Reindeer Herders' Festival in Yamal 2019

Written by Anna Schneider
Last updated on 16th Oct 2018
Reindeer herders festival

The Reindeer Herder’s Festival is a one-day holiday, celebrated annually in the Salekhard and Aksarka, the two major towns within the Yamal-Nenets region in the Russian Arctic. In 2019, the festival will take place on 23rd March (Saturday) in Salekhard and 6th April (Saturday) in Aksarka village. For the nomadic Nenets people, a festival day is a major event, which offers a chance to meet with friends and compete in contests of physical skill and a variety of other competitions. It has also become an event in which the Nenets are able to share with the world a fascinating slice of their unique culture, which has remained relatively unchanged through the centuries. On this tour you not only will witness the Reindeer Herders’ Festival in Yamal but also will stay with a Nenet family far from the city, giving you an amazing opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the nomadic way of life.

Trip Highlights:

  • Salekhard (population 43,000) is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Despite its remoteness, it harbours a great deal of wealth as the city at the centre of one of the world’s richest oil and gas regions
  • Reindeer Herder’s Festival Day: On the day of the festival, thousands of Nenets and Khanty descend on Salekhard. The day is a massive celebration, a huge social event for the usually isolated nomads and an incredible spectacle, with reindeer sleigh races, reindeer wrangling, wrestling competitions, a beauty contest for the women in their finest traditional dress

READ MORE

Quest for Aurora Borealis

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
Northern lights Murmansk, Russia aurora borealis

To visualise the Northern Lights Murmansk experience, imagine a place that lives, works and plays above the Polar Circle. This extraordinary place is the Kola Peninsula in the far north west of Russia. Kola may not be on the tourist radar, but that’s what makes it special. Why do we visit Kola in the coldest part of the year? Well, the Northern Lights are best seen in the winter months. The city of Kirovsk in the Murmansk region of the Kola Peninsula, being so close to the Arctic Circle, is one of the world’s premier destinations to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful natural phenomenon visible from Earth.

The Quest for Aurora Borealis Trip Highlights

  • Kirovsk is set against the backdrop of Lake Veliky Vudyavr and the surrounding snow-capped mountains and is considered one of the best places in the region to view the Northern Lights
  • The Snow Village in Kirovsk is a huge architectural structure made entirely out of snow and ice. Guests wander through a maze of fantastically lit up tunnels where artists have carved out incredibly detailed displays into the walls. There’s an ice sculpture park an even an Ice Chapel where it’s possible to be married

READ MORE

Reindeer Migration with the Nenets in Yamal

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
Reindeer herders migration Nenets of Yamal Peninsula, Russian Festivals

As the world gets smaller, there’s a desire to travel further – and there are few places as enchantingly far away as the Yamal Peninsula. This cultural tour transports you deep into Siberia’s isolated Arctic region. ‘Yamal’ means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of the indigenous Nenets. The Nenets of Yamal carve out a unique way of life, seemingly at the limits of human tolerance. Each spring, the Nenets migrate from winter pastures on the Russian mainland to the summer pastures in the Arctic Circle, a one-way journey of up to 1,000km. This is your chance to experience a small part of this epic journey alongside these extraordinarily resilient people. This is a remarkable extraordinary opportunity to get to know one of the world’s last true nomadic reindeer herders through their eyes.

Reindeer Migration TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Salekhard is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Among the highlights on our tour of the city is the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum, which includes an exhibition on mammoth remains found in the region
  • From Salekhard, we’ll board an all-terrain vehicle for a drive for up to six hours over the frozen surface of the River Ob to Yar-Sale village. The river is the only way to access the village – either by boat in summer or by driving the ice in winter

READ MORE

Northern Lights in Russia: Arctic Winter Magic

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Northern lights in Russia

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.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • 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

READ MORE

Northern Lights Discovery in Russia

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
northern lights discovery, northern lights Russia tour

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

READ MORE

Lake Baikal Photography Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Lake Baikal Photography Tour

This Lake Baikal Photography Tour will grant intrepid photographers the honour of focusing their lenses on some of Siberia’s most famously beautiful frozen landscapes. Summer sees the bulk of tourist activity in the area, but it’s in winter that the most devoted photographers make the pilgrimage, hoping to capture once-in-a-lifetime images of the natural world at its most powerful and surreal.

Trip Highlights:

  • Climb to the top of Khoboy Cape for a breathtaking panoramic view showing the true scale of Siberia’s “inland sea”. The cape contains a labyrinth of grottoes where sunlight dances off ceilings jagged with icy stalactites
  • Khorin-Igri Bay: an ideal spot to photograph the natural phenomenon of frozen bubbles under Lake Baikal, rising to the surface in perfect discs suspended in the clear, dark water
  • Budun Cape is a rugged natural monument surrounded by shard-like ice mounds. An unreal sight with a huge variety of shapes, lines and geometry allowing for some creative perspectives

READ MORE

Arctic Rail Explorer - Quest for Northern Lights

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 10th Oct 2018
Northern Lights train tour, northern lights Russia tour

Experience a train journey unlike any other. An adventure on rails to the top of the world, the lands above the Arctic Circle where the mythical Aurora Borealis performs her breathtaking celestial dance in the velvet black Polar night sky. This compelling 12-day Northern Lights Train Tour showcases the unique contrast between two of Russia’s most majestic cities and the isolated 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, before embarking on this remarkable Arctic railway adventure in search of the elusive Aurora Borealis.

