Karelia is situated to the north of St.Petersburg: it stretches along the border with Finland up to the Arctic Circle and is abundant with forests, lakes and rivers, including the Ladoga and the Onega – the two largest lakes in Europe. This singular place in the Russian North is truly a land of primordial nature. The Karelia tour will take you on scenic boat rides to some of the region’s many lakes or rivers, trekking with huskies on trails in the beautiful pine forests and picking berries in the woods. Take your time. Wander around. Enjoy the scenery.
Gems of Karelia Trip Highlights
- The Kizhi Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture is one of the most unmissable greatest cultural attractions in Russia. The island contains some 83 relocated wooden buildings from the 17th to the 19th centuries, with the crown jewel being the elaborate 1714 Church of the Transfiguration
- The Valaam Archipelago is a group of 50 islands in Lake Lagoda, the largest lake in Europe. The heart of Valaam is its magnificent monastery complex, which is somewhere between 1000 and 600 years old and was at the centre of the 16th-century power struggle between the Russians and Swedes
This short detour from either Moscow or St Petersburg gives you the chance to explore some of the most remarkable historical and natural landmarks of Karelia. Known as Russia’s ‘Land of Lakes’, Karelia is a republic with its own unique culture, bordering Finland and the White Sea. Your tour begins in Petrozavodsk, the largest city in Karelia and the gateway to Kizhi Island, the most visually spectacular cultural site in Karelia. We’ll reach Kizhi by rapid hydrofoil boat, giving us plenty of time to explore the World Heritage Listed Kizhi Pogost, a collection of 17th and 18th-century churches, elaborately and fantastically crafted entirely out of wood.
- The Kizhi Open Air Museum is a World Heritage site and one of the most unmissable greatest cultural attractions in Russia. The island contains some 83 relocated buildings from the 17th to the 19th centuries, each one elaborately crafted out of wood
- The crown jewel of Khizi is the Transfiguration Church, an architectural masterpiece featuring a chorus of wooden domes, gables and ingenious decorations designed to keep water off the walls. Built without using a single nail, it has withstood the elements for over 150 years
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 survive and 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