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Russia, Norway, & Finland tour, 14 days

From the modern metropolis of Saint Petersburg to the most northerly point of the European mainland: the North Cape. Historical place names like Khizi, Solovetsky and Murmansk make their expectations come true. This sparsely populated part of Europe offers views of vast lakes, green forests and the sea. At the Barends Sea we can touch the most northern point of Europe; the North Cape is a special experience. A journey through bygone times and unchanging nature.

Join our international groups with active travelers, of all ages. Most will come from Holland and Belgium, but you will find they have an excellent command of English. Your tour leader addresses the group in Dutch and English. Our skilled land crew have worked with Djoser for many years and make sure things run smoothly.

There is ample time for group exploration. Count on lots of walking. But sometimes, it is great to be able to break off and explore on your own. Your guide can make some great suggestions.

Join us for unforgettable cultural, nature and local experiences!

Itinerary

  1. St. Petersburg
  2. St. Petersburg
  3. St. Petersburg
  4. St. Petersburg - night train Petrozavodsk
  5. Petrozavodsk, optional excursion Kizhi Island
  6. Petrozavodsk - Kem
  7. Kem - Boat to Solovetski
  8. Boat to Kem - night train to Murmansk
  9. Murmansk
  10. Murmansk - Kirkeness
  11. Kirkeness - Honnigsvag
  12. Honnigsvag, excursion North Cape - Alta
  13. Alta - Ivalo
  14. Ivalo

Day by day

On the Road with Djoser

Djoser's active journeys offer an ideal balance of guidance and freedom. Our guide-assisted adventures cover the globe and feature wildlife, beautiful natural settings, historic sights and authentic cultural experiences. During Djoser travels, the daily schedule is not rigidly set.

The day-to-day descriptions describe the anticipated, or possible daily activities. Our travel days are obviously fixed, but each day the program may deviate depending on the preferences of the group, in consultation with the tour leader. The tour guide offers a program daily, with planned excursions. You are never obligated to participate. Those who desire more freedom may go out exploring or may dine on their own. Your tour leader can offer suggestions for safe explorations and fun restaurants. You will find that Djoser participants will take advantage of this flexibility. We believe a sense of discovery is an integral element of a great trip.

We offer the land program only. Below, you will find the day-to-day description days numbered to correspond with that of the Dutch participants (which includes their transit days from/to Amsterdam). This is so that when you are traveling and refer to this day-to-day description, all travelers will be “on the same page” or the same day number.

Saint Petersburg

Day 1. Saint Petersburg
Day 2. Saint Petersburg
Day 3. Saint Petersburg

Russia St. Petersburg old Leningrad Djoser The city is similar to Amsterdam in the big picture? That could be right. The street pattern and especially the canal pattern of the old Leningrad was built according to Amsterdam model. Tsar Peter the Great spent some time in the Dutch at the end of the 17th century and took the new Western ideas with him to Russia. Around 1700 he started building the city using the Dutch capital as a model. His 'Sankt Petersboerg' was called Leningrad from 1924 to 1991.

For this period, the successive tsars and tsarina's each put their own stamp on the city, giving the unique architecture its current form. Good examples are the Hermitage, St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Alexander Nevski monastery, the Summer Palace and a number of beautiful buildings on the banks of the Nevsky Prospekt. The city also offers a wide range of museums. So you are short of eyes and ears in the 'Window to Europe'!

Petrozavodsk and Khizi island

Day 4. Saint Petersburg - night train Petrozavodsk
Day 5. Petrozavodsk, optional excursion Kizhi island

Kizhi island Russia night train Djoser The most authentic way to travel to Russia is by train. We travel to Petrozavodsk by comfortable night trainlocated on the Onegameer. This cozy city on the shore of the lake is the capital of the Republic of Karelia. The Karelia region covers a geographical area from the White Sea to the Gulf of Finland, the vast majority of which today lies in Russia. Petrozavodsk is a quiet and cozy provincial town with typical local restaurants and cafes where both the locals and Russian and foreign tourists come.

It is the perfect starting point to the Khizi islandto visit, a large open air museum where we can admire the traditional wooden architecture of this region. The wooden transfiguration church, also known as the summer church, dates back to the beginning of the 18th century, has 22 domes and is filled with colorful icons. The winter church is the smaller version within the same fence, as is the typical clock tower. Besides the churches and the farms, the area is beautiful with views over the water and the many islands in this second largest lake in Europe.

