Tracking the Northern Lights

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Travel deep into the wild heart of the Kola Peninsula, located inside the Arctic Circle. Visit the Sami People, reindeer herders of the polar tundra, and in the pine forest on the shores of Lake Lovozero, meet the retired reindeer vet called Victor. He lives here in and surrounded by traditional log cabins built according to native design and tradition.

In winter, you can only access this remote place by snowmobile – in summer, by boat or helicopter. Everything is powered by a generator and, rather than a bathroom, people wash in the banya (Russian sauna). Victor and his son Eugene know this area like the back of their hand and organise snowmobile tours on the frozen Lake Seydozero. In the evening, you will eat a hearty dish of reindeer and berries by the fire in a tchum (traditional shelter). But your most intense experience has yet to come! 350 km deep into the Polar Circle means that you have the perfect view of the aurora borealis on Lake Lovozero (Murmansk is 150 km away).

Visual guide to this trip

Itinerary

  • by car
  • by snowmobile
  • by plane
  • Point of departure
  • Overnight stay(s)

Fly to Murmansk. Your driver is waiting for you at the airport with a sign “Artel Troika”. Breakfast at the airport and transfer to Lovozero (180 km, 3 hours). The main road of the Kola Peninsula crosses the rocky tundra and deserted plains that are punctuated by the occasional thicket of pine trees. Your destination is the village of Lovozero at the foot of the Lovozero Mountains that rise to 1,100 m above sea level.

You will be greeted and guided to your guest house where you will dress up in warm clothes and shoes. Then you will be escorted to a sleigh pulled by snowmobile and head out into the tundra for lunch in a tchum, sitting around the fire on reindeer fur. After a safety briefing, you will continue your snowmobile tour to visit the reindeer farm (total trip lasting 3–4 hours, 36 km). You will discover daily life for Arctic reindeer farmers and feed the animals before going for a reindeer-drawn sleigh ride. Dinner at the tchum. Russian banya. Night in the guest house by Lake Lovozero.

Breakfast. Snowmobile expedition in the Seydozero reserve (day trip: 40 km, 5–6 hours) across the frozen Lake Lovozero towards the mountains and Motka Bay. Stop by the Seydyok River. Lake Seydozero is in a hidden trough surrounded by cliffs that are up to 200 m high. One rock that imitates a human silhouette is worshipped by the Sami People who believe it is sacred. You will break at Lake Seydozero for hot tea and sandwiches by the fire. Return by snowmobile along the same track to the guest house. Dinner at the tchum and night in the guest house by Lake Lovozero.

Breakfast. Snowmobile trip (24 km, 4–5 hours) climbing to 1,000 m above sea level where you will observe the natural stages of vegetation. At the foot of Lovozero, you will notice the wooded tundra and pines that glisten in the sun. Further up, the conifers give way to dwarf birch trees, and by 600–700 m, the mountain side is little more than an arctic desert. Return to Lovozero (25 km, 40 minutes) by sleigh. Transfer to Murmansk by chauffeur-driven car. Flight to Moscow or St Petersburg.

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The capital of this polar region is the only port in the world to host a flotilla of nuclear icebreakers. Nowadays, boats leave Murmansk and Dudinka at the delta of the Yenisey River.

  • 4 hours

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