Arctic Glamping: Comfort in the exotic

'Glamour' and 'Arctic' seem like incompatible concepts. But only at first glance

Glamping has been actively developing in Russia over the last couple of years. The term is a portmanteau of the words 'glamorous' and 'camping', and it basically means wild tourism, but... in comfortable conditions. The potential participants in this activity are travellers who would like to spend some time away from civilisation without giving up its advantages.

Glamping facilities are beautiful, well-maintained, with modern services and often a service staff. However, they are not hotels as people have come to know them: glamping facilities are often built in the style of traditional indigenous houses (yurts, igloos, teepees, chums, caravans), izbas, wooden holiday cabins, tents, geodesic domes and even huts: comfort is important, but in this case, being close to nature comes first.

The glamping sector is seeing healthy growth worldwide. There is even a dedicated internet resource, where you can find glamping opportunities virtually anywhere on the planet.

Glamping arrived in Russia in 2018. 'Glamourous camping' is now possible in several regions of our country: Baikal, Altai, Kamchatka, the Black Sea coast, Moscow Region and even Mount Elbrus.

There are even glamping sites in the Russian Arctic. One of these sites, Aurora Village, is located 50 km north of Murmansk, on the shores of Lake Kanentyavr on the Kolsky Peninsula. The village includes 10 dome-shaped houses that look like igloos. They are made with double-paned glass, so you can enjoy the view of the tundra 24/7 in comfort.

This place is also considered one of the best spots to observe the Aurora Borealis. In addition, guests of Aurora village can go dog sledging, ice fishing and go on excursions to the most beautiful places in the Murmansk region.

Another glamping option in Murmansk region was created right on the shore of the Barents Sea by MamontCamp in partnership with the largest active tourism operator in Russia, Russia Discovery. The facility comprises 12 tent-shaped structures. The programme includes jeep, quad and buggy rides and chances to taste traditional northern dishes (the glamping site has its own chef). Travellers will reach the northernmost point of the Russian mainland—Cape Nemetsky, will be able to observe the Aurora Borealis, visit the protected areas of the Sredny Peninsula with its giant seids (totems) Akka and Ukka, as well as make a trip to the Musta-Tunturi ridge and Avatar waterfall.

There are also trips to historic locations: on the way to the glamping site, tourists can visit the Valley of Glory, where fierce battles for the Arctic took place during the Great Patriotic War (WWII). Unique sites from the WWII era and the later Soviet years can be explored all around the glamping site.

An important note: the glamping site is located far away from any population centre, which is why travellers will not have access to mobile networks or WiFi for the 5-day duration of the tour. Only emergency calls can be made. This is quite an unfamiliar situation for a modern person! However, getting away from civilization while still living with the maximum level of comfort can be good for you.

There is a glamping site in Yakutia as well. It is located on the banks of the Lena River, 100 km away from Yakutsk. It is called Bereg Legend. For accommodation, you can choose between safari tents or small houses. Guests of Bereg Legend can go on tours to the Lena Pillars, the sand dunes of Tulukany or the Buotama mountain river, and in winter, they can go ice fishing. Moreover, celebrations and festivals take place on the grounds of the glamping site (for example, traditional cuisine festivals), so you can enjoy them as well.

The construction of a glamping site in Chukotka, in the national Eskimo village of Novoe Chaplino, was completed in the summer of 2020. This is a joint project of Beringia National Park, the World Wildlife Fund and the administration of the Providensky urban district.

The buildings are stylised after igloos, the Eskimos' traditional homes. They are heated and equipped with modern conveniences. The glamping site will become a base for the development of sporting, environmental, educational, culinary and ethnic tourism in Chukotka.

Tourists can learn traditional crafts (beading, dressing of hides) and, of course, visit the most beautiful and interesting places in the district.

The companies Russia Discovery and MamontCamp are planning to create a glamping site on Putoran plateau in the north of Krasnoyarsk Region. The trips planned for this project include tours to scenic places, sport fishing, trekking to picturesque waterfalls and bathing in their basins, ascending the plateau, kayaking in the fjord lakes and a historical tour of Norilsk.

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