Solovetski islands: rich history

Day 6. Petrozavodsk - Kem
Day 7. Kem - boat to Solovetski

Solovetsky Monastery Russia Djoser From Petrozavodsk we travel by bus to Kem. This city is the base for the special Solovetsky islands. This island group has a small 1000 inhabitants and the number of tourists traveling to this place is slowly but steadily rising. The archipelago, which has six islands, is located in the White Sea and has held various functions throughout the centuries. In the first instance, monks lived here, who built different waterways and connected the islands with each other. The first monastery dates from the 15th century and was, besides one of the most influential religious centers of the Russian Orthodox Church, also a political and economic center. In the heyday of the 17th century there were no less than 350 monks and some 700 workers in the monastery complex. Over the centuries it has played the function of fort during various wars.

One of them is the Crimean War in the 19th century, which was fought not only in the Black Sea, but also here in the White Sea. British ships were defeated against the proud defenses of the islanders and dropped out. At the time of the Soviet Union, the doors of the monastery were closed and a number of buildings served as one of the first gulag camps. The distance from the archipelago to the mainland is considerable and escape from this place is inconceivable. The cruelest repression methods from the gulag were tested and applied here.

The numbers of prisoners who have stayed here vary from ten to hundreds of thousands. The fascinating history of this special place is impressive. Of course we visit the monastery, which today has its ecclesiastical function again. About 10 monks live there and the entire complex has been restored and also serves as a museum. We can cycle to the Svyato Voznesenski church, part of the monastery complex and beautifully situated on a hill. It offers a nice view over the White Sea.

Murmansk: ice-free port

Day 8. boat to Kem - train to Murmansk
Day 9. Murmansk
Day 10. Murmansk - Kirkeness

Solovetsky Monastery Russia boat Djoser We take the boat back to Kem where we board the night train to the far north of Russia. The slow train drags itself through the vast Karelia and lulls you to sleep despite the sunlight that continues to shine 24 hours a day in the summer above the Arctic Circle. Murmansk is the largest city above the Arctic Circle and the northernmost port city that is free of ice 365 days a year thanks to the warm Gulf Stream.

The city was founded in 1915 precisely for that reason: the connection of Russia with the outside world to import relief supplies into the country thanks to the ice-free port. We can here the immense atomic icebreaker Leninvisit. The icebreaker is equipped with all comforts and no expense has been spared to make a high-quality ship. For example, we find a cinema, a hair salon, a fitness room and a heated swimming pool. The crew had to stand on the bridge, except for the captain, of course, and a fifth of the staff was female. The monument of the unknown soldier stands on a pedestal at a height of 35 meters of pure concrete. From the hill on which the statue stands, we have a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

North Cape: the extreme north of Europe

Day 11. Kirkeness - Honnigsvag
Day 12. Honnigsvag, excursion North Cape - Alta
Day 13. Alta - Ivalo
Day 14. Ivalo

We cross the border into Norway and the typical Norwegian red wooden houses welcome us in Kirkeness. We spend the night in this cozy village that is the terminus of the famous Hurtigruten boat that connects Bergen in the south of Norway with the North Cape. We drive through the Norwegian landscape to the place Honnigsvag .

Honnigsvag North Cape Norway DjoserHonnigsvag is the northernmost city on the European mainland. The city is sheltered in a bay which makes it a good home for the many fishing boats that sail the seas here. Honnigsvag is also one of the ports of call for the Hurtigruten boat. Before we go to the North CapeWe can visit the small North Cape museum that tells about the history of fishing in the region. We drive to the North Cape, where a huge rock protrudes about 300 meters above the sea. Do not forget to get a North Cape certificate as proof of your visit! Then we drive south to Alta. Alta is the commercial heart of Norwegian Lapland. Alta has a relatively mild climate due to its sheltered location in the Altafjord and was therefore already occupied early.

The proof of this is a large collection of petroglyphsof which the oldest date from 4200 to 500 years BC. The many drawings, which are now on the Unesco World Heritage List, give a good picture of life in prehistoric times. In addition to the visit to the Alta museum, there are several other options such as hiking or visiting a sled dog kennel. After visiting the Inari lake, which counts no less than 3000 islands, and an overnight stay in Ivalo when the trip comes to an end. 


