Whale watching Holiday

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Beluga Whale Watching Holiday on the Solovetsky Islands

The region of Karelia is shared between Russia and Finland covering a vast area of forest, lakes and sea. This trip is based on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea of northern Russia and offers the chance to uncover a part of Russia’s history and to witness the Beluga Whale during the endless white nights of summer. Your holiday can be book-ended with a stay in the elegant city of St Petersburg or continued over the border in Finland.

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ITINERARY

WHAT, WHERE & WHEN

DAY 1:

Your train departs St Petersburg in the morning arriving to the White Sea in the late evening. Enjoy the day on board the train as it wends its way through northern Russia’s countryside. You’ll pass forests of silver birch, rivers and two of Europe’s largest lakes, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. On board the train, you’ll find a restaurant car serving lunch and snacks.

Arriving at your destination shortly after midnight, you’ll transfer directly to your hotel in Belomorsk or Kem. Hotels in Karelia are comfortable (but not luxurious).

DAY 2:

After breakfast you’ll depart by boat to the Islands of Solovky (also known as the Solovetsky Islands), a journey of around three hours on the vast White Sea. On arrival to the island, you’ll enjoy a walking tour of the impressive Russian Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery. Your guide will uncover the monastery's long history since its founding in 1436 to its use as a forced-labour camp during the 1920s and 1930s. The monastery has a distinctive architecture surrounded by high fortified walls. After your tour, you’ll check into Solovky Hotel before stopping for lunch.

After lunch you’ll continue your day with a tour of the Solovki Labyrinths. These mysterious and ancient stone labyrinths have long baffled researchers and historians who have tried in vain to figure out who laid the intricate maze patterns in stone. Theories vary from fishing traps to burial grounds. Perhaps you’ll have your own theory as you follow the circular patterns.

Next you’ll enjoy a 6 kilometre (4 mile) hike to the Beluga Cape. On the way, your guide will introduce you to the island’s’ unique flora and fauna before settling at the Cape to watch for Beluga whales in the water. During the white night season, between June and August, the whales gather to socialize, mate and nurse their young in the White Sea. The Beluga whales can grow up to five meters in length and can gather in pods of up to 25 individuals at a time. You may be lucky and spot their grey forms ducking and swimming in the water. You may also spot other wildlife such as seals and seabirds during your nature excursions.

Please note: the Beluga pod swims to Beluga Cape only during low tide - on the flat water's edge which varies from day to day. Therefore the white whale tour can take place at any time during the day (both early morning and late at night). When the wind is strong and the weather is stormy the observation is not possible.

You’ll return to the hotel in the evening where dinner will be served at the hotel restaurant.

Staying at: Solovky Hotel



DAY 3:

Breakfast at the hotel.

Optional excursion: Join a boat tour to the Island Zayatskiy for a visit to the pagan temple and the Neolithic labyrinths from the 1st and 2nd millennium BC. This excursion is dependent on tides and is supplementary to the cost.

After enjoying lunch at the hotel you’ll head to Beluga Cape again for whale watching.

Dinner will be served at the hotel.

DAY 4:

Following a hearty breakfast you’ll check out of the hotel and join a trip to the mountain of Sekirnaya by bus and the visit the Botanical Garden.

Then it’s time to leave the islands behind and board a boat to Kem. Dinner will be served onboard the ship. A driver will transfer you from the harbour to the train station.

Your overnight train to St. Petersburg leaves just before 9pm. You’ll have a bed in a four-berth compartment included (upgrades to a two bed compartment are possible).

DAY 5:

The train arrives at St. Petersburg at midday. We recommend extending your stay in St Petersburg or why not take the fast train to Helsinki and cross the border into Finland. We’ll be happy to customize your holiday to suit your requirements.

PRICE

From £1695 per person excluding flights (based on two guests travelling). Group prices are available. Please get in touch with us to find out more.

£1695.00 GBP roughly converts to: 1,865 EUR | 2,220 USD

Price conversions are indicative only, payment is in GBP.

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Price Includes

  • Train travel from St Petersburg (2nd class tickets) including sleeping compartment on return journey
  • Overnight at Gandvik Hotel in Belomorsk or Prichal Hotel in Kem including breakfast
  • Boat transfers to the Islands of Solovky
  • Two night's accommodation at Solovky Hotel in Solovky including breakfast
  • Three lunches and three evening meals
  • Beluga Cape excursions
  • History and architecture of the monastery Solovetsky
  • Labyrinth walking tour
  • Sekirnaya Moutain and Botanical Garden tour (4.5 hours)
  • English-speaking guide throughout your trip 


All our trips include:

  • 24/7 emergency line and concierge service
  • Personalised travel documents
  • Exclusive access to our client website at www.arctic-collection.com where you'll find destination guides, practical tips, Arctic Library and pre-trip inspiration

Price Excludes

  • Flights to St Petersburg
  • Optional tours and upgrades

Additional Info

This trip has flexible daily departures

Many of trips can be tailored to your requirements and departure dates. Please get in touch with us for a tailored quotation and details of availability for your preferred travel dates. All trips and departures are subject to availability.

AIRPORT ARRIVAL

St Petersburg (LED)

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4 nights

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