Santa Claus in a bird cage

There are few things more gloomy and depressing in this country than postapocalyptic style”garage coops”. Our car has been stuck in one of these, in Niva-3, an industrial outskirt of Kandalaksha, for the last two weeks for a welding job.

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Finally, an all-asphalt road to Salla, Finland


The last 15km long dirt and gravel section of the Alakurtti to Salla (Finland) road has finally been covered with asphalt. The ceremony of opening the road took place yesterday. Travel between Kandalaksha and Finland is now even easier.

Car down in Kandalaksha?

broke-carBased on my three years’ experience living here I can recommend the following three establishments:

(1) “On Spekova”, tel. +7 911 339 1657, Igor

(2) “By the railroad overpass”, +7 921 167-3723, Ruslan

(3) “Avtodia” on Zavodskoy, +7 921 177 2979 or +7 (81533)93001.

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The Kandalaksha Yacht Club

Visited the Kandalaksha Yacht Club yesterday. Spoke with the owner Alexey, mostly about setting up an Eider museum on the property. Have been given a tour of the place. Were impressed with the scale, taste, and perspective.

Of things that can be of interest to a traveller from afar:

(a) Accommodation. Two rooms, each with two beds and a fold-out couch, 2500/night per room regardless of the number of guests. Breakfast included. Rooms are minimalistic with no windows but clean and fresh. Peteulok Rechnoy 22 (next door to the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve), tel. +7 911 304 8101. More on this accommodation option >> more >>

More on Middle Eastern refugees travelling to Finland via Kandalaksha

Here is a fresh Vesti TV report on Middle Eastern refugees travelling to Finland via Kandalaksha:

It is in Russian but the key points are:

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Big shots’ meeting on tourism development in the region

meeting-Russia-FinlandKandalaksha leaders and those of Finnish municipalities that border with Russia have met last week to discuss joint projects, including setting up a major snowmobile route across Norway, Sweden,Finland, and Russia. Another project discussed was expanding the capacity of the transportation network of the Murmansk region and including it into the trans-European road system.

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Winter roads are not only dangerous but darn beautiful

Photos by Igor Prozorov.

The Kandalaksha to Umba road

Near Kandalaksha

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Moscow to Murmansk flights

transaero-Moscow-MurmanskTransaero just announced a direct flight from Moscow to Murmansk. Three times a week, 2.5 hours in the air, and the cost is said to be 6000 roubles ($150 at the current rate) both ways. Another 6 hours of rail to Kandalaksha but still beats 36 hours by train alone.

Bike rental

Another attempt to offer bicycle rental appears in the process. Two available at 500 roubles per day, or 100-150 per hour. Call +7 921 036 7662 (Ivan)or +7 902 137 0607 (Andrey).

Getting to Finland

map_finlandNo, there is no train connection. No planes either. The bus from Kandalaksha to Rovaniemi, Finland (via Salla and Kemijärvi) runs twice a week. Lots of offers for Finland and Sweden from private car owners in Kandalaksha. The usual cost is around $30 one way to Salla. Transfer-tour (, link down as of April 1 2015)regularly sends minibuses back and forth. All the services cater to Russian tourists, with very few English speakers and no info in English. Buses run regularly form Murmansk to Kirkenes (Norway) and Ivalo (Finland).

..This is a preliminary review. More info is coming up. Talk to me if you need an individual trip and if my truck won’t scare you off. Think of $1/km as the average cost of hiring me.

..Alexandra recently went to Finland. An overnight trip cost her 4000 roubles ($120-something) including both trasnportation and accommodation but that was a bit of good luck.