Northern Lights Discovery in Russia

Hunting Aurora Borealis in the Arctic Russia
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 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.

Northern Lights in Russia Tour 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. 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 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

4* hotels

Winter adventures

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

8 days / 7 nights

     

min 2 people

Private

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. Get your first taste of life in the Russian megacity, exploring Moscow at your leisure or embark on an optional*2.5h evening cruise along Moscow river.

DAY 2:Moscow: Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

Our first acquaintance with 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 Chamber.

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.     

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. 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.

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:Murmansk city tour

Very early in the morning, you will be transferred to the airport, for your short flight to Murmansk, 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 6 pm.

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 5:Teriberka village

Located on the shore of Barents Sea, 120km, three hours’ drive down an icy road from Murmansk, this small village has just 617 residents and a wide selection of picturesque abandoned houses that could serve as art objects or as a set for horror films.

During our tour of the village, we will stop at several locations, such as a wooden ships “cemetery”, which is older than 100 years and started from Imperial times. Then, we head to the Arctic Ocean coast for the weird and wonderful photos of frozen rocks and tundra against the mighty Barents Sea, and a magnificent waterfall that flows into the Arctic Ocean.

We enjoy our lunch at the local café (self-paid) before heading back to Murmansk, where we should arrive by 5-6pm, and if Northern Lights appear, we will go hunt them.

DAY 6:Saami people and gusky dog sledding

Head to one of the largest tourist complexes in the Kola Peninsula, which represents Saami settlement with its many traditional dwellings and tools. Here, you will meet 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, 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.

DAY 7: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.

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 8: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

Group airport transfers

All transportation on tour, according to the itinerary

4* hotel accommodation in Moscow (3 nights), Murmansk (4 nights)

Breakfasts in hotels

Local licensed English-speaking guides and drivers

All activities indicated in the itinerary

Russian visa support document/voucher

Flights

Travel insurance

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

Individual transfers, not indicated in the itinerary

Alcohol

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
Any date from December to April
Private Tour
AvailableUS $2,550EnquireReserve
8 days
Moscow to Murmansk
from
$
2,550
USD
Make an enquiry Personalise this tour

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. Get your first taste of life in the Russian megacity, exploring Moscow at your leisure or embark on an optional*2.5h evening cruise along Moscow river.

DAY 2: Moscow: Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

Our first acquaintance with 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 Chamber.

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.     

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. 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.

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: Murmansk city tour

Very early in the morning, you will be transferred to the airport, for your short flight to Murmansk, 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 6 pm.

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 5: Teriberka village

Located on the shore of Barents Sea, 120km, three hours’ drive down an icy road from Murmansk, this small village has just 617 residents and a wide selection of picturesque abandoned houses that could serve as art objects or as a set for horror films.

During our tour of the village, we will stop at several locations, such as a wooden ships “cemetery”, which is older than 100 years and started from Imperial times. Then, we head to the Arctic Ocean coast for the weird and wonderful photos of frozen rocks and tundra against the mighty Barents Sea, and a magnificent waterfall that flows into the Arctic Ocean.

We enjoy our lunch at the local café (self-paid) before heading back to Murmansk, where we should arrive by 5-6pm, and if Northern Lights appear, we will go hunt them.

DAY 6: Saami people and gusky dog sledding

Head to one of the largest tourist complexes in the Kola Peninsula, which represents Saami settlement with its many traditional dwellings and tools. Here, you will meet 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, 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.

DAY 7: 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.

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 8: 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.

Included

Group airport transfers

All transportation on tour, according to the itinerary

4* hotel accommodation in Moscow (3 nights), Murmansk (4 nights)

Breakfasts in hotels

Local licensed English-speaking guides and drivers

All activities indicated in the itinerary

Russian visa support document/voucher

Not included

Flights

Travel insurance

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

Individual transfers, not indicated in the itinerary

Alcohol

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