From Hot to Cold

Or Places to Spend Your Vacation in Russia

The variety of traveling options around Russia sometimes becomes a problem when choosing the next tourist route. Truly, it is not easy to choose the most desired one from an extensive list of options in a country where four climatic zones are represented. Only in Russia you can feel the difference between the subarctic and subtropical climate, go though sand and ice deserts, climb the mountain slopes or go down to "the center of the earth", like the characters of Jules Verne, through one of the caves of your choice using various types of transport and equipment during the adventure. And since it is considered that "different strokes for different folks", the folks will definitely be found given this spectrum of options.

A Visit to the Steppe

120 kilometers becomes extreme on its own at a temperature of 40°C (104°F) in the shade, especially if it passes through the desert steppe under the scorching sun. However, this does not stop travelers, as it is the capital of the Tatar-Mongol state of the Golden Horde — the city of -Saray-Batu founded in the 13th century by Batu Khan, which is located 120 km from Astrakhan. Guided tours are arranged around the ancient city, and festivals are held on the territory of the complex. There is an open-air museum, a stylized café and souvenir shops. The audio guide amplifies the immersion in the historical era, broadcasting from the minaret of the ancient city to the oriental music.

Easy Trekking

A beautiful 17-kilometer route along the Malskaya Valley in the Pskov region is well suited. It is best to have a guide who will lead travelers along unique paths, tell the history of these places, and show local sights hidden in the forests. The journey through the Malskaya Valley includes cross country hiking along narrow paths on steep slopes and passing over creeks without bridges, and the terrain is marshy enough, so boots or other waterproof shoes are necessary. Trekking sticks can also be used.

The journey through the Malskaya Valley includes cross country hiking along narrow paths on steep slopes and passing over creeks without bridges, and the terrain is marshy enough, so boots or other waterproof shoes are necessary. Trekking sticks can also be used

Wonders of the Baltics

One of the most interesting and beautiful wildlife monuments in the west of Russia is the Curonian Spit National Park in Kaliningrad Region. Many attractions are concentrated on a narrow but long sandy spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea: the Dancing Forest of bizarrely arched pines and Swan Lake, Epha Height and Mueller Height on sand dunes, the Fringilla Ornithological Station and Korolevskiy Bor (the Royal Wood). But it is best to move by car (your own or rented) between these pedestrian tourist destinations, since the bus service on the Curonian Spit is non-scheduled, especially in winter.

Beauties of the North

Karelia has plenty of rivers and lakes, and one of the most popular ways to travel around this region is kayak rafting. Taking various routes along the Syapsy and Shuya rivers, through lake Vagatozero, you can see the whole diversity of Karelian nature. In addition, the almost 11-meter-high Kivach waterfall, which is considered to be the republic's jewel, is located on the Sunya river.

Adventures in the South

The Crimean mountains along with the sea are the jewel of the Crimean peninsula. Among the most visited destinations are the Swallow's Nest on the Aurora Cliff near Yalta, Demerdji near Simferopol, and Ai-Petri near Alupka. If there are mountains, they must be climbed. But if desired, you can alternatively go under the ground: the Red, Marble and Mammoth Caves located in the mountains will reveal all the beauties of the underworld to the tourists. You do not need to have the climbing or speleological skills to go on such a tour: you can visit these places as part of an excursion group.

Watch Geysers

It is not at all easy to reach the Valley of Geysers in Kamchatka. But those who cope with the journey will hardly ever forget the greatness of one of the largest geyser fields in the world. By the way, the Valley is on the list of the Seven Wonders of Russia. Besides geysers, there are lakes, volcanoes, thermal areas and waterfalls located on its territory. When planning such a trip, it should be noted that independent access to the valley is limited, but you can book a tour and observe this natural wonder from a helicopter window.

When planning such a trip, it should be noted that independent access to the valley is limited, but you can book a tour and observe this natural wonder from a helicopter window

To the Pole of Cold

You get a chance to hammer a nail with a banana or an apple, pull an omul from under the ice of the Indigirka River, ride a reindeer, and also take a survival course in the coldest place on Earth during the winter trip to Oymyakon village. This place is named the Pole of Cold for a reason: in winter the temperature drops to –50°С (–58°F) here, and this is not the limit. You can reach the village located 700 km from Yakutsk by automobile transport via the Kolyma highway, also known as the Road of Bones built by the Gulag prisoners.

Naturally, the tourist potential of Russian regions is not exhausted by this list. It is far from certain that you will be able to cover all desired destinations in one trip. But, as the phrase goes, this is the reason to come back!

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