Arctic Explorer

Aurora Borealis
Bar with a winter landscape visible through the windows - © Golden Eagle
Silver Class cabin - © Golden Eagle
Restaurant car - © Golden Eagle
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Imperial Suite - © Golden Eagle
Restaurant team - © Golden Eagle

Holiday Highlights

  • Well appointed and comfortable en-suite cabin on the Golden Eagle train
  • Opportunity to see the amazing Northern Lights
  • Spectacular rail journey across the Arctic Circle
  • Tours of route destinations
  • King Crab Fishing adventure
  • 6 nights on the Golden Eagle train and 5 nights in luxury hotels
  • 12 Days from £9,520pp

Tour Dates:
Saturday 29 December 2018 to Wednesday 10 January 2019, Saturday 2 February 2019 to Wednesday 13 February 2019

Take in the beautiful cities of St Petersburg and Moscow before exploring deep into the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle in pursuit of the magnificent Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Route includes St Petersburg - Kirkenes (Norway) - Murmansk - Petrozavodsk - Vladimir - Suzdal – Moscow.

N.B. You have the option of including this special rail journey as part of a Tailor Made tour. Ffestiniog Travel can make the additional arrangements to allow you to join on any Golden Eagle journey at the beginning, during or end of a bespoke itinerary. We will organise rail and flight tickets where necessary and hotel accommodation. Please contact us direct at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and we will provide quotations on request.


Day 1 – Welcome to St Petersburg

Arrive St Petersburg and transfer to the luxurious Grand Hotel Europe (or similar) for a two-night stay. This evening you are invited to a champagne drinks reception with the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers before our exclusive welcome dinner. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour. At the start of your adventure why not extend your stay in St Petersburg with pre-tour nights to explore more of the city at your leisure?

Day 2 – St Petersburg

St Petersburg is a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards, beautiful bridges and is renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World. Today we have a guided tour of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin and the Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums. Make your evening in St Petersburg extra special by purchasing a ticket for a ballet or opera performance at one of the world-renowned St Petersburg theatres (subject to schedule and availability and pre-booked at least six weeks prior to departure).

Day 3 – St Petersburg

Today there is a tour of St Petersburg featuring the key sights including St Isaac’s Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect. This afternoon we transfer to the station to board Russia’s premier train, the Golden Eagle and settle into our modern, stylish cabins to embark upon our rail adventure to the Arctic Circle. We have a unique opportunity to celebrate our arrival on board at our signature Gala Caviar Dinner in the beautifully designed Restaurant Car. Enjoy complimentary champagne and international wines with dinner and live musical entertainment.

Day 4 – Crossing the Arctic Circle

Today we have the opportunity to have a relaxed start to the day and to unwind after our evening of celebration. We can reflect on the many sights we are about to experience on our rail journey, maybe listen to a talk or simply relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside our window. Our guest astronomer will host an afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cakes and talk about the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in our stylish bar car. Today our train crosses the Arctic Circle on our quest to see the Northern Lights.

Day 5 – Kirkenes & Northern Lights

This morning we leave our train with an overnight bag at the Russian border station of Nikel and we transfer by bus (90 minutes drive) across the Russian/Norwegian border to Kirkenes for a two night stay at the Thon Hotel (or similar). We will visit the magical Snow Hotel just 15 km outside Kirkenes. We’ll have a welcome drink in the snow bar and a tour of the Snow Hotel with its ice sculptures and snow painting by local and international artists. After a traditional meal including a reindeer hot dog in the snow hotel’s warm lodge restaurant we’ll take an evening bus tour in search of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). If the sky is clear our guest astronomer will be on hand to advise us during star-gazing and will bring the night sky to life with his extensive knowledge.

Optional Activities in Kirkenes: You may like to book some additional optional activities such as a Snowmobile Safari (2 hours), Snow Shoe Walking Tour (2 hours), take a magical excursion by husky dog sledge (2 hours) or go in search of the Northern Lights by husky dog sledge (4 hours). Each sledge is pulled by a team of eight dogs, and can seat two people and a driver called a dog musher. These activities have limited places and should be requested at the time of booking the tour - please contact us for prices.

