15 Nov One day in Murmansk: The best place to watch Northern lights
When travelling around Russia Murmansk is unlikely to be in your first-choice destination. It is not on Transiberian railway, neither promoted as a touristic place. So wrong! Murmansk and its surroundings can surprise you even more than other Russian cities. The first thing that impresses you right after you take a taxi from the airport – perfect roads! Comparing to any other region of Russia, Murmansk region has exceptionally good, well-done highways. It reminded me Germany at some point, when my taxi driver went up to 150 km/h on a highway and never slowed down, because there were no speed limits!
Next thing that makes you speechless is the nature. Murmansk city itself is quite ordinary with notorious grey Soviet-style buildings, but nature around is stunning especially if you visit it in September-October. Colorful mosses and lichens cover the land as a carpet, trees compete with each other who has the brightest autumn dress and countless number of lakes and ponds pop out on the way to the city. Murmansk is Russian little Scandinavia, but much cheaper to visit!
Coming here in winter can help you to fulfill a dream to watch northern lights. Locals talk about northern lights as about morning coffee – so often it happens in this region. We were lucky and caught Northern lights in early October which is extremely rare at this season.
Visiting the very first nuclear icebreaker “Lenin” is another popular attraction. Murmansk is the home of the world’s only nuclear sea fleet, which transports goods from the central part of Russia to the Far East and Siberia via North way. Standing on a hill and looking towards the Arctic ocean one can literally feel the closeness of the North Pole! And it is possible to reach it from here! “Rosatomflot” the owner of all nuclear icebreakers organizes tours to the North Pole 6 times per year, usually in summer. The trip lasts 10 days and has a great entertainment program on board and on the North Pole itself! The only thing that can stop you from such a unique offer is the price – 32 thousand dollars (price for 2017 season). Well, icebreaker “50 years of victory” never experienced lack of tourists.
Murmansk can offer cheap marine cuisine and number of cafes and bars that make this cold city very warm and cozy. One day in Murmansk is certainly not enough, it will try to hold you for a longer time, especially because you did not expect anything special from it.
This text was written by our local guide Alexandra Sveshnikova. When she is not on our tours and in her science lab she travels! Read her post about Russian drama theatre. Or inquire a tour to explore Moscow with her.