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Nordkapp Adventure
16 days
Norway, Russia - Trip code NKP

Nordkapp Adventure

On this journey of discovery, we venture from St. Petersburg up through Russia and into Norway, to the most northern point in mainland Europe. This is uncharted territory for Explore, so on this first ever recce departure we'll be asking for your feedback to help us put together an exciting new trip for 2018 to this remote but fascinating region. We will travel by road and use a couple of overnight trains as we make our way north and visit iconic cities including Murmansk, Alta and Tromso and stop off at unusual sights along the way. We take a boat across the White Sea to Solovetsky Island, which is home to a monastery that was formerly a prison camp for politicians of Imperial Russia. We also see traditional Russian wooden architecture on the UNESCO listed Kizhi Island in Lake Onega. The pinnacle of our journey will be reaching the edge of Europe as we arrive at Nordkapp and take an 18 kilometre hike to the actual most northern point in Europe, Knivskjellodden, which few tourists venture to. There will be just one departure of this trip in 2017 in June when we will be able to experience the bizarre sensation of the midnight sun.

Trip highlights

  • St. Petersburg - Discover the city on foot and take a boat trip to the lesser visited Fort Alexander I and explore Kronstadt Military Port
  • Solovetsky Island - Visit the monastery which was a former prison camp for politicians of Imperial Russia
  • Murmansk - See the world's first nuclear-powered icebreaker ship 'Lenin' and the Museum of the Northern Fleet
  • Kizhi Island - Experience one of Russia's greatest open-air museums on an island in Lake Onega
  • Nordkapp - Reach the globe marking the end of the North Cape and walk to Knivskjellodden, the true most northern point in mainland Europe
  • Alta - See the UNESCO listed rock paintings at the Alta Museum and have the chance to walk to the Alta Dam
  • Tromso - Chance to take an evening cable car ride up Mount Storsteinen
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Full on
Full on paced trips are for travellers who like their holidays packed with activities and experiences, moving on quickly from place to place with lots of early starts and long, busy days. Some may find them tiring, but others get a buzz from packing their precious holiday-time as chock-a-block full of new experiences as possible!
Group Size:
12 - 18
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in St. Petersburg, Russia

Our journey of discovery, to the most northerly point in mainland Europe, begins in Russia in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg. Built on the hundred islets that form the delta of the Neva River, the city formerly known as Leningrad, was founded by Peter the Great as his 'Window on the West'. It's regarded as one of the most romantic cities in the world with its picturesque canals and baroque and neoclassical buildings that give it a very European feel. It was here that the Russian Revolution began, and where, arguably, the first shoots of democracy sprouted, 70 years later. After checking in to our hotel and meeting the rest of the group, the evening is free for you to enjoy the city's many bars and restaurants.

Accommodation: Ibis St Petersburg Centre(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - City tour of St. Petersburg and visit to the Hermitage Museum

This morning our Explore Leader will take us on a tour by foot and by metro of all the city's main highlights. Amongst other things we will see the Alexander Nevsky Convent, Kazan Cathedral, the monument to Peter the Great, Church of the Saviour of the Spilled Blood and Palace Square, as well as the numerous canals and rivers and beautiful bridges that cross them. Along the way we will visit the Museum of Political History, where we have an audio guide to enhance our understanding of the exhibits. The museum building itself is significant; it's an art nouveau mansion that was original built for a mistress of Nicholas II before he became Emperor. In 1917 it was seized by the Bolsheviks revolutionaries who turned it into their headquarters. It became the Museum of the Revolution in 1957 and then in the 1990's it was reworked to reveal the Soviet Union's secret history and turned into the fascinating museum it is today. This afternoon we will visit the Hermitage, which is unquestionably one of the finest art galleries in the world. It contains the works of masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, Velazquez, Rubens and Rembrandt, as well as contemporary pieces by Matisse and Picasso. Collections are split between buildings, with much on display at the Winter Palace. The official residence of Russia's Tsars from the 18th century until Nicolas II's forced abdication in 1917, this monumental building contains no less than 1500 rooms. Stormed by Red Army soldiers in a defining moment that marked the beginning of the Soviet era, the following month-long looting of the palace's wine cellars led to what some describe as 'the greatest hangover in history'.

