31 January - 14 February 2021
Dive into the world of magical North nature and get a unique opportunity to watch mesmerising Northern Lights. The lights, which are also called aurora borealis, show up at night when the sky is dark: it’s like a celestial ballet of light dancing across the night sky, with a colour palette of green, blue, pink, and violet. Enjoy the world-famous highlights of three capitals: discover Oslo, visit the most magnificent St. Petersburg's sights and explore ancient Moscow.
Oslo → Kirkenes → Murmansk → Lovozero → Sam-Syyt → Murmansk → St Petersburg → Moscow
Day 1: Arrive Oslo, Norway
Welcome to Norway! Oslo is a trendy and sophisticated metropolis. The capital has many things to offer, both as a gateway to Norway’s incredible nature and as a hub for many fascinating museums, sports venues and other cultural institutions. Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Oslo city tour
After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel lobby and go on a walking city tour. Start with a visit to one of the major Scandinavian treasures - the famous Frogner Park, informally known as the Vigeland Park named after its founder Gustav Vigeland. Spend some great time strolling through this beautiful park and enjoying its extravagant sculptures and unique Scandinavian nature. Proceed to other famous Oslo attractions, including the Royal Palace and the Akershus fortress (entrances not included). Afternoon free at leisure for optional tours of your choice.
Day 3: The Snow Hotel Experience & Northern Lights Hunt
After breakfast, meet the driver and take a transfer to the airport to take a domestic flight further north to Kirkenes. Kirkenes is located about 400 km (240 miles) above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. With just over 3,000 inhabitants, including the native Sami people, this is a remote, scenic slice of Norway. Surrounded by fjords, mountains, forests and lakes, this area is a heaven for nature lovers, especially winter sport enthusiasts. Meet the driver at the airport and take a transfer to the one-and-only Snow Hotel. Please note that we offer the option of choosing to stay in a private cabin instead of in an ice room at the Snow Hotel as well as booking extra activities (ask your manager). There you will enjoy a drink at the Snow Bar and feast on a 3-course meal at the restaurant. After the sunset, our driver will take you far from the light pollution to hunt for the Northern Lights. In addition to the chance of spotting the northern lights, the tours offer a great opportunity for sightseeing in the area.
Day 4: Journey to Murmansk, Russia
At the appropriate time, take a bus transfer to Murmansk, Russia. Arrive Murmansk. Transfer to your hotel, luggage drop off and city tour. Murmansk is the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle. Founded in 1915 as a supply port in World War I, it was a base for the British, French, and American expeditionary forces against the Bolsheviks in 1918. We shall visit either the Naval Museum or the Historical Museum. After lunch, visit the museum of ice-breaker “Lenin”, the first nuclear ice-breaker in the world! Murmansk played an important role as a Russian trade link with the Allies during the Second World War II. Various supplies were brought to the city with the help of the Arctic convoys. Murmansk was heavily damaged during the war. It was restored at the beginning of the 1950ies. Evening free at leisure as we prepare to the Northern Lights adventure. In good conditions, it might be possible to observe northern lights in Murmansk city itself!
Day 5: Northern Lights Hunt
Transfer to Lovozero village (270 km, 4-5 hours drive). Lovozero is the top destination of Kola Peninsula for Aurora Borealis viewing, there are very high chances to observe it directly at the eco-lodge. NOTE: clear skies and solar activity are the critical conditions to watch Aurora Borealis, the best timing is from 8:00 pm till 2:00 am.
Day 6: Ice fishing
Today is a fun day filled with various winter activities. We will drive snowmobiles to the lake - a great chance to admire the unique northern landscapes! Fans of fishing get the opportunity to join ice fishing, a popular northern type of entertainment. We will use fresh fish to prepare a tasty picnic. It won 't be cold - tasting real Russian vodka will help not to freeze. Also, don 't miss the chance to ski. All these activities are included in your travel package. Enjoy full day fun tour with activities in the middle of nowhere!
