Northern Lights in Russia: Arctic Winter Magic

From Moscow to the Arctic, discover a Russian Winter Wonderland in pursuit of the Northern Lights
Russian winters turn 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.


  • 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 Obega 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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Trip style



3* hotels



Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

13 days / 12 nights


2-8 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 city tour

It’s time to get more deeply acquainted with Russia’s capital, starting with a guided tour of the Kremlin and its cathedrals. Stroll at the iconic Red Square and take a short excursion on the famous Moscow Subway.

Day 3:Fast train to St Petersburg

Spend the morning your way. In the afternoon, take the fast train, which reaches St Petersburg in approximately four hours.

Day 4:St Petersburg city tour

Our morning excursion provides an opportunity to see St Petersburg’s most famous monuments, bridges, embankments and parks. Wander down the Nevsky Prospekt, visit St Isaac’s Cathedral, the Winter Place, and other places tied to the city’s fascinating heroes and historical events.

Day 5:Day trip to Pushkin

Today we head out of St Petersburg for a day excursion to the nearby town of Pushkin, home of the Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar’s Village). Admire the baroque Catherine Palace, stroll through Catherine and Alexander Parks and visit the famous Amber room. After lunch in the grounds, we transfer to Pavlovsk, a suburb south of Pushkin, for a horse and carriage ride in Pavlovsk Park.

Day 6:The State Hermitage Museum

On our last day in St Petersburg, we pay a visit to its most lauded attraction - the State Hermitage Museum, which houses some 3 million masterpieces, spread across six magnificent historic buildings, including the splendid Winter Palace. Departure by overnight train to Petrozavodsk in Karelia.

Day 7:Karelia: Ruskeala Park

Embark on a scenic, several hour journey to the Ruskeala Mountain Park. Unique for its waterfalls and varicoloured marble quarries. The return journey will take us back to Petrozavodsk by late evening.

Day 8:Karelia: Kizhi Island

Today we visit the Kizhi Island in the centre of Lake Obega. 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

We have now crossed the northern polar circle and arrived in the small town of Olengorsk in "Russian Laplandia". We head straight to a Siberian husky farm, where and spend time getting to know the charming resident dogs here as well as their reindeer stablemates. Today you may be lucky enough to witness the glow of the Aurora Borealis.

Day 10:The Snow Village and Khibiny Mountains

This morning, our destination is the Snow Village, which has been painstakingly constructed almost entirely out of ice and snow and features ornately decorated buildings, sculptures and labyrinthine tunnels.

The afternoon sees a change of pace, with the chance to carve it up on an easy snowmobile safari in the Khibiny Mountains. Don't forget to look up for Aurora's dance in the sky.

Day 11:Saami settlement

Head to one of the largest Saami settlements in the Kola Peninsula, where many traditional dwellings are still in use. You’ll get the chance to learn about the ancient Saami culture. In the afternoon, we proceed to Murmansk.

Day 12:Murmansk city tour

Today you’ll see how people live, work and play in Murmansk, the northernmost city and Russia. Your Murmansk sightseeing trip will take in the Naval Museum or the Historical Museum, and the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ship, the Lenin.

Spend your free evening discovering the surprisingly vibrant nightlife in this quirky Russian outpost. As this is your last night in the Arctic, don’t forget to look up!

Day 13: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.



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


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


Airport and train station transfers

All transportation according to the itinerary (car, metro, hovercarft)


Local Engllish speaking tour guide

Professional drivers

Activities and sights

All activities and sights, indicated in the detailed itinerary (download for more info)


  • Train tickets
  • Russian tourist visa support documents

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

Not included

  • Services of the guide from the Polar Geophysical Institute (PGI) for observing Aurora Borealis.
  • Flights, travel insurance, visa, tips

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
13 Jan - 25 Jan 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $3,550 US $450 Reserve
10 Mar - 22 Mar 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $3,550 US $450 Reserve
Your dates - Private group
Private Tour
Available US $3,550 Enquire Reserve
13 days
Moscow to Murmansk
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If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816

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