Grand Karelia Tour: St. Petersburg - Solovetsky

Grand Karelia Tour: St. Petersburg - Solovetsky
Duration:

8 days / 7 nights

Discover the most interesting sights of North-European Russia

  • Travel to Valaam, Kizhi and Solovetsky Islands
  • Visit monasteries and museums
  • Observe natural sites and Gulag objects
  • Taste local food and take a vintage steam train
  • Small group tour for up to 12 people
Свернуть

Day 1. Sunday. St. Petersburg

Meals No
Arrive in St. Petersburg at any time.
Transfer to the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel in St. Petersburg (“Dostoevsky” or similar).

Day 2. Monday. Valaam Monastery

Meals B, L, D
Pick-up at the hotel and departure for the town of Sortavala by train or by bus.
Boat tour to Valaam Island (subject to weather conditions).
Visit the central cloister of Valaam Monastery and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration. Learn about the history and modern life of the Monastery.
Short concert of Orthodox church music.
Lunch in the refectory, including typical monastery meals such as vegetarian soup and fish.
Observe smaller monastic buildings, called sketes or hermitages. Among them are the Resurrection Skete and the Gethsemane Skete, surrounded by picturesque pine forest.
Arrive by boat to Sortavala, a town on the northern shore of Ladoga Lake.
Dinner.
Overnight at the hotel in Sortavala (“Piipun-Piha” or similar).

Day 3. Tuesday. Ruskeala and Karelian village

Meals B, D
Breakfast.
Take a vintage steam train at Sortavala train station and travel to Ruskeala Mountain Park.
Walking tour of marble Quarry of Ruskeala.
Free time for independent lunch.
Transfer by bus to the historical Karelian village of Kinerma (170 km).
Walking tour around the village, including chapel of the 19th Century.
Meet Karely people, a Finno-Ugric minority living in Karelia and Finland.
Dinner with traditional local meals.
Continue to Petrozavodsk (110 km).
Overnight at the hotel in Petrozavodsk (“Cosmos Petrozavodsk” or similar).

Day 4. Wednesday. Petrozavodsk and Kizhi

Meals B
Breakfast.
Walking tour of Petrozavodsk.
Departure for the island of Kizhi by boat.
Arrival at Kizhi. Walking tour of Kizhi Museum, followed by free time on the island.
Departure back for Petrozavodsk.
Return to Petrozavodsk.
Free evening, independent dinner.
Overnight at the hotel in Petrozavodsk (“Cosmos Petrozavodsk” or similar).

Day 5. Thursday. Kivach and the White Sea Canal

Meals B, L, D
Breakfast.
Transfer to Kivach Nature Reserve (75 km).
Observe Kivach Waterfalls and visit a small museum of the Reserve.
Continue to the small town of Medgora (100 km).
Lunch at local restaurant.
Transfer to the village of Povenets located in the northern part of Onego Lake, a starting point of the White Sea - Baltic Canal built in Stalin's times. We will have a look on the first locks of the Canal and visit Sandarmokh Memorial, a place where Gulag victims were secretly killed and buried in late 1930-s.
Transfer to the town of Kem on the White Sea coast (290 km).
Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel in Kem (“Prichal” or similar).

Day 6. Friday. Solovetsky Islands

Meals B
Breakfast.
Departure for Solovetsky Island by boat, travel time is about 2 hours.
Arrival at Solovetsky Island and transfer to comfortable tourist class hotel.
Walking tour of Solovetsky Monastery and Fortress, including the inner bailey and a small graveyard, the Transfiguration Cathedral, churches, monastic cells, refectory, prison, fortress ramparts and one or two towers. Learn about the dramatic history of the monastery from the time of its foundation in the 15th Century till modern days.
Optional tour to the museum of Gulag prison and camp. Located in an old barrack, it holds documents, artefacts, photos and letters of prisoners of 1923-1939.
Independent dinner.
Overnight at the hotel on Solovetsky Island (“Solovetskya Sloboda” or similar).

Day 7. Saturday. Solovetsky Islands

Meals B, D
Breakfast.
Boat tour to Zayatsky Island. The Island is interesting in terms of both history and nature. The main attraction of the Island is a small wooden church of St. Andrew the Apostle, built in 1702. Thirteen stone labyrinths are located on the Island. There is a version that these labyrinths are in fact pagan “sanctuaries” built several thousand years ago.
After the return, free time for lunch. Pick up the luggage at the hotel and transfer to the port in time for the boat to Kem.
Departure for Kem
Dinner at local restaurant in Kem.
Transfer to the train station.
20:30 - Departure for St. Petersburg by train (2nd class sleeping cabin).
Overnight at the train.

Day 8. Sunday. St. Petersburg

Meals No
Arrive at Ladozhsky train station in St. Petersburg at about 10:10
Transfer to the airport, another train station or your hotel if you want to spend more time in St. Petersburg.

During this tour, you will visit the following sites.

Sights

Petrozavodsk

Petrozavodsk

Petrozavodsk is a nice city with several interesting sights and a perfect starting point for the trips to Kizhi and other cultural and nature landmarks of Karelia.

