for this evening. Head out for an unforgettable night at the opera or the Russian ballet at the iconic Bolshoi Theatre.

Day 3: Moscow: Panoramic tour, Metro and Tretyakov Gallery

Today, we explore Moscow further on a car tour of the city, giving you a sense of the city’s sheer size, and an impression of how Moscow has changed throughout the ages. Visit the starkly contrasting Theatre Square to see the stunning Bolshoi Theatre. Stroll along Tverskaya Street, the city’s main boulevard and home to the landmark Yeleseyevskiy Grocery Store, a former palace turned luxury providore.

We’ll also explore Boulevard Ring, where Russian nobles built their exquisite 18th and 19th-century mansions, and Kutuzoyskiy Avenue with its Triumphal Arch. Pass by the legendary Gorky Park and the White House before a stop at the architecturally stunning Novodevichy Convent, and the observation platform at Sparrow Hills, for a bird’s eye view over this staggering megalopolis.

Next, we visit the 19th century Tretyakov State Gallery, the world’s foremost depository of Russian fine art, containing over 130,000 exhibits, with work by Rublev, Kandinsky, Repin, and many others.

***The tour of Tretyakov Gallery can be changed to a tour of Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts upon request.

We will also explore the Moscow Metro. Opened in 1935, this striking feat of engineering is one of the largest and oldest underground railway systems in the world. Its grand stations are remarkably beautiful and have become tourist attractions in their own right. 

Day 4: St Petersburg city tour

In the morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the train station, where you board a fast train Sapsan, which will take you for a 4h journey to your next destination St Petersburg – also known as the cultural capital of Russia. On arrival to St Petersburg, you will be met by a driver and transferred to your centrally located hotel.

Your second half of the day starts with meeting your professional and friendly St. Petersburg guide in the lobby of your hotel to enjoy a walking city tour of St. Petersburg with picturesque stops in most popular places and by most spectacular sights.

At this time of year, the city is at its most beautiful. The streets are relaxed and uncrowded, the iconic Neva River becomes a wilderness of ice, and the city’s gilded monuments glow against a backdrop of the winter sky and bare trees covered in crystalline frost.

Stroll along the Nevsky Prospect - the main street of St. Petersburg, cross the Anichkov Bridge and admire the Anichkov Palace. Walk along the banks of Fontanka and Moika Rivers, stop at the Kazan Cathedral and St Isaac's Cathedral, visit the Palace Square and Senate Square with the Bronze Horseman monument to Peter the Great, walk inside of the Church on the Spilled Blood and be amazed by its architecture.

During the tour, you will also visit the Peter and Paul Fortress and its Cathedral - a burial place of Russian emperors from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and his family. 

As an option* for this evening, we invite you to enjoy the traditional Russian dance performance in Nikolaevsky Palace.

Day 5: St Petersburg: day trip to Pushkin and Pavlovsk

Experience the extravagance of the Imperial rulers on an excursion to the suburban estates of the Romanov Tsars. Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar’s village) is now part of the nearby town of Pushkin and is one of Saint Petersburg’s finest attractions. Amid exquisite parks and gardens, you’ll find the baroque Catherine Palace, a dazzling testament to Catherine’s love of luxury and royal excess.

Envision Catherine strolling with her beloved dogs through acres of private gardens, where remarkable structures like the Marble Bridge, the Dutch Admiralty and the Creaking Pagoda were constructed for her amusement. We also explore the stately neoclassical Alexander Palace, whose tumultuous history paints a fascinating portrait of the Romanov family and the replica of the world-renowned Amber Room.

You will also visit Pavlovsk Palace and Park, the summer palace of Emperor Paul I, commissioned by his mother Catherine the Great. The palace borders with a park of 600 hectares in area, which is one of the largest landscape parks in Europe.

If there’s one must-do in St Petersburg in winter, it’s a traditional troika ride! Perhaps the quintessential image of the Russian winter, a troika is a sled-like carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side. Be swept up in the magical winter scenery, passing beautiful wooded areas and meandering streams.

As an option* for this evening, we invite you to experience:

An evening of Russian classical music at one of St. Petersburg’s beautiful palaces. Take a seat in the magnificent Hall of the Palace, then, lose yourself in much-loved works by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and others, played by one of the world-class orchestras of St Petersburg. Before the raising of the curtains, enjoy an interesting pre-concert tour of the palace's halls and a glass of sparkling wine.

Day 6: St Petersburg: The State Hermitage Museum

On our last day in St Petersburg, we pay a visit to its most lauded attraction. The State Hermitage Museum houses some 3 million masterpieces, spread across six magnificent historic buildings, including the splendid Winter Palace. Here you’ll feast your eyes on Rembrandts, Leonardos and Michelangelos, and get an up-close look at some of the world’s most important archaeological finds.

After lunch at a café in the Hermitage, you can seek to discover more of the museum at your own pace or head elsewhere.

