Northern Lights in Murmansk Tour7 Days | Moscow, Murmansk, Khirovsk/Khibiny Mountains, Minkino, Loparskaya

Northern Lights in Murmansk Tour

Experience winter in the Russian Arctic as you explore Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula on this 1-week Northern lights in Murmansk tour. The absolute highlight will surely be seeing the breath-taking aurora borealis, or “northern lights” (conditions permitting)! In addition, you’ll discover Murmansk’s Soviet and maritime history, journey across the tundra on a snowmobile, meet the reindeer in a Sami village, stand on Moscow’s legendary Red Square, and much more.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Moscow – Arrival
 
Arrive in Moscow, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel (check in is possible from 14:00). Free time to begin your Northern lights in Murmansk tour. Overnight at the hotel.

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the Armoury in the Kremlin (except Thursdays);
Night city tour, ‘Evening lights of Moscow’;
River cruise on the motor ship ‘Flotilla Radisson Royal’;
Tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre, concerts, or other performances.

Day 2: Moscow
 
After breakfast, take a guided tour of Russia’s capital city, Moscow. Like Rome, this is a city on seven hills. Your tour of the metropolis starts at Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) in the south-west of the city. Elevated 78m above the river, these hills are Moscow’s main panoramic viewpoint and offer excellent views of most of the city’s attractions: the Kremlin, Stalin’s famous “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers (such as the main building of Moscow State University), the modern Moscow City skyscrapers, the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, Russia’s “White House”, Shukhov Tower, Luzhniki Stadium, and the Ostankino TV Tower. After visiting Vorobyovy Gory, descend to the Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) to see the Church of St. George the Victorious, the Triumphal Arch, and Kutuzovsky Prospekt. Then, visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world. The original cathedral was destroyed in the 1930s by order of Stalin and only rebuilt in the 1990s. The cathedral has a 69m-high dome, on the inside of which are beautiful images from the New Testament. Continue the tour at the famed Red Square, walking past St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the famous GUM, the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden. The day ends at the impressive Kremlin and its cathedrals (closed on Thursdays and replaced with an alternative sight). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours
Day 3: Moscow – Murmansk
 
Breakfast and hotel check-out (by 12:00). Free time until your 13:00 transfer from the hotel to Sheremetyevo Airport to take the 15:30 flight to Murmansk (1,443 km, 2h40m). Upon arrival in Murmansk at 18:10, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Murmansk, located on the Kola Peninsula near Russia’s borders with Finland and Norway, is the largest city in the world located north of the Arctic Circle. It experiences the midnight sun in summer, the polar night in winter, and snowfall even as late as June. Your visit to Murmansk will begin with an evening tour to experience a unique natural phenomenon, the breath-taking northern lights or aurora borealis. The tour usually starts between 19:00 and 21:00 and lasts for 3-6 hours, depending on weather conditions and the time it takes to find the best views of the aurora (driving about 10-15 km away from the city reduces the effect of the artificial lighting and allows better photographs). Please note that, due to the nature of this phenomenon, we cannot guarantee that you’ll be able to see it, especially when there is low cloud cover. Nevertheless, the availability of 27-day solar activity forecasts and 2-day cloud forecasts increases the probability that you’ll be able to see the northern lights on at least one of your three evenings in Murmansk. Based on the forecasts, we will decide which evening is likely to offer the best views of the aurora*. As Murmansk experiences frost even in September, we recommend that you wear winter clothes for the tour (of course, you can also warm up with hot tea in the vehicle!). After the tour, return to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tours: 3-6 hours
*If, due to poor weather, the northern lights tour does not operate while you are in Murmansk, we will offer you a partial refund.
Day 4: Murmansk – Kirovsk/Khibiny Mountains – Murmansk
 
After an early breakfast, transfer from Murmansk to Kirovsk (210 km, 3 hours) and beyond to the foot of the Khibiny Mountains in the middle of the Kola Peninsula. Meet the instructors that will introduce you to a real northern experience, a 1.5-hour snowmobile ride across picturesque snowy landscapes. Highlights of your journey along the easy and safe 25 km route include the glacial valley, the shore of the Maly Vudyavr Lake, the Kukisvumchorr Pass, and non-freezing geysers surrounded by ice (please note that in bad weather the route may need to be altered). After the snowmobile ride, take a break for lunch in Kirovsk and then visit the town’s main attractions, the Snow Village and the Apatit Museum and Exhibition Centre. The Snow Village is an impressive tourist complex sculpted from snow and ice, and the Apatit Museum, the town’s main museum, tells the history of mining in the area and displays unique minerals from the Khibin mines. Return to Murmansk. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 10-11 hours
Day 5: Murmansk – Minkino – Loparskaya – Murmansk
 
