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Arkhangelsk Oblast is a region in northwestern Russia, which borders Karelia to the west, the White Sea to the north, Nenetsia to the northeast, Komi Republic to the east, Kirov Oblast to the southeast, and Vologda Oblast to the south.


Map of Arkhangelsk Oblast

Mainland Arkhangelsk Oblast can be divided into 3 parts from north to south:

  • Northern part - the White Sea coast and Northern Dvina's delta. Home to biggest cities (Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk), but less populated in rural areas outside the delta.
  • Middle part - the less populated part, with worst roads, a gap between North and South. Plesetsk Cosmodrome is located there.
  • Southern part - agricultural and more populated part with an array of old towns, as Kargopol, Velsk, Solvychegodsk, and Kotlas.

Also the Franz Josef Land far north in the Arctic Sea and Novaya Zemlya, halfway there, are part of the Oblast.


Map of Arkhangelsk Oblast

  • 1 Arkhangelsk — the region's capital, chief sea port of medieval Russia, which houses Europe's largest museum of wooden architecture (Malye Korely). Claims to be the cultural capital of Russian North.
  • 2 Belushya Guba Belushya Guba on Wikipedia – the administrative center of Novaya Zemlya
  • 3 Severodvinsk — the second-largest city in the Oblast, 35 km from Arkhangelsk, at the White Sea coast. Home to the military Russian Northern Fleet and a principal submarine base and construction site.
  • 4 Kargopol — a 1000-year-old town in the south-west of the region, near Kenozersky National Park, notorious for sasquatch/bigfoot sightings
  • 5 Kholmogory Kholmogory, Arkhangelsk Oblast on Wikipedia — Lomonosov's birthplace, a historic village with a museum and few abandoned churches.
  • 6 Kotlas — an important rail junction in the region's southeast, transit point to Veliky Ustyug.
  • 7 Mirny Mirny, Arkhangelsk Oblast on Wikipedia — a military town, forbidden for tourists, home to the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
  • 8 Onega Onega, Russia on Wikipedia — a small, old port and a base for tours heading out to Kiy Island.
  • 9 Solvychegodsk Solvychegodsk on Wikipedia — a historic town on the Vychegda River with an impressive Blagoveshchensky Cathedral and Vvedensky Monastery
  • 10 Mezen Mezen, Mezensky District, Arkhangelsk Oblast on Wikipedia —a small subpolar town in the northern part of the Oblast.
Solovetsky Monastery on the White Sea

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Solovetsky Islands — home to a hauntingly beautiful monastery which has served as a Russian fortress in numerous wars for the past 500 years as well as one of the first Soviet gulags; a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • 2 Kenozersky National Park Kenozersky National Park on Wikipedia — at the border with Karelia, near Kargopol.
  • 3 Vodlozero National Park Vodlozersky National Park on Wikipedia — also at the border with Karelia, but more remote from roads.
  • 4 Pinega Pinega on Wikipedia — a beautiful river, a small town, and the only Oblast's national reserve, famous for its caves. Golubinsky Proval — the biggest cave at Pinega, open for tourists, best to visit in winter.
  • Kiy Island Kiy Island on Wikipedia — an uninhabited island in the White Sea that is a popular tourist destination for its disbanded Kiysky Monastery
  • 5 Permogorye Bolshaya, Arkhangelsk on Wikipedia (also Bolshaya) — a Northern Dvina's riverside village on the road from Arkhangelsk to Kotlas, famous for a beautiful wooden church and local handicraft.
  • 6 Franz Josef Land — is an archipelago in the Arctic far north. There are only a few marks of civilization in the whole archipelago, and most of the islands are covered by ice and snow.
  • 7 Krasnaya Gorka Krasnaya Gorka, Pinezhsky District, Arkhangelsk Oblast on Wikipedia ("Red Hill") — the highest point of Arkhangelsk oblast near Pinega with beautiful Krasnogorskiy Bogoroditskiy monastery ruins. The only alpine skiing place in the Oblast.
  • 8 Novaya Zemlya — is a group of islands were a couple thousand people live; it is a mountainous island group with a history of nuclear testing.
  • Narrow-gauge railroads — lost in taiga, they are partly abandoned, and partly operated by timber producers. Often constructed by prisoners, started to operate in Stalin's Gulag times. Going deeper into taiga, it's possible to find abandoned gulag locations and even small unpopulated towns.
  • 9 Yemetsk Yemetsk on Wikipedia — village with a beautiful lakefront Antonievo-Siysky monastery nearby


Wooden bird of happiness in Pomorye

Locally called Pomorye, Arkhangelsk Oblast is a very large region (about the same size as France) in the Russian north. Sparsely populated (1.5 million for all this area), it is filled with taiga, beautiful lakes, wide rivers, and vast swamps. The nature is kin to Finland, especially its subpolar part. Most famous destinations are Arkhangelsk (regional capital) and the Solovetsky Islands, where a beautiful northern monastery/citadel served as a brutal gulag prison during the Soviet years. There are other less-visited, but very picturesque towns in the Oblast (Kargopol, Solvychegodsk), but the main reason to visit the region is to discover its severe beautiful nature mixed with wooden rural architecture. There are 2 national parks and 1 natural reserve, which are truly worth to be seen in Arkhangelsk Oblast'.


