Untraversable forests of "little sticks" stalked by bears and tigers, snows that never end, and soil so frozen that it never thaws. These are all the images that come up when non-Siberians think of Siberia. The reality is that this region, although remote and scarcely populated, is an ideal destination for those travelers who appreciate the beauty of untouched nature, fantastic landscapes with green valleys and high mountains, and rich flora and fauna.
Stretching from the Ural Mountains to Lake Baikal (the deepest freshwater lake in the world, hailed as the "Blue Eye of Siberia"), and often included together by amateur geographers with Russian lands further east (better known today as the Russian Far East, or the Dalny Vostok), Siberia is a land ready-made for dreamers. The scales are unlike any that a traveler will ever see on dry land - the Russian Far East by itself could swallow whole a territory the size of the United States! Just imagine how many places are waiting to be explored in this vast territory.
One of the newly developing destinations in this increasingly discovered area of Russia is the village of Listvyanka near Lake Baikal. For many years, the site of both the premier Russian research facility on the study of freshwater lakes and a classified resort maintained by the Federal Security Service, its shores have attracted escape-seeking poets and politicians alike, as well as quite a few international travelers. Connected by road and ferry to nearby Irkutsk, a city made famous by the forcible relocation of a large number of Dekabristi, or Decembrists, following their attempt to overthrow Tsar Alexander I in 1825 (many of whom left their mark on this traditional Siberian destination), Listvyanka boasts not only a lakeshore decorated in wintertime with beautiful ice sculptures, but also the largest solar observatory in Asia, the Baikal Astrophysical Observatory. The views of the lake from this spot are breathtaking.
Looking beyond the must-see lakeside resort of Listvyanka on the Siberian side of Baikal, one of the most desirable destinations in the Russian Far East is Kamchatka. With only a handful of visitors each year, the remote peninsula is still largely untouched by tourism. An adventure to the dozen or so natural sanctuaries on Kamchatka will leave unforgettable impressions on any nature lover. Imagine hundreds of volcanoes (many over 3,000 meters, or 10,000 feet, in height), waterfalls, bizarre rock formations, colonies of rare birds, and white-water rapids, all set amid the lakes and fjords of one of Russia's most hidden travel secrets. Kamchatka, an oasis of unique natural sights set so very far away from the package tourist world, will speak to any eco-tourist's inner adventurer, naturalist, and conservationist.
The best way to explore Siberia is to make a rail voyage across the worldfamous Trans-Siberian Railway. The Trans-Siberian railroad, still the longest in the world, will celebrate its centennial of continuous service between European Russia and the Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok in 2016. A second railroad, the Baikal-Amur Mainline, was started under Leonid Brezhnev in 1974, and declared completed just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. A third railroad, nearing completion to Yakutsk, is one that many global railroad enthusiasts hope will one day become part of a railroad line connecting Russia with North America through a tunnel under the Bering Strait.
There is no other place in the world compared to Siberia and the Russian Far East. An amazing variety of travel ideas, tours, and vacations to Siberia, Kamchatka, Baikal, and the Russian Far East are available in our tours section, including our popular Trans-Siberian Rail Tours. Although on the forefront of increasingly popular tourist destination, getting around this amazing area of Russia is still no small task, but with Travel All Russia, anything is possible!