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Land of the Midnight Sun

An incredible rail journey during the celebratory White Nights season

From £10,195 per person


An incredible rail journey during the celebratory White Nights season as we cross deep into the Arctic Circle by private train. Incomparable cities, remote communities, dramatic fjords, abundant wildlife, serene forests and stories recounting a turbulent history awaits you on this adventure of a lifetime.

The itinerary for your journey
Tour highlights
Days 1-2 - Moscow
St Basil's Cathedral, Mosocw

Arrive at Moscow Airport, where you are met and transferred to the five-star Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow (or similar) for a two-night stay. This evening you are invited to a champagne drinks reception with the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers before our exclusive Welcome Dinner. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour.

On Day 2 our touring programme today takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin - the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow. We'll also see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber where we will enjoy an exclusive private viewing before it opens to the public. We also visit the Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia's former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil's Cathedral's magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful façade of the world famous GUM Department store constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin's tomb. We'll also take a tour of the opulent and unique stations of the Moscow metro - showpieces of Socialist art furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

Day 3 – Vladimir & Suzdal
Vladimir

From Moscow we travel by rail for the day to the historic Golden Ring city of Vladimir, which was founded in 990 and is one of Russia's oldest communities. With an architectural wealth, it has been decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned.

From Vladimir we travel onto Suzdal, one of Russia's most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024, located 35 kilometres from Vladimir. Here we visit the atmospheric St Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance of traditional church music.

Returning to Moscow early evening, we board the Golden Eagle and settle into our modern, stylish cabins to embark upon our rail adventure deep into the Arctic Circle.

Day 4 - Petrozavodsk & Kizhi Island
Kizhi Island, Russia

Petrozavodsk stretched along the western shore of Lake Onega - the second largest lake in Europe. It is one the major cultural and industrial centres of North-West Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia.

This afternoon, we enjoy a private folk performance before we visit by hydrofoil the tiny island of Kizhi on Lake Onega to explore its open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture. Marvel at the wooden Church of the Transfiguration (the church of twenty-two wooden domes) built in 1714 without the use of a single nail which has survived the challenges of Russian winters and revolution.

Day 5 - Murmansk
Murmansk

Today we have the opportunity to have a relaxed start to the day and look forward to the many sights we are about to experience on our rail journey, maybe listen to a talk or simply relax in the Bar Lounge Car and enjoy the ever-changing summer landscape outside our window. Our train crosses the Arctic Circle on our quest to see the Midnight Sun and we will have a special ceremony on board to mark this occasion.

Late afternoon we arrive into Murmansk and get the chance to explore this city located halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round and it is here we learn about the perilous missions of the many Arctic convoys, hunted continually by the German Navy, which sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland and North America to Murmansk in World War Two to deliver essential supplies to the Soviet Union. Now homeport to Russia's nuclear-powered icebreakers we'll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.

Days 6-7 - Kirkenes
Kirkenes

This morning we leave our train with an overnight bag at the Russian border station of Nikel and we transfer by bus (90 minutes' drive) across the Russian/Norwegian border to Kirkenes for a two-night stay at the Thon Hotel (or similar).

Instead of staying at the Thon Hotel you may also wish to stay for one or two nights in the atmospheric wooden log cabins of the Kirkenes Snow Hotel (additional charges apply).

After a traditional meal this evening, we will take a boat cruise to view the midnight sun (weather permitting). As part of the boat journey we will make a stop to sample the local delicacy, cloudberries and cream and learn about the cultural history of the Laplanders and the Russian Orthodox Church, followed by tea or coffee. We'll be as close to the Russian border that you can almost touch it, but trespassing across the boundary line here would be illegal!

On Day 7 another unique experience awaits you on the water with a King Crab Safari adventure. You will get the opportunity to catch, prepare and sample these giants of the fjords! An experienced fisherman will you take out on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) boat where we will cruise along the Bugøyfjord and the Barents Sea to find the right place to anchor. You will be hands on to help pull up the King Crab cages from the depths. Once the catch is safely on board we will return to the shoreline and sample the freshest and most delicious King Crab in a traditional renovated boat house located by the fjord. An amazing and unforgettable day in the Norwegian Arctic Circle.

This evening we will celebrate the longest day of the Northern Hemisphere year with a Summer Solstice Cocktail Party and Gala Dinner.

Days 8-9 - Nikel Murmansk and onwards to St Petersburg
Golden Eagle

This morning we say farewell to Kirkenes as we cross the border back into Russia, where we spend the morning in Nikel Murmansk before re-joining the train for lunch.

We'll spend Day 9 on board travelling south through Arctic Russia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing landscape outside your window as we head to our final destination, St Petersburg.

