Whale Tourism in the Russian Arctic

PHOTO by Lenorlux / Depositphotos
A weekend in the new capital of Arctic tourism: get your prices right

Teriberka, the setting for Andrey Zvyagintsev’s controversial movie, Leviathan, has already been named the number one tourist destination in Arctic Russia.

So, you're considering a trip to this picturesque location on the coast of the Barents Sea? Then don’t forget your sleeping mask and dress up warm. Arctic summers are famous for their endless polar days and temperatures reluctantly creeping up to around +10-15ºC (50-59ºF).

Teriberka is just two hours’ drive away from Murmansk; private cab services have seen into a boom in trade since the village turned into a prime destination for cultural pilgrimage last year. A cab ride will put you back about $69 – definitely affordable if you split the cost among friends.

A word to the wise about the accommodation. People travel to Teriberka because of its haunting natural beauty and must-visit film locations. Of course, you won’t have to sleep rough, provided you book a place to stay well in advance, but don’t count on luxury living.

The Teriberka real estate market is fairly limited: the only property we managed to identify on the Mir Kvartir website was a 32 square metres apartment, yours for $10,600 including the agent's commission. No rentable flats in Teriberka were listed on CIAN.

Having searched through several websites specialising in short-term renting options, we stumbled upon the Derzhi Kraba Hostel, whose name is a Russian idiom for “give me five”. The hostel can put up 8-10 guests at $38-$46 per night. Its description promises “restaurants and cafes, a beach, a shop, a bakery and the seashore just a few steps away. A comfy bed, cosy atmosphere and stunning views – you will love it here”.

A similar amount of money can get you a stay in a privately owned apartment. Let’s get an expert's opinion.

Most places in Teriberka's short-term rent market range from $23 to $30 per night. As a rule, the price includes 2-5 beds, household appliances, Wi-Fi and digital TV, less often a parking or garage space.

Apartment owners point out that the rates may vary depending on the season and length of stay, with prices reaching $46 for a single-night stay and dropping by half if you book for two or more days.

Teriberka classifieds normally emphasise the ideal location of the rentable properties (near the Barents Sea shore – or a bus stop) and the friendliness of the hosts. The landlords actually prefer to offer apartments for short-term occupancy, with advertisements often reading “Guests from other towns are welcome”.

Erik Segerborg, Head of Strategy, Avito

You can also book a day trip to Teriberka from Murmansk at $150-$180 per vehicle, including a guided tour of the local sights. A sea excursion and even a scuba diving session are available at an extra charge. Remember that the temperature of the water in the Barents Sea, located at the margin of the Arctic ocean, averages about +5C (41F) in summer.

Murmansk has a larger choice of accommodation which ranges from the Azimut chain hotel, offering rooms upwards of $62 per night, to many mini-hotels, hostels and apartments for short-term rent (on average, $38-$46 per night for two guests, with cheaper rates available).

Author: Albina Lebedeva