You can feel the magic of the Kola Peninsula whenever you want. But this land is especially beautiful in the warm season when nature awakens: rivers and waterfalls gain strength, tundra blossoms with bright colors, meadows become green. Trekking in the mountains, authentic Sami villages, mystical Teriberka with skeletons of ships - six days on the peninsula is disastrously few, but we will try to embrace the immense.
We'll spend the first day on the road. On the way we'll admire the old town of Old Ladoga, stop at a soulful restaurant "Mandrogi", walk on the shore of Lake Onega in Petrozavodsk. We'll come to the hotel at midnight - it's necessary to have a good night's sleep, because tomorrow we'll have to drive a lot more.
The road to Murmansk is not a long one, but do not deny yourself the pleasure of stopping at beautiful places along the way. For example, you can visit the village of Staraya Ladoga. According to archaeological data, this is the most ancient city of Russia and the alleged capital of the state of Rurik. Almost the entire territory of the village is occupied by the museum-reserve with architectural monuments of the VIII-XIX centuries.
There's a gas station coming up. If you are tired, make a comfortable stop - come for a coffee!
There are few worthy restaurants on the further part of the route. Among the absolute favourites is the restaurant in the place Mandrogi, reconstructed village of the XIX century. These are real refectory chambers in Old Russian tsarist style, with antique furniture and old household items. The menu corresponds to the interiors: beef tongue with horseradish, cutlets from Onega pike-perch, pelmeni from venison. The prices are expectedly high, but you don't spare any money for such beauty. Keep in mind, that everything is prepared "with a knife", so you should order complex dishes in advance. As a last resort, you can drop in at the pancake house next door, where they cook much faster.
We stop for a while in Petrozavodsk to stroll along Onega embankment and listen to the cries of seagulls. There are many art objects and monuments on the city embankment, and magnificent Karelian sunsets may become a topic for a separate trip.
Dinner at the roadside cafe "Mark" - a great option for a quick and hearty dinner at an affordable price.
We will have to leave early: there will be a lot of picturesque places on the way, so we will sacrifice our sleep for them. On the way to Murmansk we will stop at the White Sea shore - for a short time, later you will have a chance to get acquainted with it closer. In the afternoon we will cross the Arctic Circle and have dinner already in Apatity. We'll be closer to midnight in Murmansk.
Let's turn for a while in the direction of the town of Kem. It is situated on the river bank at the top of Kemsk bay - from there to the sea is about 12 km more. The tiny village of Rabocheostrovsk huddles on the seashore. From there the passenger ships depart to the Solovetsky islands. Let's stop here for half an hour - to observe white whales and seals, to listen to the whistling wind, to breathe the smell of the sea. By the way, in 2005 the shooting of the drama "The Island" was held in Rabochaostrovsk. The scenery for the film by Pavel Lungin became a trademark of the settlement.
Next to the pier there is Kemska volost restaurant - you must be hungry by now, so it's time to have a hearty lunch. Prices here are higher than average, but beautiful views of the White Sea and not bad menu are disarming.
So, the momentous occasion! Crossing the Arctic Circle. Don't worry, you won't miss this moment: a stele with an observation deck symbolically separates the Arctic from more southern latitudes.
The scenery is getting more and more interesting. Here we are crossing the turbulent Pirenga River. It is not an ordinary river. Its 4-kilometer part from the dam up to Imandra lake (you will cross it on your way) doesn't freeze all the year round. Why is it so? It is a big mystery. Either because of the locks or the streams flowing into the river are "guilty". The fact remains that the river is open all year round and it is a real gift for local fishermen.
I suggest having dinner in Apatity, in one of the best local cafes - "Jaga". The pizzeria pleasantly surprises with a stylish interior and the quality of food: fragrant pizza on a good thin dough has won the heart of more than one traveler.