As an option* for today, enjoy a tour (audio-guide) of the recently opened Faberge Museum, a private collection of over 4,000 Faberge Eggs and other bejewelled objects of desire, elegantly displayed inside the stunning Shuvalov Palace.    

In the evening, we transfer from to the Ladozhsky railway station for the train bound to Petrozavodsk – the capital of Karelia, a scenic mid-sized town built along a bay on vast Lake Onega.

Day 7: Karelia: Ruskeala Park and Kinerma village

Your local guide will meet you at the Petrozavodsk train station, for a tasty hot breakfast at one of the city cafes. After a short tour of Petrozavodsk, you will embark on a scenic, several-hour-journey to the Ruskeala Mountain Park. Unique for its waterfalls and varicoloured marble quarries, the quarry pits were once mined to provide building material for the royal palaces.

The park is now protected and one of the most spectacular natural sites in the Karelia region. Its most famous attraction is the 100m high, 450m wide Marble Canyon, which is filled with crystal clear water from underground springs. In winter, the canyon is illuminated with multi-coloured lights – a truly unforgettable scene.

The return journey will take us back to Petrozavodsk. En route, we will stop at Kinerma village, which in 2016 was named the most beautiful village in Russia. We’ll be met by a local resident for a personalised tour around the village, made up of late 19th century houses and a wooden chapel to the Virgin Mary erected in the 17th century. Afterwards, we’ll be invited to dinner in a traditional Karelian house.

Closer to evening, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Petrozavodsk.

Day 8: Karelia: Kizhi Island

Today we visit the Kizhi Island in the centre of Lake Onega. Getting here in winter requires a ride on a hovercraft. Only a small rural settlement remains on Kizhi, and the island has become an open-air museum with over 80 historical wooden structures, some dating to the 14th century.

After returning to Petrozavodsk, it’s time to get ready for our overnight train, which will take us above the Arctic Circle.

Day 9: Kola Peninsula: Murmansk city tour

We have now crossed the northern polar circle and at arrived in Murmansk, the northernmost city in Russia, with a population of around 300,000 people, by far the largest city above the Arctic Circle. An important Russian naval base, Murmansk served as a port for the Arctic convoys during WWII.

After hotel check-in and lunch, we embark on the Murmansk city sightseeing trip, and a tour of the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ship, Lenin.

Spend your free evening discovering the surprisingly vibrant nightlife in this quirky Russian outpost. With any luck, the Northern Lights will make an appearance, we will go hunt this beautiful phenomenon.

Day 10: Kola Peninsula: Saami village and husky dog sledding

Head to one of the largest Saami settlements in the Kola Peninsula, where many traditional dwellings are still in use. The settlement was built around important grazing land for the Saami’s precious reindeers, who are surprisingly affectionate and enjoy being stroked and fed by visitors. Also look out for wildlife in the surrounding countryside, including polar foxes, hares and hunting birds.

You’ll get the chance to learn about the ancient Saami culture and be invited to play traditional games, test your lasso throwing skills and reindeer sledding abilities, and maybe even try on some traditional Saami clothing. The locals will put on an authentic lunch spread including fish soup, berry pie and herbal tea, after which you’ll be given the opportunity to purchase handicrafts.

After lunch, we head to a Siberian husky farm. Here, you’ll learn the wonderful story behind the evolution of this iconic northern breed, and spend time getting to know the charming resident dogs here as well as their reindeer stablemates. Take an exhilarating sled ride through the starkly beautiful winter forests with the Husky team.

In the evening, we get back into the hotel where we’ll spend the remainder of the evening.

Day 11: Kola Peninsula: Snow village and snowmobiling at Khibiny Mountains

We start our day with the chance to carve it up on a snowmobile safari in the Khibiny Mountains, making our way down the valleys for a sensational view of the mountain ranges. This experience doesn’t require any special skills or physical abilities. After a safety brief, you will truly feel yourself “in the saddle” and will be able to enjoy the stunning winter landscapes and tranquillity of the mountains.

Next destination is the Snow Village, an ambitious tourism project that has been running since 2008. The Snow Village has been painstakingly constructed almost entirely out of ice and snow and features ornately decorated buildings, sculptures and labyrinthine tunnels with intricately patterned rooms, walls and corridors. This enchanting place is the work of true artists and a chance to open your imagination to the magical spirit of winter.

Day 12: Departure from Murmansk

After breakfast, it’s time to check out of our Murmansk hotel. You’ll be transferred to the airport to catch a flight back to either Moscow or on to your next destination.

Included

3* hotels in Moscow, St Petersburg, Petrozavodsk and Murmansk

Breakfasts in the hotels, some lunches (download the detailed itinerary for more information)

Airport and train station transfers

All transportation, according to the itinerary

Local licensed English-speaking tour guides in each region

Professional drivers

All excursions, including entry fees

1 night of Northern Lights hunt

Train tickets

Russian tourist visa support document

Not included

Flights

Travel insurance

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

Alcohol

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