Gem of the Ladoga Lake: Valaam Island


A longer stay in St.Petersburg gives a good opportunity to make a fascinating trip by boat to the unique island in the Ladoga Lake. Rightly titled both “The pearl of the Russian North” and “The pearl of the Ladoga Lake”, Valaam (Finnish for “a high mountain”) is renowned as location of the Russia’s oldest monastery. As it is considered, Apostle Andrew visited the island while preaching among Scythians and Slavs as far back as the 1st century. He demolished the shrines of the pagans and raised a stone Cross on the cliff. The Valaam founders Sergius and Herman were the first monks “from the Eastern countries” who settled on the island when Rus (the name of the medieval Russia) was not yet baptized! Their prayers mark the beginning of the future Monastery of the Transfiguration. The island is wholly covered with forests (the soil for planting the trees on the rocky island was brought by the monks of the monastery by barges!) and known for its unique microclimate. Intense spiritual life and the austere beauty of services celebrated in the monastery made Valaam a pilgrimage place for common believers, the members of the Royal family and prominent Russian artists, writers and composers. After the revolution of 1917, when the Grand Principality of Finland which was then part of the Russian Empire got its independence, the island became a part of the new independent state of Finland. Thanks to this fact the monastery, unlike the most monasteries closed by Bolsheviks, kept on functioning until the Soviet-Finnish war of 1940. Closed after island’s restitution to the Soviet Union in February of 1940, the monastery resumed functioning in 1990.



The program of the tour: 3 Days / 2 Nights


Day 1

Transfer to the river-boat station to board a motor-ship. Check-in. Welcome cocktail and presentation of the crew. Departure (at around 21:00)

Day 2

Arrival to Valaam island. Breakfast (aboard the ship). The guided walking tour of the island including visit to a skeet (Russian for a small secluded monastery built for one or several monks, sometimes nearby the main building of the monastery).Visit to the Transfiguration Monastery. Lunch (aboard the ship). An optional boat trip can be arranged in the afternoon to visit several more skits. Dinner (aboard the ship). Departure.

Day 3

Arrival to St.Petersburg (at around 7:00). Transfer to the hotel or airport.


Recommended period for travel: late May through late September.


Note: A one-day trip to Valaam island by helicopter can be also arranged.