Russian is spoken everywhere. Outside of Arkhangelsk city center it's hard to find English-speakers. See the Russian phrasebook.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Flights arrive at Arkhangelsk airport from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Riga, and Tromso. The airport is served by Aeroflot, Utair, Nordavia, Rossiya air companies, and also by low-costs, as Avianova and Air Baltic.

By train[edit]

The overnight train ride from Moscow takes 21 hour, from Saint Petersburg a full 25 hours.

The M8 road from Moscow to Arkhangelsk

By bus[edit]

There are no regular interregional bus services to Arkhangelsk Oblast.

By car[edit]

It's the most interesting way to enter and explore the region. M8 road connects Arkhangelsk with Moscow and Saint Petersburg through Vologda. It is paved at all distance, but some parts are in poor condition. There are about 700 km from Moscow to the region's border, and more than 500 km after it to the north to reach Arkhangelsk.

Another way to Archangelsk Oblast is through Veliky Ustyug (Vologda Oblast). The road is not so good as M8, but still available for all types of cars, allowing to see picturesque villages beaded at river Northern Dvina's high bank.

The road from Karelia via Kenozersky National Park is unpaved at regional border, and hardly passable by non 4x4 cars, unless it is winter.

By boat[edit]

There are no regular ship service to the region, yet Arkhangelsk is a seaport, so it's possible to reach it by a commercial ship.

Get around[edit]

By plane[edit]

The main Arkhangelsk airport[dead link] serves a regional flight to Solovetsky Islands (2 per week in winter, 4 per week in summer), while the other airport Vaskovo has local regional flights to remote locations inside the Oblast.

By train[edit]

It's possible to reach by train from Arkhangelsk such destinations as Severodvinsk, Onega, Plesetsk, Nyandoma (transit point to Kargopol), Velsk, Kotlas, and Karpogory (at Pinega river). The quality of trains is poor compared to interregional Russian trains.

By bus[edit]

Regular buses departure from Arkhangelsk to Veliky Ustyug, Kholmogory, Severodvinsk, Kargopol, Velsk, Yemetsk (transit point to Antonievo-Siysky Monastery), Kotlas, and Pinega.

By car[edit]

There are no international car rentals in Arkhangelsk, but it's possible to rent a car via local agencies.

By taxi[edit]

Taxi can be a good alternative for short distance rides, like from Arkhangelsk to Severodvinsk (35 km), or where other transport is not developed (e.g. from Nyandoma station to Kargopol). Most destinations inside the Oblast are quite distant, so expect very expensive taxis.

By boat[edit]

Navigation period lasts from mid-May to mid-October. There is regular commuter ship service from Arkhangelsk to neighboring locations, mainly to isolated island villages in Northern Dvina's delta.

There are many points in the Oblast that are accessible only by riverboats.

By thumb[edit]

Hitch-hiking is very possible in the region with general safety precautions. But most drivers will hardly understand English.


  • 1 Malye Karely. Large and locally famous wooden architecture museum, 24 km from Arkhangelsk. Malye Korely (Q597318) on Wikidata Malye Korely on Wikipedia


  • - hiking
  • - skidoo rides (in winter)
  • - alpine and plain skiing (in winter)
  • - fishing


  • Kulebyaka - a local pie with fish.
  • Kozuly - local sweets.


Stay safe[edit]

Northern Russians are kind and hospitable, but a foreign tourist looking significantly richer than locals can provoke someone for a robbery.

Use general safety precautions and keep low profile while surfing the region with no Russian guide. Avoid wooden part of Arkhangelsk at the left bank of Northern Dvina and keep out of unattended dark places in cities at night.

Go next[edit]

Arkhangelsk is the main transit point for those who go to Nenetsia (regular flights to Naryan-Mar and Amderma).

Travelers heading to Komi Republic and Salekhard by rail are passing through Kotlas.

In the late summer, it may be possible to get on a ship heading east along the north coast of Russia towards Nenetsia and Yamalia.

This region travel guide to Arkhangelsk Oblast is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!