Trekking Holidays in the North of Russia

Khibiny mountains Kola Peninsula hiking tour

Khibiny are beautiful and majestic mountains in the heart of Kola Peninsula which is also known as Russian Lapland - the land of fairy lakes and forests. This land is full of ancient legends and sagas. Word Khibin means mountains in the language of the Sami - indigenous inhabitants of this area. 

24 hours daylight and the sun in the sky in the middle of night is the wonder of the world which every real traveller must have on his experience list. One who has visited this place once never forget it and wants to come back again. So we also offer you to experience this magnetism of Khibiny mountains to bring it back home in your hearts.

 
Hiking here is based on daily round trips organised from the base camp - the only small hostel with Russian sauna in the heart of the mountains. Trips are suitable from easy to difficult levels. Area around is wild indeed.

 

As a bonus of this journey you get:

- round the city of Murmansk excursion visiting Nuclear icebreaker LENIN - the first nuclear icebraker in the world

- visiting Polar botanical garden - the northerst in the world

 

Khibiny trekking highlights:

 

- 24 hours Polar daylight experience (Light nights whole summer period of time and there is no sunset at all from June 15 to July 15)

- living and hiking in the wild area far from any settlements. All trails are unmarked, no civilization at all

- extraordinary trekking beyond the Polar circule

- Russian steam sauna experience - secrets of Russian strenght

- visiting one of the biggest mineralogy collection in the world

- visiting Murmansk - the city of the great importance in "WW II Northern Convoys"

- Icebraker Lenin - the first nuclear icebraker in the world aboard excursion

 
 
General information:

All our trips are held around the Khibiny massif originated about 300 million years ago (somewhere already dinosaurs roamed). These mountains are a result of penetration of magma in the upper crust, but not a result of the collision of lithospheric plates crumpled Earth’s crust into folds like in Alps. Later the top layer of soft rock was demolished by glacier during the ice ages. This makes this place looking very unique with rounded and smooth shape of ridges and rocks. So now it’s like a diamond - faceted mountains about 1000 m in height. They have spawned many minerals, some of which are valuable.

Here is one of the world's largest deposits of Apatite (one of three in the world), which is used as a phosphate fertilizer in many countries. Outside visit of the mining factory is also the object of our excursion.

This area can be attributed to the Subarctic climatic conditions, but the nature of Khibiny is richer than the areas surrounding the array due to the special, more favorable microclimate, which is formed by the mountains. In connection to the study of a special northern flora during the Soviet period here was organized Polar-Alpine Botanical Garden-Institute.

Khibiny has four natural zones: a unique northern taiga zone, elfin birch zone, high mountain tundra zone and eternal snows zone.
Our routes will pass through all of them in order to see and enjoy the severe beauty of this area.

Day 1 Murmansk - the capital of the Russian North

  • crossing the border/arriving at the airport Murmansk, meeting guides
  • passing the nickel mining factory by the city of Nikel (a bonus for guests from Scandinavia)
  • (observing the biggest factory in the North for nickel and polymetal extraction. Lunar anthropogenic landscapes impresses everybody who has seen that just once)
  • passing the Valley of Death – a death place of WW II (a bonus for guests from Scandinavia)

(during WW II severe battles took place here. Russian people protected the city of Murmansk and the region behind from Nazi invasion till Hitler signed the order stop operation. Victims were so numerous that up to now its impossible to find and identify all warriors. Even now parts of weapon, bullets and clothes can be easily found around. Despite of tragedic events nature of the Valley is very attractive)

–      dinner or coffee brake

–      icebraker Lenin – the first nuclear icebraker in the world aboard excursion

–      Murmansk city excursion with photo stops

–      hotel check-in, dinner

–      free time – walking around the city

 

Day 2 To the mysterious Khibiny mountains (cities of Apatity and Kirovsk)

-       breakfast

-       driving south to the Khibiny mountains (3-4 hours)

-       passing the town of Apatity – a city of academicans

-       Apatity - a stroll around the town of geological sciences
(here are located Russian Academy of Sciences and Institute for applied geology. Hundreds of scientists are working in the scientific Campus on: chemistry, petrology, geology, mineralogy, tectonics etc.)

