6 days / 5 nights
A comprehensive tour of Karelia, including the Solovetsky Islands
- Visit churches at Kizhi, Valaam and on the Solovetsky islands
- Take a walk in Ruskeala marble canyon and Kivach Reserve
- Learn about the White Sea - Baltic Canal
- Taste local food in the historical village of Kinerma
~07:00 (09:00) - Arrival in Petrozavodsk by train from St. Petersburg (Moscow).
Meeting at the train station, transfer to the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel.
~11:15 - Departure by boat for Kizhi.
~12:45 – Arrival at Kizhi.
Walking tour of the Kizhi Museum with a local English-speaking guide.
~16:45 - Departure back for Petrozavodsk.
~18:15 - Return to Petrozavodsk.
Overnight in Petrozavodsk.
~09:00 - Transfer to the traditional Karelian village of Kinerma.
~10:30 - Walking tour of the village, lunch with local meals.
~13:00 - Transfer to Ruskeala.
~16:30 - Tour to the marble quarries of Ruskeala which were the source of stone for St.Petersburg palaces.
~18:30 - Accommodation and overnight at the hotel in Sortavala.
Breakfast at the hotel.
~09:00 - In the morning take a boat for the tour of Valaam Island and Monastery.
~10:00 - Visit the central Transfiguration Cathedral, the Church of the Resurrection, observe fairy-tale Gethsemane Skete, and enjoy the beautiful forests and lake landscapes of the Island. In between of the tours the Monastery choir performs a short but impressive concert of the church songs. Lunch is served at the refectory and includes typical monastery meals such as vegetarian soup and fish.
~16:00 - Return to Sortavala and drive to Petrozavodsk.
~21:30 - Accommodation and overnight at the hotel in Petrozavodsk.
Breakfast at the hotel.
~08:00 - Transfer to Kivach Nature Reserve.
~09:30 - Observe Kivach Waterfalls and take a walking tour along the ecological trail in the protected part of the Reserve
~14:00 - Visit the village of Povenets, observe the White Sea - Baltic Canal built in Stalin's time.
Transfer to Kem.
~19:00 - Accommodation at the hotel in Kem.
Overnight in Kem.
~08:00 - Departure by boat for Solovetsky Island.
~10:00 - Arrival at Solovetsky Island, transfer to the hotel.
~14:00 - Walking tour of Solovetsky Monastery.
Evening is free. Optional visits - Maritime Museum, Gulag Museum or the White Sea coast.
Overnight at Solovetsky.
Breakfast at the hotel.
~10:00 - Tour to Zayatsky Island. It is a small tranquil island in about 45 minutes boat ride from the Monastery. The main places of interest of Zayatsky, covered with the tundra-type vegetation are its mysterious stone labyrinths dating back about 4000 years and a small wooden church of St. Andrew (1702).
Transfer to the pier.
~16:00 - Departure for Kem
~18:00 - Arrival in Kem.
Transfer to the train station.
~20:25 - Departure to St. Petersburg by train (arrival St. Petersburg next day at about 12:00 noon). Tickets are not included.
Train for Moscow leaves on the next day early in the morning, extra night in Kem is required.
Petrozavodsk is a nice city with several interesting sights and a perfect starting point for the trips to Kizhi and other cultural and nature landmarks of Karelia.
There are several villages in Karelia which represent the culture and history of the local population. In some villages one can observe the examples of wooden architecture such as small churches and chapels as well as traditional houses.
The island of Valaam is located in Lake Ladoga. The famous Valaam Monastery was founded on the island centuries ago. It is one of the most interesting cultural, historical and nature attractions in the North of Russia.
The Nature Reserve of Kivach is located to the north of Petrozavodsk (65 km).
The White Sea - Baltic Canal was built in the 30's of the 20th Century at the command of Joseph Stalin.
Solovki (Solovetsky Islands) are located in the western part of the White Sea, less than 100 miles far from the Arctic Circle, consisting of 6 big and numerous small islands. There is a famous monastery dating back to the middle centuries as well as other historical and cultural monuments.
The White Sea is located in the northwest of Russia. It is known for the medieval Solovetsky monastery and rich wildlife, including Beluga whales, harp seals and bearded seals, as well as numerous bird species.
The island of Kizhi in Lake Onego is famous for the biggest world ensemble of wooden architecture - Kizhi Museum. It is enlisted in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
1. Accommodation at the hotels (rooms with en-suite WC and shower);
2. Car/bus and boat transfers as per itinerary;
3. Meals as per itinerary (B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner);
4. Entrance fees and tours as per itinerary;
5. English-speaking tour leader and local guides' services;
Note: All boat trips are weather dependent.
Nordic Travel provided us with support in terms of bookings for accommodation in 'difficult to book' places; with bookings for hydrofoil connections; with guides in various locations and with general support. We found them to be enormously helpful, well informed and responsive to even the most detailed of requests. As 'eyes on the ground' they were invaluable in helping us to do things that we might otherwise have missed. Even when Nordavia (a flight we'd booked ourselves and nothing to do with Nordic Travel) messed up a connection thereby deleting part of our itinerary, Nordic Travel were very quick with a sympathetic response and a very rapid, no quibbles, refund for the bits of their itinerary that we were forced to cancel. Their contact, Konstantin Simonov provided a very high standard of support from first e mail contact to face to face meeting in Karelia.They are an excellent and professional organisation and I'd have no hesitation in recommending them to other travellers
Thanks for a great experience. The tour of Karelia was everything we expected and more.The tour went like clockwork. Our guide Alyssa was knowledgeable, patient and quick to lend a helping hand when needed. The drivers were professional and the vans we traveled in were clean and comfortable. We have no complaints about our hotel rooms. What an experience to visit an area of Russia few Americans have ever seen! We wouldn't hesitate to book another Nordic Travel tour.
Thank you very much for arranging the Russian part of our trip. We were very impressed with your professionalism, and all the arrangements worked very well. Vladimir was a very good driver and Elena was an absolutely outstanding guide. She is extremely competent, has a lovely personality, her English is excellent and she was very knowledgable about the sites we visited. She was also very good company and the four of us got on well and had many memorable moments together, particularly dinner & vodka at Sortavala! Regarding the sites, the highlights for us were the visit to Kinerma (we have been involved in raising money to restore a traditional barn in our own small village (only 12 houses) so we could empathise with their efforts and problems), and of course the Solovetsky Islands.
The train journey from Kem to Saint Petersburg was fine and I had a very memorable 70th birthday at Palkin Restaurant where we coincided with the BBC filming a programme in their series on rail journeys, so we will now appear on English TV later this year, they bought us champagne, and the restaurant staff made a special dessert with a large sparkler in the middle and sang happy birthday! So a great holiday.
So once again thank you for all your help.
We wish to congratulate you for the wonderful visit to your country. Believe us when we say that you could teach many tour operators in France and abroad! Michel keeps saying that you know how to select your collaborators... The journey was so smooth (except for the roads) and trouble-free all along. Hotel Rossi was a very good choice as it is very comfortable and close to Nevsky Prospekt. We particularly appreciated to see Alexander I waiting for us at the door of our car in Saint Petersburg railway station. Thank you again.