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Kamchatka

Travel Guide Europe Russia Far Eastern Russia Kamchatka

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Introduction

Zimina volcano

Zimina volcano

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Kamchatka is one of the most difficult regions to access in Russia. An ordinary man can only get there by plane. The flight from Moscow takes nine hours. Roads and railroads connecting Kamchatka peninsula with the "Big Land" still don't exist. There is also no any regular marine transport. Long flight, expensive tickets and extremely weak infrastructure make most travellers avoid a trip here. So why do peole come to Kamchatka if they have comfortable resorts by warm seas?

First of all, when people from noisy and dusty cities come to Kamchatka, they fill tremendous contrast between their usual crowded environment and speechless through thousands of years huge volcanic ranges covered by snow. Nowdays transportation difficulties and bad economical conditions help Kamchatka stay under populated. Almost all peolpe in Kamchatka concentrate in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city, so on broad spaces of Kamchatka you might run into the few tourists in the area. But there are much fewer tourists in Kamchatka then in other places in Russia.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Kamchatka offers many various opportunities. In the winter there are countless number of slopes for downhill skiers. Alpinists and mountain climbers have a wide field to act. In the summer Kamchatka offers excellent opportunities for days - long travels of different degrees of difficulty - from a slight walk in the forest beneath volcano slopes to overcoming of highland glaciers, from a simple volcano peak ascending to an expedition through a half of the peninsula on hundreds of killometres.

However, it's not nesessary to strech your physical abilities to the limit. Travel agencies are always ready to accommodate you in comfortable hotels with thermal springs right in the yard and to carry around the most interesting and beautifull places with slight walks, for example, in the crater of an active volcano, or to the waterfall 60 metres height, or to the Dead Forest.
On the other hand refusing any travel agency services independent tourists enjoy mapping new untrodden routes.

Volcanoes and bears, the ocean and thermal springs - these words are the most popular when speaking about Kamchatka. But maybe the most important word is "the weather" - it is very uncertain on the peninsula.

Volcanoes of Kamchatka

Kamchatka's volcanoes are placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and a visit to these places is absolutely recommended, albeit not cheap. Kamchatka forms one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world, with a high density of active volcanoes. The combination of active volcanoes, glaciers, wildlife and beautifully located green mountains forms a landscape of great beauty. Wildlife includes huge variets of salmon and dense concentrations of sea otter, brown bear and sea eagle.

The following volcanoes are the most popular:

Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes
The Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes are probably the most popular among tourists traveling in Kamchatka with travel agencies or on their own. These two southern volcanoes attract them by their relative accessibility and beauty.

The Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire

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Gorely volcano is famouse for many craters with melted and acid lakes. It's rather easy to ascend the peak - usually it takes no more than three hours. Moreover from the edge of Gorely's biggest crater tourists can see a great view of Viluchinsky volcano and shoreline mountain range. Mutnovsky volcano is very active. For example, there was a major explosion in 2000. Its crater have been continuously boiling for many years. The crater itself is rather big and tourists can easely walk inside. In the crater they see a valley of geysers in miniature - everything is smoking, steaming, water is boling in geysers, tourists see a continuouse fight between ice and heat - glacier is slipping on the boiling bottom of the crater and it never meltes completely. In the Mutnovsky crater there is also a melted lake. People built a hydrothermal power station near Mutnovsky volcano, that supplies neighbouring towns with electricity using a volcano thermal energy.There some high and beautifull waterfalls near Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes, wich are usually washing out deep canyons. Tourists also can relax in warm thermal springs.

Avachinsky volcano

Down through the clouds

Down through the clouds

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Avachinsky (2,751 metres high), Koriaksky and Koselsky volcanoes are called "home volcanoes" - they are settled near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and could easely be viewed from there. Avachinsky is probably the most frequently visited volcano in Kamchatka, because it's easy to access and easy to ascend. It's also popular for it's cone rising into sky. For example, Mutnovsky and Gorely - other frequently visited volcanoes - don't have such a thing. A trip to Avacha can be planned for one, two or three days. Three days is perfect: arrival on the first day, ascend the peak on the second and the road back to hotel on the third. It takes about seven hours to get to the summit of the volcano. On condition of good weather tourists can see a crater full of solidified lava about two kilometres in diameter, Petropavlovsk, Avachinskaya bay, Mutnovsky, Gorely and Viluchinsky volcanoes in the south, Jupanovsky and Dzendzur in the north, and Koriaksky right in front of them.

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Weather

Well, Kamchatkan's weather is not something to write home about but during the summer months you can be lucky and have some stable days. Average daytime temperatures during this time are around 15-20 °C and nights are still around an agreeable 8-10 degrees. Mosquitos can be a problem during the summermonths. It gets cold in winter though with days around -5 °C and nights of -12 °C. In Petropavlovsk that is. It can get much colder once you go inland and into the mountains where severe frost and snow can make life difficult and travelling not much of an option. Still, if the weather clears up during this time, the landscape just looks fantastic!

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Getting There

By Plane

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport (PKC) is the main gateway by plane. Destinationns include Moscow,
Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Anchorage (Alaska) and Yekaterinburg.

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Getting Around

By Plane

Usually, helicopters are used to get to some more remote parts, which definately is recommended but comes at a cost of course.

By Car

You need a 4wd if you want to explore Kamchatka properly.

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Sleep

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This is version 7. Last edited at 15:09 on Jan 3, 11 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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