Explore the Russian Arctics

Explore the Russian Arctics

The Arctic region is seemingly delicate and fragile, but it is one of the most resilient parts of the planet. But is there anything to see and experience there, besides the vast expanses of water and ice? Is there more to see than just the Northern Lights?
In this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan a visit to the Russian Arctic region, including the world’s northernmost city of Murmansk and the village of Teriberka, which is on the banks of the Northern Ocean with details on how to get there, where to stay and how to plan the ultimate Arctic experience!

Visit the edge of the World at Teriberka

Teriberka is a small fishing village on the Barrents Sea, in the Arctic Ocean. It is about 130 kms from the nearest city, Murmansk which is well connected with other parts of Russia. Teriberka is famous for being the last frontier in the Russian Arctics and the fishing waters it provides.

Explore the village of Teriberka with Sergey at Season’s Travel

Spend a day at the Fishing Village in Teriberka

Although there is only one Bed and Breakfast at Teriberka, its very easy to do a day trip from Murmansk where you have so many places to stay at – so many people do just that. But the experience of staying in the last village in the arctic circle is something else! 

Tip: If you want to go swimming in the Barrents Sea, go there in Summer time. Teriberka turns into a beautiful lush lanscape with moss and ferns growing abundantly. In fact, Russians consider it as a beachside destination in the summer!

Walk in the alleys of Teriberka

Teriberka used to be well populated during the ’90s, but the downward interests of fishing and the barren land has led many people to abandon their homes and move southward: a  story that is told by the few dilapidated buildings left in the village!

The village also feels like it was stuck in time since the cold war era. The architectural styles, the abandoned cars of the yesteryears, the old typewriters and hadbound books in the county school are all remnant of the most intense decades of modern Russian history.

Our experience

Visiting the beach in Teriberka was one of the strangest experiences we have had – our image of a beach had always been the blue water, a salty breeze, the warm sand and a strong sun. Here we saw, an agitated sea, freezing water, snow covered sand and fjords (huge mountains rising from under the sea) all around!

Check out the Russian Arctics with Sergey at Season’s Travel

Experience Russian Culture in Murmansk

Russia is not all about Vodka and Communism! There’s a great deal of history apart from the wars that the country boasts of – and Murmansk has the perfect combination of the two! Starting with a visit to the Orthodox Chrisitian Churches of Savior on Waters and the St. Nicholas CHurch in the city, you must also visit the Pechenga Wooden Monastery, a settlement like no other in the Arctic region.

Tip: Spend a half day in the evening doing a Murmansk city tour. This is the best way to see all the smaller attractions in the city.

Visit the 68°N Latitude point in Murmansk

Murmansk is the northernmost city in the World at this latitude. It is so special to the people of Murmansk, that they have many plaques stating so, around the city. We even had an opportunity to eat at the officially northernmost McDonald’s restaurant there!

Plan a personalised visit to Murmansk with Sergey at Season’s Travel

Spend a day at the traditional Saami Village

The Saamis are a nomadic hunting tribe that moved across the Nordics. Interestingly, they are very accustomed to living in the freezing weather and set up their teepees in the open, but layer them well to escape the cold! The Saamis also raise rabits and deer for meat and hide. Siberian Huskies and Elks (large Moose like creature) are also trained and reared in the village!

Today, the Saamis are more modern – they use ATVs and Quads to attend to their work and survive predominantly on Government support and active tourism. They are extremely hospitable, made us play some very interesting games and had even hosted us at a wonderful vegetarian lunch!

Plan a visit to the Saami Village with Sergey at Season’s Travel

See why Murmansk is called the Hero City of the World War

The port in Murmansk is deeper inland than at the frontier of the Arctic sea. This gave it an advantage to be named a military port and the Russian Government invested heavily in it, after WWI. It is said that hundreds and thousands of soldiers lost their lives protecting Russian from invaders coming from the West after fighting very bravely in the insanely cold climate! As a testimony to them, the Alyosha Monument was erected, overlooking the port of Murmansk at the top of a hill.

In the port, you can visit the Lenin, the world’s first Nuclear Icebreaker. This ship would stay afloat for many months at a stretch while exploring the Northern seas on scientific expeditions. Today, it is a museum and can be visited on a guided tour!

Go on a Murmansk City tour with Sergey from Season’s Travel

How to visit Murmansk

The easiest way to visit Murmansk is by a flight. It is well connected with St. Petersburg, Moscow and a few other cities. One way tickets to and from the city cost as little as USD 50 despite being so remote!

The best way of reaching Murmansk is by Train. Although Murmansk isn’t on the Transsiberian route, the trains are the same kind and the experience is similar. We took the 24-hour train from St. Petersburg to Murmansk and it cost RUB 3,100 (INR 3,400 or USD 50).

 

Where to stay in Murmansk

We stayed at the Season’s Hostel in downtown Murmansk. It is less than a kilometre away from the Murmansk Railway station and a few miles from the Airport. Sergey and his family run the hostel and a travel agency where they organise small group tours to the Arctic sea, Teriberka and Saami villages amongst more local destinations. The prices are quite cheap at less than RUB 550 (INR 600) per person, for a night’s stay with breakfast. The rooms are maintained very well.

Book your stay here

How many days to spend in Murmansk

Spend atleast two nights in Murmansk for the best experiences. The city is the main point in the north to visit the Arctic Ocean, Teriberka, the Saami land and the Norther Lights!

 

Suggested itinerary:

Day one: Day trip to Teriberka and the aandoned village. Have lunch at a local cafe in the town. Return to Murmansk for the night or spend the night at Teriberka. 

Optional add-on: If you are visiting in the Winter, don’t forget to experience the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) – its the cheapest way of seeing Nature’s most exquisite miracle!

Day two: Visit the Saami Village for fun, games and to learn about the classic nomadic culture in the Arctic. Lunch at the Saami house. Then head out to the numerous sghts in Murmansk starting with the Icebreaker Lenin, the Alyosha Monument, the Wooden Monastery of Pechenga and click a selfie at the northernmost McDonald’s in the world!

Plan this two night visit for as little as RUB 7,000 (around USD 100) per person, per night with daytrips and accommodation at Season’s Hostel and Travel.

Eating out in Acrtic Russia

There are many cafes and restaurants in Murmansk, and two in Teriberka. The food is very tasty in the region which is famous for its meat and fish. Jam-filled buns are incredibly tasty at RUB 15 (INR 16). Vegetarian food is abundantly found in the cities although, in Teriberka it maybe limited to Fries, Soup and basic salads.

Tip: Check out Kruzhka, a cozy cafe on Ulitsa Profsoyuzov street

Murmansk is one of our favourtie destinations for all of these reasons: history, nature, friendly people and most importantly, it does not burn a hole in the wallet for the amazing experiences it offers! And its also a place where we made one of our nicest friends in Russia.

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This article features in the Arctic Circle, Asia, Europe, Russia categories