Soviet Arctic Express Tour
Moscow – Saint Petersburg – Petrozavodsk – Murmansk
Beginning and ending in Moscow, the thriving capital of Russia, the Soviet Arctic Express tour is an epic train journey cutting through the frozen Tundra of Northern Russia. After taking in the classic sights of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, we’ll board the famous Arktika train and head into the Russian Republic of Karelia where we’ll board a Soviet Hydrofoil boat to the atmospheric Kizhi Island where we’ll visit the world-famous architectural sight of the Preobrazhenskaya Church.
Our tour highlight will be the biggest city in the Arctic Circle: The Hero City of Murmansk! Here we’ll board Soviet nuclear icebreaker ships, visit indigenous Russian tribes, play with huskies and reindeer as well as explore ghost towns and forgotten areas along the Arctic coast whilst trying the unique cuisine in the Northern badlands!
- Arrival in Moscow at your own leisure and check into the infamous hotel Sovietsky, the accommodation of choice for former dictators to Hollywood stars.
- Dinner at the Yar restaurant, once frequented by everyone from Lenin and Stalin to Tsar Nicholas II and Rasputin. We’ll round off our trip to Russia with a bear meat steak and some Beluga Vodka.
- We’ll head out and begin our city tour of Moscow seeing the KGB HQ, Red Square, the Moscow Metro
- Night train to Saint Petersburg.
- Overnight on the train.
- Morning arrival and check into our hotel before we hit the ground running with a Soviet tour of Saint Petersburg.
- First, we’ll visit the famous museum in The Cruiser Aurora, a famous vessel that fired the first shot that launched the Russian Revolution.
- We’ll then visit the Finlyandsky Railway terminal, best known as the terminal that Vladimir Lenin used to return to Russia from Germany to start the 1918 Revolution, Lenin rode into St. Petersburg on engine #293 disguised as a railway worker, after previously fleeing persecution after the July Days riots.
- We will then visit Tauride Palace, one of the oldest and largest palaces in St. Petersburg. It was built by Catherine the Great. This was the site where the revolutionary provisional government was formed in 1917.
- We’ll visit the famous Lenin Memorial Museum, where we will view Lenin’s office and living quarters, the assembly hall in which Lenin spoke, as well as the former school for the girls. The gallery is one of the few Lenin museums still in existence.
- We’ll then visit Uprising Square with its imposing Soviet monument, called so due to the numerous political uprisings and protests that have occurred there.
- We’ll head out for an evening meal and round off the night in a Ryumochnaya (the Russian word for shot glass), these drinking holes are as close as you’ll get to the drinking traditions of 19th-century Russia. Cheap and unpretentious, they were a step up from drinking at home (or in the street), the place to go if you couldn’t afford a restaurant in both the USSR and 90s Russia. At our local favourite, there is no sign outside but you can spot the place by the large head of Lenin in the window. The traditional order would be zakuski – Russian hors d’oeuvres of dill pickles, sausages, pickled herring – consumed with alcohol.
- Overnight in St Petersburg
- Early morning train to Petrozavodsk, a city founded by Peter the Great which stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega – the second largest lake in Europe. It is one of the major cultural and industrial centres of the North-West of Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia.
- On arrival, we’ll transfer to the water station and board a Soviet era Hydrofoil boat and sail along the Onejskoe Lake to Kizhi Island (1h 30m)
- Upon arrival in Kizhi Island, we’ll visit the world-famous wooden architecture museum of the Russian North. It includes a magnificent architectural ensemble of Preobrazhenskaya Church, Pokrovskaya Church and the Bell Tower.
- Evening dinner and overnight in Petrozavodsk
- After breakfast, we’ll tour the city of Petrozavodsk whose name translates to ‘Peter’s factory’ after a munitions plant founded here by Peter the Great in 1703, and superseded 70 years later by the Alexandrovskiy Ironworks (still standing). But Petrozavodsk is by no means the gritty, industrial city its name would suggest. Its neoclassical facades, a large student population and connections with Finland all make for a distinctly European atmosphere, and the appealing lakefront promenade is made for strolling.
- After lunch, we’ll board the famous Artika train into the far North of Arctic Russia.
- Overnight on the train.
- Breakfast on the train
- Midday arrival in The Hero City of Murmansk, the largest city beyond the Polar circle.
- We’ll check into our centrally located hotel before kicking off our city tour.
- We’ll visit the highest memorial monument behind the Polar circle, the first-ever nuclear power icebreaker named after Vladimir Lenin and see monuments and panoramas of the city.
- We’ll then meet our driver and head to the opposite coast, crossing the longest bridge in the north before visiting a memorial complex.
- We’ll then check out one of the best places to see the panoramic view of the city, drink hot tea made from northern herbs. You hear from our tour guide the history of Murmansk, the story of its development and get familiar with local life here.
- Evening meal and overnight in Murmansk
- After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll meet our driver and leave Murmansk for the Teriberka Village which is a remote place on an Arctic Ocean coast located around 130 km from Murmansk. The road we’ll use will take us through the wild Arctic Tundra. There are no trees, only snow. Ice and boulders.
- We will make many stops on a way to take photos and explore different areas.
- In Teriberka Village you will see one of the most northern sand beaches in the world.
- Local lunch in Teriberka village
- We’ll explore the eerie cemetery of abandoned Soviet ships.
- Depending on weather conditions, we’ll visit the beach with huge round boulders which look like dinosaur eggs.
- Evening arrival back in Murmansk and dinner in the city taking in the stupendous panoramic views of Murmansk on offer at 7 Nebo (Seventh Heaven) restaurant.
- Overnight in Murmansk
- Breakfast at the hotel before we meet our driver and head to a settlement of the indigenous Salmi people, an indigenous Finno-Ugric people. Traditionally, the Sámi survive through nomadic reindeer herding which provides them with meat, fur, and transportation.
- At the village, you can see traditional Salmi houses, try on their traditional clothes and feed their Reindeers.
- The Salmi will then introduce you to their valued companions and working animals: the Husky Dogs! These are a symbol of the North in Russia and are well respected due to their survival value in the brutal winters of Arctic Russia
- We’ll enjoy a traditional Salmi lunch.
- The Salmi Guides will tell you about the breeding and training of the dogs as well as the role they play in their life in this region.
- If you want to try out a Husky sled it can be arranged at no extra cost.
- Evening arrival back in Murmansk and dinner in the city.
- Overnight in Murmansk
- Free morning in Murmansk to rest
- Lunch at Cafe Leto to try some of the most imaginative food in town. Feast on the likes of crab cutlets with ginger rice, beautifully prepared plov with mushrooms and a selection of filling fish soups.
- Direct flight back to Moscow
- End of tour
- 1 person – €2,995
- 2 – 4 people – €1,495
- 5 – 8 people – €1,295