 

Dates and prices

Departure dates 2019

Land Begins Land Ends Price Availability  
Jun-07-19Jun-20-19$2,93518 seatsbook now >
Jun-14-19Jun-27-19$2,93521 seatsbook now >
Jul-19-19Aug-01-19$2,93521 seatsbook now >
Sep-06-19Sep-19-19$2,93520 seatsbook now >

Departure dates 2020

Land Begins Land Ends Price Availability  
Jun-12-20Jun-25-20$2,93522 seatsbook now >
Jun-26-20Jul-09-20$2,93522 seatsbook now >

Conditions "Guaranteed leave"

Price includes

  • Guide (speaks Dutch and English)
  • Transport by train, bus and boat
  • Hotel stays with breakfast
  • Overnight stays in train in 2nd class coupés (4 people)
  • City walk through Saint Petersburg
  • Stay on the Solovetski island group

Price excludes

  • International flight
  • Airport transfer
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Other meals
  • Entrance fees and optional excursions
  • Tips and personal expenses. 

Cost Overview

Single accommodations  $470
   
Extension hotel city #1  St Petersburg
Double room   $130
Single room  $170
   
Estimated out-of-pocket, weekly  $270
 Tip Pot   $30
Deposit due upon booking  
  * Deposit based on 20% of minimum land price
  * Balance due 60 days prior to departure. 

Practical information

Accommodations & Meals

We spend the night in mid-class hotels, where the rooms are always equipped with their own shower and toilet. The Russian hotels were built in the 1970s and 1980s in the typical rectilinear Soviet version. A dying phenomenon in the Russian hotel system is the dezjoernaja, the floor lady, who manages the room key, and provides drinks and hot water for tea. 

Some examples of our usual hotel (subject to change)


St. Petersburg .           Ibis St. Petersburg Center Hotel
Petrozavodsk              Severnaya
Solovetsky islands      Solovetskaya Sloboda
Murmansk                   Hotel Park Inn Radisson
Kirkenes                      Scandic Kirkenes
Alta                              Thon Hotel Vica Alta

Single room - Djoser is single friendly! If you are traveling solo, we will match you with a same-sex roommate. If we cannot match you, there will be no additional room charge. For a reasonable charge, you may request single accommodations, subject to availability. Just indicate this preference on your booking form. You will find pricing for single accommodations on "Dates & Prices" page.

Hotel extension - It is always great to be well-rested when you begin a journey such as this. If you would like to book an extension hotel night upon arrival in the city where the land program begins, or at the end of the program,  let us know on your booking form. You will find the prices for extension nights listed in the "Dates & Prices"  page.

Meals - 
With this trip, breakfast is included in hotel stays. Breakfast consists of bread, a dish with cheese and sausage and a fried or boiled egg. Sometimes there is fruit juice and yogurt, at least tea and coffee. You can make your choice for lunch and dinner. In the larger cities, a large number of new restaurants have come in recent years, in the smaller cities the choice is more limited. In the big hotels and restaurants, ordinary European dishes are prepared: soup, meat / fish with rice or potatoes. Yoghurt and salads are widely available. The dessert is usually limited to ice cream.

The national drink in Russia is tea. Coffee, always served black, is much less drunk. Tap water is good and clean, but does not always taste good. In Saint Petersburg, drinking tap water is not recommended. Here you can use the best bottles of water.

Flights & Transportation

Booking your international flight - We provide the land package and transportation within the program as described. We do not arrange international flights from or to the United States or Canada. The land program will begin approximately two hours after the arrival of the Netherlands (NL) participants who will be arrive from Amsterdam. The land program will end about 4 hours prior to their scheduled departure time, which allows for time to get to the airport. The proposed flights for the Dutch participants and the land beginning and end times are listed in this section. They are subject to change based on flight delays or changes. We will keep you posted of any flight changes that we are aware of prior to the trip. When scheduling your flights, keep the following times in mind.

Dutch participants' proposed flights: (subject to

FINNAIR

Arrive Saint Petersburg 1AM*

Depart .  Ivalo 12:35 PM 

* The Dutch & Belgian travelers arrive after midnight but you can check into the hotel earlier. 

