Day 1 Arrival at Moscow Airport
Welcome to Russia
On arrival at Moscow International Airport you will be met by our local representative and you will be transferred to the hotel.
Day is free, for you to explore the city at your own pace.
Moscow is a bustling metropolis, Russia’s beating heart
Vibrant, modern, and oh-so–fashionable, the Russian capital rivals the world’s best cultural destinations.
This thriving city is home to famous Bolshoi Theatre and the impressive Kremlin.
Moscow is the biggest Russian and European city, with more than 12 million inhabitants. It has been the capital of Russia since the 15th century, except from 1712 to 1918, when the capital was transferred to St. Petersburg. The city was founded in the 12th century and the Kremlin, its main fortress, was erected in 1156. Moscow rapidly gained importance and the Duchy of Moscow became the main political centre among the principalities of central Russia before Ivan III, Grand Prince of Moscow, united most of these states under his control. He liberated central Russia from the Mongol and Tatar invaders, expanded the Russian state, and was named Grand Prince of Rus, with Moscow as its capital. The city has been destroyed by invaders several times throughout its history: the Mongols, Crimean Tatars, Poles, and Swedes have all occupied the city, and even Napoleon remained here for six weeks before beginning his catastrophic retreat during the Russian winter.
Overnight in Moscow
Day 2 Moscow-Murmansk-Kirovsk
Breakfast at the hotel. Today your driver will pick you up and drop you to the airport for your onward flight to Murmansk. On arrival in Murmansk your will be picked up and drop to your hotel.
The Russian Arctic and the Kola Peninsula in particular are excitingly remote areas. Few visitors venture here. This region was mostly closed during the Soviet era, when it developed as the important mining and military center that is still today. It has been opened to tourism only recently, and it still has some logical deficiencies and shortcomings: the infrastructures are obsolete and sometimes in poor condition, and the welcoming structures are just starting to develop, the hotel standards being below the usual Russian standards... Travelers should take it into account and adapt their expectations accordingly. Nevertheless, the beauty of the landscapes and the immensity of its spaces compensate for these inconveniences.
Murmansk is the most accessible gateway to the Russian Arctic and Russian Lapland. With its 300,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the world located north of the Arctic Circle. It is situated at the bottom of a navigable fjord in the Barents Sea, and is one of the most important fishing, commercial, and military ports of Russia. It is connected to the rest of the country by road and rail, as well as by several regular daily flights to Moscow (1500 km) and St. Petersburg (1000 km). For centuries, the Russians had called this coast "Coast of Murman"; the word "Murman" meaning "Norwegian" (Norman) in Old Russian. In the 12th century, the Republic of Novgorod, then the most important Russian state, started sending colonists to the coasts of the White Sea and the Arctic. These people, called "Pomors" ("Maritime"), were the first Russians to settle permanently in the Murmansk region. From the 16th century, Russia strengthened its position in the region against Sweden and Norway; it built several forts and the small town of Kola, 12 km south of present-day Murmansk.
Visiting "Saami City" and Small Reindeer Sleigh Ride. Saami City is located about 110 km south of Murmansk, in the central part of the Kola Peninsula, and in the area of former settlements of the Saami. There are very few descendants of the Sami who originally inhabited this region, and today we will have the opportunity to meet one of them. He will show us old pictures and tell us stories, anecdotes, and traditions. We can see the buildings and religious symbols of the Saami, and meet their inseparable companions: reindeer and huskies. We will have a chance to take a short walk (5-10 minutes) in a sleigh drawn by reindeers (4 people per sleigh) and then warm up with a traditional soup.
After lunch departs to Kirovsk. The small town of Kirovsk is located at an altitude of 350 meters, at the very foot of the Khibiny Mountains. It has about 30,000 inhabitants and is divided into three separate neighbourhoods. It was founded in 1929, and today it is a curious mix of the mining community and a center of sports and adventure tourism. Kirovsk has the largest alpine ski resort in northern Russia, with 6 tracks certified by the FIS, a maximum height of 1,050 meters and a vertical drop of nearly 700 meters. From here numerous expeditions depart to the Khibiny Mountains, to some of the national parks in the region of Murmansk, and to the neighbouring Karelia to enjoy mountain skiing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, etc. At the entrance of the village we can see the Orthodox Church of the Image of Edessa, with its colourful red bricks and golden domes.
Night trip for Northern Lights hunting. The Khibiny Mountains are a fairytale setting to try to observe the Northern Lights. We will leave the village by coach and then we will hike around 30 minutes through a wide track to reach a wide valley hidden between the mountains.
Overnight in Kirovsk
Day 3 Kirovsk-Murmansk
Breakfast at the hotel.
Snowmobile Safari in the Khibiny Mountains. The Khibiny Mountains, with their spectacular terrain and beautiful valleys, provide a unique setting for snowmobile safaris. In addition, due to the height here, safaris can usually be carried out until May. We will leave the village through a valley, going towards the heart of the range, to reach a mountain pass beaten by the winds and a frozen mountain lake.
