Northern Lights Discovery in Russia

Hunting Aurora Borealis above the Arctic Circle
Head for the snow-white serenity of the Kola Peninsula, where the Saami have herded reindeer for generations and the Northern Lights dance in the clear Arctic sky.
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 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.

Northern Lights Discovery Trip Highlights:

  • Moscow City Tour: Before we fly out for the Arctic, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the capital’s highlights. Admire the Red Square in its finest winter decorations, explore the Kremlin and Armory Museum and much more
  • Discover the hidden charms of Murmansk. Visit the Lenin, the world’s first nuclear ice-breaker, and now a Naval Museum. With any luck, you’ll catch the Northern Lights dancing above Murmansk’s night-time cityscape
  • Visit a Siberian husky farm in Lovozero. The local Saami will introduce you to their beautiful dogs and teach you how to navigate a dog sled through a specially prepared route through the forest
  • Carve it up on a snowmobile safari to the Khibiny Mountains. After 4 hours of adrenaline, we’ll arrive at a gorgeous clearing where you can enjoy the stunning winter landscapes and tranquillity of the mountains
  • Head to one of the largest Saami settlements in the Kola Peninsula. Meet their reindeer, try your hand at essential Saami survival techniques like lassoing and sledding and enjoy a traditional lunch with herbal tea

Also known as the northern lights, as it appears only near the earth’s northern pole, the Aurora Borealis is formed when charged particles in the atmosphere collide with molecules of oxygen and nitrogen, releasing energy in the form of visible light. The subject of countless legends and mysteries, witnessing the northern lights is an almost supernatural experience, never to be forgotten.

Our journey begins in Moscow, where you’ll have the opportunity to tour some of the capital’s most important sites, including the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil Cathedral. Next, we’ll take a flight to Murmansk and get to know some of the city’s fascinating wartime naval history. Murmansk is by far the largest city above the Arctic Circle and will be our base for the next few days. Each night, there’s a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis as it materialises over the rooftops of the city, casting luminous streaks across the velvet black sky.

The Kola Peninsula is home to the Saami people, who also inhabit northern Scandinavia. These semi-nomadic reindeer herders traverse the tundra on husky-drawn sleds. This tour will also introduce us to indigenous Saami culture. At the Lovozero husky farm outside of Murmansk, we’ll partake in a traditional Saami meal, go on a dog sledding adventure in the tundra and perhaps even try our hands at commanding a reindeer crew.

Although sightings of Aurora Borealis are highly unpredictable, this one week tour of the offers an outstanding opportunity to chase the lights against the unique natural and cultural backdrop of the Kola Peninsula, truly one of Russia’s most spectacular hidden gems.

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Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Moscow

Murmansk

Active adventures

Culture, Nature

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

7 days / 6 nights

     

1-8 people

Private

Itinerary View map

DAY 1:Arrival to Moscow

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.

DAY 2:Moscow city tour

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.

DAY 3:Murmansk city tour

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.

DAY 4:Husky dog sledding

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.

DAY 5:Snow village and Khibiny Mounatins

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.

DAY 6:Saami people

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.

DAY 7:Departure from Murmansk

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.

Inclusions

Accommodation

4* hotel accommodation in Moscow (2 nights), Murmansk (4 nights)

based on twin share, for solo travellers single supplement fee applies

Meals

Breakfasts in hotels

Transportation

Airport transfers, all transportation on tour, according to the itinerary

Guides

Professional local English-speaking guides

Guide and car services for hunting Aurora Borealis

Activities and sights

All activities indicated in the itinerary:

  • Moscow city tour with entry tickets
  • Murmansk city tour with entry tickets
  • Husky dog sledding experience
  • Snow Village tour
  • Snowmobiling in the Khibiny Mountains
  • Cultural immersion in the Saami settlement
  • 1 night of hunting Aurora Borealis

Other

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.

Not included

Flight tickets

Travel insurance, visa, individual transfers

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
Any date from December to April
Private Tour
Available US $2,550 Enquire Reserve
7 days
Moscow to Murmansk
from
$
2,550
USD
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If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816