GRAND KARELIA TOUR

An impressive exploration of the Russian North. We visit the famous islands of Kizhi, Valaam and Solovetsky, meet local people at the historical Karelian village of Kinerma, walk in the forests of Kivach Nature Reserve and Petroglyphs, enjoy the landscapes of the White Sea and Ruskeala marble canyon.

Highlights of the Tour

• ISLAND OF KIZHI

• VALAAM MONASTERY

• KIVACH WATERFALLS

• SOLOVETSKY MONASTERY

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Tour Programme

Day 1 Petrozavodsk and Kizhi
 

Arrival in Petrozavodsk by train from St. Petersburg (Moscow). Meeting at the train station by the guide, transfer for breakfast. 

The walking tour of Petrozavodsk along the Onego Lake waterfront, central streets and squares and learn about the history of the city from the time of foundation in 1703 until now.
Boat trip to Kizhi, one of the most famous islands of Russia. Walking tour with the local guide includes the magnificent Kizhi open-air Museum - historical wooden churches, chapels, traditional houses.
Dinner in Petrozavodsk.
Overnight at the hotel in Petrozavodsk.

Day 2 Kinerma Traditional Village and Ruskeala Marble Park
 
Breakfast.
Historical village of Kinerma to visit a Karelian family. Our host shows the village and tells us about the history, culture and lifestyle of local people. Lunch is served in the typical house and includes traditional meals.
Lunch.
Marble quarries of Ruskeala which were the source of stone for St. Petersburg palaces. Now it is an open-air Mountain Park where we can enjoy beautiful views of the white marble and emerald water.
Overnight at the hotel in the area of Sortavala (250 km from Petrozavodsk).
Day 3 Valaam
 
Breakfast at the hotel. 
Boat tour of Valaam Island and Monastery. Upon arrival we visit the central Transfiguration Cathedral, the Church of the Resurrection, observe fairy-tale Gethsemane Skete, and enjoy the beautiful forests and lake landscapes of the Island. In between of the tours the Monastery choir performs a short but impressive concert of the church songs. Lunch is served at the refectory and includes typical monastery meals such as vegetarian soup and fish.
The boat takes us back to Sortavala and we drive to Petrozavodsk.
Overnight at the hotel in Petrozavodsk.
Day 4 Kivach Nature Reserve and Petroglyphs
 
Breakfast.
A trip towards the White Sea (~450 km from Petrozavodsk). The first stop is made to visit the Kivach Waterfalls and Nature Reserve in 90 km from Petrozavodsk. We observe the Waterfalls, visit the small Museum of Nature and take a brief walking tour along the ecological trail in the protected part of the Reserve
We reach a small Vygostrov village and deep into the forest for the walking tour of the archeological site of the White Sea Petroglyphs. Rock-carved signs of animals, hunters and fishermen were left here by the ancient people thousands years ago.
We continue with a visit of one of the locks of the White Sea - Baltic Canal constructed during Stalin's time mainly by Gulag prisoners.
In the evening we get to the White Sea coast and settle at the hotel in the town of Kem or Belomorsk.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 5 Solovetsky Islands
 
Breakfast.
Early in the morning we go to the pier which is very close to the hotel and board the boat for Solovetsky Islands. Arrival at Solovetsky Island, transfer to the hotel.
In the afternoon we proceed with the walking tour of Solovetsky Monastery. During the tour we learn about the history of the medieval Monastery, visit its cathedrals and churches, walls and towers of Solovetsky Kremlin (fortress).
Evening is free. We can walk around the village and visit nearby sights such as Maritime Museum, Gulag Museum or the White Sea coast where we may spot some sea birds and occasional seals.
Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 Solovetsky Islands
 
Breakfast at the hotel. 
A tour to Zayatsky Island. It is a small tranquil island in about 45 minutes boat ride from the Monastery. The main places of interest of Zayatsky, covered with the tundra-type vegetation are its mysterious stone labyrinths dating back about 4000 years and a small wooden church of Andrew the First Caller (1702).
In the afternoon we depart back for Kem by boat.
After dinner the bus takes us to the train station to catch the evening train to St. Petersburg. Arrival in St. Petersburg next day about noon.
Train for Moscow leaves on the next day early in the morning, extra night in Kem is required.
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Included in the price

Accommodation at the hotels.
Car/bus and boat transfers as per itinerary. 
Half board starting with breakfast and ending with dinner. 
Entrance fees and tours as per itinerary. 
Services of a local english-speaking guide.
 
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Important extras

 
Obtaining of Russian visa. Visa charges vary by nationality, please contact us for rates.
Train tickets.
Extra meals.
Optional tours and visits.
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Hotel

Grand Karelian tour

Grand Karelian tour

Accommodation at the hotels (rooms with toilet and shower).