Accommodation: Ibis St Petersburg Centre(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Visit Peterhof Park and Fort Alexander I; train to Petrozavodsk

We start today by visiting the beautiful Peterhof Gardens and Parkland. In this palace estate there is nearly two centuries of European aristocratic style on show. You can stroll through the formal gardens, the Garden of Venus, Peter's orchard and past an array of charming statues, ponds and fountains. The first landscape garden here, the English Park, was created on the orders of Catherine the Great by the English landscaper James Meders and Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi. Next we visit Kronstadt Military Port, which was founded by Peter the Great in 1704 on Kotlin Island and was once considered to be the most fortified port in the world. Today it still retains some forts, but many were destroyed or used in the construction of the Saint Petersburg Flood Prevention Facility. Up until 1998, Kronstadt was a closed city, but now all but a few remaining military areas are open to the public. This afternoon we have an excursion by boat to Fort Alexander I. Built in the 1800's this maritime fortress was constructed, not on an existing island, but by beams driven into the sea floor. Despite its strategic location in the Gulf of Finland it was never directly attacked and in the 1900's its purpose was changed to serve as a plague research facility. In the 1980's the fort was abandoned and took on a new life as a base for locals holding illegal raves. This evening we board our overnight train to Petrozavodsk. We'll spend the night in sleeper carriages with four bunk beds and bedding provided in each compartment and with a shared toilet and wash basin in each carriage.

Accommodation: Overnight Train from St Petersburg to Petrozavodsk
Simple Overnight Train

Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 4 - Arrive in Petrozavodsk; boat to UNESCO listed Kizhi Island

This morning we arrive in Petrozavodsk and have breakfast at our hotel. After which we depart by boat for our excursion to Kizhi Island, which is home to one of Russia's greatest open-air museums, and located in Lake Onega, Europe's second largest lake. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its collection of traditional wooden buildings. Central to this is Kizhi Pogost where we find an enclosure with two churches and a bell tower. The Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus was moved here from the Murom Monastery on the east shore of the lake. It dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest wooden church left standing in Russia. After spending a few hours here exploring on foot we take the boat back to Petrozavodsk for the evening.

Accommodation: Hotel Severnaya(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Stop at Kivach Waterfall en route to Rabocheostrovsk

Today we drive to Rabocheostrovsk, which is around 410 kilometres away, so it will take us most of the day. En route we will stop at Kivach Waterfall where we have the opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch and in the town of Medvezhyegorsk we will visit the World War II Finnish underground war bunker, which is carved into the rocky hillside ridge. It may be dark in the bunker, so we recommend taking a torch with you today. We will also break the journey at any other interesting sights we find or prime photo spots, as we travel through hills and forests and no doubt see both traditional and more Soviet style architecture along the way. Rabocheostrovsk is only a short distance (12 kilometres) from the historic town of Kem. It is a small town sandwiched between the rocky coastline and dense forest and it's here that the Kem River joins the sea. It has long been known as the gateway to the White Sea and the starting point for pilgrims travelling to the Solovetsky Archipelago. Both Rabocheostrovsk and Kem have been under the control of both the Finnish and Swedes during its long history and Kem grew massively during World War I with the construction of the railway to the new port of Murmansk. Then after the Bolshevik revolution the area was occupied for two years by White troops, but with the return of the Soviets it became part of a corrective camp system created by the political police in 1919 in Solovetsky Monastery. Our accommodation tonight will be near the harbour in Rabocheostrovsk, ready for our adventure across the White Sea to Solovetsky tomorrow morning. Our accommodation tonight will be made up of eight two-storey simply decorated cottages that we will be split between. There is a restaurant, bar and sauna on site.