Day 7: Sami Village Tour
Transfer to Sami Village Sam-Syyt in the morning. Meet & greet in the Sami language, a guided tour around the settlement. Acquaintance with national Saami culture: plagues, kuvaksami and utensils; visiting the mall charmed idols. Then, get to know about traditional Saami way of life and wildlife of the area (deer, elk, husky, foxes and rabbits). Feed a deer, play a Saami game "tug of Six", "deer and wolves", "Sami football", throw wicker rings and more. Skate on a reindeer sleigh, take a snowmobile sleigh, skating on a snow banana, drive slides - feel yourself Saami! Lunch serving traditional meals "lim" (ear salmon), soft drink "Pakula ', black tea, Lovozersky bread, etc. Then, make colourful photos in traditional clothes. And don’t forget to buy magical local talismans and amulets! Overnight in a traditional local Saami house.
Day 8: Murmansk - St. Petersburg
Return to Murmansk, drop off at the airport at the appropriate time for your flight to St. Petersburg. Welcome to the Venice of the North! Founded by the Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703, St Petersburg was planned and built as the capital of newly emerged Russian Empire. Today, it is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winter is a very special time to Russia and its people. You will see one of the most beautiful cities in the world covered with snow and ice — it feels like you’re stepping into a famous Russian novel! See how the locals deal with cold and snow — and participate! Open-air skating, snowball play in the parks, tobogganing down hills, walking along the frozen river banks of the Neva — experience the winter in one of the Snow Empire’s two capitals! Your driver will be waiting at the airport/train station to take you to the hotel in downtown. Afternoon at leisure. Group tours enjoy welcome dinner & vodka tasting!
Day 9: The Hermitage and iconic cathedrals
Full-day (8 hours) guided tour in St. Petersburg. Today, you visit one of the most important sites in Russian history and heritage, the world-famous Palace of the Hermitage. Our experienced guides will make it interesting to follow the tricky path of the centuries behind it and give a better understanding of sophisticated Russian history. This former residence of the Romanovs Royal Family, the Hermitage today is the second-largest art museum in the world; its collection includes over 2.7 mln items. Then, take a tour to see the city’s iconic landmark: Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood — one of the most powerful constructions in Russian Orthodox Christian architecture, and an enthralling must-see.
Day 10: Catherine's Palace and Troika ride
Day (6 hours) guided tour to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo (30 km south of St. Petersburg). A splendid example of Russian Baroque, Catherine Palace delights its visitors with sumptuous Great Hall and Golden Enfilade of staterooms, including the world-famous Amber Room. The exposition of the palace covers almost 300-years history of the former imperial summer residence. A widely acknowledged masterpiece of garden and landscape art, Catherine Park includes variously styled pavilions, bridges, monuments and exotic garden structures that carry visitors away to other countries and bygone ages. Today you will also enjoy Troika ride experience. Troika is a traditional harness driving combination using a team of three horses abreast and pulling a sleigh or a carriage. Return to St Petersburg. Extra tours are available, please inquire.
Day 11: At leisure
Today optional tours are available: visit Faberge museum, Russian museum or go out of the megapolis to discover Veliky Novgorod. Veliky Novgorod was Russia's first capital in the 9th century, as well as a centre for Orthodox spirituality, Russian democracy, literacy and architecture. The city boasts medieval monuments, churches and monasteries. In the evening, enjoy the folk show "Feel Yourself Russian" and dinner at the Nikolaevsky Palace. It is a unique performance, which allows feeling the history and soul of Russia. The classical music, performed by the quartet "Classique", create the gorgeous atmosphere of the XIX century.
