The vast expanse of glimmering snow, the dull skies throughout the day, and the whole town covered in a blanket of fur – that is exactly how Arctic’s biggest city Murmansk welcomes you. Now, that may sound a little discomforting, but it is an experience unlike any other you’ll ever have. Add to that the dancing bright lights called Aurora Borealis, and that makes Murmansk’s otherwise slightly gloomy vibe, perfectly welcoming!
Murmansk maybe Arctic Circle’s biggest city, but it is a small Russian town that grabs the tourist attention for two reasons – The Northern Lights and it’s proximity to the Arctic Ocean or the North Pole. In itself, Murmansk has a lot to see and explore – it is a perfect mixture of post-communist Russia and its neighbouring Scandinavian countries. So you’ll find a little of Europe and a lot of Russia, all rolled into one unique mix in Murmansk. Intrigued? Then, read on to see how you can have the perfect vacation in Murmansk, and experience the Northern Ligh
Ikigai is an expert in planning trips to this Russian gem and knows the city and its surrounding areas perfectly. A trip with Ikigai is a guarantee of a good time and bucket list experiences ticked! So, here’s what to expect on a Murmansk vacation with IKIGAI.
You land in Murmansk by a local Russian airline and are greeted by a snow-covered runway! Believe us, it’s a different high altogether, getting out of your plane and seeing the entire airport covered in snow! The wonderment that follows is just indescribable. The next 4-5 days pass in a blur of one experience after another!
You start Day 1 with exploring the city of Murmansk in itself with a visit to a Nuclear Icebreaker! And not just any icebreaker, but the world’s first! The ship is now a museum with interactive, hands-on experiences as well as the chance to look at an actual nuclear reactor! You then come back to the hotel and relax for a while before heading out for your first night of Aurora Hunting! Now, this is called “hunting” because the Northern Lights are natural phenomena that happens on its own whim! You might see it in one area today and in another completely different area tomorrow! Imagine the dancing sand dunes in the Thar Desert, here one day, gone the next! That is exactly what Aurora Borealis is! So, in the evening get ready to go chase these colourful dancing lights. Now, you may spot them the very first night, or it may take a couple of more tries! All you need to know is to keep the hopes intact!
The second day in Murmansk could just turn out to be even more exciting than the first night because today you’ll visit a Sami village and a Husky farm! Sami is the local tribal people of the Arctic regions and you find them spread across the Arctic circle! Interact with them and learn how they survive & thrive in these inhabitable surroundings! You will also get a chance to meet and have fun with reindeer and also feed them! Next comes the Husky Farm, where you will meet with the happy and super friendly Husky dogs. Understand their culture, and how they’re a necessity in this harsh environment!
Day 3 is when you will visit the end of the earth, quite literally! Now today will truly be a day of extremes! Today you will see a graveyard of ships, the Tundra region (remember your 6th – 7th class Geography?), and the Arctic ocean in itself! Trust Ikigai to ensure that you have a vacation with once in a life time experiences! And that’s not it! After a day full of adventure, you get to spend the night in a glass igloo! Yes, those same ones you’ve seen all over Instagram.
Day 4 is when you bid goodbye to this sparkling land of snow and warm huskies! You can continue the vacation in St Petersburg or Moscow! Or, if you’re really keen on more snow covered landscapes, head over to Lake Baikal – the world’s deepest lake, and explore it in all its frozen glory!
Where to Stay
Murmansk has its fair share of amazing places to stay at! You can pick from the historic Hotel Azimut or Hotel Meridian, popular with tourists for its central location. You can also pick Park Inn, another hotel with modern amenities and comfortable hotels!
Where to Eat
Murmansk has a developing global food scene, however, it is still very limited in terms of vegetarian food and Indian food is still unheard of there. Ikigai suggests you carry ready to eat meals, especially if you are a picky eater! However, if you’re an adventurous eater, there are many options in and around the city. They have the global pizza chain, Sbarro in Murmansk and you can always rely on pizza if everything else fails to impress you!
Where to Party (Best Clubs / Nightlife in Murmansk)
** Pin Up – Good for live music and good DJ. Prices are slightly on the higher side.
**Garin, DJ Bar is a night club and you can book a taxi from your hotel for this place. You will get good electronic music here.
*7 NEBO – Located on the 17th floor of Azimut has a club where you can go and enjoy your drink with your friends.
** Merdian hotel has a club too but it is open only on selective days in a week