Weekend in Karelia, Russia
Winter weekend in Karella
Arrival to Petrozavodsk in the morning.
Piter Inn hotel Petrozavodsk (ex. Park Inn) is located literally next door to the train station. The hotel left the Park Inn chain in March 2017, but it still keeps the design and standard of the chain. It’s the best hotel of the city.
Check in may not be possible this early in the morning, but it is possible to leave the luggage at the hotel storage and find the nice place for a cup of coffee (not included).
Take the taxi to the lake Onega pier (the city is very small, so the longest taxi ride is 15 minutes long, taxi is not included) for the departure to Kizhi island.
10.00 Take the hovercraft to Kizhi. The ride is about 1-1,5 hour long. The hovercraft is warm inside; there are usually 2 quite soft benches one in front of another. The ride is smooth.
Unlike summer boat tours, the hovercrafts stop right next to Kizhi pogost – main sightseeing area on the ice of the lake. There is about 40 minutes walk with either Russian guide or the audio guide in English. There are 2 buildings open for the visit in winter – the Church of the Intercession of the Virgin and the house of the merchant. Also you’ll have a chance to walk around a little to take the photos.
After the tour, the hovercrafts will take you to the main pier for the tea with some light snacks. Please be aware that the only toilet on the island is located at the pier. The tea stop is included in the tour package.
Return to Petrozavodsk around 16.00
Evening at leisure. It’s recommended to visit Karelskaya Gornitsa restaurant (10 minutes walk from the hotel down the main street) to taste some local specialties.
10:00 After the reach breakfast depart to Karjala park. It’s a resort, located some 30 minutes drive from Petrozavodsk on the banks of the Shuya river. The complex is located in the pine forest. They have the hotel, restaurant, several authentic northern tents, large snowmobile garage; over 20 husky dogs live and work there.
The husky ride is organized on the special trail. You will have the chance to meet and pet the dogs first. Huskies generally are extremely friendly. Karjala park huskies are the friendliest huskies in the world. The sledge for the ride is very warm. It has something like a sleeping bag, that you get into, which keeps you warm and dry during the ride. The sledge always has a professional driver that stands in the back and directs the dogs. There will be 1 sledge for the ride, so you’ll take terms to go.
Please keep in mind that there is a safety briefing before the ride, to observe the major rules. It is necessary to make sure your ride is smooth and enjoyable. The language of the briefing is Russian, but there are no complicated words and the rules are simple. No special outfit is necessary for the ride.
After the sledge ride you’ll have a chance to warm up and enjoy the lunch with some traditional Karelian dishes, including the Lokhikeito salmon cream soup and local kalitka pies.
The snowmobile ride will begin after lunch. The park provides full snowmobile gear: waterproof overall, jacket, boots, helmet, gloves. You’ll need to bring the sportswear to wear under the overall and the extra socks. There is a comfortable room to change and a safe place to leave your belongings. There will be 2 snowmobiles provided, 1 per person. The ride is 1,5 hours long. You will be accompanied by the instructor all along the way.
Please be aware that there will be a safety briefing before the ride. You’ll study the main principles of snowmobile driving and then commands given by the instructor on the trail. It’s in Russian. The language is a little more difficult, since there will be terms like acceleration or breaks, so you’ll need to be prepared.
After the snowmobile ride you’ll have some tea and head off back to Petrozavodsk. The return transfer is included. There is also an option to stay overnight in the cottage of Karjala park. The supplement is USD 30 per person. This includes the accommodation in the cottage and the breakfast next morning. You will need to check out of your hotel in Petrozavodks on the morning of March 10th then.
Day 3, March 11th
Check out of your hotel in the morning (Piter inn of Karjala park) and leave your bag in Piter Inn storage.
Spend the day at leisure, enjoying the walk down the lake Onega embankment (20 minutes from the hotel, down the main street), or shop for local liquors.
It’s also possible to re-arrange the itinerary to have another day free and do some activities on Sunday.
From $800 per person double occupancy
2 night accommodation in a standard double room with breakfast at Piter Inn Petrozavodsk hotel
Join in tour to Kizhi island package: round trip transfer to the island by hovercraft, Russian OR English audio guide tour on the island, tea with snacks
Round trip transfer by private vehicle to Karjala park
Private snow mobile ride 1,5 hours long, including the rent of gear
1 husky sledge ride per person
Insurance for the activity
1 traditional lunch at Karjala park
1 great experience per person
Meals (unless mentioned as included)
Taxi to the lake Onega pier and back for Kizhi island tour
Train to Petrozavodsk
Visa to Russia