Norilsk Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to visit, food and drink scene, local customs, safety tips, transportation, and more in Norilsk, Siberia, Russia.

Introduction to Norilsk

Welcome to Norilsk, a secluded city in the Arctic Circle of Siberia, Russia. Founded in the 1920s as a mining settlement, Norilsk is now a thriving metropolis with a rich cultural heritage, stunning natural landscapes, and unique experiences for adventurous travelers. In this comprehensive tour guide, we’ll explore the best things to do, places to visit, food and drink scene, local customs, safety tips, transportation, and more in Norilsk.

List of Places to Visit in Norilsk

Exploring Norilsk is a must for anyone looking to experience the unique beauty of Siberia. Whether you’re interested in museums, historical sites, outdoor adventures, or scenic views, Norilsk has something to offer everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit in Norilsk:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Norilsk Museum of Local Lore: Learn about the history and culture of Norilsk at this fascinating museum. Exhibits include rare minerals, fossils, and archeological artifacts from the surrounding area.
  • Norilsk Art Gallery: Admire the works of local artists at this beautiful art gallery, which features a range of contemporary and traditional art.
  • Monument to the Norilsk Forced-Labor Camps’ Prisoners: A somber memorial to the thousands of prisoners who were forced to work in the mines and construction sites of Norilsk during the Soviet era.

Natural Attractions of Norilsk: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Putorana Plateau: This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts breathtaking views of mountain ranges, rivers, and waterfalls. Guided tours are available for hiking and fishing expeditions.
  • Taimyr Peninsula: Home to the world’s largest reindeer herd, the Taimyr Peninsula is a popular spot for wildlife observation and photography.
  • Lake Lama: A serene lake surrounded by an untouched forest, perfect for a relaxing boat ride or picnic.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Norilsk

Norilsk is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Some popular trails include:

  • Norilsk–Varyok Trail: A moderate hike through the forest and mountains, with stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • Lake Lama Trail: A leisurely hike around the beautiful Lake Lama, perfect for novice hikers or families with children.
  • Tundra Bike Trail: A challenging mountain bike trail that takes you through the tundra and along the coast.

Best Things to Do in Norilsk: Activities and Tours

There’s never a dull moment in Norilsk, with plenty of activities and tours to keep you busy. Here are some of the best things to do in Norilsk:

  • Visit a working mine: The Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Plant offers tours of their active nickel mine, where you can witness the mining process and see some of the world’s largest mining machines in action.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride: Experience breathtaking views of Norilsk from above in a hot air balloon ride.
  • Siberian Husky sledding: Take a dog sled ride through the Siberian wilderness and experience a unique form of transportation.

Week-Long Itinerary for Norilsk

Day 1: Arrive in Norilsk and explore the city center. Day 2: Visit the Norilsk Museum of Local Lore and the Norilsk Art Gallery. Day 3: Explore the Putorana Plateau and enjoy a guided hiking tour. Day 4: Take a hot air balloon ride over Norilsk and see the city from above. Day 5: Explore Taimyr Peninsula and try your hand at wildlife photography. Day 6: Take a dog sled ride through the Siberian wilderness. Day 7: Relax by Lake Lama and enjoy a picnic before departing from Norilsk.

Food and Drink Scene of Norilsk

Norilsk offers a unique selection of local delicacies and beverages to try during your stay.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Salamat khuushuur: A traditional Tuvan dish of fried dumplings filled with meat, potatoes, and onions.
  • Solyanka soup: A hearty soup made with a combination of meat, vegetables, and sour cream.
  • Stolovaya No. 1: A popular cafeteria-style restaurant that serves traditional Russian dishes like borscht and pelmeni.

Local Beverages

  • Norilsk Arctic Gin: A small-batch gin made from local berries and herbs, with a refreshing and unique flavor.
  • Sibylla beer: A light and refreshing beer brewed locally in Norilsk.

