When visiting Russia, people will most likely head to the country’s capital city, Moscow, or to Leningrad, Kazan, The Golden Ring, or to some well-known and regularly visited cities. Whichever destination you may be, it’s definitely worth the trip. Yet what remains undiscovered by many is the great Russian Far-East. This vast land is the easternmost part of Russia— a faraway, serene land to get lost in. Containing 36% of Russia’s territory, Russian Far-East is a grand, unique and astonishing place, gifted with incredible natural attractions.
To arrive at this wonderland, you can either take the plane or journey unto the Trans Siberian Railway. With snow-capped mountains, mesmerizing riverside, refreshing islands, dramatic sceneries, raw and immense wildlife— choosing the Russian Far-East as your next adventure is a decision you won’t regret. Experience lasting trips unto Lena Pillars, Kamchatka Volcanoes, Wrangel Island, Shantar Archipelago or the Moneron Island. Truly, the Russian Far-East awaits for your arrival all year long.
1. Volcanoes of Kamchatka
Situated in the Kamchatka Peninsula, this site is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The place bears around 160 volcanoes and over 29 active ones. Don’t miss the Kronotsky, a volcano celebrated for its perfect cone and striking appearance as well as the symmetrical-coned Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which is the highest active volcano of the peninsula. Another hauntingly beautiful volcano is the Tolbachik, a volcanic complex formed by two volcanoes, and get around with its dominating and deep forests. Be enthralled by these large volcanoes glowing behind clouds and fog, and don’t forget to take pictures of the famous Valley of Geysers.
2. Lena Pillars, Yakutia
Along the banks of the Lena River lies the glorious 100 metered rock pillars. The Lena pillar is a natural rock formation composed of different layers of marlstones, dolomite, limestone, slate and fossil remains of primitive species. Also one of 2012’s UNESCO World Heritage Lists, this wondrous work of nature is best viewed up above, on a helicopter. You can capture the great expanse of the rock formations standing out from the thick trees and river. Whether you’re on a helicopter or taking a cruise up the river—you’re in for a jaw-dropping spectacle.
3. Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is the country’s remotest and coldest protected sanctuary for wildlife. This island is home to many polar bears, seabirds, owls, foxes, muskoxen, lemmings, reindeers as well as home to birds during summer months. The island also boasts of its rich biodiversity that has become a haven for some arctic animals. A frozen refuge, this island may have been the place where the last mammoths have survived. Because of its severe polar climate, visiting this place requires government permits and can only be accessed through the use of a helicopter and an icebreaker. Wrangel Island is one the world’s most outstanding and restricted nature reserves of unspoiled wilderness. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for travellers to sight a powerful and peculiar work of nature. “You feel as though you’ve come to the end of the Earth,”—as said by Daniel Fisher, a mammoth paleontologist.
4. Moneron Island
A pure haven for birds and a famous destination for diving, Moneron Island is not one to be left unchecked on your bucket list. A wild nature of islets, cliffs, copious fauna and flora, and bountiful marine life and species, this is one of Russia’s pristine locations. The Moneron National Park is the first marine national park in the whole country. This small paradise is located off Sakhalin Island and offers a cozy Tsusima stream perfect for summer activities.
5. Mount Heksir
Located in Khabarovsk Krai territory, Mount Heksir is a great hiking adventure for daring travellers. Only the most venturesome can hike to the top of the 970-metered mountain in order to get the lasting prize— a sweet glimpse into the Russia-China natural border. As Mount Heksir is in a restricted border zone, a trip into this mountain needs a special permit. Mount Heksir’s enclosing forests is the home to the endangered Amur leopards, and the Amur tiger, the largest cat in the world. The Russian Far-East’s most industrialized territory is the Khabarovsk Krai, which is strategically tucked at the joint of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Amur River.
6. Shantar Archipelago
Made up fifteen islands, Shantar Archipelago is well-known for its dense forests and rugged cliffs. If you’ve never heard of this amazing place, then it’s time to start your expedition plan. Marvel at the picturesque sceneries above the Sea of Okhotsk and don’t forget to bring your camera for some memorable and life-changing captures. Witness whales, foxes, bears while relaxing on the Onchagan Camp, which is surrounded with a large lake. Enjoy the cool breeze as you explore the mountains of the Tugursky Peninsula Bay. Then head on to the Ptichy Island, a splendid shore cluttered with shipwrecks. Last but not the least, discover the perfect firn fields afterwards.
7. Avacha Bay
A notable attraction in the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Avacha Bay nestles in the Pacific Ocean, particularly on the southern portion of the island. The blue waters is not just any body of water. It acts as the main gateway to the Kamchatka region and the home base of the notable Russian Pacific fleet. Take a dip into the panoramic azure surface during summer or witness a mesmerizing basin of white during winter. Enjoy a day full of water adventures such as boating, fishing and diving. Truly, the bay is a popular pick for aquaphile.
As the capital of the Kamchatsky Peninsula, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is known in so many ways. The place is one of the largest cities in the world that is beautifully enclosed with waters. It is unreachable by road, making it a quite inaccessible among tourists. But once you step foot to its vicinity, you will surely fall in love with the charming melange of historical ruins, natural lures and technology touches. Head on to the forest and try some exhilarating adventures like bear hunting, wildlife viewing, and hiking. And if you’re up for a more fulfilling trip, visit the Lenin Square, Vitus Bering Monument, Charles Clerke Monument, and other significant structures sprinkled within the cosmopolitan.