Arkhangelsk

Travel Guide Europe Russia Northwestern Russia Arkhangelsk

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Introduction

Arkhangelsk is a city in the northwest of Russia with a little over 300,000 inhabitants, although the number of people is rapidly reclining here as well. The city is located along the Northern Dvina River near its exit at the White Sea.

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Sights and Activities

Arkhangelsk had been founded in 1584, but until 20th century nearly all buildings were wooden. That is why there are not so many examples of old architecture here. Outside of the center buildings become very typical, but the core part of the city has some diversity.

Orientation is easy from Lenin Square, where Arkhangelsk's only skyscraper is built. This 24-floor administrative building is seen from many parts of the city and can act as a lighthouse for a traveller. Streets called ulitsa (улица) are positioned perpendicularly to the river, those are called prospekt (проспект) are parallel to the river. Area of interest is limited by Dvina's embankment (Naberezhnaya) in the west, Kuznechevsky Bridge in the north, Obvodny Kanal prospekt in the east, and the Sea and River Station (Морской и Речной Вокзал) in the south. Most of attractions e.g. views, buildings, museums, restaurants, theatres etc. are located within this shape.

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Weather

Arkhangelsk experiences a subarctic climate with long and cold winters, and short cool summers. Average highs from June to August are in the 17-21 °C range with nights mostly around 10 °C. Winters from December to February see highs between -6 °C and -10 °C with nights averaging -13 °C to -17 °C. The alltime low stands at -45 °C though, while the highest ever recorded is almost 35 °C! The average annual precipitation is around 560mm with most of it falling during summer. In winter, it is mostly too cold for rain and even snow!

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Getting There

By Plane

Talagi Airport (ARH) has flights to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yerevan, Helsinki, Murmansk, Tromso and a few other smaller cities in Russia.

Talagi airport is about 25 minutes drive from the city centre. The going rate for a taxi to the airport is about 200 rubles but in the opposite direction, enterprising cab drivers ask for around 400 rubles. Buses 12 and 12к get you from Talagi to city centre for a mere 18 rubles but takes almost an hour and the timetable is not optimal.

By Train

A slightly more adventurous traveller will probably opt for the train, which from Moscow's Yaroslavsky Vokzal takes about 23 h with one to two trains per day. A train journey from Saint Petersburg clocks in at around 27 h with up to three services per week, other cities with direct trains to Arkhangelsk includes Kotlas and Murmansk. Also, there is one international train service from Minsk, the capital of Belarus, every Wednesday taking three nights. As in most northern Russian cities extra trains to and from the Black Sea usually appears during the summer months, catering to domestic tourists but open for anyone to use. Schedules change from year to year so check beforehand.

The train station is situated on the eastern edge of town, at Prospekt Dzerzhinskogo 2. Buses and taxis are available and will whisk you to the city centre in a just few minutes.

By Car

It's 1,200 kilometres along the M8 road from Moscow via Yaroslavl and Vologda, and you are in Arkhangelsk (a couple of hundreds of kilometres more if you drive from St Petersburg). The road is paved, but its quality wishes to be much better.

By Boat

Archangelsk is a significant commercial and fishing port acting as well as a gateway to Northern Sea Path. But there are no any regular ship connections with Arkhangelsk excluding river commuter ships.

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Getting Around

Arkhangelsk is spread for 42 kilometres via Northern Dvina river and has even several islands with no bridge connection included into its metropolitan zone. So getting around certain districts can be complicated. But all main attractions are located in the center and can be explored by foot.

Public transportation is represented with buses and marshrutki (shared minibuses). It is difficult to use without knowing Russian.

River transport is active during the summer season to connect river island vicinities with the city centre.

Commuter trains service connects several suburbs with the city, but is interesting mainly for locals keeping their dachas. Each destination usually have one train in the morning and one in the evening.

Getting around by car or taxi is probably the best way to explore Arkhangelsk. Taxis are inexpensive and could be found near most attractions. Car rental service is represented by local providers only.

All means of transport including taxis reduce their activity significantly after evening rush-hours. This can be especially sensitive in winter, so do not allow yourself to stay half an hour on a -30C frost - order taxi by phone.

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Sleep

Most tourists visit Arkhangelsk as a transit point to Solovetsky Islands, so the sleeping infrastructure there is quite scarce and oriented mostly on business visitors.

View our map of accommodation in Arkhangelsk

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Keep Connected

Internet

Russia is a huge country, and excess to the internet varies a lot. The main cities and tourist places have (free) wifi excess at lots of places, like restaurants and cafes (McDonald's is always a safe bet). Internet cafes are present in larger places as well. Rural areas and especially if you venture into remote and/or mountainous areas have little excess at all. Most travellers will find connections though when using their phone or tablet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The emergency number is 112. The country code for Russia is 7. Russian phone numbers have an area code with three, four or five digits (according to their province), followed by an individual number with, respectively, 7, 6 or 5 digits, always yielding 10 digits in total. The three digit code 800 is used for toll-free calls. Mobile phones always have three-digit "area" codes and seven-digit numbers. Calls within any one area code may omit the area code (except in Moscow). Inter-area code calls within Russia: 8 (wait for tone) full Russian number including area code. The international access code for dialling outwith Russia is the sequence of 8 (wait for secondary tone and then) 10. International calls to Russia, as always, replace the plus sign (+) in the international phone format with the local international access code for the country you're calling from, followed by Russia's country code of 7 followed by the individual Russian phone number including area code.

You will require a SIM-unlocked GSM 900 / 1800 compatible international cell phone when buying a Russian SIM card. If you do not have your own international cell phone, it's best to buy a cheap cell phone with some value on the card. Foreigners can purchase a local SIM card by showing your passport. BeeLine is considered to be the best in terms of reliability and connections quality. However Megafon's services can be a bit cheaper.

Post

Russian Post is the national postal service of Russia. It's English version is currently under construction, but mainly involves the track&trace system. The domestic post is reasonably reliable, and sending international mail is fairly reliable but slow, taking at least a few weeks to European countries, longer to the USA or Australia for example. The delivery of mail sent from abroad to Russia is highly unreliable, and people or companies tend to use foreign adresses, from where a private carrier sends it to Russia. Alternatives like poste restante are non-existent with Russian Post. Most cities and large towns in Russia have a Central Post Office (Glavpochtamt), which also sells stamps and envelopes, and usually has fax services and Internet availability, though the latter mostly not in smaller places. Also, many hotels have postal services, including mail boxes. Post offices tend to keep long hours, usually from 8:00am or 9:00am until 8:00pm or 9:00pm Monday to Friday, and closing earlier during weekends. The main central post offices in the biggest cities keep even longer hours. For sending parcels, you can also try services by DHL Russia and FedEx Russia. For all mail you can use the regular alphabet, though maybe include the country's name in Cyrillic. For sending post to Russia (or trying to receive it) note that addresses should be in reverse order: Russia, postal code, city, street address, name.

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Accommodation in Arkhangelsk

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This is version 3. Last edited at 14:45 on Nov 21, 17 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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