CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula Russia

A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula Russia

CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula Russia

Exploring Murmansk, world’s largest city above the Arctic Circle in Kola Peninsula Russia.

The vast diversity of human experience of life throughout the globe is something that is easily forgotten on a day to day basis. While some of us have to learn to survive through the extremely high temperatures of the African sun, others find themselves seeing no sunlight whatsoever for months in a row.CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaToday’s story is featuring Kola Peninsula and its unique weather conditions. Kol’skiy, as it is called in native language, is located in the Far North of Russia, bordering Finland and Norway. The capital of this region, Murmansk, is the world’s largest city above the Arctic Circle.

Since September the day starts to shorten and the night prolongs. Finally, somewhere towards early December the sun shows up for the very last time and will remain hidden behind the horizon of beautiful flat mountains for 40+ days. Citizens then have a tradition, hiking at the top of the “Sunny Hill” and welcoming the sun when it first touches these lands. It is a special experience for those who live here, for others it can be an eye-opening knowledge to pay attention and appreciate the amount of sun available for each of us, varying drastically around the globe. Meanwhile, the residents of Murmansk organized beautiful artificial lighting on the streets, making dark times of the day more enjoyable.CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaHowever, there is even a more special light that can be found in these lands. Drive outside the city for an hour into the north at night and you’ll have a chance to see Aurora Borealis. It’s better to have an experienced local guide with you, an Aurora-hunter. The Northern Lights, the magical dancing waves of light spreading throughout the night’s sky, are in fact quite a violent atmospheric phenomenon, representing energized particles from the sun facing the earth’s upper atmosphere and spread by our planet’s magnetic field towards the poles. The best time to watch northern lights in this area is from September to April.CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaThe best time to visit Kola Peninsula and Murmansk is perhaps the early September, when during just a couple of weeks the summer changes to winter, the trees changing colors fast and the lanscape scenery is bloomig in burning colors, especially on a bright sunny day. One of the most scenic road lays from Murmansk city through the Valley of Glory and towards the tiny city of Pechenga. This hour and a half road trip is something worth coming to this Far North of Russia.CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaCulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaKola Peninsula in Russia is a place rich in Earth’s natural gifts. During summer and early autumn, locals harvest various mushrooms and berries, then prepare them for the long winter. The negative temperature outside provides a months-long freezer right on the balcony. Mushroom hunting is very popular in these lands as well. The forest-tundra landscape of flat mountains (called ‘sopki’ in Russian) covered in soft dry white-green moss and various bushes is an absolute dream for picking mushrooms, as they are perfectly seen in this terrain. The orange-cup boletus, the most popular mushroom consumed among locals, is also the most abundant growing up to 30cm in diameter. People make soups and stews with it, salt it, can it, or marinate for the upcoming winter.

Various berries like cloudberries, blueberries, or cranberries grow in wild places like swamps, rocky hills, or right through the moss, adding gorgeous colorful patterns to these lands of extraordinary beauty. Cloudberry jam is a delicacy that people bring home when coming back from Kol’skiy.CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaCulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaSome people who visited Kola Penunsula have an expression of this place as dark, depressive, with a semi-interesting lanscape. It is important to say that wherever we go, we bring our journey with us. Every corner of the world has something special to offer. Using available knowledge to travel at the most appropriate times, understnding the history and local traditions before the trip, but also bringing an open heart with us, will serve beautifully, allowing us to meet the unique expressions of both people and nature, awaiting us in the new place. Stay curious and let the Earth show you its gifts.

Kola Peninsula Russia’s Cloudberry Jam Recipe

The cuisine of indigenous people, the Sami, that influenced the food traditions of Russians and other cultures who currently populate these lands, was and still is very animal-based. Kola Sami’ economy was based on semi-nomadic reindeer herding, hunting and fishing. Nowadays you will find gastronomic shops and restaurants that serve various wild seafood, as well as wild animals like deers, all apart from the regular Soviet/Russian cuisine staples.CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula RussiaThis jam is made from cloudberries that are found in abundance in the Kola Peninsula.


  • 300 grams of fresh/frozen cloudberry
  • 80 grams of brown sugar
  • 50 ml of water

CulturallyOurs A Locals Guide To Kola Peninsula Russia Cloudberry Jam


  1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes, until all berries are soft and the consistency is jam-like.
  3. Transfer to a clean glass jar with a lid and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  4. Enjoy with fresh yogurt, or on top of a rye bread with a layer of butter.

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Exploring Kola Peninsula Russia With CulturallyOurs

{Photos and words by Maria Dokshina, @planty_ }

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