The White Sea is a great destination for nature lovers and excursionists.

The White Sea is located in the northwest of Russia. It washes the coast of Karelia, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions. The total area of the sea is about 95,000 sq. km and the coastline is about 3000 km. The average depth is 67 meters; the maximum depth is 340 meters. Salinity is 24-31 ppm.

In summer, the temperature of the upper layer of water in coastal zones can rise above 20 degrees Celsius. In winter, most of the sea is covered with ice. The sea does not freeze completely due to strong currents and tides.

Cultural heritage and rich wildlife make the White Sea is one of the most exciting travel destinations in northern Russia.

White Sea cultural attractions

The Solovetsky Archipelago is the main tourist destination of the White Sea. The famous Solovetsky Monastery is located on one of the islands.

The Kandalaksha Bay in the northwestern part of the White Sea is notable for archeological sites - ancient labyrinths, also called by the locals as babylons. Kandalaksha Nature Reserve occupies a big part of the Bay’s territory.

The Kuzova Islands near the town of Kem certainly deserve more popularity. The islands, namely the Russian Kuzov and the German Kuzov, have fascinating rocky and tundra landscapes. Archaeological sites include ancient encampments and sacred Saami stones, also known as Seids. Tourist groups land on the German Kuzov and hike to the top of the island, which is 117.8 meters above the sea level.

Wildlife experiences

Possibilities for wildlife viewing in the region include beluga whale watching, seal watching and bird watching. We at Nordic Travel offer a range of tailor-made wildlife tours. Please, contact us for details.

Beluga whale watching

Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) are common summer residents in the White Sea. The best place to spot them is the Big Solovetsky Island and in particular Belugas Cape. White whales can be seen there from mid June to early August. One can get to Beluga Capes on foot by hiking the ecological trail (as of 2021 this trail is in a poor condition) and by motorboat.

Seal watching

The White Sea is the habitat of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus), the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and the Arctic ringed seal (Phoca hispida).

Ringed seals and bearded seals
These species are clearly visible when they are lying on ice floats and the best time to see them is in the beginning of May. A wildlife holiday includes Zodiac excursions to see the seals, all meals and accommodation in the wilderness centre in Nilmoguba, a small village in Karelia.
A bearded seal lying on ice floe in the White Sea

Harp seal or Greenland seal
In early March seal pups have just been born and have a beautiful white fur (later it darkens). On this wildlife adventure we take helicopter flights to the harp seal colonies and our accommodation is at the eco hotel in Letnaya Zolotitsa village.

Bird watching

On the islands of the White Sea and on the coast, one can see many birds, including the white-tailed eagle, eiders, oystercatcher, Arctic tern, great skua, silver gull and other gulls, various species of geese and ducks, and other birds. May and September are best for bird watching in the White Sea region.

Getting here

The White Sea is relatively easily accessible from both Moscow and St. Petersburg. One can get there by plane, by train, by car or by boat.

1.       You can fly to Arkhangelsk from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Murmansk and to Solovetsky Islands from Arkhangelsk.

2.       You can get to the region by train and hop off at the stations of Arkhangelsk, Belomorsk, Kem and Kandalaksha.

3.       You can travel to the region by car following the highway Moscow – Murmansk or Moscow - Arkhangelsk.

4.       The White Sea – Baltic Canal cruise includes the town of Belomorsk located right at the White Sea coast.