Before you book your flight - To avoid flight change or cancellation costs get email confirmation from our office that the trip has enough participants to be a “GO”.

Verify the spelling of your name-within 24 hours - When you book your flights, double check your flight records to confirm that your name is spelled on your ticket exactly as it appears on your passport. Some companies (for example, ORBITZ) will only allow a 24 hour window to correct any errors without penalty. You may incur heavy fees for changes, forfeiture of your flight ticket, or even worse, you could be denied entry to a border upon arrival.

Send us a copy of your flight itinerary - We will forward to the tour leader so they will know when to expect you at the hotel and when you will be departing.

Keep in mind hotel extensions - If the Dutch travelers arrive early in the morning, we recommend that you arrange to fly in the day or night before so you will be meet the group. Some trips involve an immediate transfer from airport to the next town so make sure you will arrive before the others so you don’t miss the first meeting or transfer to the next location. We can arrange an extension hotel night for you. Prices for hotel extensions can be found in the "Dates & Prices" section

If the Dutch participants arrive in the late evening - Should they arrive very late in the evening, the group will have their first meeting in the morning in the hotel lobby. You can check in earlier and relax or explore on your own.

Airport transfer to/from hotel (not Included) - If you will be arriving and or departing on the same flight as the Dutch travelers let us know. Then you can join them on the bus for the group transfer at no additional charge. Notify us in advance so we can alert the tour leader. If you schedule your flight at the same time as theirs, or later, you can join them on the group transfer to the airport at no additional charge. Otherwise, you can take an authorized taxi to the first hotel on the list we have provided for you. Private airport transfers can be very costly . If your flight is delayed, they are difficult to reschedule or cancel. With a taxi, you are not charged for waiting time or cancellations.

Useful Links for booking your flights
Farecompare.com 

Travel During the Trip 

We travel partly in Russia and Norway by train and with a comfortable bus. From St. Petersburg to Petrozavodsk and from Kem to Murmansk we travel with a comfortable night train. This is actually the best way of traveling Russia. In the 2nd class coupés there are 4 beds and sheets and a blanket is provided. We can stretch our legs in the aisle and the restoration car is open for a large part of the day. During the trip there is also a regular stop and you can usually go outside.

From Petrozavodsk to Kem we travel by bus. We travel by boat from and to the Solovestky islands. From the departure from Murmansk we continue with our own bus. We can stop in this way wherever we want to stretch our legs, take a picture or visit a beautiful place.

In St. Petersburg metro, tram and taxi are convenient means of transport.

Money Matters

A summary of all trip costs can be found on our "Dates & Prices" page. Prices may fluctuate throughout the year depending on currency exchange, gas costs, etc.

Included in price of our Scandinavia tour package 

    Tour guide (speaks Dutch and English)
    Transport by train, bus and boat
    Hotel stays with breakfast
    Overnight stays in train in 2nd class coupés (4 people)
    City walk through Saint Petersburg
    Stay on the Solovetski island group 

When you book a trip

  • Deposit of 20% of the minimum land price due upon booking
  • Payments by charge card or check are accepted
  • Balance is due 60 days prior to departure date


While you are traveling

Finland

Local currency:  Euros
ATM machines: Widely available
Credit Cards Widely accepted
Types of cash accepted:  Euros


Norway 

Local currency:  Norway - Krone, Sweden - Krona
ATM machines: Widely available
Credit Cards Widely accepted
Types of cash accepted:  Local currency and euros in small amounts

Russia

Local currency:  Ruble (RBL)
ATM machines: Widely available
Credit Cards Widely accepted
Types of cash accepted:  Local currency and euros in small amounts
 

Out of Pocket Expenses

You will need to budget for meals, that are not included, entrance fees, optional excursions and personal expenses. You will find estimated costs on cost summary page.


Tipping - 
It is customary to tip for services rendered. The tour leader will organize a tip jar at the beginning of the trip, from which tips to drivers, guides, hotel staff are paid. Depending on the size of the group, each participant will be asked to contribute $30. This does not include a tip for your tour leader. Tipping the tour leader is appreciated and the amount up to your discretion.