Day 6 – Kirkenes & Northern Lights

This morning a unique winter experience awaits on our King Crab Fishing adventure. The excursion begins with a snowmobile-drawn sleigh across the frozen fjords. Warm clothing and a helmet is provided. Through a hole in the ice you will be shown by your master guide how to catch the magnificent Arctic King Crab (which can span two metres and weigh upto 15kgs). We then continue by sleigh to the nearby Fisherman's Lodge. It is here by a cosy log fire that your King Crab meal awaits. The crabs you catch will be prepared and cooked for you here. This afternoon we return to the Snow Hotel to see the resident reindeers and visit the biggest husky dog farm in eastern Finnmark or return to Kirkenes Village for a walking tour.

For a really memorable experience why not choose the ‘coolest’ hotel check-in around and stay overnight at the Snow Hotel? Upgrades to the snow hotel are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. The snow hotel stays at a constant minus five degrees centigrade and thermal sleeping bags are provided. Showers, toilets and a Scandinavian sauna are provided in a building next to the snow hotel.

Day 7 – Northern Lights

We cross the border back into Russia and re-join our train which is waiting for us in Nikel. We’ll spend the afternoon on board travelling through arctic Russia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside your window, chat to fellow passengers or listen to a lecture by our guest astronomer. Afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cookies will be served in our stylish bar car.

Day 8 – Murmansk & Northern Lights

We will continue to Murmansk, a city halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round. Homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers we’ll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.

Day 9 – Petrozavodsk & Kizhi Island

Petrozavodsk stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega - the second largest lake in Europe. It is one of the major cultural and industrial centres of the North-West of Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia. We take a city tour and a hovercraft transfer (weather permitting) to visit Kizhi Island on Lake Onega to explore its open-air museum of wooden architecture. Marvel at wooden churches built without the use of a single nail which have survived the challenges of Russian winters and revolution.

Day 10 – Vladimir & Suzdal

The historic city of Vladimir was founded in 990 and is one of Russia’s oldest communities. With an architectural wealth, it has been decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned. From Vladimir we travel to Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024, located 35 kilometres from Vladimir. Here we visit the atmospheric St Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance by the resident monks. No Russian winter experience would be complete either without the horse-drawn sleigh ride through this stunning location.

Day 11 – Moscow

This morning we arrive at Moscow Kazansky station. Included in our time spent in Moscow is one night at the five-star Ritz-Carlton. Superbly located in Moscow city centre, and within easy walking distance of Red Square, the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theatre, this historic hotel offers spacious and luxurious accommodation. The O2 Lounge, a stylish rooftop terrace, features panoramic views over the Red Square and the Kremlin. The spacious ESPA spa centre includes a hot tub, indoor pool, and 14 treatment rooms. Crystal lighting, candles and beautiful facilities create the perfect atmosphere, and a wide variety of spa treatments, as well as the sauna, are available. There is also a fitness centre, and a beauty salon. We visit the Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful façade of the world famous GUM Department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. Our touring programme also takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin - the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber.

Day 12 – Moscow

Breakfast in the hotel brings the tour to a close and airport transfers are provided for your departure flights. Why not extend your stay in Moscow to explore more of the city at your leisure?

Price Includes

  • Experienced Tour Managers
  • Arrival and Departure Transfers
  • Hotel and Onboard Accommodation
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Route Guide, Itinerary and Information Pack
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily
  • Drinks with Meals and from the Bar Lounge Car
  • Onboard Service
  • Guided Off-Train Excursions
  • Freedom of Choice Touring
  • Personal Headsets
  • Onboard Doctor and Medical Facilities
  • 24 Hour Service Attendant
  • Porterage
  • All Gratuities

Price per person

From £9,520 per person sharing

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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