Military history fans are usually drawn to the Rybachy and Sredny peninsulas, and to the island of Kil’din. These places saw intense fighting during WW2. Remnants of fortifications, guns, shells and other artifacts are still abundant.
Visiting these places for foreign travellers, however, involves considerable difficulties. Rybachy, Sredny, and Kil’din are among pre-border territories, and a foreign citizen needs a permit from FSB to get there. The procedure involves writing a detailed application that takes no less than two months to consider and can be turned down without even an explanation. Attempting to visit these places without a permit may result in a fine and loss of visa, if not an accusation of spying, with all the ugly consequences.
At the moment we are looking into alternative routes on the Kola Peninsula that do not require special permits for fans of military history. There are several places just as history-saturated as Rybachy. These places however are not well represented in the Internet, so the interest from travellers, especially from abroad, is much lower there.
Examples of places where we can help you with organizing a trip, guide, driver, and translator:
1. The City of Medvezhyegorsk, 500km south of Kandalaksha. Finnish fortifications of WW2 era. Underground bunkers, trenches, communication lines. Well-preserved. A local guide and an all-terrain vehicle are highly desirable.
Not far from Kandalaksha (14km) there is a German cemetery where lie 1000 interned Germans.
3. From Kandalaksha by car one can go towards Alakurtti to see the Verman frontline, where Russian troops were facing Wehrmacht’s XXXVI corps and Finland’s 6th Infantry Division. The total length of the fortification line is 30km. You will still be able to see trenches, dugouts, and lots of barbed wire.
These are the first alternatives to the Rybachy peninsula that come to mind not requiring permits. We’ll continue looking around for places that would be of interest to fans of military history.