Russia Winter Destinations - Kola Peninsula

Northern Lights © Nadezhda Shchur

Routes ►Places ► Top Winter Destinations in Russia ► Winter Kola Peninsula

Local Time: Moscow Time  

Distance From Moscow: 2000km

Average Winter Temperature: -20C 

  One of the most beautiful parts of Russia is the Kola Peninsula. Here there are no mountains covered with evergreen forests like in Switzerland, no impenetrable forests like in neighbouring Karelia or Finland and the tourist infrastructure for large tourist groups here is much less developed. However, the Kola Peninsula is a place of real unforgiving northern nature – endless tundra and low lying mountains covered with moss and lichen, stoney coasts of the White Sea and the Barents Sea and the pure untouched nature of the Russian North. It is from Murmansk on the peninsular that travellers and expeditions set off for the North Pole, and Murmansk itself is the largest city within the Arctic Circle where darkness and permafrost rules in the winter. But you should not be put off by the location of the city as thanks to the Gulf Stream the city is not as cold in winter as, for example, in Siberia.

  On the peninsula, there is a wide choice of activities such as riding sleighs drawn by husky dogs, expeditions on snowmobiles and finding out about the traditions of the local Sami people. Kirovsk is one of the most popular skiing and snowboarding centres of Russia; although the infrastructure here is not as modern as in Sochi, the prices are much lower. It was here and in the village of Teriberka that the Russian film Leviathan, which caused somewhat of a scandal, was filmed. And for those lucky enough to see the Northern Lights while in the Kola Peninsular, their trip will never be forgotten!



  Winter in the region lasts from November to the end of March. When planning a trip to the Kola Peninsula remember to take into account that winter here is marked by polar nights - namely the sun never rises above the horizon and at midday only a glimmer of sunlight is visible which subsequently vanishes a couple of hours later. Therefore in December and January, it is more or less always evening or night here! The polar nights here last from around 2 December to 11 January and on the shortest day there are only 30 minutes of twilight. However, this period has the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, although they are not usually visible in the city of Murmansk itself.

    The weather here is not what you would expect for somewhere so north thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The average temperature in January in Murmansk is around -10C but in the mountains and in the depths of the peninsular the climate is more continental and so the temperatures here are around 5 degrees lower. The coldest month is February.

Tundra in Kola Peninsula

The peninsula is usually covered with snow from November until May, so you have lots of time for activities in the snow. We recommend coming here sometime from January until March as the polar nights are already coming to an end, the frost is less harsh and you still have some chance of catching the Northern Lights.


The Khibiny Mountains © Vladimir Fyodorof

  As the peninsular is quite far away, it is best to come here for at least three or four days but even better for six or seven. This will be enough time to see the main city in the peninsular and its museums and to go on a snowmobile safari, go fishing and try national Sami cuisine. But you could also come here for a couple of days to go skiing in the Khibiny Mountains.


Northern Lights

You can get to Murmansk and Kirovsk – the two largest cities here – both by train and by plane. 

  •  The train from Moscow to Murmansk takes one and a half days and from St Petersburg one day. The Arktika premium train which goes from Moscow to Murmansk, passing St Petersburg en route, is the most comfortable train here.

  • There are 6 flights a day between Moscow and Murmansk and 1 direct flight to Kirovsk. It takes about 2½ hours. From St Petersburg there are 4 daily flights to Murmansk and 1 (on certain dates) to Kirovsk.