Accommodation: Hotel Prichal(or similar)

Simple Chalet
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Boat to Solovetsky Island; visit the monastery (former prison camp)

This morning we take the boat across to Solovetsky Island in the White Sea, which will take around two hours. This archipelago is made up of six islands and is located around 160 kilometres below the Arctic Circle. Here we visit the Solovetsky Monastery Complex, which is under 10 minutes' walk from the hotel where we will be spending the night. Built in the 15th century the monastery is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area has been considered sacred since ancient times and has numerous labyrinths and barrows dating back to as early as 3000 BC. By the 17th century the monastery was a commercial hub with salt and iron works and fishing and was home to some 350 monks. However, in the 20th century the monastery was closed and in 1923 it was converted into a gulag for political prisoners. The camp wasn't too bad at first with the prisoners keeping a botanical garden and having a library. But in 1937 Stalin changed that and made it into one of the most severe in all of Russia and it's estimated that over one million people died here including priests, artists and writers - anyone who was deemed 'an enemy of the state'. The camp was in operation up to 1939 and then during World War II it became a naval base. The monastery finally reopened in the early 1990's and is now once again home to a few monks. A large wooden cross commemorates those that lost their lives in this former prison camp. In the monastery complex we will find Uspensky and Preobrazhensky Cathedrals, a watermill and the Church of Saint Nicholas. The Annunciation Church here still holds regular services and you can also choose to climb the bell tower for a great view over the islands. We will spend around three hours exploring the monastery. Later this afternoon you may like to discover more of the island at your own pace. In the village there are chapels to commemorate the Tsars, hostels for pilgrims, a dry-dock and a hydroelectric power station. The botanical gardens are amongst the most northerly in the world, but due to its sheltered valley location and a network of underground hot water pipes it contains plants normally only found in more southern climates. On a nearby hilltop sits Alexander Nevsky Church and 12 kilometres from the main complex is the steep hill with a 19th century church used for solitary confinement on the top of Hatchet Mountain. The State Historical-Architectural Museum features an emotive exhibit on the Gulag history of the monastery. Also about 1.5 kilometres from the main village you'll find a haunting abandoned prison, where you could try out a bit of urban exploration.

Accommodation: Solovetskaya Sloboda Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Boat back to Kem; overnight train to Murmansk

We have most of today free to further explore the island and then this afternoon we take the boat back to Kem. It's a historical city that was founded in Medieval times and on arrival our Explore Leader will take us on a short orientation tour of the main sights. There will also be free time for you to have dinner here before we transfer to the railway station to take the overnight train to Murmansk. We spend the night in sleeper carriages with four bunk beds and bedding provided in each compartment and with a shared toilet and wash basin in each carriage.

Accommodation: Overnight Train from Kem to Murmansk
Simple Overnight Train

Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Arrive in Murmansk; city tour including the British Naval Cemetery

We arrive in Murmansk this morning and have breakfast in our hotel. Murmansk is a relatively new city, with it celebrating its 100th birthday in 2016, but it's also the largest Arctic city, which has grown primarily because of its port location, which is kept ice free by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and also the prime mineral mining territory of the nearby Kola Peninsula. The city was originally called Romanov-na-Murmanye and was built quickly during World War I. It was then occupied by the White army fighting the Bolsheviks until 1920 and was renamed, as the 'hero city' after it was obliterated by bombing in World War II. The city's image is rather severe with blocks of Soviet architecture surrounded by weatherworn arctic scenery, but it's a lively place and is a playground for outdoor adventurers during the summer months when the midnight sun is in full swing (from late May to late July). In winter the city endures six weeks of darkness, but is blessed with great displays of the Northern Lights. After some time to relax and get our bearings we will go on our city tour this afternoon to see the main attractions. We'll see the British Naval Cemetery where a number of sailors lost their lives in 1919 when Churchill sent them in to help the White Army to try and defeat the Reds. We will also walk past Semyononvskoye Lake and up through a hilly park to the Alyosha Statue. This giant concrete monument of a solider is in place to remember those who were lost in World War II. The decor in our hotel tonight is a bit old fashioned and the in room facilities are simple, but bedrooms are en suite and there is a bar and restaurant.