-       Dinner at the Soviet style cafeteria

-       Passing near Soviet gigantic Factory for phosphate dressing, photo stop

-       visiting Kirovsk – a town of miners. Mountains surround small town. Former open mines and drilling towers can be seen around

-       Museum for mineralogy and mining technology excursion

(The geological region of Kola Peninsula is the extraordinary home of about 1000 minerals out of 4000 found in the world! Most of them are authentic and can't be found somewhere else. If we go just hundred km off Kola Peninsula number of minerals declines dramatically. In the museum of Russian Academy of Science there is a collection of thousands mineral items – one of the biggest in the world)

-       Hiring Russian 4x4 for transfer deep to Khibiny mountains (25 km)

-       Vyd'yavr Lake – the most beautiful valley. Photo stop. Tea break

-       arriving at Khibiny camping refuge. There is a small hostel with all basic facilities needed right in the heart of the mountains. Scenic views around are breathtaking

-       check in at the refuge, strolling around fir and pine forests of Taiga.

 

Day 3 to 6 Hiking & trekking in the Khibiny mountains

Number of days - per your request.

There is number of unmarked tracks of various difficulty. You need to have accurate maps. Our friendly English-speaking guides will support you in everything – from registering in local rescue service, showing around best sights to carrying heavy equipment in the mountains for photo or film shooting.

Climbing up to the rocky mountain passes going along summits of the ridges or crossing them from valley to valley you are offered amazing possibilities for daily hiking. Doing your trekking across the small area you are able to see a few natural zones: northern taiga spruce forests, specific dwarf-birch forests, moss tundra and rocks and snow zone.

Your day starts with breakfast, continues with full day trekking or hiking depending on your skills and includes visiting the most attractive sights for photo stops.

Having a cup of tea with cookies on top of the ridge surrounded with fabulous scenery of Polar nature is unforgettable. Snack food is organized for individuals and small groups. Each day finishes at the refuge with a dinner served. Having shower or even Russian sauna with bathing in a river stream after steaming is unbelievable experience.

This tour is suitable for any age. We customize routes according to group skills.

For advanced travellers we can organize the day long cross-mountain trip from the Camp to the great Imandra lake/Apatity city as a last day before departure.

 

Here is an example of one of your hiking day:

- overnight at the small mountain hostel

- breakfast

- trekking across the river to the upper mountain moraine with numerous blue lakes. Photo stops

- going through northern spruce and pine forests called northern taiga, climbing up through moss tundra zone and finally reaching one of the rocky summit

- having break and drinking cup of coffee with snacks enjoying scenic views of adjacent tundra and lakes

- going back different way for new panoramas to make descent more interesting. The way leads through gigantic pieces of rocks – glacial forms typical only for northern landscapes

- mineralogical excursions on the way (Khibiny preserve about 300 endemic minerals out of 3500 in Kola Peninsula which can not be found somewhere in the world)

- having shower

- dinner time and listening to the local stories speaking to guides

- Sauna experience with swimming in natural river streams between steaming

 

Day 6 or day X for Scandinavian guests

-       overnights at the hotel in the city of Apatity

-       driving to the border of Finland to Salla and Kemijarvi via Kandalaksha city

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Day 6 or day X (for guests arrived by plane)

–      evening transfer to the city of Murmansk/driving to Murmansk

–      check in at the hotel, buying souvenirs

 

Day 7 Going home (for guests arrived by plane)

- transfer to the airport, departure

 

Free of charge bonus – visiting Polar botanical garden and mountain excursion with a scientists helping us to identify plant species “How plants are able to survive in Polar Nature”

Trekking is organized as daily trips starting from the only base camp located in the center of mountains. Being out of any civilization it has basic conditions for living as a hostel – beds with clean sheets, shower and a toilet. Small café offers you well cooked food. The end of some trekking days finishes with experience of a real Russian steam sauna and jumping to cold nearby river thereafter. No Internet is available. But we can provide you with satellite calls if needed.

Date and duration

- from May to August per your request

- 6 days standard programm. Duration can be customized for individuals

Meeting point

Murmansk airport / boarder of Russia-Finland-Norway

Trekking area and start

Khibiny mountains, Kola Peninsula, Murmansk region, Russia

Difficulty

from easy (aslo suitable for families with kids) to difficult (not climbing with equipment). Climbing with eqipment can be organized as separate tour

Amount of participants

small groups 6-10 people

Accommodation

basic European-like hostel

Internet / telephone connection

City of Murmansk - yes

Mountain Hostel - no (only satellite calls per your request in advance)

Food

Daily meals are available at hostel. Breakfast and dinner is served. Lunch is supposed as snacks on the track brought and bought by a group in advance or in the city of Murmansk. Fire to make tea is organized by guides.

Individuals can use own food and cook themselves in the kitchen if they like - tell us in advance your option, please

Equipment list

- general trekking equipment (socks, thermal underwear, water proof jacket, trekking boots and light shoes, shorts or trekking trousers)

- trekking boots

- water proof jacket

- set of warm clothes (temperatures during summer may vary between +5 to +25. Strong wind is also possible)

- mosquito net or repellent

- sleeping bag - NOT required