We will change clothes in the base of the snowmobiles, where we will receive all the necessary equipment, as well as the basic instructions of driving snowmobiles and the rules to follow during the safari, which will be translated for us by our guide. Then we will split into groups of about 6 snowmobiles, each group accompanied by an instructor (Russian or English speaking).
Two people will travel in each snowmobile – one will drive the snowmobile, the other will travel as a passenger. The two people take shifts driving the snowmobile following the instructor’s indications and changing each other at the stops made for that purpose. The supplement for being alone on the snowmobile is 60 EUR (upon request).
Departure from the hotel at 09:00, finish at 12:00. Transportation time: approximately 1 hour, round trip. Duration of a safari: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
If the snowmobile safari can’t start because of adverse weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances, the activity will be reimbursed. If the safari has started, and it has to be shortened because of worsening weather conditions or other circumstances, emergency, etc., no refund will be made. A voluntary withdrawal by a passenger at any time (before or during the safari), for whatever reason, will not result in any refund.
Visiting the "Snow Village" in Kirovsk. Every year since 2008, 20 artists from Russia and its neighbouring countries create from scratch an underground village, completely carved in snow and ice. It is the largest snow-carved structure in the world, and consists of more than 20 chambers and numerous connecting corridors, which stretch for 2,000 sqm. Each year the village is devoted to a different theme. We can walk through the impressive halls where the artists have carved beautiful filigrees and sublime decorations enhanced by coloured lights.
Descent in "vatrushki" (inflatable sled). We will have the opportunity to practice a pastime that all Russians love since their childhood: to go down a small slope riding "vatrushki" (“donuts”), a kind of a round-shaped inflatable sledge that glides at full speed on snow and ice.
After lunch we will continue through the Kola Peninsula towards Lake Imandra bordering the National Park of Russian Lapland. We will travel across landscapes of an indescribable beauty. Along the way, we will also see some of the major industrial and mining centres in the region, such as Olenegorsk and Monchegorsk. Stop at Lake Imandra and Husky Sleigh Ride. Lake Imandra is the second largest lake in the European Arctic region, and the largest in Russian Lapland. Its coastline draws capricious forms creating many bays, nooks, and islets. It has a maximum depth of 67 meters, 850 square km of surface and is located about 150 km south of Murmansk. Its waters are transparent and rich in fish. We will visit the farm of the famous Russian “huskies”, specially trained and used to the harsh polar conditions. We can enjoy a ride (15 minutes) in a husky-drawn sledge on the frozen waters of Lake Imandra and then warm up with genuine Russian vodka, accompanied by the typical "zakusky". On the sled, we will be covered with blankets, but you must bring warm clothing. There will be one passenger per sled, in addition to the "musher" or guide, who speaks Russian and sometimes English.
If the ride is impossible due to meteorological conditions, the activity will be refunded. If the journey has begun but must be shortened or cancelled by a sudden aggravation of weather conditions or other circumstances, emergencies, etc., no refund will be made. A voluntary withdrawal by a passenger at any time (before or during the ride) would not result in any refund.
Departure back to Murmansk. In route a hunting for Northern Lights are one of the greatest shows that Nature gives us. The night sky is illuminated in a fairy-tale ballet of multi-coloured lights that seem to dance before our eyes. It is a phenomenon created by the arrival of solar particles, charged with energy, meeting the Earth's magnetic field and the gases in our atmosphere. This creates an impressive show of dancing lights whose shapes change capriciously in the night skies. To try to spot the Aurora Borealis in the best possible conditions, we must avoid light pollution, thus leave urban settlements and head to rural areas, preferably on top of a hill to enjoy a better view. The region of Murmansk is one of the most favourable parts of the world for the observation of the Northern Lights, due to the following reasons: it is located in the very North, about 300 km above the Polar Circle; the temperatures, although cold, are moderated by the Gulf Stream. And Murmansk enjoys more clear days than other cities on the same latitude. Murmansk is located right in the so-called "Oval of the Northern Lights", the part of the world where it is easier to see them. In Murmansk and its region, we can see the northern lights between the end of September and April.
