Top ten Russian adventures
Russia is the biggest country in the world- spreads over two continents, has nine time zones and offers plenty of opportunities for those who are looking for adventures. We bring you the best 10 ways to to enjoy the unusual excitement between the Gulf of Finland Bering Strait: trekking, traveling hitch-hiking, boating, biking in the winter and many others. Find out where you can ski down the volcano and where are the best locations for walking in nature.
1. Trekking in the Republic of Altai
Altai Republic is bounded by the borders of Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, and is a place where the snow-covered peaks alternate with canyons, has deep river valleys and virgin blue lakes.
During the summer Altai Republic is an excellent place for trekking or pleasant trip if you are traveling through Russia’s Trans-Siberian railway. The area around the highest Siberian mountains Belukha (4506 m) is known for its secluded waterfalls and glaciers. Belukha is located in the middle of unbroken wilderness, hiking trails are poorly marked, so it is recommended to tour with a guide.
2. Trip to the North Pole from Murmansk
It might be cold in Moscow and St.Petersburg, but it’s nothing comparing to the Country of Franz Joseph, distant Russian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Franz Joseph’s country used to be a starting point for researchers moving to the North Pole, and many of these brave people have left their lives here. Today it is an important port for the Russian ships that sail to the North Pole.
For most ships, travel to the North Pole begins in Murmansk, the largest city of the Arctic and one of the best places in Russia to observe the aurora borealis.
3. Visiting Arctic reindeer breeders
The Yamal peninsula immerses in the Arctic Ocean at the point where the river flows into the Ob Sea. Every summer Nenets- Siberian natives living from growing reindeer- travel to the pastures in the northern part of the peninsula Yamal with herds numbering up to 10,000 reindeer. During these trips Nenets live in cums, tents made of reindeer leather in the shape of a cone, reminiscent of the North American Indian tepee.
Britain, and the current Muscovite Edward Adrian-Valance organizes tours in Yamal peninsula, and for already many years maintains contacts with the Nenets. He provides a stay with Nenets families, so you can watch your hosts traveling with reindeer, and moving tents from one place to another. Average price for the tour rates around $ 5,000, and it includes transport by train from Moscow to Yamal peninsula.
4. Travelling by hitchhiking
In 2008, Frank Mackenzie traveled from Vladivostok to Moscow by hitchhiking so he could write an article for National Geographic. Hitchhiking might not have a good reputation but it is certainly the best way to tour the country. Instead of watching landscapes through the window of the train, hitchhikers have the opportunity to meet local residents and learn so much more about a place than on an organized tour.
If you are planning to travel as a hitchhiker, take a good map and manage your own estimates. Do not forget, if the driver stop the car, and you have a bad feeling, you do not have to enter the vehicle.
5. On the trail of wild tigers
In 1902, Russian explorer Vladimir Arseniev made topographic shooting of the area north of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East together with the local hunter Dersu Uzala. During their expedition Arseniev often encountered Amur tigers and wrote about them in his travelogues.
Today, only 350 to 400 of these animals lives in the wilderness, mainly in the mountains that was once visited by Arsenjev. “Society for the Protection of Wild Animals” fight against poachers, which is already reflected in the number of tigers.
6. Climbing on Elbrus
Elbrus is the highest European mountain (5642 meters), it is located on south of Russia and it attracts a large number of hikers who want to engage in the conquest of the world’s highest peaks. The top of Elbrus was first conquered in the 19th century, and this venture was carried out by two different expedition- British and Russian. Before the 2014 Winter Olympics held in nearby Sochi on this mountain was placed the Olympic flame. It is recommended for climbers to, before conquering Elbrus, spend a few days in high altitude camps in order to acclimatise.
7. Skiing down the volcanic slopes on the Kamchatka peninsula
Kamchatka is a mountainous peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk, with active volcanoes in the central part. Since it is located in the Pacific fiery belt -zone around the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean known for its large number of “live” volcanoes -Kamchatka is one of the most attractive destinations for those who want the thrill and adventure in Russia.
In recent years, the Kamchatka Peninsula has become very popular fo heli-ski, skiing down the mountain slopes which can be reached only by helicopter. Most organizers of heli-ski tours in Kamchatka leaves skier on the slopes of volcano, from which they descend on the fresh snow all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
8. Rowing on the river Yenisei
Yenisei, one of the largest Siberian rivers, along the length of the river flow is in fifth place in the world. In 2001, Australian adventurist Tim Koup, together with three other men repaired decaying hull of the abandoned boat onand started to sail Yenisei. This team paddled in shifts during the day, until they reached the mouth of the Yenisei in the Arctic Ocean. Those who want to repeat this Koupo’s venture should read the book written by rafter Vladimir Gavrilov “Rivers of unknown country”, guide in English for boat sailing on the rivers in the former SSSR.
If desired, you can sail the Yenisei by the comfortable tourist boat. Departures on the round trip, of 4000 kilometers long route, are every 10 days, and the sailing is organized since June to October. It starts from Krasnoyarsk, and the destination is far away Arctic port of Dudinka.
9. Cycling around Lake Baikal
Siberian Lake Baikal is the largest, deepest and oldest in the world. During the summer you can enjoy the beaches, but the real adventurers come during the winter. In 2010, one Venezuelan team for the first time in the world, managed to cycle a tour of Lake Baikal in winter conditions, what took them 36 days. Due to strong winds on Baikal, the snow doesn’t stay on surface and it makes good conditions for cycling in winter time, but it is necessary to have special tires with the wheel chocks.
In Irkutsk there is a company named Baikal Adventure, which organizes winter four-day bicycle ride along the west coast of Lake Baikal with provided camping during the journey. Cyclists can rent bikes from Jack Sheremetoffa, owner of the hostel Baikaler in Irkutsk. Jack takes winter cycling tour around Lake Baikal every March, and tourists who want to join can do so if they provide the necessary equipment. More information can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Driving through “The Road of Bones”
Driving on the Federal highway M56 in the Russian Far East is one of the last great adventures in the world. This dusty old road -known as The Road of Bones, because during its construction thousands of prisoners GULAG were killed -begins in Yakutsk, one of the coldest cities on earth, and its 2000 kilometers long route passes through the taiga and perennially frozen ground, all the way to Magadan on the Pacific coast.
British actors Ewan McGregor and Charlie Burman on their journey around the world in 2004, tried to pass through the M56, but they were disrupted by the swollen river through which there were no bridges. Truck drivers hit the road in winter time, when eternally frozen soil hardens, and rivers are frozen.
Source: Russia Beyond The Headlines
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