We get up early today - we have to leave at least 7 a.m. The way lies in the famous village of Teriberka - the only place in the vicinity where you can admire the open Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. In the evening we will return to Murmansk. The largest city in the world beyond the Arctic Circle will pleasantly surprise you with the number of sightseeing attractions.
Early in the morning we go to Teriberka village which has already become a legend. People have been living here since the 16th century, but in the last couple of decades Teriberka has turned into a half-abandoned village with many empty buildings. The village was reborn after the release of Andrei Zvyagintsev's film "Leviathan". Part of the filming took place here, at the mouth of the river flowing into the Barents Sea. The magical beauty of this place fascinates. Rugged landscapes, low-key tundra vegetation, scatterings of massive boulders and lakes - it is memorable for a lifetime.
To dine on the shore of the Barents Sea - what can be better! The crown dishes of Teriberka are made of fish. It is quite natural. The locals have been fishing for herring, cod and salmon since ancient times.
The most visited place in Teriberka is the Ship Graveyard. The skeletons of ships sticking out of the water look intimidating against the magnificent northern scenery. These vessels, of which only an iron skeleton remains, were actively used in the middle of the last century, when two fishery factories were operating in the settlement. In 1960 the district centre was moved to Severomorsk, and the fishery came to an end. The unwanted iron workers found eternal rest on this shore, having turned into a controversial landmark.
Back to Murmansk. We have half a day to look around the city. It's lucky if it's a polar day - it's pleasant to walk at any time! We will start our city tour from the central square of Five Corners, stop at the marine station with the legendary nuclear-powered icebreaker "Lenin". Then we will go to the Semenovsky lake: there is a park with attractions and the highest observation wheel beyond the polar circle. There is also a unique oceanarium, the only one in Europe, where the Arctic seals perform. On Monday and Tuesday, the aquarium is closed, on the other days there are 11.00, 15.00 and 17.00 o'clock. From here it is very close to "Alesha" - so fondly say the citizens of Murmansk call this impressive memorial "To the Defenders of the Soviet Polar Region during the Great Patriotic War". This is the second largest monument in the country.
Let's have dinner at the Czarskaya okhota restaurant. It's already time to make legends about its specialties of venison and salmon. Elk liver pate, forshmak with pikefish caviar, Murmansk scallops with celery root cream, Karelian boiling pot - the delicacies make my head spin!
In the morning we go to the Sami village of Sam Syyt: get acquainted with the life and life of this northern people, try unusual dishes, visit ceremonial places. In the afternoon we go to Kirovsk, a small industrial town with alien landscapes. The city is located at the foot of the Khibin - the largest mountain massif on the Kola Peninsula. At the end of the day we'll visit the main (and really interesting!) museum of the city, and then go have a rest in one of the cozy hotels of Kirovsk.
The Saami are a small Finno-Ugric people. The Scandinavians called them *lappar*, hence the name Lapland. Only one and a half thousand representatives of this indigenous people of Northern Europe live in the Murmansk region. During the three-hour tour, you will take a stroll through the Sami village. You will visit traditional dwelling - plagues and kuvaks, visit idol alley and play local games. In summer, you can ride quad bikes. The tour starts at 10:30 and includes lunch at 13:45. In the national cafe you will be treated to a traditional dish "lim" (salmon ear) with Lovozero bread and a drink "Pakula". In addition, you can order goulash with venison, salad with salmon or venison. The cost of the excursion for an adult is 1550-2050 rubles.
On the way to Kirovsk we will again pass Lake Imandra, the largest lake in Murmansk region. It is also the most picturesque. The shores of Imandra are winding and indented, there are more than 140 islands scattered along the water surface. Linger on the shore for half an hour: there is nothing but eternity around.
The first thing we will do in Kirovsk is to visit the Apatit museum and exhibition centre. The eight halls of the complex contain exhibits dedicated to the history of the city and mining operations. The museum is really interesting: beautifully illuminated minerals, animated models, fossils. Visiting [the museum](http://www.mvc-apatit.ru/) is free (all of a sudden!). You can take an audio guide. Entry is strictly until 20:00, and the museum closes at 21:00.
