The Russian Federation is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia through 9 time zones. It extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black, Azov, and Caspian seas in the south. Russia is the largest country in the world, the ninth-most populous.
Siberia immediately brings up images of endless Arctic wastelands and frozen, uninviting tundra stretching away into the distance. Landscapes move from tundra to coniferous forest and mountain ranges including the Ural, Altai and Verkhoyansk. Lake Baikal, in its south, is the world’s deepest lake and nicknamed ‘the Pearl of Siberia’, circled by a network of hiking paths called the Great Baikal Trail. The Trans-Siberian Railway passes Baikal on its route between Moscow and the Sea of Japan. It is only in the northern parts of the region that you find the frozen tundra as it is popularly imagined.
Siberia borders the Arctic Ocean in the north and Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia in the south. It’s also home to two of the longest rivers in the world in the shape of the Ob and Lena. Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, and Omsk are some of its largest cities, and many travellers use them as a base from which to explore the astounding nature that surrounds them.
Russian Far East has flora and fauna that is unique and home to rare species of animals and fish. The most famous inhabitants of the area are walruses, polar and brown bears, Amur tigers and leopards, polar geese and white-naped cranes. The remote and wild Kamchatka Peninsula is popular for its volcanic region, hot springs, geysers and variety of wildlife. Located by Lake Onega, Kizhi Island is a huge open-air museum of historic buildings and artefacts where tourists can learn about traditional Russian peasant life.
Encompassing over a third of Russia’s vast territory, the Russian Far East is an enormous area which, for the most part, is very cold and unwelcoming. Yakutsk – the world’s coldest city – lies at its frosty centre. Due to its remote location and small population, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Most of it lies untouched and unspoiled. The region also has some beautiful islands such as Atlasov and Wrangel, which provide a myriad of fantastic outdoor activities for you to throw yourself into. In addition to all this, cities such as Vladivostok – the terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway – are very multicultural due to the unique cultural make-up of the region.