The magnificent aurora borealis still holds a deep cultural significance for the region's indigenous Sami tribes. This reverence still holds, as Russia is one of the least-travelled places to see the Northern Lights and its vast swathes of wilderness make for uninterrupted, atmospheric viewing.
Where to go?
With much of the country bordering or lying within the Arctic Circle, Russia’s north has a rich range of viewing spots. Chief among them is the Kola Peninsula. Bordering Scandinavia, it’s also one of the more accessible regions, allowing for more opportunities to travel through starry nights to witness spectacular views. Head east, and Severodvinsk is known for having some of the brightest aurorae, capable of overpowering the city’s lights. Russia also features one of the most unique Northern Lights tours, that takes place onboard the Golden Eagle Arctic Explorer. Departing from St. Petersburg, it dips over the border into Norway for an ice hotel stay before back into Russia to chase the lights as far north as Murmansk.
When to go?
If you travel to Kola Peninsula or Murmansk in December or January, you’ll land in the middle of six weeks of pitch-black days and nights - meaning plenty of chances to spot the aurorae. If you’d rather take in at least a small dose of Vitamin D, head there on either side of the winter months, but remember that December historically brings the least cloudy nights. For more on when to go to Russia, see our season chart.