Accommodation: Fjord Murmansk Hotel(or similar)

Simple Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 9 - Visit to the icebreaker Lenin and Museum of the Northern Fleet

This morning we'll visit the World's first nuclear-powered icebreaker ship 'Lenin', which was once used to carve its way through to the North Pole. The ship was built in 1957 and we will get to see its canteen, map room, captain's bridge and the nuclear reactor. During her time at sea there were two cooling system accidents, which weren't widely known about until after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and this meant that the original nuclear reactors had to be disposed of and she was fitted with new reactors in 1967. In 1974 she was awarded the 'Order of Lenin' honour, which was the highest that could be bestowed in the Soviet Union. She was decommissioned in 1989 because her hull had worn too thin from all the ice she'd navigated through. She has been permanently docked in Murmansk ever since and opened as a museum in 2005. This afternoon we continue learning about Russia's sea faring history with a visit to the Museum of the Northern Fleet. The exhibits here tell the story of Russia's first navy at Arkhangelsk, their early Arctic explorations and the joint Allied Arctic Convoys (call sign PQ) to Soviet Russia during World War II.

Accommodation: Fjord Murmansk Hotel(or similar)

Simple Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 10 - Drive to Kirkenes, Norway via the Trifonov Pechengsky Monastery

Today we leave Russia and drive to Kirkenes in Norway, which is around 225 kilometres away, so it will take us around four hours. En route we stop at the Trifonov Pechengsky Monastery. A monastery on this spot was first founded in 1533 at the point where the Pechenga River meets the Barents Sea. Sadly the original building was burnt down in 1583, but was rebuilt again here in 1886, but the upper monastery was then once again destroyed during bombing in World War II and the lower monastery by fire in 2006. However, a couple of years later the rebuilding commenced and they have constructed an exact replica of the 1886 wooden monasteries. We will be shown around by a monk who will explain its history and importance and will also have free time here for lunch. Kirkenes is a small town close to both the Russian and Finnish borders and on arrival we visit the Andersgrotta World War II civilian bomb shelter to learn more about its history. The city was heavily bombed in the war with more than 300 raids from Soviet planes. The shelter was built in 1943 beneath the bedrock in the city centre and was very well hidden.

Accommodation: Scandic Kirkenes(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 11 - Visit the Ekkeroy bird cliffs en route to Honningsvag

We head further north and make the drive 513 kilometres to Honningsvag, which will take us most of the day. We make a stop at the seabird cliffs at Ekkeroy where it's possible to see over 50 different species including white-tailed eagles, rough-legged buzzards, red-throated pipits, seagulls and kittiwakes. Flaget, or Bird Rock as it is known, is a 40-50 metre high cliff that is around 1 kilometre in length and is now a designated nature reserve. We will also stop off en route at any other interesting sights we find and for photo opportunities. There'll be the chance for a picnic lunch during our journey.

Accommodation: Scandic Honningsvag(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 12 - Reach Nordkapp and Knivskjellodden; drive to Alta

