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Land of the Midnight Sun

(Tour code: MSJ17)Cross deep into the Arctic Circle on the Golden Eagle

Join us on an incredible rail journey during the celebratory White Nights season as we cross deep into the Arctic Circle on the Golden Eagle. Incomparable cities, remote communities, dramatic fjords, abundant wildlife, serene forests and stories recounting a turbulent history awaits you on this adventure of a lifetime to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Tour Highlights
  • Moscow
  • Vladimir & Suzdal
  • Petrozavodsk & Kizhi Island
  • Murmansk
  • Kirkenes with King Crab Fishing
  • Summer Solstice Cocktail Party and Gala Dinner
  • Boat cruise in search of the Midnight Sun
  • St Petersburg
  • The Golden Eagle
What’s Included (Full details)
  • 5 nights on the Golden Eagle
  • 6 nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast each day
  • Return Scheduled Flights

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
Days 1-2


On Day 1 you meet your your tour manager at Heathrow airport for your fight to Moscow, where you are met and transferred to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton (or similar) for a two-night stay. Located in Moscow city centre, and within walking distance of Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre, guests will discover a classic and sophisticated ambience within this luxury hotel. 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 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. Later, we 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.

Upensky Cathedral, Vladimir
Day 3

Vladimir & Suzdal

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.

Church of Transfiguration, Kizhi Island
Days 4-5

Petrozaodsk, Kizhi Island & Murmansk

Petrozavodsk stretches 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.

Today, we enjoy a private folk performance at Kantele House in the city before we visit, by hydrofoil, the tiny island of Kizhi on Lake Onega to explore its openair 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.

On Day 5, 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. Perhaps 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. This evening 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.

Midnight Sun, Kirkenes
Days 6-7

Nikel Murmansk to Kirkenes

This afternoon 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 twonight 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 in search of the Midnight Sun (weather permitting). Starting from Kirkenes central harbour we travel out onto the Bøkfjord and Barents Sea by RIB (rigid inflatable boat) boat. It is from the fjord that you will experience the wonder of the Midnight Sun. Your experienced tour guide will describe what life living by fjord was like during World War Two as Kirkenes was heavily bombed, along with the opportunity to observe the teeming sea life and coastal birds.

On day 7, another unique experience awaits you on the water with a King Crab Fishing 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 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.

Golden Eagle
Days 8-9

Kirkenes to St Petersburg

This morning why not join an optional activity from Kirkenes (additional charges apply): You may like to book some additional optional activities such as Barents Sea Fishing and try and catch coalfish, cod or haddock! These selected activities have limited places so are subject to availability and should be requested at the time of booking the tour - please contact us for prices. We then say farewell to Kirkenes as we cross the border back into Russia and re-join our train which is waiting for us in Nikel. We'll spend day 9 on board travelling south through arctic Russia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing landscape outside your window and relax in the company of your fellow passengers as we head to our final destination, St Petersburg.

St Petersburg
Days 10-12

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 Marriott Renaissance 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 on day 12 in the hotel, transfer to St Petersburg airport for your return flight back to London where our tour to the Land of the Midnight Sun finally comes to a close. Lunch, if required, would be by your own arrangement.


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