Tolbachik consists of two stratovolcanoes, one of which is active.
An amazing place, indescribable emotions, stunningly beautiful nature, impressions that will stay with you all your life — these are the words of tourists from all corners of the world who have visited Kamchatka at least once.
TEXT: BORIS GORBUNOV
Located in the very far east of Russia, this region may seem inaccessible to many, but reaching the peninsula is not as hard as it can seem at first glance. It is only a few hours by air travel from major Russian cities, and it’s a port-of-call included in dozens of sea cruises. And once they’ve reached Kamchatka, tourists are in for a truly incredible adventure!
There are 30 active and 300 dormant volcanoes in Kamchatka. Each of them has its own unique qualities and character. To ascend the volcanoes, you will need to come in summer. The most visited by tourists are the Avachinsky, Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes, and even novice hikers are able to climb them. In the winter, you can reach the foothills of the volcanoes by snowmobile.
The Valley of Geysers
The unique Valley of Geysers is one of Kamchatka’s world-famous attractions. You can only reach it by helicopter, and the flight one-way takes no more than two hours. More than 40 geysers and numerous thermal springs are concentrated in this unique place. Tourists who have visited the Valley of the Geysers say that you can hear the earth breathing here.
You can meet the best-known inhabitants of Kamchatka’s animal kingdom — bears — by taking a helicopter trip to Kurile Lake. Moreover, these predators pose no threat at all to man here. The lake is the world’s largest spawning site for salmon, so the bears are always well-fed and happy with life. You can see dozens of these pigeon-toed animals at once while they “fish” in the lake; they pay no attention whatsoever to people.
Sled dog kennels
The Beringia, a traditional Kamchatka dog sled race, jump-started dog sledding as a sport on the peninsula. It takes place annually and is the main event of the winter season. There are several dog sled kennels located in the vicinity of the region’s capital. Kamchatka’s sled dogs — huskies, laikas, samoyeds and malamutes — greet kennel visitors with loud barking and friendly “embraces”. At the kennels, you can ride a dog sled as a passenger or try your hand at driving.
Near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, there are dozens of hot thermal pools whose waters have unique healing properties. The Paratunka resort region has spa and health resorts that cater to any taste. Most pools here are outdoors and open 24/7. It’s a special delight to swim in hot curative waters in winter, when everything around you is covered in banks of snow, with a cloud of steam rising above the pool.
How to get there
Kamchatka has regular flight connections with Russia’s major cities — Moscow, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the Far East, and many others. In the summer, seasonal flights to the U.S. (Anchorage, Alaska) are also available.
Where to stay
Excellent service and friendly staff await you at the peninsula’s hotels: Nachalnik Kamchatki (not rated), Petropavlovsk (3-star), Geyser (3-star), Komandor (not rated), and Severnye Priklyucheniya (Northern Adventures) Park Hotel.
What to eat
Many tourists visit this region for Far-Eastern cuisine, with its seafood, fish and red caviar. Come visit Kamchatka Local Kitchen restaurant, Kalelyn ethnic food cafe, Pastrami wine and gastro bar, Butcher meat and wine restaurant, or Da Vinci restaurant — you won’t regret it!
What to buy
You can buy traditional Kamchatka souvenirs and arts and crafts items in the ethnic souvenir shops, such as Shaman, Nulevaya Versta, Medveditsa and Kamchatskaya Faktoriya. You can also buy traditional Kamchatka clothes in Kamcha-Shop.
Photo: Kamchatka Tourist Information Center