OBSCURE ETHNICITIES AND GLORIOUS RIVERS
KRASNOYARSK – Yeniseysk – Tutukhansk – DUDINKA – Norilsk – Talnakh
This tour is offered thrice a year in July and August. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
DAY 1/2 - Krasnoyarsk
Our guide will meet you at Krasnoyarsk International Airport and drive you to our hotel of choice (exact hotel name and address will be communicated well in advance per email).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling along the Yenisey.
We’ll spend a first slow-paced day in town focussing mostly on Soviet-era sights (Lenin statues, WWII memorials, Soviet mosaics and bass-reliefs, Bolshevik monuments and socialist architectures) and enjoying the surprisingly laidback atmosphere of this large Siberian metropolis.
On the following day we’ll visit the Stolby Natural Sancturaly, a protected area located just outside Krasnoyarsk and known for its dramatic complexes of rock pillars sprouting out the of the woods like giant stony mushrooms.
If time allows, you’ll also get to admire a true wonder of Soviet engineering: the behemoth Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Station, also known as the 10-ruble dam for being featured - you guessed it - in the current 10-ruble banknote.
Dinners and overnights in Krasnoyarsk.
DAY 3 to DAY 7 - Yenisey River
Today we’ll board our Soviet-era GDR-built Rodina-class vessel for a 2300-km-long romantic and melancholic journey along the Yenisey River up north towards the Arctic port city of Dudinka.
The 5-night-6-day voyage will take us across idyllic sceneries of dense dark forests, imposing cliffs, lonely wooden hamlets and remote Soviet towns; highlights of our river odyssey will include:
the rarely-visited Siberian towns of Lesosibirsk, Yeniseysk, Tutukhansk and Igarka, far-off urban outposts featuring a quaint mixture of classy Tsarist buildings, crumbling Soviet constructs and rickety wooden houses;
the picturesque villages of Bor, Bahta, Surgutikha, Baklanikha, Verhneimbatsk (and many more) home to a mixed population of Russians and indigenous Kets and Evenks, obscure Tungusic and Mongolic ethnicities that call home the boundless taiga expanses stretching north of Yeniseysk;
the dramatic natural backdrops and the dreamlike timeless atmospheres placidly accompanying us for the entire length of the cruise trip: a perfect conjuncture to read that long procrastinated heavy novel or even write your own tale.
Meals and overnights on the vessel.
DAY 8 - Dudinka
Our cruise along the Yenisey will eventually end in the Arctic city of Dudinka, the capital of the Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District, a semi-autonomous subdivision within the immense Krasnoyarsk region created ad hoc to grants some sort of (rather illusory) political representation to the indigenous Dolgan and Nenets people.
We’ll spend the rest of the day touring Dudinka and its surroundings: Soviet monuments, concrete apartment blocks, polar landscapes and fur and fish markets.
Dinner and overnight in Dudinka.
DAY 9 - Norilsk
We’ll leave Dudinka in the morning and head east towards Norilsk, an exquisitely Soviet urban construct and the world’s largest city north of the polar circle.
The road connecting Dudinka to Norilsk runs parallel to Norilsk Polar Railway, which was partially constructed by the prisoners of the infamous Norillag forced-labour camp and now owned by Norilsk Nickel, a large mining conglomerate extracting nickel and other raw materials from the area.
Short before Norilsk, we’ll stop at the abandoned military outpost of Alykel and in the rough-and-ready mining town of Kayerkan, perfect places to hunt for Soviet relics and urban decay.
Once in Norilsk, we’ll spend a few hours touring both the city’s highlights (Lenin Statue, City Museum, Drama Theatre) and its lesser-known sides, such as Nurdi Kamal, the world’s northern mosque.
Dinner and overnight in Norilsk.
DAY 10 - Talnakh
Today we’ll take an excursion out of Norilsk to visit the satellite town of Talnakh on the eastern bank of the Norilsk River, where we’ll take an extensive photo-architectonic tour through the many unconventional wonders of its Soviet-planned urban grid and the steampunk industrial outskirts.
If dystopian post-Soviet landscapes aren’t exactly your cup of tea you may opt for some laidback hours on the shores of Kyllakh-Kyuyel lake just outside of town: a popular retreat for local couples and families alike.
In the afternoon we’ll transfer back to Norilsk to enjoy a last walk among the imposing Stalinist shapes of the city centre before eventually closing off the tour with a grand dinner at the best restaurant in town.
Overnight in Norilsk.
DAY 11 - Flight back home or onward journey to further Soviet destinations
After enjoying a last Arctic breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to Norilsk International Airport your trip back home and/or your connection to yet another exciting destination in the region such as Tuva, Altai or the Putorona Plateau.
End of the tour.
Putorana Plateau Extension (+ 7 days)
Transfer from Norilsk to the Valek River berth, departure point for the river vessels heading to Lake Lama, a large freshwater body of tectonic origin.
6-to-7-hour-long journey along the Valek to Lake Lama on a modernised KS-100 Soviet boat: spacious cabins and a panoramic deck for passengers to admire the surrounding landscape.
Afternoon arrival at the Bunisiak basecamp, located at the farthest eastern end of Lake Lama in a dense larch forest, near the mouth of the Vekhikai River.
We will then devote six full days to the exploration of the legendary Putorana Plateau, one of the most beautiful natural areas of the former USSR and by extension of the entire world.
Highlights of your stay will include:
A boat trip to the Weeping Rocks, a complex of steep cliffs and enchanted waterfalls surrounded by a mystic aura.
A scenic trek along the Vekhikai Canyon with stunning views over the pristine Siberian taiga.
An 8-hour climb up the Shaytan Mountains with plenty of natural wonders and prehistoric secrets along the way.
A ethnological trip to some extremely remote hamlets inhabited by the Evenks, indigenous people of the Soviet North.
Short boat and kayak trips along the many water streams of the area.
Relaxing hours in the camp banya (traditional Russian sauna).
During your time at the camp you'll also have the opportunity to learn more about the endangered culture and traditions of the native Evenks, Dolgans, Enets and Nganasans: Tungusic and Samoyedic ethnicities, whose unique languages and habits are rapidly disappearing under the impending doom of climate change and modernisation.
Meals and overnights at the basecamp in Bunisiak.
4 to 8 participants: 2990 € per person
Putorana Plateau: 2450 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room/cabin accommodation (single supplement: 40 euro/night), private transport in the region (car and boat), half-board meal plan, entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, tips, visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.