It's dinner time and we're already at the cafe "In Your Plate", which is often referred to as the best in town. The prices here are quite adequate: you can eat herring with potatoes, taiga hodgepodge or venison roast. The most expensive dish of the restaurant is the grilled reindeer meat with Khibiny lingonberry sauce. After dinner take a walk around the town. Maybe you will be lucky to see the polar lights. And yes, it can be observed in Khibiny at any time of the year, except for the period of the polar day and short night.
This will be the most active day of the trip. Early in the morning, you will set out to conquer the majestic Khibiny. The preparation for the trekking is simple: a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of water in your backpack - and you can leave at least for the whole day. The further it goes, the easier it is. You quickly stop paying attention to the discomfort and with every meter you admire the mountain scenery more and more. We'll have lunch in Kirovsk, and then go home. On the way we'll go to the shore of the White Sea, and then we'll spend the night in the town of Kem.
The summit of Mount Aikuaivenchorr (1,075 metres) can be reached by a ski lift. Several ski slopes start from there. However, the Khibiny Mountains can entertain travelers all year round: when skiing ends, trekking begins. There are dozens of travel options in Khibiny. For instance, you can walk to Maly Vudyavr Lake and from there to the Molybdenum Mines, then climb Takhtarvumchorr Mountain and come back through the Geographers Pass. Here you will find a quite good path, but here and there you will have to do your best to find a path. The length of this route is about 12-15 km.
In the mountains, the appetite has become fierce! We go down to Kirovsk and run to Bamboo sushi bar. It is a good choice, when one wants to have a quick and delicious meal. After lunch we head for the return trip.
We stop at Kandalaksha, a small town on the shore of the White Sea gulf. It is noteworthy that the origin of the town's name is still unknown. According to one version, it comes from the word "laksha", which means "bay" in Karelian. Thus, Kandalaksha is a place where the river Kanda flows into the bay. True, the local river has a completely different name. The town is located at the foot of the Cross Mountain. Be sure to climb it for some scenery and some nifty selfies. And walk across the pedestrian suspension bridge over the Niva River, another great spot for photos.
Passing the village Zelenoborsky. I recommend to make a stop here. The settlement became a place of shooting of Nikolay Dostal's film "Petya on the way to the kingdom of heaven". However, on the screen the village turns into the postwar Kandalaksha. It's interesting that a good half of the locals starred in the extras.
We'll stop for dinner at Tedino Cafe: it's practically the only place in the vicinity where you can eat at this hour.
You have to leave the hotel early - 6:30 am. On the way home, we will stop at Voitski Padun waterfall, then visit the abandoned Hirvas airfield. We'll have dinner in a cozy cafe near Lake Ladoga.
Once the Voitsky Falls were much more powerful and were divided into three sleeves. After the construction of the White Sea Channel there was only one sleeve left - the Midfall. And although it's hard to call Padun a waterfall (it's more like rapids), the place remains extremely picturesque.
We stop for a bite to eat at a roadside cafe. A bowl of hot soup and a cup of coffee are a traveler's best friends. In the mini-market you can take water and food for the trip.
Near Palvoser there is an unusual sight - an abandoned airfield "Girvas". For several years Soviet fighter-interceptors Su-15TM were based here. When the fighter regiment was relocated to Norilsk, the airfield was abandoned. Rumor has it that in the 90's an IL-76 with goods smuggled from China landed here. And the locals are also sure that there is an underground secret airplane parking lot. Anyway, the airfield is empty. The pavement here is still very good, so you can meet novice drivers and daredevils practicing drifting techniques on the runway.
Let's have dinner in Lodeynoye Pole, at Cafe Deja Vu. It's famous for pleasant prices and a solid selection of hot dishes. A bonus is the cozy atmosphere.