The island of Valaam, located in the north of Lake Ladoga in Karelia, has always been interesting for tourists who come to this protected place every year. Here you will find unique beauty of nature: a combination of steep cliffs and pine forests, numerous lakes, as well as the Transfiguration Valaam Monastery. Everyone can touch history, because the ship goes to Valaam often. The distance from St. Petersburg to Valaam is 210 km, and you can get from the northern shore of Lake Ladoga quite quickly, since the distance to the island is only 18 km.
Some historians agree that the name of the island means high land. By the way, in the archipelago of islands there is also a small island, but the tall island is Skitsky: its height is 58.2 m. In any case, a cruise to Valaam is a great opportunity to feel like a part of nature among the rocks, bays, islands, straits and coniferous forest . Not every resort boasts such a unique combination! It is believed that the Valaam Monastery was founded during the Baptism of Rus by the Rev. Herman and Sergius. In the XV century, the monastery was called the Great Lavra. The heyday of the monastery fell on 1839-1917. Today this complex attracts tourists from all over the world.
How to get there
There are several ways to get to the holy island. The most popular, comfortable, but at the same time expensive - motor ship to Valaam from St. Petersburg. This cruise involves traveling in a cabin (the degree of comfort depends on the cost of the ticket purchased) with meals. The ticket price also includes various excursions and an entertainment program. Some routes involve stops, for example, on the island of Konevets, in Sortavala or Svirstroy, but such events are paid separately.
The second way is to get to the island by meteor from Priozersk. This route is organized by the pilgrimage service of the Valaam Monastery. First, the pilgrims travel by bus to Priozersk - this takes about three hours, then the group changes to a meteor and reaches the island in an hour.
Which tour to choose
Travel companies offer great opportunities to visit this legendary island. As already mentioned, the most convenient way is a ship to Valaam route, for example, St. Petersburg-Valaam-St. Petersburg, designed for one day and two nights. As part of this tour, you will find:
- Tourists are registered in St. Petersburg , then the ship leaves along the Neva to Lake Ladoga. During this time, tourists are waiting for dinner, various music programs.
- At 8 in the morning - arrival on the island in Nikon Bay. Here, tourists will be offered a trip to the Monastery Bay, from which you can get back for extra money by a small boat. As part of the second day, tourists will be offered a tour of the monastery - a visit to the Znamenskaya Chapel, the monastery garden, the fraternal cemetery, as well as the Transfiguration Cathedral. Free time will be provided, after which you will have an excursion to the Valais Monasteries.
- Morning - return to the river station in St. Petersburg.
You can get to Valaam by helicopter, and at any time of the year. True, this travel method is not always available. As a rule, 20 people fit in a helicopter, and even if there are not enough tourists to the right amount, places must be bought out. The trip to the island from Moscow is quite a long week - so it’s easier and more profitable to get to St. Petersburg and from there get to Valaam by boat.
How much is
As part of this tour, a ship to Valaam in September will cost:
- On the boat deck, the cost of the cabin is 8700 (double) and 10500 rubles (single).
- On the middle deck, the cost is as follows: double suite - 11,200 rubles., Single cabin - 10,100 rubles., Double - 8400 rubles.
- Tickets on the main deck - 8,000 rubles for a double cabin.
- On the lower deck, a triple cabin will cost 7,000 rubles.
If you choose a motor ship to Valaam, ticket prices include accommodation in cabins, three meals a day, dinner on the evening of departure, all excursions and entertainment programs included in the route.
Excursion to Kizhi and Valaam
You can get to the holy island with several tours that are offered by modern travel agencies. For example, a longer cruise on a motor ship to Valaam with an expanded program is the route "St. Petersburg-Svirstroy-Kizhi-Petrozavodsk-Mandrogi-St. Petersburg." This tour is designed for 6 days / 5 nights. Departure - from St. Petersburg with dinner on the boat. Then the tourists arrive in Valaam, where they will have a walking tour of the hermitages, the central courtyard, a visit to the Cathedral, a trip to the Monastery Bay. Then the group goes to Lodeynoye Pole, where a bus excursion to the monastery of Alexander Svirsky will be carried out. An unforgettable experience will give an excursion to Kizhi - an island that consists of unique buildings of the XVII-XIX centuries. The next destination is Petrozavodsk and a walk along it, then the group stops in the retrograde village of Mandrogi. Then the ship returns to St. Petersburg. The cost of such a trip will be from 17,370 rubles per person.
What's interesting on the island of Valaam
The map shows that in a relatively small area there are quite a few places worthy of attention. Of course, the main attraction of the island is the Transfiguration Cathedral. Earlier here was the center of Orthodoxy, and now in the monastery there are about 200 inhabitants. Actively reborn life in the hermitages. The only one operating at the moment is the Resurrection Skete, which houses the Pilgrimage Service of the monastery, which organizes excursions around the island. Here, on the top of Mount Eleon, is the Ascension Chapel, from where a wonderful view of Malaya Nikonovskaya Bay opens.
As a rule, the pilgrimage season to the island opens during the feast of remembrance of the transfer of the relics of St. Nicholas and the holidays of St. Nicholas Skete. It was at this time that excursions to Valaam on the boat became popular. By the way, the air temperature here is rarely high due to constantly blowing winds, so you should take warm clothes with you.
When to go
Excursion tours to Valaam are available from May to October, while you can get from St. Petersburg in several ways. Modern travel agencies offer several route options. The most popular is a tour to Valaam on a boat from St. Petersburg, but many are interested in weekend tours, for example, Valaam-Kizhi or Valaam-Mandrogi. You can choose longer cruises, and there are hotels on the island where you can stay. Firstly, it is a hotel at the monastery. Secondly, the Zimnaya, Mansard and Igumenskaya hotels operate here year-round. You can also stay in the tent city - such a vacation will be appreciated by those who prefer to feel as close as possible to the environment. Here you can eat, and in the summer there are many cafes on the island where you can fully eat.
Popular island tours
A basic tour is considered a sightseeing tour of the Transfiguration Cathedral and the central courtyard. It is included on almost all cruises. Also often visited St. Nicholas Monastery on Nikolsky Island. If time remains, the guide suggests visiting the Igumen cemetery. In addition to the usual excursions, on the island you can visit the local history museum located on the pier of the Monastery Bay, Red Cape, a weather station located here. You can rent a boat for a panoramic walk around the island - it will cost from 2000 rubles.
The guides note that excursions to the existing monastery should be carried out taking into account the rules and charter of the monastery life, respectively, some trips within the tour may be canceled depending on the life of the monastery.
The Monasteries of Balaam: What is Special
As part of a tour of the Resurrection Skete, tourists are first invited to visit the Gethsemane monastery, then the group rises to Mount Eleon to the Ascension Chapel. At the end of the trip, you can visit the monastery's farm and enjoy fresh milk and bread. As part of river tours, it is often proposed to visit the defenses that still remain on Cape Red. It is very beautiful here, because the quiet bay harmoniously combines with the rocky canals. Many tourists note that defensive structures look disgusting against the background of nature, but they indicate that dark and light sides coexist in our lives.
Thus, if you want to plunge into nature and history at the same time, traveling to Valaam is a great way to do this. Choose river cruises, because this is how you can better know the native expanses of Russia and get closer to nature.