Day 12: Arrive Moscow
After check out of the hotel in St. Petersburg, you will be transferred to the railway station to board the high-speed train for 4 hours journey to Moscow. On arrival at Moscow, take a transfer to your hotel and check-in. A tour to Russia is not complete without a tour to Moscow, the heart of Russia and one of the oldest cities in the country. It was founded in 1147. Now Moscow is a city of bright contrasts where quiet patriarchal courts and small streets adjoin to futuristic business centres, and old neighbourhoods are interspersed with modern high-rises. Evening at leisure.
Day 13: The Kremlin and the city
Full-day (8 hours) guided sightseeing tour in Moscow. Take the bus city tour covering the city's most remarkable highlights such as Novodevichy Convent, Sparrow Hills, Arbat and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Visit the Moscow Kremlin, the very heart of Moscow and Russia! Walk along monumental walls, golden-domed cathedrals and, of course, most recognizable towers with iconic red stars. Explore the treasure of its world-famous museums including the Armory. The Red Square Christmas market is set around one of Moscow’s largest ice rinks and surrounded by the imposing walls of the Kremlin, the colourful St Basil’s Cathedral and famous GUM shopping centre. This is the main Christmas market in Moscow, where you can enjoy a pleasant and nice atmosphere of winter, buy different traditional Russian presents and taste many types of traditional Russian food and drinks.
Day 14: Moscow Tour
Full-day (8 hours) guided tour in Moscow. A short ride from the city centre will take you to Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve, where you can get an idea of what Medieval Moscow looked like. Today, visit the Tretyakov State Art Gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits. You also take a ride by the famous Moscow metro with its lavishly decorated “underground palaces”. End a day at VDNKh with its world's largest open-air skating rink (skating is optional).
Citizens of the UK should apply for a visa only personally (63 GBP for a visa, issued in 20 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa by mail (120 $ NZ for a visa, issued in 10 days). Citizens of Australia can apply for a visa through Visa Application Service Centers (120 AUD, issued in 4-10 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada can apply for visa personally or through Visa Application Service Centers (160 USD for the USA citizens and 112 CAD for the citizens of Canada).
2 nights at the hotel in Oslo (3* or 4* accommodation of your choice)
1 night at the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes (Please note that we offer the option of choosing to stay in a private cabin instead of in an ice room at the Snow Hotel)
1 night at the hotel in Murmansk (3* or 4* accommodation of your choice)
2 nights at 3* Ulinskaya Salma in Lovozero
1 night at the traditional Saami house in Sam-Syyt
4 nights at the hotel in St. Petersburg (3*, 4* or 5* accommodation of your choice)
3 nights at the hotel in Moscow (3*, 4* or 5* accommodation of your choice)
Full breakfast at the hotels (exсept Day 1)
Dinner at the Snow Hotel on Day 3
Full board at Ulinskaya Salma in Lovozero
Dinner on Day 8
Dinner after Nikolaevsky Palace performance on Day 11
Oslo walking tour (3 hours)
Northern Lights hunt in Kirkenes (2-3 hours)
Murmansk day (6 hours) city tour
Guided tour to Saami culture centre and reeds ride
St. Petersburg full day (8 hours) guided tour
Day (6 hours) guided tour to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo
2 Moscow full day (8 hours) guided tours
Domestic flight Oslo - Kirkenes (economy fare)
Transfer Kirkenes Airport - The Snow Hotel
Transfer The Snow Hotel - Kirkenes
Bus Kirkenes - Murmansk
Domestic flight Murmansk - St. Petersburg (economy fare)
High-speed train St. Petersburg to Moscow, standard class, 4 hours ride
Meet & greet at the airports/train stations in Russia
Private return airport/train station transfers in Russia
Private transportation on tours as per program in a comfortable a/c car/minivan/bus (except on walking tours)
Metro pass in Moscow
24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line
Russian local SIM card with data
Transfer airport-hotel in Oslo (day 1)
Meals not mentioned
Watch the fascinating Aurora Borealis in two countries
Stroll around Red Square and tour the Kremlin
Visit the world-famous Hermitage Palace in St Petersburg
Explore Oslo, the vibrant Norwegian Capital
Stay overnight at the Snow Hotel
Discover the most beautiful stations of Moscow Metro