Where to Stay in Norilsk: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Norilsk offers a range of accommodations to suit any budget and travel style, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses. Here are some popular options:

  • Hotel Norilsk: A modern hotel in the city center with comfortable rooms and a restaurant serving Russian and European cuisine.
  • Guest House Dolomiti: A cozy guesthouse with a beautiful garden and private parking, just a short walk from the city center.
  • Hostel Tundra: A budget-friendly hostel with clean and comfortable rooms, located near the city center.

What to Buy in Norilsk: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Norilsk offers a variety of unique souvenirs and local products to bring home as a memory of your trip. Popular choices include:

  • Norilsk nickel coin: A commemorative coin made from Norilsk nickel, a rare and valuable metal.
  • Traditional Tuvan clothing: Handmade clothing and accessories made by local artisans.
  • Norilsk Arctic Gin: A small-batch gin made from local berries and herbs, perfect for gin lovers.

Local Culture and Customs of Norilsk

Norilsk has a rich cultural heritage, influenced by both Russian and Tuvan traditions. Visitors should be respectful of local customs and traditions, which may include:

  • Dressing modestly when visiting religious sites or interacting with locals.
  • Removing your shoes before entering someone’s home.
  • Avoiding drinking and smoking in public places.

Best Time to Visit Norilsk

The best time to visit Norilsk is during the summer months from June to August, when the weather is mild and the days are long. However, visitors should be prepared for the cold temperatures and snow during the winter months from November to April.

Do’s and Don’ts of Norilsk


  • Do your research before visiting, and be prepared for the cold weather and changing conditions.
  • Do try local cuisine and beverages to experience the unique flavors of Norilsk.
  • Do respect local customs and traditions when interacting with locals and visiting cultural sites.


  • Don’t underestimate the importance of proper warm clothing and gear.
  • Don’t litter or pollute the natural environment.
  • Don’t use flash photography or disturb wildlife while exploring the natural landscapes of Norilsk.

Safety and Health

Safety in Norilsk

Norilsk is a safe city for visitors, with low crime rates and a friendly local population. However, visitors should be aware of the potential dangers of exploring the natural landscapes, and should always follow safety guidelines and instructions from guides and authorities.

Health in Norilsk

Norilsk has a modern healthcare system with several hospitals and medical clinics. However, visitors should be aware of the potential health risks associated with cold weather and exposure to the outdoors. It’s important to dress warmly and keep hydrated, and to seek medical attention if experiencing any health issues.

Getting to Norilsk: Transportation Options and Logistics

Norilsk is a remote city in northern Russia, and transportation options are limited. However, visitors can still access Norilsk by the following means:

Airports Near Norilsk

  • Alykel Airport: The main airport serving Norilsk, located 44 km outside of the city center.

Bus Stations Near Norilsk

  • Norilsk Bus Station: Located in the city center, offering bus connections to nearby towns and cities.

Other Options

  • Private car: Visitors can hire a private car or driver to transport them to and from Norilsk.

How to Get Around in Norilsk

Norilsk is a small city that can easily be explored on foot. Taxis and private cars are also available for hire. It’s important to note that some areas of Norilsk may be difficult to access during the winter months due to the heavy snow and icy conditions.

Where to Go Next from Norilsk: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Norilsk is a gateway to the stunning natural landscapes and unique cultural heritage of Siberia. Some nearby destinations and excursions include:

  • Krasnoyarsk: A bustling city located along the Yenisei River, known for its beautiful parks and historical sites.
  • Tuva: A remote republic in southern Siberia, known for its traditional Tuvan music and throat singing.
  • Baikal Lake: One of the world’s deepest and oldest lakes, located in the heart of Siberia.


Norilsk is a unique destination for adventurous travelers looking to explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Siberia. From hiking and outdoor adventures to museums and historical sites, Norilsk has something to offer everyone. With this comprehensive tour guide, you’re ready to plan your trip and experience the beauty of Norilsk for yourself.