Northern Russia

  • Northern Russia, Russia
    iStockphoto.com / Serjio74
  • Northern Russia, Russia
    iStockphoto.com / Sborisov
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Russia

The northern region of Russia has lots to offer. Composed of six autonomous regions (the Republic of Karelia, the Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Vologda Oblast and Nenets Autonomous Okrug), it covers a large area with diverse landscapes that include lakes, mountains, forests and plains.

It is a very pleasant region in the summer with lots of activities to try, such as fishing, hiking and canoeing. In the winter, temperatures are cold but the area is great for tourists who enjoy winter sports.

The big cities, like Petrozavodsk (in the Republic of Karelia), have a rich culture waiting to be discovered. The Russians who live here are very attached to their land and their traditions. It is the perfect destination for those looking for a complete change of scenery and a trip full of adventure.

Northern Russia: the key figures

Surface area : 1466300.0 km2

Population : 5861000 inhabitants

Time difference : The UK is 3 hours behind in summer and 4 hours behind in winter.

  • The cultural diversity
  • The many monuments and museums to visit
  • The warm welcome of the local people
  • The extreme climate in winter
  • The lack of facilities in certain places (particularly in Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Republic of Karelia)

Northern Russia: what to visit?

Landscapes

  • , Lake Onega, Landscapes, Northern Russia
    Lake Onega
  • The Kola peninsula , Russia
    The Kola peninsula
  • The Virgin Komi forests , Russia
    The Virgin Komi forests
  • The Virgin Komi forests , Russia

Activities and leisure

  • , Skiing in the Khibiny mountains, Activities and leisure, Northern Russia
    Skiing in the Khibiny mountains
  • The Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden , Russia
    The Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden
  • Dog sled rides , Russia
    Dog sled rides
  • Dog sled rides , Russia

Arts and culture

  • , The Vologda Kremlin, Arts and culture, Northern Russia
    The Vologda Kremlin
  • The Festival of the North in Mourmansk , Russia
    The Festival of the North in Mourmansk
  • Kirillov-Belozerski Monastery , Russia
    Kirillov-Belozerski Monastery
  • Kirillov-Belozerski Monastery , Russia

Enogastronomy

  • , Les zakouski, Enogastronomy, Northern Russia
    Les zakouski
  • Le kvas , Russia
    Le kvas
  • Le kvas , Russia

Northern Russia: what to buy?

The essential items to bring back from Russia are 'matryoshkas', the little Russian dolls that are placed one inside the other. You can find them in all the shops in the region. In Vologda Oblast you can also find lace, a speciality of the region. The handmade clothing and tablecloths produced here are stunning.

Northern Russia: what to eat?

In the North, as in the other regions of Russia, people eat well and a lot. There are both hot dishes, like borsch (a soup made with meat and beetroot), and cold dishes, like pirojki (small traditional sandwiches). There are many restaurants in the region's cities, usually with reasonable prices.

Northern Russia: main cities

Northern Russia: travel tips

You need a visa to enter Russia, with a maximum stay of 30 days on a tourist visa.

You can rent a 4x4 on arrival to get around and to organise your own excursions and hiking trips, but it is nevertheless recommended to employ the services of a guide in the vast region of Northern Russia. Enquire about native English-speaking guides to make your trip easier.

Remember to pack mosquito repellent, as there are many mosquitoes in the region, particularly in spring.

Feel free to take a dip in the lakes and rivers, where the water temperature is generally pleasant, especially in summer. What's more, the water is clean and unpolluted.

Lastly, plan to visit the main cities in the region during your visit, such as Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Vologda.

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Northern Russia : Holidays
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