Introducing "Murmansk", a lesser known destination to do everything mentioned above with a MUCH cheaper price. English tours are available (Bonus if you speak Russian.)
Located in Russia, extreme northwest on the Kola Bay, Murmansk is the largest city above the Arctic Circle, with railway access to the rest of Europe.
Here are my 10 reason why you should plan a trip up to Murmansk!
1. Aurora Borealis/ Northern LightsAurora Hunting Tour : $19.30 (depends on how big your group is, month and weather)I'd never heard of Murmansk before being introduced to it last year. Little did we all know, it is one of the most affordable place on earth to hunt for the Northern Lights!
2. Sami Village
3. Siberian Huskies
Murmansk is one of the cities of Hero in Russia. The monument of Alyosha stand tall in remembrance of all Soviet soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War 2.
5. TeriberkaThis Russian village is the setting for the Oscar-nominated Russian Movie "Leviathan", which went ahead and won a Golden Globe in 2015. This place is half-deserted, with a lot of abandon houses along the coast of Barents Sea. Well don't get me wrong, THIS, is the exact reason why I like it! If I were to put it in one word: EXQUISITE!
6. Ice Breaker "Lenin"The Lenin Ice Breaker is the World's first nuclear-powered ship. Now it was converted into a museum, based permanently at Murmansk. Don't miss a guided tour into the Ice Breaker! You will get interesting insights on how an Ice Breaker works and how energy was generated in "Lenin". Also, you will get a chance to encounter a polar bear! English tour guides are available upon request.
7. NarniaLucy opened the magic wardrobe and discover Narnia. This is exactly how you'll feel, pushing the exit door at the airport. Snow snow and more snow! If you fly into Murmansk at night, DO NOT sleep on board! Look out the window, you might catch the Northern Lights in action, right beside you!
8. Salmon, Salmon and more SalmonTry a Salmon dish, preferably a wild Salmon! If you are not a fan of Salmon, try other seafood!
Restaurant recommendation: Terrasa
The Snow Village in Kirovsk is a museum, made completely out of snow and ice! For a small entrance fee of 400 Ruble ( $5), you get to enjoy an elaborated indoor snow/ice maze and an outdoor snow sculpture exhibition. Don't miss the free snow tubes on your way out!
9. Ice and Snow Sculpture
10. Sports and GamesSkiing, Snowboarding, Ice tubing, Snow Mobile, "Snow Banana" (they even have this?!), Sleigh.... you name it, you'll have it! During our trip to Kirovsk Snow Village, we dedicated the entire afternoon snow tubing, and guess what, it was completely FREE!
Special thanks to Visit Murmansk, v-leto.ru and Олег Теребенин for organizing our trip.
Thank You for Reading!
This post is based solely on my opinion and personal experience.
Feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!