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Russia's first stopover will allow free travel beyond the Arctic Circle

20 november 2022

Russia has launched the first stopover programme. And it is not somewhere in the south, in Krasnodar or Sochi, but in the Arctic: the flights from Moscow to Tyumen and Gorno-Altaysk with a connection in Salekhard. And it was developed not by the Russian market leader Aeroflot but by the regional airline Yamal.

A stopover is a flight with a lengthy transit stop, which airlines offer to spend not at the airport, but in the nearest city, where one can rest at a hotel or go sightseeing.

A stopover is usually a great way to visit a new country without spending too much money on a ticket. On the contrary: connecting flights are often cheaper than direct flights. So, you can visit Singapore on your way from Moscow to Bali, or see Doha on your way to the Maldives.

You don't have to spend money to get to know the new city, either. Many airlines pay their customers not only for hotel transfers and accommodation but also for meals and excursions.

The stopover is very popular in the global travel industry. However, Russians had not previously had the opportunity to take advantage of the programme when travelling within the country. It appeared only after Yamal Airlines, supported by the Department of Youth Policy and Tourism of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area, launched the first stopover in Russia. Ticket sales began on the website of Yamal on 7 November.

According to the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area Government, the cost of a stopover flight will depend on the route. Tickets from Moscow to Tyumen will cost starting from RUB 7,000 and to Gorno-Altaysk—from RUB 9,000. A visit to Salekhard is already included in the price. As a compliment, passengers receive a room in the four-star Yuribey hotel for a day and a transfer to and from the hotel.

The Arctic stopover proved to be in demand. On 11 November, the first tourists, who decided to get acquainted with the capital of Yamal, the only city in the world situated on the Arctic Circle, at the 66th parallel of the northern latitude, have already landed in Salekhard.

'I saw an advertisement on the Internet and was impressed that one can take a flight above the Arctic Circle so easily, it's unusual. The decision was taken instantly. I really want to see the original nature and ethnic settlements,' shared Roman, who flew to Salekhard with his wife.

The capital of Yamal has something to surprise its guests. It's not just an opportunity to admire the northern lights or to undergo a rite of polar circle crossing. Visitors can visit the Shemanovsky Museum-Exhibition Complex and see the perfectly preserved mummy of mammoth Lyuba preserved in the river silt 42,000 years ago. You may visit Obdorsk stockade, the most ancient fortress town in the Russian Arctic. You can also visit the Natural and ethnographic Gornoknyazevsk complex, where the life of indigenous peoples of Yamal—the Nenets, Komi and Khanty—is recreated to the smallest detail. Also, take a ride on a reindeer sledge, taste stroganina and visit the residence of Yamal Father Christmas, Yamal Iri.

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