Today will be one of the longest journeys and we start early this morning, so that we can reach our goal as we head for the most northern point in mainland Europe. Many people believe this to be at Nordkapp or North Cape where a globe sits on a cliffs edge as a monument to its northern location, but in fact the true most northern point, is at little known Knivskjellodden, which is a peninsula that stretches out to sea a further 1457 metres north. We make a point on this trip of visiting both of these spots. Although Nordkapp is easily reachable, Knivskjellodden will be more of a challenge as we can only get there on foot. The hike will be 10 kilometres from where we leave the bus to the Knivskjellodden and then we return back the same way, so its 20 kilometres in total, which will take us between six to seven hours. There aren't many trees on this windswept coast but the Gulf Stream keeps the temperatures in summer to an average of 1°C, which isn't bad considering we're only around 1935 kilometres away from the North Pole. Along the way we may be lucky enough to spot reindeer grazing. The track is well marked but it is both rocky and boggy underfoot, so sturdy, waterproof walking boots are a must and you may find walking poles useful too. Marking the most northern point is a stack of granite pieces in a beehive shaped obelisk. There is also a tin box nearby containing a logbook where we can add a note to prove we've succeeded in reaching the edge of Europe. From this spot looking out to see we may be fortunate enough to see puffins and cormorants bobbing in the Arctic Ocean before we begin our walk back to the bus. Following our triumph at reaching Nordkapp and Knivskjellodden we drive to Alta and arrive this evening where you are then free to relax and go for dinner.

Accommodation: Thon Hotel Alta(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 13 - See Alta rock art, the Tirpitz Museum and option to walk at Alta Dam

This morning we explore Alta, which is the largest town in Finnmark and has a lot of Sami cultural links. The town in found inside the Alta Fjord, so has the coast on one side and beautiful mountainous forest on the other. In summer the main attraction here are the UNESCO listed rock carvings at Hjemmeluft which we will visit. The carvings date from around 4200 to 500 BC and prove that there was human activity this far north even in prehistoric times. We also visit the Tirpitz Museum, which has one of the largest collections of artefacts from the Bismarck battleship which served Germany during World War II and attacked the allied Arctic Convoys en route to Murmansk. It was one of the largest, most powerful and feared ships in the Nazi fleet, but on the 12th November 1944 it was successfully bombed and sunk not far off the coast at Tromso. This afternoon you will have the chance to visit Sautso-Alta Canyon where the construction of a hydroelectric dam across the river has produced a 400 metre deep canyon, which we can take a hike to see.

Accommodation: Thon Hotel Alta(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 14 - Drive to Tromso and have a tour; chance to go up Mount Storsteinen

We depart this morning for Tromso, which is about 305 kilometres away and will take us around half a day to reach. We have the opportunity to stop along the way at anything interesting we see and to have a picnic lunch. We will have an orientation tour of Tromso on arrival. The city centre has the largest concentration of traditional wooden houses in Northern Norway with the oldest dating back to 1789. The city's most iconic sight is probably the Arctic Cathedral, which was constructed in 1965, so is relatively modern. The city is one of the most populated northern locations in the world and has rich Sami and Norse history. There may be time for you to visit the Tromso Museum, which displays information about its culture and nature including the world's northernmost botanical garden. This evening if the weather is good you might decide to take the cable car up Mount Storsteinen (420 metres) to take advantage of the midnight sun and capture some amazing photos of the city below in the unique light.

Accommodation: Thon Hotel Tromso(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 15 - Visit to Sommaroy Island with the opportunity for a scenic walk

Today we visit Sommaroy Island, which is a popular spot for walkers, with its white sand beaches and pretty fishing village. Looking to the north you can see all the small islands around Tromso's coast and to the south on a clear day you can see the Kjolva headland. Although the waters are chilly the shallow coves may be warm enough to tempt you to paddle. In the handicraft shop in the village you can buy quirky 'Sjyvotta' mittens, which have a thumb on both sides, so that when the mitten gets dirty you can just switch sides. We will take a two to three hour easy hike to make the most of the impressive scenery. Back in Tromso, this afternoon is free for you to relax and enjoy your final evening in Northern Norway.