** You will find a list of all trip costs in the "Dates & Prices" section, including your estimated out of pocket costs.

Excursions

Freedom and choice are important elements of a Djoser trip. In addition to scheduled group activities, wherever possible, you may decide which attractions you wish to visit, and with whom. Unless otherwise indicated, entrance fees are not included in the price, so you have the freedom to make your own choices. One person may prefer to stroll through the market in search of bargains, while someone else may want to relax by the pool, go to a museum, or take a bike ride. Join the guide or break off with others in the group to explore on foot or with the local transport. Some attractions should not be missed, or they are not easily accessible, or are en route to our next overnight location and are therefore built into the program. In the "Dates & Prices" section you will find the estimated out-of-pocket, weekly expenses that have calculated in typical entry fees in addition to meals and other costs.

During this trip the following excursions and points of interest are included in the itinerary:

  • City walk through Saint Petersburg with Nevsky Prospekt,
  • the Hermitage and the Peter and Paul fortress.
  • Stay on the special Solovetski island group

During the trip, other excursions are possible that are certainly worthwhile. A short distance from Saint Petersburg are, for example, impressive outdoor residences of the 18th-century tsars that can be visited.

  • Boat trip to Kizhi island with a tour of the open air museum
  • Guided tour through the monastery complex on Solovetski
  • Visit to the North Cape.
  • Boat trip on the Inari lake
     

Travel Documents

When you book a trip we will provide you with more details about necessary documents. Passports should be current and valid for at least 6 months beyond your departure date. If a visa is required, you may need extra pages in your passport for your stamps. Check all visa requirements carefully and leave yourself plenty of time to send and receive documents before your trip.

Passport must be valid for 6 months beyond departure.  

Visa is needed for Russia. Instructions will follow. 

Visa & Passport Expeditor – For an extra fee, you can hire an expediting service to process your visa application or passport.  They will look over your paperwork and they can offer a faster return of your visa or passport. We recommend TRAVISA

Health Issues & Insurance

Health - Check for the Center for Disease Control – Travelers information for recommendations.  

The hygienic conditions in Russia are sometimes less than the western standard. Be careful with food, clean hands, take a medicine against intestinal disorders and saline (as ORS) against dehydration. It is also wise to pay close attention to what you eat. The tap water is not safe to drink everywhere, mineral water is for sale for a small amount. A good mosquito repellant is also recommended. 

Immunizations needed for this trip  

Vaccinations against DTP and hepatitis A are recommended for this trip.

When you book a trip we will provide you with information regarding the usual recommendations for the region we will visit. You will be responsible to check with your travel clinic or physician to review your plans and to find out the most up-to-date recommendations and needs for your particular situation. Plan to get your inoculations four to six weeks in advance of your trip. Some offices may need to preorder the medicines so call in advance. It is wise to pay careful attention to what you eat. Also, we recommend you bring medicines such as pain-killer and for remedy for intestinal disorders (such as IMMODIUM) Bring a small first aid kit. Tweezers, band-aids, antiseptic cream, insect repellant, salt rehydration tablets. The tour leader will have a first aid kit.

  

Insurance - For peace of mind, we recommend that you procure travel insurance. In the event of an illness or injury, an emergency evacuation can be incredibly expensive and you would want access to the best possible facility. Also, lost baggage or missed flights can mean added expenses. Even events at home may prevent you from taking a trip, such as a lost job or ailing family member. It is important to get travel insurance immediately after booking. Most companies have a brief window (within 10 days of booking) for coverage for a preexisting condition. You will be asked to provide us with travel insurance contact information before your departure.

You are free to choose your own provider. Over the years, we have recommended TRAVELEX. They offer a variety of plans and most importantly, they are responsive. Should you choose to go with TRAVELEX, you will contact them directly and the cost of your coverage will depend on the plan you choose. The cost will be based over the total cost of your trip and flights, and the amount is also subject to your age. Ask about the TRAVEL PLUS plan and the more economical TRAVEL LITE plan. * Arrange for insurance immediately after booking your trip so that you are covered for any pre-existing situation. TRAVELEX  1-800-228-9792

Group Composition

Djoser travelers are active, enthusiastic travelers of all ages. Join an international group with travelers from the Netherlands, Belgium and North America, who will be the minority group on these trips. Most of our trips range from a minimum of eight participants to a maximum of 20 or 22. You will find couple and singles on our trips. Feel free to call us if you wish to know the demographic make-up of a particular trips (number of singles and age range).

