The Solovetsky Islands (often referred to as Solovki) are six islands located in the waters of the White Sea in northern Russia. It is located just 165km from the Arctic Circle. Founded in the 15th century, Solovetsky Monastery was one of Russia's most famous and holy monasteries, and became a major pilgrimage destination.
It was also a place of exile, and in the 20th century it was used as a brutal Soviet prison camp at which over a million prisoners died. Soviet leaders of the 1920's saw the advantage of the islands' isolation and stark climate differently and transformed the archipelago into one of the country's first gulags. It is still haunted by the shadows of the victims who suffered for their political views in both Imperial and Soviet times, yet its ancient monastery gives the place a unique air of spirituality. The monastery was rehabilitated after the fall of the Soviet Union, and today the islands' natural beauty, spiritual significance and weighty history draw tourists of all kinds to their shores.
During World War II, the Solovetsky Islands were used as a naval base. The monastery reopened in the early 1990s and is once again home to a few monks. Many of the churches and other monastery buildings remain under renovation.
Today, Solovetsky Monastery is a World Heritage Site, museum, and home to a handful of monks. The setting itself is still one of
breathtaking natural beauty – wild northern bays and headlands, calm lakes, and deep, thick forests. Situated in the chilly waters of
the Onega Bay in the far north of Russia, Solovetsky is off the beaten track, but those who make the effort will not forget their trip.
The most intact building is the Annunciation Church, built at the end of the 16th century and containing the tombs of the saintly founders of the monastery. A climb to the top of the majestic St. Nicholas Church, with an adjoining bell tower, provides a breathtaking overview of the island.
In 1992 the historical-cultural complex of the Solovetsky Islands obtains this status of the UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage object.
Every day a motor boat departs from the port of Kem and Belomorsk to the Solovetsky Islands. To be sure of getting a place on board, it is better to reserve in advance. The boat trip takes 2.5 hours from Kem and 4 hours from Belomorsk.
You can spend 8 hours on the island or participate in one of the many interesting excursions. To get the most out of your visit to Solovetsky Islands you will find under the tabs 'Excursions' an overview of possible excursions on the Solovetsky Islands. Off-course you can also visit the Solovetsky Islands without any excursions.
If you want to stay longer on the Solovetsky Islands, why not just relax in a cozy Guest house or a hotel and enjoy sightseeing and excursions? There are many places to stay and we would be pleased to advise one which suits you the best.
A one-day trip to Teriberka village and one of the rare phenomena on Earth. Meet the 'Rolling Stones' in Murmansk region on the Barents Sea shore.
The mystic of Lovozero Tundra on Kola Peninsula. The 3-days hiking excursion to Seid Ozero (Saint Lake). Meet a dancing shaman 'Kuiva' on the rocks!
If you are sportive, fond of biking and in our neighbourhood on Kola Peninsula, come to Monchegorsk. Bike with a guide on hilly, forest paths with beautiful views to mountains (1 day).
One-day hiking excursion through the mass-mountain of the Monche tundra ridge to waterfall "Devichi Kosi" (Girl's plaits). Excursion starts in Monchegorsk on Kola Peninsula.
Kayak quietly with your guide on Imandra Lake, the biggest on Kola Peninsula. 812 square meters water pleasure and 114 islands are waiting for you. Start in Monchegorsk (1 day).
Sailing on the Imandra lake among number of picturesque islands for two hours under guidance of an experienced instructor. Start in Monchegorsk (2 hrs).
Ski with guide/instructor on lighted tracks in park of Monchegorsk. Includes: skies, shoes and sticks. Lunch in café or on track. For beginners and experienced. Duration: whole day. From Dec till May.
Meet the Lovozero Saami in Russian Lapland. Learn about their culture and traditions. Feed, hug and sledge with reindeers. Meet other northern animals. A 7-8 hour excursion incl. transfers.
The day trip includes welcome drink with pies, a reindeer safari, arctic lunch, introduction about husky farm and dog sledging. Possibility for a 30 minute or 60 minute husky safari.
Hiking excursion in Karelian village Kinerma, visiting a museum, photo exhibition, the church and possibility to join courses in baking 'Kalitki' and making dolls.
Visit the historical quarter in the capital of Karelia, museums, ship replicas and the smithy's workshop. Stroll over the boulevard decorated with arts.
Boat excursions to Valaam Island with hiking excursion in Central Monastery including lunch. Possibility for folk concert. From Sortavala, Petrozavodsk or St-Petersburg.
The one day boat excursion to Kizhi Island from Petrozavodsk harbour. The open air museum of the traditional Karelian way of wooden building.
Visit Solovetsky Islands. Unique nature, ancient stone labyrinths, museums about monastery and GULAG, botanical garden, water channels and more. From 1 day to more day excursions.
A 3-hours excursion about five thousand years of development of the Solovetsky Archipelago by people; mysterious labyrinths, Saami tribes, Karelians and severe Orthodox zealots.
The 4 hours excursion takes place on the picturesque northern part of the Big Solovetsky Island, where there are three small and secluded monasteries.
Watch Beluga whales from Cape Beluga, the western tip of the Bolshoi Solovetsky Island. A 3 hours boat excursion from half of June to half of August.
Boat excursion (3 hrs) to the Big Zayatsky Island. Visit the biggest pagan sanctuary, stone labyrinths, a complex of cult and funeral constructions, first stone harbour, monuments of Andreevsky Monastery.
A 3-hours sea trip in the Solovetsky Archipelago for lovers of scenery, peace and quietness, as well as photographers!
Come very close to the super friendly and sociable Beluga White Whales. Communicate, hug, swim and snorkel with them. The unique opportunity for Beluga whale lovers (4 hours).
The city excursion in Archangelsk from a hotel or the pier. Visit historical places, old town with beautiful wooden houses, stroll along Dvina river bank and enjoy excursion to Malya Korely.
The 2 hour excursions in Archangelsk city. We have 2 variants: One with the theme of Arkhangelsk city's history and the second one is devoted to the harbour and scientific expeditions.