Arctic Rail Explorer – Quest for Northern Lights

Renowned for its theatrical landscapes and dramatic climate, the Arctic Circle is one of the world’s most mystifying places to explore.
This compelling 12-day Northern Lights Train Tour offers a unique contrast between two of Russia’s most majestic cities and the remote, yet charming communities deep within the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle. Commencing in St. Petersburg, we visit some of the city’s most prominent historical and cultural sites on this railway journey before embarking on this remarkable arctic adventure onboard the Golden Eagle. 

Our quest to see the Aurora Borealis begins in the small mining town of Kirkenes in Norway, one of the greatest vantage points for seeing this incredible natural phenomenon. This two-night highlight combines our guided Aurora searching with a fantastic daytime activity program. As our adventure continues on this Northern Lights Russia tour, we experience the culture and lifestyle of those living in the harsh climates of the Russian Arctic Circle and visit some of Russia’s oldest cities as we travel onwards to our final destination, Moscow.

12 days
Make an enquiry Detailed itinerary




Trip style

St Petersburg


Luxury Golden Eagle train

Rail Journey


Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

12 days / 11 nights



Guaranteed Departures

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Russia

Flight arrivals into St Petersburg and transfer to the luxurious Grand Hotel Europe for a two-night stay. This evening you are invited to a champagne drinks reception with the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers before our exclusive welcome dinner.

Day 2:St Petersburg

Today we have a guided tour of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin and the Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums.

Day 3:St Petersburg

Today's tour of St Petersburg features the key sights, including St Isaac’s Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect. This afternoon we transfer to the station to board Russia’s premier train, the Golden Eagle, and settle into our modern, stylish cabins to embark upon our rail adventure to the Arctic Circle.

Day 4:Arctic Circle

Today we have the opportunity to have a relaxed start to the day and to unwind after our evening of celebration. Our train crosses the Arctic Circle on our quest to see the Northern Lights.

Day 5:Kirkeness, Norway

This morning we leave our train and transfer to Kirkenes for a two night stay. We’ll have a welcome drink in the Snow Bar and a tour of the Snow Hotel, and in the evening we’ll take a bus tour in search of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

Day 6:Hunting for Northern lights

This morning begins with a snowmobile-drawn sleigh across the frozen fjords. Through a hole in the ice you will be shown by your master guide how to catch the magnificent Arctic King Crab. In the afternoon we return to the Snow Hotel to see the resident reindeers and visit the biggest husky dog farm in eastern Finnmark or return to Kirkenes Village for a walking tour.

Day 7:Crossing borders

We cross the border back into Russia and re-join our train which is waiting for us. We’ll spend the afternoon on board travelling through arctic Russia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside your window, or chat to fellow passengers.

Day 8:Murmansk

We will continue to Murmansk, a city halfway between Moscow and the North Pole and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers, we’ll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.

Day 9:Petrozavodsk and Kizhi Island

We take a city tour of Petrozavodsk and a hovercraft transfer to visit Kizhi Island on Lake Onega to explore its open-air museum of wooden architecture. Marvel at wooden churches built without the use of a single nail which have survived the challenges of Russian winters and revolution.

Day 10:Vladimir and Suzdal

Our tour takes in Vladimir's Uspensky Cathedral, considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned. From Vladimir we travel to Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024, located 35 kilometres from Vladimir.

Day 11: Moscow

This morning we arrive in Moscow, for one night at the five-star Ritz-Carlton.

We visit the Red Square and enjoy of St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful façade of the world famous GUM Department store and the Lenin’s tomb. Our touring program also takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber.

Day 12:Farewell

Breakfast in the hotel brings the tour to a close and airport transfers are provided for your departure flights. Extend your stay in Moscow to explore more of the city at your leisure.



Luxurious 5* hotels

Accommodation on board comfortable Golden Eagle train


Full board, starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day

Welcome and farewell dinners


Arrival and departure transfers, all transportation according to the itinerary with professional drivers


English speaking tour leader throughout the tour

24 hour service attendant and English speaking doctor services

Porter services at all railway stations

Activities and sights

Guided enriching tours with experienced English speaking guides

Wide choice of optional off-train tours


All gratuities

Russian 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

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
29 Dec 2018 - 9 Jan 2019 (M to SPB)
Guaranteed Departures
Limited spaces US $12,595 US $5,200 Reserve
2 Feb 2019 - 13 Feb 2019 (SPB to M)
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $12,595 US $5,200 Reserve
12 days
St Petersburg to Moscow
Make an enquiry Detailed itinerary
12 days
Make an enquiry Detailed itinerary

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