Northern Lights in Luxury: Arctic Circle by Private Train

Northern Lights in Luxury: Arctic Circle by Private Train

Imagine indulging in caviar and champagne as you travel aboard a deluxe private train barreling through Russia toward the Arctic Circle for a rendezvous with Aurora Borealis. This romantic and festive evening is included in MIR’s new rail journey by private train, Arctic Explorer: Quest for the Northern Lights.

St. Petersburg and the Luxury Golden Eagle Private TrainA 12-day winter excursion from St. Petersburg to Moscow via the Arctic Circle, the tour begins in Russia’s second city, with a champagne reception and visits to the city’s remarkable sites, including the Hermitage and the beautifully crafted Amber Room of Catherine’s Palace.

Then travelers board the luxury Golden Eagle private train as it heads through the taiga until the trees thin and lose their stature, and the train crosses the Arctic Circle.

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Northern Lights and a Snow HotelIn the Norwegian town of Kirkenes, which is squarely within the Aurora Borealis Zone, passengers make themselves comfortable in a warm coach and chase the Northern Lights through the tundra. This region is a great place to observe the lights because of its dry winters and abundance of clear nights.

In Kirkenes, travelers can visit the fantastic Snow Hotel, assembled each winter since 2006. The rooms are made by inflating a huge balloon and blowing six feet of snow over it. The balloon is deflated, and voila!

Up here it’s easy to ride behind a dog sled and meet a herd of reindeer.

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Russia’s Arctic Circle, the Golden Ring and MoscowBack on the go again, the train pulls into Murmansk, where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream keep the port ice-free for most of the winter.

Passengers get to stop in Petrozavodsk, where Peter the Great built an iron foundry to outfit his new navy, and in the Golden Ring’s UNESCO-listed Vladimir and Suzdal, to experience a moving choral concert by local monks and take a sleigh ride, passing by where some of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Russia are preserved.

The winter journey ends in magnificent Moscow, a booming metropolis, dignified yet dynamic, where ancient churches sit shoulder to shoulder with 21st century financial institutions.

(click on photo to see larger version)

  (Top photo: The Northern Lights fill the Kirkenes, Norway sky)

PUBLISHED: January 13, 2015

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