Midway between Moscow and the North Pole, Murmansk is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. It's also the most easily-visited northerly city in Russia, perfect for experiencing the midnight sun and polar night.
Murmansk endured a pretty bleak 1990s when its population (previously approaching 450, 000) shrank drastically. But with a profitable fishing industry and a dose of cooperation from Scandinavian neighbours and other Western countries, Murmansk is now well on the way back up. Its many shops are full not only of bright, attractive goods but also of people buying them, and the restaurant, bar and nightclub scene has entered a whole exciting new dimension just within the last handful of years.