Karelian Villages

Karelian Villages

There are several villages in Karelia which represent the culture and history of the local population. In some villages one can observe the examples of wooden architecture such as small churches and chapels as well as traditional houses.

Valaam

Valaam

The island of Valaam is located in Lake Ladoga. The famous Valaam Monastery was founded on the island centuries ago. It is one of the most interesting cultural, historical and nature attractions in the North of Russia.

Kivach Waterfalls and Nature Reserve

Kivach Waterfalls and Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve of Kivach is located to the north of Petrozavodsk (65 km).

White Sea - Baltic Canal

White Sea - Baltic Canal

The White Sea - Baltic Canal was built in the 30's of the 20th Century at the command of Joseph Stalin.

Solovetsky Islands

Solovetsky Islands

Solovki (Solovetsky Islands) are located in the western part of the White Sea, less than 100 miles far from the Arctic Circle, consisting of 6 big and numerous small islands. There is a famous monastery dating back to the middle centuries as well as other historical and cultural monuments.

The White Sea

The White Sea

The White Sea is located in the northwest of Russia. It is known for the medieval Solovetsky monastery and rich wildlife, including Beluga whales, harp seals and bearded seals, as well as numerous bird species.

Kizhi

Kizhi

The island of Kizhi in Lake Onego is famous for the biggest world ensemble of wooden architecture - Kizhi Museum. It is enlisted in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

Price:
Adult – 1350 Euro per person
Child 4-16 – 1250 Euro per person
Child 0-3 – Free of charge

Supplement for single accommodation in hotels – 270 Euro.

Supplement for private accommodation at the train from Kem to St. Petersburg
When two persons travel in a private cabin, extra payment is 60 Euro per person.
When one person travels in a private cabin, extra payment is 180 Euro.

Optional tour to Gulag museum on Solovetsky
Adult – 45 Euro per person, children free of charge.

Boat tour to Valaam depends on weather conditions. If the conditions are not favorable, we will provide a refund of 100 Euro per adult and 90 Euro per child 4-16. You can also exclude Valaam at the time of booking.

Dates

Main tour language – English
14 June – 21 June 2020
26 July – 02 August 2020
23 – 30 August 2020

Main tour language – Italian
09 – 15 August 2020

Main tour language – French
12 July – 19 July 2020

Request

1. 6 nights accommodation in hotel.
2. 1 night at train, 2nd class ticket.
3. 12 meals - 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners.
4. All transport during the tour.
5. Visits and experiences as per the itinerary.
6. Guide’s services.

Nordic Travel provided us with support in terms of bookings for accommodation in 'difficult to book' places; with bookings for hydrofoil connections; with guides in various locations and with general support. We found them to be enormously helpful, well informed and responsive to even the most detailed of requests. As 'eyes on the ground' they were invaluable in helping us to do things that we might otherwise have missed. Even when Nordavia (a flight we'd booked ourselves and nothing to do with Nordic Travel) messed up a connection thereby deleting part of our itinerary, Nordic Travel were very quick with a sympathetic response and a very rapid, no quibbles, refund for the bits of their itinerary that we were forced to cancel. Their contact, Konstantin Simonov provided a very high standard of support from first e mail contact to face to face meeting in Karelia.They are an excellent and professional organisation and I'd have no hesitation in recommending them to other travellers

Michael Loveday

Thanks for a great experience. The tour of Karelia was everything we expected and more.The tour went like clockwork. Our guide Alyssa was knowledgeable, patient and quick to lend a helping hand when needed. The drivers were professional and the vans we traveled in were clean and comfortable. We have no complaints about our hotel rooms. What an experience to visit an area of Russia few Americans have ever seen! We wouldn't hesitate to book another Nordic Travel tour.

Judy, Albuquerque New Mexico USA

We wish to congratulate you for the wonderful visit to your country. Believe us when we say that you could teach many tour operators in France and abroad! Michel keeps saying that you know how to select your collaborators... The journey was so smooth (except for the roads) and trouble-free all along. Hotel Rossi was a very good choice as it is very comfortable and close to Nevsky Prospekt. We particularly appreciated to see Alexander I waiting for us at the door of our car in Saint Petersburg railway station. Thank you again.

Monique

Thank you very much for arranging the Russian part of our trip. We were very impressed with your professionalism, and all the arrangements worked very well. Vladimir was a very good driver and Elena was an absolutely outstanding guide. She is extremely competent, has a lovely personality, her English is excellent and she was very knowledgable about the sites we visited. She was also very good company and the four of us got on well and had many memorable moments together, particularly dinner & vodka at Sortavala! Regarding the sites, the highlights for us were the visit to Kinerma (we have been involved in raising money to restore a traditional barn in our own small village (only 12 houses) so we could empathise with their efforts and problems), and of course the Solovetsky Islands. The train journey from Kem to Saint Petersburg was fine and I had a very memorable 70th birthday at Palkin Restaurant where we coincided with the BBC filming a programme in their series on rail journeys, so we will now appear on English TV later this year, they bought us champagne, and the restaurant staff made a special dessert with a large sparkler in the middle and sang happy birthday! So a great holiday. So once again thank you for all your help. Kind Regards

Katherine (Kate)

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