The Kola Peninsula is located in the far northwest of Russia and is bordered by the Barents Sea and the White Sea. Most of this territory lies inside the Arctic Circle, which makes the region quite peculiar climate and natural phenomena. Tourism in Kola has been actively developing during the last decade and now can offer many unhackneyed options of active vacation or eco-leisure.
Murmansk is the Kola Peninsula's administrative center and main hub: when you arrive at Kola from Moscow or Saint Petersburg, you definitely arrive at Murmansk's airport or railway station first.
The city itself is pretty small but there are still things to do and to visit! The main sights include the main Five Corners Square (with the most northern McDonald's' restaurant in the world), Defenders of the Soviet Arctic during the Great Patriotic, also called Alyosha, the famous Nuclear Icebreaker Lenin. Don’t miss food markets to buy seafood and game: venison, Murmansk cod, elk if you have time. Another special treat of the north is cloudberry and products made of it: jams and liquors.
If you stay at Azimuth Hotel, the highest building in Murmansk. You will enjoy a pretty panorama of the city from a bird-eye view: block houses of the Soviet era, multi-colored launching barges of the port, and, like the icing on the cake, a mountain range in the background of the whole landscape.
Be careful when choosing a season for your trip: Murmansk and the whole Kolskiy District have a polar night from the beginning of December and forty days on, which means the sun never rises during this period, and a polar day from the end of May till the end of July, when, on the contrary, the sun shines 24/7. It may be quite challenging to sleep well for those who are not used to such phenomena!
The city itself is quite small but there are still things to do and to visit! The main sights include the main Five Corners Square (with the most northern McDonald's' restaurant in the world), Defenders of the Soviet Arctic during the Great Patriotic which is also called Alyosha, the famous Nuclear Icebreaker Lenin. If you have time, don’t miss the markets to buy seafood and game: venison, Murmansk cod, elk; the other special threat of north is cloudberry and products made of it: jams and liquors.
If you stay at Azimuth Hotel, the highest building of Murmansk, you will be lucky to enjoy a pretty panorama of the city from the bird-eye view: block houses of the Soviet era, multi-colored launching barges of the port, and, like the icing on the cake, a mountain range on the background of the whole landscape.
This village on the Barents Sea coast is a must-visit during any time of the year and not only because it became the main filming spot of the Leviathan movie, the Golden Globe winner-2015. It is a genuine escape from the everyday life of a vast megapolis citizen and an ultimate expression of real nature. Russian rural scenery with tiny wooden houses, boats, and a chapel is now mixed with decent tourist service that includes a fabulous restaurant with the Barents Sea panoramic view and snowmobile riding tours. With a snowmobile, you can reach more spots with perfect views, including non-freezing waterfalls and cliffs.
The Barents Sea never freezes in this region, so you can feast your eyes on its roaring waves even if you arrive in winter. Due to the Golfstream, sea winds here are not cold; however, make sure you wear warm clothes as temperatures can reach 30-35 degrees below zero.
The way to Teriberka from Murmansk lies through the tundra. Its horizonless views do not leave anyone indifferent and are definitely worth a photo stop.
An important tip: a road to Teriberka can be closed due to harsh weather conditions, so we recommend that you not postpone your trip to Teriberka until the last day of your vacation and keep an option to shift it to another day.
Kola is one of the best spots for catching Aurora. It is impossible to see them in the city because of the bright lights; however, if you take a ride out to the countryside like Teriberka, Lovosero Lake, Khibiny Mountains, you have a great chance to see the miracle of dancing colored lights. The Northern Lights start appearing in late August and can be caught till mid-April.
You can book a seat in the Northern Lights Hunting trip at the link:
Make sure you wear warm clothes as you might spend plenty of time watching Aurora! It is difficult to capture the lights with a standard smartphone camera, but you can do it with a professional one after adjusting the proper settings.
Kolskiy district is a real catch for nature lovers and fans of trekking, picnics, fishing, snowmobiles riding, and just having a retreat. For instance, you can try the Eco House Hotel in the suburbs of Murmansk: a complex of wooden houses with Russian banya, surrounded by a forest full of fresh, clean air. A relatively new glamping complex called Aurora Village offers a set of igloos and features one of the best spots for seeing the Northern Lights. Near the complex is a lake where you can try ice fishing and snowmobile riding, skiing, and then have a rest with an open-air barbeque dinner. Many tourists long for riding a dog in a sled, and here, in the Kola Peninsula, you also have a chance to try it with Siberian Huskies in the Husky village not far from Murmansk.
Russia has several top-tier ski resorts, and Kirovsk, the city in the Kola Peninsula located at the spurs of the Khibiny Mountains, is one of the most affordable options you can find. “Bolshoi Vudjavr” Ski Complex is aimed at all categories of skiers, from beginners to professionals. Fifteen of twenty-three trails are artificially enlightened, which allows you to ski even during the polar night. The total length of trails is 25 km. You can rent all necessary equipment in the ski center for a moderate price; ski-pass prices start from 500 RUB. There are hotels and guest houses near the ski resort so you can stay there for several days.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to delicious Russian cuisine, which has its special zest of the North. Such restaurants as Tsar Hunt and Tundra in Murmansk, V Svoey Tarelke in Kirovsk, and tourist cafes in Teriberka and Sami village offer exquisitely cooked venison, various sorts of delicious fish in unusual dressings, traditional Russian drinks, and desserts.
The Snow Village looks like a cave with multiple rooms; each room is made in its style with sculptures and carvings of snow and ice. The most peculiar thing about Show Village is that human hands made it without any artificial materials. The level of effort and the final result are impressively extraordinary.
As soon as you arrive, you will be met by friendly rabbits running all around the village. There is more to enjoy for animal lovers, as Sami Village keeps reindeer, which can be fed and cuddled during your visit. For the most adventurous ones, there is reindeer sledding. Finally, you can spend time with lovely huskies on a small husky farm of Sam Syyt and meet the old moose.
A restaurant of Sam Syyt offers different dishes of Sami cuisine. After lunch, you are welcome to try Sami's traditional open-air games and take photos in traditional clothes. Don't forget to make a wish near the idols: Sami people believe they make wishes come true if you give idols a coin. You will need one coin for each of the six majestic idols.