Days 10-12 - St Petersburg
St Petersburg

St Petersburg is a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards, beautiful bridges and is renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World. The few brief weeks of the White Nights (Beliye Nochi) - those remarkable, luminous northern mid-summer evenings when the high latitudes are drenched all night in a pearlescent glow and warm summer days are an enchanting time. By day, locals revel in the heat and the outdoors; by night, there are the Stars of the White Nights festivals and concerts to indulge in.

Upon arrival into the city we orientate ourselves with a short touring programme of central St Petersburg featuring the key sights including St Isaac's Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect.

We stay for two nights in St Petersburg at the Renaissance St Petersburg Baltic hotel, just moments away from historic St Petersburg's major sites, including the Hermitage Museum, Mariinsky Theatre, and Nevsky Prospekt.

On Day 11 we have a guided tour of Catherine's Palace in Pushkin and the spectacular Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world's largest and most impressive art museums.

After dinner, why not make your final White Nights evening in St Petersburg extra special by purchasing a ticket for a ballet or opera performance at the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre or take in one of the many outdoor concerts (subject to schedule and availability; must be pre-booked at least six weeks prior to departure)

After breakfast in the hotel our tour to the Land of the Midnight Sun finally comes to a close on Day 12.

Departure Dates

All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
Please always refer to the website for up-to-date prices and availability.

Trains
Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle is arguably the best quality of rail travel offered anywhere in the world. This private train offers a standard of accommodation and catering that most rail passengers crossing the globe can only dream of. The train features two beautifully appointed restaurant cars, in which meals freshly prepared by the on board chefs are served accompanied by wine and vodka. There is also a bar car which is an excellent place to relax and get to know your fellow passengers - and in the evening, enjoy the music from the resident pianist.

We include accommodation in Silver Class cabins. These cabins cover 60 square feet (5.5 square metres) and sleep two people in an upper and a lower berth. They feature a wealth of amenities including remote controlled air conditioning and heating, a wardrobe, luggage space, a safe and a DVD/CD player with LCD television screens. Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water are available in the cabins and towels are provided. There are six cabins per carriage and all Silver Class cabins have private en suite facilities with a 'wet room' style shower, washbasin and WC.

Upgrades are available to Gold Class cabins. These are among the best available in rail travel, with an overall area of 77 square feet (7 square metres). The Gold Class cabins sleep two people in either upper and lower berths or a lower double bed. Facilities include remote controlled air conditioning and heating, luggage space, a wardrobe, a safe and a DVD/CD player with LCD television screens. Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water are available in the cabins and towels are provided. There are five cabins per carriage and all have a private en suite bathroom with a power shower, underfloor heating, washbasin and WC. All drinks from the Bar Car's Standard Bar List are included for Gold Class passengers.

Hotels
What's included

Enhancing your tour

Upgrades

We offer a selection of upgrades and 'add-ons' designed to help you make the most of your holiday - and make it even easier!

Flight upgrades
Flight upgrades

Flight upgrades are available. Please see the information regarding the types of upgrades offered by the various airlines we use in the Add-ons section of 'Things you should know' or call us for details.

London Hotels
London hotels

Spending a night in London before your tour can make such a difference to the first day of your holiday - you can arrive in the capital in good time, relaxed and ready to join your Tour Manager the next morning. You may even want to take in a show on the West End, or dine in one of London's famous restaurants. Perhaps on your return to London, you would like to break your journey with an overnight stay before continuing home.

We are able to book a wide range of hotels in central London or, for our holidays beginning with a flight, at Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester Airport for the night before or after your holiday. The hotels listed below are some of the more popular hotels our customers book in Central London, others are available on request.

Hotel Board Star Weekday room rate Weekend room rate
Pullman London St Pancras B&B 4-star From £240 From £220
Comfort Inn Kings Cross B&B 3-star From £150 From £150
President Hotel B&B 3-star From £110 From £110

 

The prices above are from prices and are per room per night based on 2 sharing a twin/double room, subject to availability. Prices may change without prior notice. Booking conditions apply. If you would like a quote for your particular holiday please contact us on 01904 521900

UK rail connections
UK train tickets

Buying tickets for UK train services can be a tricky business - there are so many fares to choose from, each with different rules and restrictions. As you are connecting with an international departure, we strongly recommend that you book a fully flexible ticket to ensure that should the departure times for your holiday change, your rail ticket can allow for these changes.

We can book fully-flexible UK rail tickets from your local station to join your holiday whether this be a European holiday from St Pancras or a UK holiday. The prices are competitive and tickets are not restricted to a particular train or time of day, and in most cases offer you a free choice of routes.

Estimated costs of return rail travel in the UK can be found on our add-ons page.

For an up to date quote from your local station, please ask one of our Tour Advisors.

This page was printed from www.greatrail.com/grj-independent/holidays/land-of-the-midnight-sun/#INDLMS on 10 August 2020.
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