40 thousand, established as a city in late 1930s during intense industrialization.
Often called "the gateway to the Kola peninsula".
It is along the Murman Railway from Saint Petersburg to Murmansk, with several connections each day in both directions. Trains from Saint Petersburg and Moscow are daily while connections from cities such as Arkhangelsk pass 2-3 times a week. On some trains there are carriages coming all the way from Brest, Minsk and Pskov. most long distance trains arrives in the middle of the night. There are also once a day regional trains from Apatity, Loukhi and the phosphate mining town of Kovdor.
The Russian federal highway M18, also known as Kola Highway, passes through. A much less used road, still gravel for about 50 kilometers, connects it with Salla in Finland. There is a twice-weekly bus service along this road with departure from Kemijärvi each Monday and Thursday at 4PM, and daily suttle busses.
Transportation is intensely developing, roads are undergoing improvements, so information even in 3-5 year old books may be out of date.
Kandalaksha is pedestrian friendly. Taxi is abundant and very inexpensive. As of winter 2013/2014 any ride within the city is 100 roubles, or just over $3. Attempts to set up bike rental are being regularly made: http://kandalaksha.su/bike-rental/
For details it is best to start with the Tourist Information Center. They will give precise directions or may even arrange a guide and translator.
As of the moment (2013)the consumer-oriented industry in Kandalaksha is nearly non-existent. If looking for souvenirs, note a small workshop that makes quality embroidery. See http://st-nina-kandalaksha.org/vestments-pomor-dresses-embroidery/ But no, Kandalaksha is most definitely not a shopping destination. --Uncle Pasha (talk) 10:18, 6 December 2013 (EST)
Tourist Information Center: Ulitsa Pyatidesyatiletiye Oktyabrya 8, across from the Belomorye hotel. Open Tue. to Saturday 10am to 6pm. Tel.: +7(81533) 94046, e-mail: [email protected]
English-language site http://kandalaksha.su is full of current information about the city, and the webmaster will answer Kandalaksha-related questions.
Easy access to the south edge of the Kola peninsula, with its old Pomor villages. Attractions there include arctic desert and wild horses. Equally easy to access is Lovozero with its Saami reindeer breeders. Lots of hiking trails around Kandalaksha.