Umba, the center of “Ter”

Umba, population ~5500, is the geographic, historic, and administrative center of Tersky Rayon (district). There is no settlement called “Ter” though. “Ter” (adjective “Tersky”) refers to the whole of the south edge of the peninsula because unlike most of Kola it is (was) covered by forest.

110km east from from Kandalaksha, average road quality, travel time close to two hours unless you hire a crazy Russian driver who’ll make it in one but the number of wreathes and black ribbons by the road and car carcasses in the ditches makes me thing it a bad idea. I can avail my services to go to Umba. $250 will cover a one-day trip.

Bus from Kandalaksha to Umba runs twice a day. For departure times call the Kandalaksha bus station at (81533) 43501.


See Categories > South Edge of Kola > Umba below for accommodation, art and culture, fishing, business scene etc. Or do a search on Umba. A must to visit is the Ametist Store and Workshop. The Search button is at the top of the left sidebar.

On the receiving end of the Russian roadside hospitality

May be an image of road and natureAs some of you may know, our “new” car spent most of the summer and September in the repair shop. That left me, the homebody, quite content, but my mate Alexandra, with her wanderlust, got frustrated close to the breaking point. So when I turned out to have a free day on Wednesday, I said not a word against Alexandra’s plan to drive to Kashkarantsy, about 200km east from Kandalaksha.

The invasion of artists to the Ter area of the Kola Peninsula

25 artists, mostly from the north-western parts of Russia, plan to work on the White Sea coast between Kandalaksha and Umba from July 25 to August 5. Sketches will be exhibited on August 4 at the Local History Museum in Kandalaksha. Works based on the collected materials, when ready, are promised to be presented to the public from September 21 to November 18, 2018, in the Regional Art Museum in Murmansk at Ul. Kominterna 13.

Our traditional August vacation in Kuzomen has started

This is one of the easiest yet most interesting routes around the Kola Peninsula. You can do that alone or by hiring Uncle Pasha as your driver, guide, and translator.


Below are travel notes from the first two days on the road. These are useful (facts) and useless (beautiful sights). more >>

To would be travellers to “no foreigner access” areas

noJust spoke with someone actively involved in the Umba tourism scene about the feasibility of getting an official permit for foreigners to visit the area. Was told that success in obtaining such is so extremely rare as not to be worth trying.

In all probability the same applies to other “no foreigner access” areas.

The consequences of being caught there without the permit is a fine and termination of your Russian visa, and denial of visa application for several years. And the police are said to be happy to charge trespassers.

Sorry folks..

Holes filled with water in a no-access area instead of silver

Tmedvezhyhe very name of the Medvezhy(Bear) Island silver mines has a stunning influence on those who hear it.

I hate to disappoint you but mines are now flooded by ground waters and any silver that may be left there is inaccessible.

Further, the Island of Medvezhy is part of the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve, with public access to it prohibited.

Still, the story of 18th century silver mining has an exciting influence on people’s minds, and I’m posting it on the request of one of your travellers.

Location: Porya Guba (bay) west from Umba, south-west of the peninsula.


A silver nugget from Island Medvezhy

more >>

Being arrested for “no foreigner” zone tresspassing is a realistic possibility

handcuffsToday I got a call from the local court in Kandalaksha asking me to translate at a hearing dedicated to a foreign traveller caught in a no-foreigners zone.

So I thought I’d remind would-be travellers that things like arrest and other ugly consequences are possible and do happen. Unfortunately, the court’s request for a translator was cancelled so I can’t tell you details of the story. I will however share another episode, personally known to me, when an elderly couple was held and hassled for four hours for the same “offence” before being released, this time with no consequences.

Need to travel to Umba or Sredny or Rybachy? Talk to me, I’ll try to assist you in getting the permit.