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Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

Level Contributor
33 posts
2 reviews
Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

Hi,

Two of us are from Singapore, and are planning to visit Murmansk for 4 to 5 days in December. We are entering Murmansk via Kirkenes.

We are considering self driving in and around Murmansk, to visit nearby areas like Teriberka, Korivsk, and to drive out to look for the Aurora during the nights.

We found very little information about self driving in Murmansk, and would like to ask if anyone here has advice or experience to share. Some of the key questions on our minds are:

1. Are the car rental companies, and they vehicles they provide, reliable?

2. We only speak English, and usually rely on Google Maps to navigate when driving in foreign lands. Will this be a problem driving in Murmansk and its surrounding areas?

3. What are some of the risks we need to be aware of when driving in Murmansk?

4. We have had some experience driving in winter, in the Arctic region (Norway, Finland, Sweden) and places like Iceland, Northern Canada, and Alaska. How different would driving in Murmansk be?

5. Overall, would you guys who are from Murmansk or have visited Murmansk before advise for or against two of us self-driving for a few days in December?

Thank you very much.

7 replies to this topic
Moscow, Russia
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4 552 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

1. Cannot comment on companies, never rented. A rental car should be reliable.

2. English is not widely spoken; Google maps are fine but Yandex maps are probably better; get a Russian data SIM here and use Translate apps to cover language gap.

3-4. About the same. Roads would be cleaned or snowyer, depending on the weather and snowfalls, 4WD and good (studded) winter tyres a huge plus. There would be very little natural light in Dec. Road to Teriberka might be closed in case of bad weather.

5. Enjoy your time!

Some general remarks. In your list Teriberka seems the most 'extreme' place, and winter vews are (to me) much less inspiring than summer views. Travelling to Kirovsk you can visit Lovozero, area where native population lives. I also see no point in driving away from Murmansk for Aurora. I seen it right in the city many times. Enjoy!

Level Contributor
33 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

Thank you very much!

Would you happen to know where in Murmansk I can get a Russian data SIM from?

Moscow, Russia
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4 552 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

Just as in any Russian city-from any phone shop, provider-branded or general. If you share your arrival point or hotel we can search the nearest... Enjoy!

1 post
1 review
4. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

Hello @kr_jas

I am also traveling to Murmansk between 26th to 30th December, and plan to rent a car. I found this company http://rentacar51.ru/en for renting cars, and they have a website in English. I will be evaluating few other car companies too.

What dates are you traveling on, and have you found any car rental companies that you would be interested in ?

BR

Masoom

5. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

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Nittedal...
Level Contributor
305 posts
8 reviews
6. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

> area full of navy and air force bases. Foreigners driving around on their own could be very suspicious. You'd better rent a car with a local English speaking driver.

---

actually I experienced over many years the opposite: regulated areas (not closed but requiring registration at FSB before going) where FSB patrols didn't give a toss about my norwegian plates (there's a border with Norway after Nikel). Also driving to Revda in order to start the hike over the mountain pass to Seyd Ozero, the road goes through a big military polygone serving among other things the giant radar installation on the tundra there and nearby an air base (military town Olienogorsk-1) I met few military convoys and military police jeeps, who also didn't care about my norwegian plates. The radar site isn't even far from the road so I was surprised the road was open.

What is closed is closed, like Severomorsk, otherwise it's really relaxed.

Now, a bit off topic, but for a joke, one year ago, a norwegian guy, retired former border commissar, was arrested in Moscow. He was from Kirkenes and the geniuses of norwegian CIA-like department used him as a courier for russian informers, bringing them envelopes of cash and documents. It was about northern navy. He was arrested by his hotel (Metropol!) in MSK. Haha. Well he was kept in the "fridge" since. Last month, in Oslo, after an IT related international seminar for parliamentary personal from different countries, the russian participant was arrested, he had a laptop and spoke with strong russian "r"s and accent, so a spy of course! Now norwegians have also something in the fridge, for a possible exchange.

Moscow, Russia
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4 552 posts
15 reviews
7. Re: Car Rentals and Self Driving in Murmansk

I would not really care about military things. Really sensible places are fensed off and cordoned, like Severomorsk, and you would just be turned away. OP wanted to go to Teriberka and south to Kirovsk - no troubles to forsee... Main roads on the map are for driving... Enjoy!

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