Arctic Rail Explorer Tour Highlights:

  • Admire the architectural splendour of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities on a guided two-day tour of St Petersburg that includes St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Hermitage, as well as a trip to Pushkin to visit the extravagant Catherine Palace
  • In the extreme north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle lies Kirkenes, a tiny frontier town near the Russian border. Ride a snowmobile across the frozen fjords outside town and try your hand at fishing for the Arctic’s most prized seafood, the king crab

READ MORE

Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 5th Sep 2018
Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Our Lake Baikal Ice Adventure tour takes place during late February and March. The beginning of spring in the Baikal region, at this time of year, the temperature climbs above zero, but the surface of the lake is still largely frozen, covered by solid winter ice so clear you can see rocks and other objects at the bottom of the lake as far as 40m below. During spring, Baikal receives few visitors compared to the summer high season, allowing you to feel an inspiring sense of isolation and communion with undisturbed nature during this handcrafted 6-day tour. Be amazed by the frozen beauty of the world’s oldest and deepest lake and experience real-life walking on water. We’ve included a few activities exclusive to the cooler months such as ice skating, ice rafting and ice golf to add a sprinkle of spills and thrills to this thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

Lake Baikal Ice adventure Highlights

  • Embark on an over-ice expedition by 4WD to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the centre of shamanic energy for the Buryat people. Spend two nights on the island and discover pristine beaches, craggy capes and untouched Siberian forests 
  • While on Olkhon Island, participate in a round of special activities for Baikal’s ‘ice travellers’. Take your pick from ice golf, tube riding or ice skating, or just head out on to the ice for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot! 

READ MORE

Yakutia: The Pole of Cold Festival

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Yakutia, visit Oymyakon Pole of Cold tour, Oymyakon Tour

The “Pole of Cold” is a place where the coldest temperatures on Earth have ever been recorded. In the northern hemisphere, the honour goes to a remote Siberian township known as Oymyakon, widely regarded as the coldest permanently inhabited place on the planet. Our Oymyakon tour is not just about experiencing one of the most unique cultural festivals on Earth. It’s about immersing yourself in a completely different reality, a place where people rely on time-tested traditions to live in a place that challenges the very limits of human endurance. READ MORE

Yakutia - Russia's Winter Wonderland

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
discover Yakutia

Discover Yakutia – a faraway place that plays host to ethereal polar nights and the northern lights, permafrost tundra and vast expanses of taiga forest. About 40% of Yakutia lies above the Arctic Circle, and much of it remains wild, pristine and largely unspoiled by development. One of Siberia’s most ethnically diverse regions, Yakutia is home to the Turkic-speaking Yakuts, many of whom still practice shamanism and nomadic lifestyles. The region is blessed with spectacular wildlife and is renowned for producing some of the cleanest diamonds on Earth. If you are searching for a unique and genuine Russian winter experience, this is the place to be. READ MORE

Kamchatka Winter Adventure

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 24th Aug 2018
Kamchatka Winter tour, Russian winter holiday

A winter wilderness adventure like no other! This Kamchatka winter tour is your chance to visit one of the most remote and scenically stunning destinations on Earth – the Kamchatka Peninsula, an ancient volcanic region on the edge of the Pacific Rim of Fire. There are no roads or railways from Kamchatka to the rest of the world – the only practical way in is by air. One of the final frontiers of winter sports travel, unspoiled by commercial tourism, Kamchatka offers pristine mountain ski slopes, abundant wildlife and rugged natural scenery.

Kamchatka Winter Tour Highlights:

  • Experience an exhilarating day of skiing or snowboarding at Gora Moroznaya, a superb ski resort boasting five unique mountain ski slopes in a beautiful alpine setting
  • Embark on a thrilling guided snowmobile safari to Three Brothers Rock, a stunning viewpoint on a spectacular stretch of the North Pacific coastline
  • Ride a Snowcat (an enclosed vehicle with tracks designed to power through snow) across the foothills of the Avacha volcano to Camel Mount, a viewpoint commanding breathtaking panoramas of Kamchatka’s volcanic mountain ranges
  • Husky dog sledding: Visit a winter camp inhabited by the semi-nomadic Koryak people. Get acquainted with a traditional form of winter transport – the husky dog sled, and try your hand at ‘mushing’ the excitable pups through powder-soft winter snow

READ MORE

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

Articles by Category

Russia Tour Finder

< Return

Destination

Travel Style

Season

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