Accommodation: Thon Hotel Tromso(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 16 - Trip ends in Tromso, Norway

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Tromso.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

2018 Departures Coming Soon

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Why book this trip

On this one off adventurous recce trip we will take a group of pioneering travellers to venture into uncharted territory for Explore. We will travel from St. Petersburg up through Russia and cross into Northern Norway on our quest to reach the most northern point in mainland Europe. We will use your feedback and the experience you have to help hone our future 2018 group departures to this destination.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 15
Transport
  • Bus
  • Boat
  • Train
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
Accommodation
  • 1 nights simple chalet
  • 10 nights standard hotel
  • 2 nights simple hotel
  • 2 nights simple overnight train
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

Norway Trips

Climate

Seasonal Climate Despite the northern latitudes the climate in Norway is not extreme, due to the affects of the North Atlantic Drift. Between May and September is the best time to visit this region, with summer temperatures reaching the high teens and rain a regular feature year round along the coast. North of the Arctic Circle the sun does not set between the middle of May and the end of July, so you can expect to encounter the midnight sun during this period.

Time difference to GMT

+1

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Lutheranism

Language

Norwegian

Russia Holidays & Tours

Climate

In European Russia snows usually start in November and stay till late March/early April, when a great thaw occurs with temperatures ranging from about 5°C in October and April to -15°C in January.

Time difference to GMT

+3

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Orthodox Christianit, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism

Language

Russian

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Alta: Alta Canyon and Dam price subject to group numbers, €270 fixed cost for guide to be split between group. Tromso: Mount Storsteinen cable car NOK 170.

Clothing

Although we will be travelling in June the weather in the far north of Russia and Norway can still be unpredictable and chilly so layers are needed, including a warm sweater and windproof outer garment. Raingear is essential and other items that may prove useful are gloves, a scarf, a warm hat and lightweight thermals. For our walk to Knivskjellodden you should pack a scarf, hat or a hooded top, warm jacket, gloves and full waterproofs. Ladies should also take a headscarf with them for entering churches.

Footwear

You should bring comfortable waterproof walking boots (these will be needed for the uneven and boggy terrain at Knivskjellodden) and trainers or sandals for relaxing.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and a day pack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself. This trip is at a full on pace, including several train journeys with short walks and/or stairs between platforms, stations and accommodation, so for this reason please take care to make sure you can comfortably carry your own luggage throughout the trip.

Equipment

We recommend taking binoculars, an umbrella, camera, water bottle, sun cream, sun hat and sunglasses. There may be a number of mosquitos at some of the locations visited (especially at the lakes if there is little wind), so we recommend taking mosquito repellent with you. When travelling on the overnight trains you may also find a toilet roll, torch and hand sanitiser useful. For our walk to Knivskjellodden you may want to bring walking poles.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Explore Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly you should allow approximately £30.00 for tips. In order to make things easier for you, the Explore Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the trip.
Country Information

Norway Trips

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£35.00 - 40.00
Beer price
£6.00 - 8.00
Water price
£2.00 - 3.00
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Norwegian Krona
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Take Norwegian Krona with you
Where To Exchange
Recommend you buy some Norwegian Krona before departing the UK (or whist in transit in Oslo).
ATM Availability
ATMs are available in Myre and at Oslo and Evenes Airports.
Credit Card Acceptance
Credit cards are generally accepted at many hotels and optional excursions may be paid for by credit card.
Travellers Cheques
Not recommended.

Russia Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Dinner price
£12.00 - 16.00
Beer price
£2.00 - 4.00
Water price
£1
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Rouble.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
We recommend that you take your money in Sterling, Euros or US Dollars cash. For US Dollars notes should be in good condition (not torn or marked), issued after 1990 (pre-1990 are often refused) and ideally in small denominations. Euros, Sterling and Dollars are easily transferable into the local currency, Roubles.
Where To Exchange
Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
Cash can be withdrawn both in Moscow and St. Petersburg
Credit Card Acceptance
Local currency (Russian Roubles) can also be drawn on credit cards from ATM's in both Moscow and St Petersburg.
Travellers Cheques
Travellers cheques are accepted in Moscow and St Petersburg but are very time-consuming to change and attract unfavourable exchange rates

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Boat, Train

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.


