Kamchatka (Russia)

Kamchatka Travel Guide and Trip Resources

Martin Lopatka

Surely one of the most beautiful places on earth

Kamchatka is a region in Russia's Far East measuring the size of France, Belgium and Luxembourg combinedHard and expensive to get into: requiring visa, entry permit and expensive flight tickets
Once you are in and can afford to get around, some of the most magnificent nature anywhere in the world
29 active volcanoes, geysers, bears, glaciers

Looking for an affordable, comfortable and easy to reach green travel destination, so that you can make a quick hike and head home after the weekend? Haha, just move along quickly from this article.

We apologise for being so blunt, but Kamchatka is just not the type of travel destination you are looking for. We too can see the appeal of this untouched peninsula in Russia's Far East, measuring in at about 2/3 the size of Japan and home to everything from arctic tundra to volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, geysers and loads of wildlife. Obviously we can see the appeal in this place of endless wilderness. But, this being undeveloped Russia, getting here works slightly different than just hopping on the first flight and starting your explorations a little while later.

Let's say you wanted to enter through Kamchatka's largest city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (population approx. 200,000). You would have to fly in as there are no roads or trains connecting the city to anywhere else in Russia. If you were flying in from London, then with the best possible connection you'd still be looking at an 18 hours trip at a high ticket price. To get into the region you would need a valid Russian visa (requiring an invitation), register on arrival within days and in some cases still need special permissions from the FSB as much of Kamchatka is still a military zone. Of course, the easiest way to deal with all of these would be to just go through a travel agency and let them sort things out - but that comes at a cost. Once you'd enter Kamchatka, you'd be faced with poor tourist infrastructure and punishingly high costs of getting around, often by helicopter!

But you will have to excuse the pessimism. If you do go through all of the trouble to get here, you will be richly rewarded. Maybe top of the bill is Valley of the Geysers, part of a UNESCO site and home to what many consider the most beautiful geysers and hot springs in the world. You can take your pick as well from one of the 29 active volcanoes, from which the Kronotsky probably best matches your mental image of what a volcano *should* look like... And then there are 14,000 rivers, lakes, bears roaming about. [Review by travelindicator]

Key info

  • Kamchatka is a region in Russia. It is situated at an altitude of 1253ft and the best airport to fly into is PKC (Petropavlovsk Kamchats, Petropavlovsk-Kamchats)
  • The currency used in Russia is the Russian ruble (RUB)

Kamchatka Weather

Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):

21 23 27 32 43 52 57 59 54 45 32 25

Historical average rainfall per month (inches):

2.7 2.3 2 2.1 1.9 2.2 3 3.9 3.9 5.2 3.2 3.9

Other notes

  • If you are pondering which month to visit the peninsula, have a look at the weather graph but also keep in mind that the spring time is not the best of times for a reason you may not immediately think of: at this time of year the snow starts to melt and it all becomes a bit sloshy.

More Kamchatka travel resources

The Guardian titles their articles "vodka and volcanoes" so I guess that sort of sets the tone. There are a number of websites with a 1990s layout that nevertheless provide useful info, such as Kamchatka Peninsula. More modern looking is Off the unbeaten track and Way to Russia. Visit Kamchatka can be checked out, followed by Wikitravel and Lonely Planet. This blog was excellent, and this page on what appears to be the website of a travel agency provides lots of pretty picture.

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Irkutsk, Yekaterinburg, Lake Baikal, Tatarstan, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Sakhalin, Tomsk, Kamchatka, Nizhniy Novgorod, Vladivostok, Arkhangelsk, Omsk, Yakutsk, Volgograd [Browse all]