Attractions

Top Choice Monastery in Solovetsky Islands

Solovetsky Transfiguration Monastery

This imposing, stone-walled monastery is the heart and soul of the Solovetsky Islands. Founded in 1429, it has played various roles throughout its existence: a hermit's retreat, a vibrant religious community, a rebe…
Top Choice Natural Pool in Murmansk

Ice Bathers' Hut

Home to Murmansk's ‘walruses’ – hardy souls who swear by the health benefits of regularly bathing in icy waters – this wooden hut on the edge of Lake Semyonovskoe dates from the Soviet era. Wooden steps lead down in…
Top Choice Museum in Kizhi

Kizhi Museum Reserve

One of Russia's unmissable attractions, the reserve is home to dozens of 18th- and 19th-century log buildings, some furnished in period style, which were moved here from Karelian villages during Soviet times. Topped…
Top Choice Historic Site in Solovetsky Islands

Gora Sekirnaya

Literally translated as Hatchet Mountain, this infamous 71m-high hill was the site of tortures and summary executions described in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. The unassuming hilltop Ascension Church …
Top Choice Church in Vologda

St Sofia’s Cathedral

Powerful five-domed St Sofia’s Cathedral has a soaring interior smothered with beautiful 1680s frescoes. The astonishingly tall iconostasis is filled with darkly brooding saintly portraiture.The massive stone cathed…
Top Choice Island in Solovetsky Islands

Bolshoy Zayatsky Island

This small, wind-whipped island is famous for its 13 labyrinths, including the largest one in northern Russia. A boardwalk loops around the island from the dockside wooden church. Bolshoy Zayatsky Island was used fo…
Top Choice Boat in Murmansk

Nuclear Icebreaker Lenin

Murmansk is a centre for nuclear icebreakers that carve their way to the North Pole, but even in port you can give in to your wildest seafaring–Arctic explorer–Cold War spy fantasies aboard the 1957 NS Lenin, the wo…
Top Choice Ruins in Kirovsk

Abandonded Soviet Train Station

This colossal Soviet-era train station stands abandoned and half-forgotten amid the harsh Arctic landscape. The two-platform station, which once took passengers as far as Murmansk and Leningrad (St Petersburg), was …
Top Choice Church in Kargopol

Nativity Cathedral

The five-domed, 1562 star of Sobornaya Ploschad sports intriguing timber-encased corner buttresses and houses a splendid iconostasis on the 2nd floor (only open in summer). On a pillar, the superb 18th-century Stars…
Top Choice Amusement Park in Kirovsk

Snow Village

Every November, ice sculptors from all over the region make their way to Kirovsk to chisel the snowy halls and tunnels of the Snow Village into existence, wowing visitors with ice sculptures and annually changing th…