For the overnight train journeys we will use sleeper carriages with four bunk beds and bedding provided (two beds on floor level and two above) per compartment and with a shared toilet and wash basin in each carriage. There are no shower facilities on board. Luggage is stored under the bottom bunk beds and above the cabin door for the top bunks. There is the possibility that you will be sharing with non-Explore clients in the same cabin. This is one of the last places in Europe where you can experience authentic overnight rail travel with the local people and it's a great way of getting from place to place during the night, so you maximise on the amount of time you have in each place during the day to explore. Take snacks, toilet roll, hand sanitiser and an open mind with you for maximum enjoyment. During our stay in Rabocheostrovsk on day 5 we will be spend the night at an accommodation complex made up of eight two-storey simply decorated cottages that we will be split between. There is a restaurant, bar and sauna on site.

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

Norway: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. Russia: All nationalities require a single entry visa in order to enter Russia. As part of the visa requirements you will need to obtain a Russian Travel Voucher and Authorisation from the local Russian authorities. Explore will request this on your behalf approximately 8 weeks prior to departure. Please allow a minimum of 5 working days for the travel voucher and authorisation to be processed. Due to the visa processing times, Explore are unable to accept bookings within one month of travel. For British passport holders: From the Dec 10th 2014 onwards, all applicants must present themselves in person to the Russia Visa Processing Centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh, on the day of application, to provide biometric information (fingerprints). There is currently no appointment system in place for this new process, so applicants will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. It is likely this will mean lengthy queues and waiting times. The biometric process is not optional, and any applicant who refuses to provide their fingerprints will automatically be refused a visa. This information is not stored and applicants will therefore need to travel to the Processing Centre each time a visa is required. In the event an application is rejected due to inaccurate or incomplete information, fingerprints must be resubmitted as part of the revised application. For more information regarding this new process - we recommend contacting the Russian Embassy direct, their website is http://rusemb.org.uk/visa/ It is essential that you provide Explore with the correct passport information at the time of booking, as this will be required in order to request the travel voucher and letter of invite, as well as pre-book any applicable train tickets. Corrections and amendments will incur additional charges, so please double check that the information we have for you is up to date and correct, this includes your passport number, full name as per passport (including middle names), date of birth and place of birth; if customers renew or reissue their passports from the details initially given to Explore, train tickets must be cancelled and purchased again, which involves extra costs and may result in customers being in differing train carriages to the rest of the group. If you intend to renew your passport please let Explore know at the point of booking and please ensure that you have the new passport no later than 8 weeks prior to travel. Once you receive your travel voucher and authorisation, you may notice that the dates of entry and exit displayed do not match your exact dates of entry and exit. This is not a problem and it is often the case that the entry date is earlier than your actual tour start date and the exit date is later than the end of the tour. On your visa application you will need to insert the dates of entry and exit exactly as they are stated on your authorisation letter. In the very unlikely situation that the date band showing on your authorisation letter is ever less than your planned travel duration, please notify Explore as soon as possible and we will get this updated. You will be required to enter a reference number and a confirmation number on your visa application. These can be found at the top of your authorisation letter under the heading 'Voucher Number'. The 6 digit long number is the reference and the 4 digit number is the confirmation number. If arriving in Russia more than 72 hours before day 1 of your Explore holiday, and staying at a different hotel to the joining hotel, or with friends, then please contact Explore to provide us with the address of your accommodation before you begin to apply for your Russian visa Please ensure that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity from the date of return to your home country.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Included activities

This trip is designed to introduce you to this region of Northern Europe in just 16 days; there's a lot of ground to cover, a couple of rail journeys and a considerable amount of walking, so please be prepared for the busy nature of this enthralling holiday. Please also pack light to ensure that you can lift your bag onto the trains.

Non refundable permits

Norway Trips

Vaccinations

The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.

Russia Holidays & Tours

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio and diphtheria. Consult your travel clinic for further advice. Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. Check latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. Special Note: Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. The Russian government advises that certain medications must be declared upon entry into the country, and you may also be required to carry a prescription with you. You should consult your local consulate for up to date information prior to travel.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option

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