Minimum group size: 8 
Maximum group size: 22

What to expect when traveling with an international group - Djoser, Inc. (the United States office) has been a Scandinavia tour operator for several years. Djoser, B.V. (the Netherlands office) has been a Scandinavia tour operator for over 25 years. So together we bring vast experience. Most of our trips are arranged in cooperation with Djoser, B.V. in the Netherlands. Because they cater to the voracious travel appetites of the Dutch, we can offer a vast number of programs around the world with hard-to-find itineraries, with numerous departure dates.

On our Scandinavia group tour, you will travel with an international group, with most participants from Holland and Belgium. The international make-up of our groups is the attraction for many regular Djoser travelers and adds another cultural element to the trip. Typically, there are only one to five North Americans per group. You will find that almost all of your fellow travelers have an excellent command of English and most are very willing to socialize. It’s a great idea to extend an invitation to a few travel mates for coffee or a drink early in the trip. They will appreciate your effort and this is a great way to break the ice. It will be easier for them to test out their English skills in a quiet, one-on-one setting. Group members tend to warm up to one another in a day or two. As with every tour group, compatibility has most to do with individual personalities.

The Dutch are experienced and hearty travelers. We attract travelers of all ages and we enjoy the mix! You will find our participants welcome opportunities for independent explorations in addition to group activities. No matter their age, Djoser travelers expect, and are up to lots of walking, hiking, biking, or whatever comes our way. The Dutch and Belgian travelers will fly as a group from Amsterdam. You will meet the group and tour leader at the hotel where you will begin the land program with the group.

Tour Leaders & Support Staff

Our trips will be guided by an experienced Dutch guide who speaks Dutch and English. He or she will be responsible for the organizational and technical aspects of the trip. He/she coordinates with the driver , hotels, and other vendors along the way. The tour leader has extensive travel experience and expertise as well as a comprehensive training.

Our experienced land representatives are situated in the destination country you will visit. We work closely with them and they function as the liaison between our office, the guide, drivers and hotels. They are also available in the case of an emergency and their number will be provided on your emergency contact list.

Climate & Geography

Our trips are organized with weather conditions in mind. On our website, we will provide you with a weather summary of the region: Check temperature and rainfall for specific cities on your trip, during your month of travel at worldweather.org

In North-East Europe, as in the Netherlands and Belgium, there is a moderate maritime climate. Murmansk has a relatively mild climate, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream running through it, despite its high location and that the city is built on permafrost. The journeys take place in the period from May at the end of September. In the spring and autumn you have to take into account cool days and cold nights, in the summer the temperature is usually pleasant. The temperature during the day then fluctuates between 20 ° and 25 ° C. In Murmansk and Norway you have to count on about 10 ° C lower.

The days are very long in the summer. In St. Petersburg, during the so-called "White nights" in the month of June, the sun is not or barely submerged. Above the Arctic Circle, it is no longer dark at all. A special experience!

The primeval landscape is characterized by its untouched nature with many pine forests and thousands of clear lakes.

Photos & video

Book Trip/Trip Inquiry

Are you ready to book a trip?


* Submit this form to begin your reservation process.  Confirm that names exactly as they appear on a current passports.  If names on your international, domestic flights or visas (if applicable) do not match your name as it appears on your passport, some countries will deny you entry.

TIP:  Also verify your name on your flight records, within 24 hours after reserving to avoid change or cancellation penalties.   

* Pay by personal check or credit card:  Visa, Mastercard, American Express

* Call us with your charge card information.  Your place will be reserved upon receipt of funds for required deposit.

* Refer to the Prices & Dates page for an overview of your total costs & deposit 


* Download the Booking Form with Terms and Conditions

* Fax for with signatures for all participants 18 and over to  484-595-9140 . Or scan to us at luke@djoserusa.com

* Or mail Djoser, Inc., 154 Woodgate Lane, Paoli, PA 19301 - Attn: Luke Neal


Download Booking Form 

* = required

Highlights

  • Unique round trip above the Arctic Circle
  • Combination of Russia, Norway and Finland
  • Guide Assistance
  • International group
  • Hotels with breakfast