After breakfast, meet your guide and spend your last day in the Murmansk area learning about the unique traditions of indigenous peoples living in far north-western Russia: the Pomors and the Sami. The Pomors are local Russian people united by common traditions and a way of life that has been associated with fishing and hunting since ancient times. You’ll visit a Pomor house in the village of Minkino (22 km, 30 minutes from Murmansk) on the shores of Kola Bay. The Bolshukha (as the Pomors call the mistress of the house) will welcome you to the unique atmosphere of a Pomor home and show you the homemade floorboards, traditional stove, and various objects associated with Pomor life. She’ll then invite you to taste local tea and pies and join a traditional Pomor “evening party”. In old times, the villagers and guests used to gather in the evenings to talk, have fun, sing songs, and make “goats” (traditional biscuits that symbolise health, love, family, and well-being). You can participate in a master class to try making your own “goat” and then take home a (pre-made) “goat” as a souvenir.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2 hours
Continue to the village of Loparskaya (40 km, 1h30m) to immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of the Sami, the indigenous people of northern Europe. Meet a representative of the community, who’ll tell you about the traditional rituals, culture, and life of these “northern nomads” and explain how, for the Sami, reindeer are everything – transport, currency, housing, clothing, and food. After the talk, you can feed the reindeer with lichen (northern moss), take unique photos of yourself wearing traditional Sami clothing, and try the local natural herbal tea and lingonberry pie. At the end of the village visit, you’ll have the opportunity to buy souvenirs (traditional crafts made from leather, bone, or wood).
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2 hours
Afterwards, drive back to Murmansk. Free time in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Murmansk – Moscow
 
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and take a sightseeing tour of Murmansk. This fascinating Arctic city, now one of Russia’s most important military, fishing, and commercial ports, was founded just before the Russian Revolution and has a significant Soviet legacy. Murmansk’s main street is the Avenue of the Heroes-Sailors of the Northern Seas Fleet, the Communist party newspaper “Polyarnaya Pravda” (“Polar Truth”) was founded here, and the famous nuclear icebreaker “Lenin” was placed here after decommissioning. The tour includes admiring the views of the city, with its commercial port and Russia’s icebreaker fleet, from observation decks on different sides of the Kola Bay. You’ll also discover various attractions reflecting Murmansk’s maritime history: the “Waiting” Monument dedicated to the women waiting for their loved ones to return from being at sea, the “Alyosha” Monument to the defenders of the Soviet Arctic during World War II, a memorial complex for sailors who died in peacetime (which includes a monument to the sailors who lost their lives when the Kursk nuclear submarine sank near Murmansk), and a fragment of the jaw of a blue whale. After the tour, transfer to the airport to take the 13:10 flight from Murmansk to Moscow (1,443 km, 2h30m). Upon arrival in Moscow at 15:40, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: Murmansk 2-3 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Guided walking tour of Zamoskvorechye, the oldest part of the city;
Guided tour of the Tretyakov Gallery.

Day 7: Moscow – Departure
 
Breakfast. Check-out of the hotel by 12:00. Free time until your transfer to Moscow International Airport. Departure. End of the Northern lights in Murmansk tour.
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan type car, 3-7 pax by minivan, 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14+ pax by 40-50 seat bus)
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included
  • Sightseeing tour programme in each city with local, English-speaking guides
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary
  • Economy class tickets for flights Moscow – Murmansk – Moscow
  • Visa support for Russian tourist visa
  • In groups of 11 or more travellers, 1 person travels free of charge and is accommodated in a single room.
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated)
  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour
  • Full board (lunches and dinners)
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for Russia tourist visa
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated)

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Moscow - 3 nights
Veliy Hotel Mokhovaya Moscow, Sverchkov 8 Hotel, Starosadskiy Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Hotel Moscow - BaumanskayaGodunov Hotel, Arbat House Hotel, Pushkin Hotel, Brick Design Hotel
Murmansk - 3 nights
Arctic Hotel, Eco Home Hotel, Polyarny Krug Guest HousePark Inn by Radisson, Azimut Hotel Murmansk

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