I decided to use the Tour Service of the World Cup after some extensive research into the tour alternatives. These guys seemed to differentiate its tour Service by providing a more culturally based service with a healthy dose of Football and Fun. My experience was that it as well run ie they delivered on their promises. They have a health mix of local staff and Australian staff. The Russian staff had a great empathy for the challenges for us Aussies traveling in a country where you had no language skills they bridged that gap with there wonderful help. I know there are many alternative tours but this one certainly lived up to its name. I felt I discovered part of Russia but there’s plenty more to go!’ Overall just a great experience
I am a Sydney-based journalist who travelled to the 2018 World Cup with Discovery Russia, the sister company of World of Discoveries. Following is my review of that fabulous experience ... What a trip ... the World Cup, five cities, amazing camaraderie, and great tour leadership against the background of one of the globe’s most amazing countries ... Russia. My World Cup tour with Discovery Russia was one of the great experiences of my travel life. The Discovery Russia team provided a wonderful platform with an itinerary both practical and flexible. The local tours in each of the venue cities - Moscow, Kazan, Samara, Sochi and St Petersburg were informative and, importantly, fun. Considering the accommodation pressures created by the huge influx of Cup tourists, the hotels selected by Discovery Russia were more than adequate. Special mention goes to the Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky In St Petersburg. The tour leadership provided by the company was both expert and considerate. Importantly each traveller’s individual enjoyment and safety appeared to be the paramount consideration. This World Cup holiday was meant to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for me but I am now planning for the next Cup. Bring on 2022 in Qatar!
I was extremely satisfied with my trip. Everyone at the agency have been courteous and helpful from the very beginning, trying to organize our 17 day World Cup experience. The guides and drivers are very professional and friendly, and the accommodations were simply superb. I highly recommend World of Discoveries as I know they will turn your trip into an unforgettable experience.
Trans- Scandinavian train tour on a private, September 2019 I’s looking for a train trip around Scandinavia and found it was not widely available option with many operators. Mostly, they do coach tours or cruises. World of Discoveries was the first company which offered a solution, a privately arranged non-escorted train trip tour for our small party of just 6 people. We are experienced travelers in our early 40th and always want to be immersed in the culture of a new country, eat local food, meet the people. We wanted an authentic experience and it was a great trip all round. We did not have to worry about our accommodation, or train tickets, or activities in various locations. We had our transfers to and from hotels pre-arranged. Guides provided great insight into Scandinavian culture and were undeniably helpful as we all had different ideas about spare time and extra activities. We went out at every visited city and they gave us lots of great recommendations. Could have stayed for more! Would love the same experience when we visit other, less traveled and remote parts of the world with World of Discoveries! Would love the same experience when we visit other, less traveled and remote parts of the world with World of Discoveries!
Georgia in autumn! We had a wonderful trip - one that will stay with us for a long time. Everything was so well organized. All our guides were very informative, and accommodations were just fine. Pre-tour service was very good too and we had travel a lot. My husband’s grandparents are from Georgia and we wanted to explore family routes. All our guides were great in terms of looking after us and they really were so interesting to speak to. Altogether, we had a wonderful time and I would love to explore more of the region and visit neighboring counties.
Xmas in Georgia and Armenia. We wanted a personalized custom vacation to a rarely visited area of the world and found World of Discoveries tour of Armenia and Georgia fit just perfectly. Very well organized and planned, and guides were awesome. Our tour guides in both countries were packed with knowledge of architecture and cultural history, but above all they were friendly and helpful. Rafik in Armenia even took us to his parent’s home in the centre of Yerevan and we enjoyed home-made meals and talks with the locals. It was a very special evening. Be prepared for some long journeys to reach the most exciting destinations in both countries.