Overnight in Murmansk
Day 4 Murmansk-Moscow
Visiting the Nuclear Icebreaker "Lenin". During the numerous expeditions to the Russian Arctic, to the various bases and settlements in the northernmost part of the country, the Russians clearly saw the need to extend the endurance of their ships. Icebreakers consume a lot of energy because of the power they need to break the ice shell. For a traditional diesel-powered icebreaker, endurance reaches a maximum of 40 days, even when carrying 70% of its weight in fuel. The Soviet Union therefore decided to build the first nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world: The "Lenin". She was built in the St. Petersburg shipyards. Launched in 1957, she was finalized in 1959. She was powered by 3 nuclear reactors, which were then replaced by 2 of a more advanced and safer type. The "Lenin" had one year endurance, with a power of 45,000 horses. In 1989, she was retired from service, having travelled nearly 600,000 nautical miles (one million kilometres) through the ice of the Arctic. After all these years of good and loyal service, she now serves as a museum in the city of Murmansk. She is located not far from "Atomflot", the headquarters of the Russian fleet of nuclear ice-breakers, the only one in the world. During our visit to the "Lenin" we will see the different parts of the ship, which is adapted for a crew who had to spend long periods in complete autonomy, without contact with the outside world: the canteen, the cinema, the small hospital, the cabins, the map room, the captain’s bridge, and, of course, the nuclear reactors, now deactivated.
Panoramic Tour of Murmansk. The city extends from North to South on the banks of the Murmansk Fjord along about 20 km. It was built on the hills overlooking the fjord, so we can enjoy panoramic views in different places along our route. Most of the monuments we will see are related to the character of Murmansk as a fishing and military port, as well as to its important role in both world wars, especially during World War II, when the city heroically resisted several German attacks and was one of the main entry points of the Allied military aid to the Soviet Union.
We will start at the city centre, at the Five Corners Square. Next to it, the Central Park is located with its curious Monument to the Cod, the main product of the Murmansk fishing fleet. At the crossroad of Lenin Avenue and Karl Marx Street there are two of the most important buildings of the city, the Town Hall and the Regional Museum of Local Lore, the oldest stone building in Murmansk. We will then pass in front of the Monument to the Patriarchs Cyril and Methodius, who introduced writing in Russia creating the Cyrillic alphabet. We will proceed by the Court of Justice and the House of Culture, continuing along Lenin Avenue, where we can admire many examples of Stalinist architecture. We will see the Drama Theatre, next to the Monument to the Arctic Border Guards. We will go up Lieutenant Schmidt Avenue, passing the Monument to the Sailors and Ships of the Fleet, the Central Station, and the sport area, with the Ice Palace, the Central Stadium, and the communal swimming pool. After a stop in front of the Monument to the Arctic Explorers, we will reach the hill where some of the main monuments of the city are located: The Orthodox Church of Saint Saviour on the Waters, the Memorial to the Sailors Fallen in Times of Peace, and the moving Monument to the Kursk Submariners, with the turret of the infamous nuclear submarine that sank in 2000 in the waters of the Barents Sea, killing its 118 crew members. It was based in one of the military facilities near Murmansk. From here, we can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. We will continue around Lake Semenovskoye where we can find the statue of the famous cat "Semyon" lost by its owners in 1987 during a trip to Moscow. For 6 years, the cat travelled 1,800 kilometres all the way back to Murmansk to come home. We will then arrive at one of the highest points of the city, the Monument to the Defenders of the Russian Arctic during World War II, an impressive statue of a Soviet soldier nearly 40 meters high, better known under the nickname of "Alyosha", diminutive of Alexei. The Eternal Flame for the Unknown Soldier is also located here. We will admire a spectacular view of the city, its port, the Murmansk Fjord, and its surroundings. After seeing the statue of the Waiting Woman, dedicated to the sailors' wives, we will move to some of the city suburbs, passing by the Orthodox Church of All Saints, one of the most remarkable in Murmansk. We will reach the bridge over the Kola Bay, where we will enjoy another beautiful panorama of the city and its fjord. We will then return to the center.
Day 5 Moscow/End of trip
After breakfast. The day is free until checkout time. The driver will pick you up and drop you to the airport for your onward flight.
AED 9990/- Per person, Prices are based on twin sharing.
Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights.
Destinations: Moscow, Murmansk, Kirovsk.
The rates are subject to availability at the time of booking request. In the event if there are rate changes due to increase in Govt taxes, or hotel charges a surcharge, or BAR rates (Best available rates), we reserve the right to amend the rates without notice. The exchange rate is subject to change. Please ensure that you have secured the relevant visa / entry permits & valid passport. The best source of visa information is the embassy of the country itself.
If you are interested in going ahead with this booking, we would require deposits or payments as follows either in the form of cash or cheque:
Please ensure that the names given to us for reservations match the names in your passport, as hotels, sightseeing tour companies are very particular about name changes. Mismatched names may result in heavy amendment penalties. We strongly recommend travel insurance as part of your package – we have excellent rates with the world’s best companies – please let us know if you wish us to add this to your package.
Economy class airfare from Dubai / Moscow / Dubai.
Internal flights from Moscow / Murmansk / Moscow.
2 nights accommodation in Moscow based on double room occupancy.
1 night accommodation in Kirovsk & Murmansk based on double room occupancy.
Air-conditioned transfers according to program.
English-speaking local guide, All visits, transfers, services, and entrances according to the program.
Daily breakfast, 3 lunches and 3 dinners.
Complimentary travel insurance.
All airline and hotel taxes.