Painting the night sky with a dazzling display of shifting light and colour, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights is one of the earth’s most spectacular natural phenomena. A bucket-list experience for countless travellers, certain places have become commercial tourist hotspots for seeing the Northern Lights. The Kola Peninsula, in Russia’s far northwestern Arctic Region, has so far remained under the tourist radar, despite being one of the best destinations on earth to view the Aurora Borealis. Here in Kola, you’ll be perhaps one of a handful of visitors to witness the breathtaking spectacle of cosmic iridescence above the northern sky. At the same time, you’ll discover a little of the history and culture of the local Saami people and enjoy favourite winter pastimes such as dog sledding and snowmobiling.
Type of tour
7 days / 6 nights
Touch down in Moscow airport. Your driver will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your centrally located hotel.
After rest and lunch at the hotel, meet a guide for a tour, which will take you to the most popular tourist attractions. Enjoy a panoramic drive along the embankment of the Moskva River and see a huge controversial statue of Peter the Great located right in the river. Pass by the legendary Gorky Park and the White House, the seat of the Russian government.
During the day you will also make several stops at the most picturesque places of the city, such as Novodevichy (New Maiden) Convent noted for its architectural beauty and historical significance (we will view the convent from outside only); Sparrow Hills known for the main building of Moscow State University and the observation platform offering a fascinating view of the huge megalopolis.
Our in-depth tour of Moscow starts with a walking tour of the historical city centre.
You will see and hear the stories of the most popular places of the city: Red Square, the hub of Russia, with its fantastic "stone flower"- St. Basil Cathedral, one of the symbols of Moscow. These are places that make Moscow one of the most beautiful cities of Russia.
Have a delicious lunch in one of the multiple downtown cafes or restaurants and continue the day with a tour of the Kremlin and Armoury Museum. Take a Metro to see some of the most beautiful stations of world-famous Moscow subway system and enjoy a stroll along the famous Arbat Street.
Very early in the morning, you will be transferred to the airport, for you short fly to Murmansk (2h 30min), a destination two degrees north of the Arctic Circle, reaching the city by mid-morning. After settling in at the centrally located hotel, your guide will meet you in the afternoon for a sightseeing excursion around the town.
An important Russian naval base, Murmansk served as a port for the Arctic convoys during WWII. Our tour will include a visit to the Naval Museum and the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ship, the Lenin. We’ll return to our hotel at around 6pm.
Tonight is the first night that with a bit of luck, we might be able to see and photograph the Aurora Borealis as it appears above the glittering night-lights of the city.
Today we’ll drive a short distance out of Murmansk to a husky farm run by the indigenous Saami people of the Kola Peninsula.
Learn the wonderful story of how the Siberian husky breed came to be, then take on the snowfields Saami-style, commandeering your very own northern dog sledding team. After a lunch of traditional Saami dishes, drive back to Murmansk. It’s your last evening on the Peninsula, so if you are lucky enough you will get the chance to hunt Aurora.
This morning, our destination is the Snow Village, an ambitious tourism project that has been running since 2008. 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.
The afternoon sees a change of pace, with the chance to carve it up on a snowmobile safari in the Khibiny Mountains. 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.
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.
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.
In the afternoon, we’ll make our way back to Murmansk. In your free time, you may visit the Regional Historical Museum or hike the surrounding countryside in search of Aurora Borealis.
After breakfast, it’s time to check out of your Murmansk hotel. You’ll be transferred to the airport to catch a flight back to either Moscow or on to your next destination.
4* hotel accommodation in Moscow (2 nights), Murmansk (4 nights)
based on twin share, for solo travellers single supplement fee applies
Breakfasts in hotels
Airport transfers, all transportation on tour, according to the itinerary
Professional local English-speaking guides
Guide and car services for hunting Aurora Borealis
All activities indicated in the itinerary:
Russian visa support document/voucher
*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.
Travel insurance, visa, individual transfers
|Any date from December to April
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