From ice diving to climbing, these are the best adventure activities in Russia.
Traveling to Russia for many tourists is an adventure on, its own due to some visa and language complications. Most people limit their Russian trip to visiting the main cities, Moscow and St.Petersburg, but what can be more exciting than to go off the beaten track and visit some incredible places and find a perfect adventure for you?
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Adventure Activities In Russia
We have put together this concise list to help you find the absolute best adventure activities in Russia. Trust us, if you like being outdoors, you’ll love exploring Russia!
Climbing Mt. Elbrus
Mt. Elbrus is located in the South-West of Russia, close to the border with Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains.
Climbing Mount Elbrus is one of the top adventures in Russia and it’s understandable why. What adventure lover wouldn’t like to conquer the highest European peak, 5640m, especially if you can do it on your own and it costs almost nothing?!
Unlike most of the Seven Summits, to climb Elbrus you don’t need to pay any fee.
The climb itself is quite demanding due to weather conditions. It gets quite cold and windy even in summer, so proper gear and clothes is essential.
You can do it on your own without any special permits, but we’d recommend it only for experienced hikers. Otherwise go in a group with a guide.
The climb is not very technical, although you do use an ice axe, crampons and rope in some places, but you can learn all these once up on the mountain at the rescue service office.
You have to start the last ascent at 1-2 am in the darkness and cold. It takes between 8 to 10 hours and a lot of effort to get to the peak.
The way down is much quicker; we basically ran down in 2 hours! Elbrus is a great mountain to start your climbing career and fall in love with ice climbing.
Diving In Ruskeala Marble Quarry
The marble quarry is about 5 hours driving from St.Petersburg, on the border with Finland. Marble from this quarry was used in the construction of many of the cathedrals and palaces in the city.
It’s quite a well-known tourist attraction, but now it’s turning into a popular local diving destination. Turquoise-green water in this huge quarry is quite clear, and on a good day. visibility is more than 18m. Diving here in a way reminds you of diving the cenotes in Mexico, except the water is colder.
In some places the depth reaches 72m. There are different levels and several chambers where you can get from the main pool.
In some chambers you can see old trollies, hammers and other equipment once used to extract marble from the quarry.
To dive here you need a dry suit, as the water temperature varies between 4-7C, depending on season. If you are not afraid of the cold you can do ice diving here as well, but be aware that on cold days it can get down to -25C, and the ice cover can be as thick as 2,5m.
For non-divers there are other activities like rowing in a boat, exploring caves or hiking through pine forests.
Hiking In The Altai Region
Russia is a massive country that offers many different activities and adventures, and of course hiking is one of the main ones!
There are hundreds of places, nature reserves and mountains where you can do short or long hikes, but one area in particular is famous for its incredible scenery.
Altai is a big area spread between four different countries; Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China. The region has some incredible spots for hiking as well as horseback riding and rafting.
Here you can find everything; stunning turquoise colour lakes, ice-cold mountain rivers, dense forest, glaciers, waterfalls, caves and more.
In the Russian Altai there are several popular multi day hikes. One of the most popular ones is the 7-10-day hike to Belukha Mountain (4506m), the highest mountain of the region.
The weather here is quite unpredictable. Hikers must be geared for cold, wet and windy conditions, as well as for river crossings and long days of walking.
Hiking in Altai is not an easy walk but it’s 100% rewarding. The landscape and nature here is incredible untouched and full of surprises.
Another popular hike to the famous Multa lakes. It’s a group of seven lakes of different colour and size. In fact, you can hike in the region for weeks and there will always be something to discover.
Rafting In The Ural Region
The Ural mountain chain is a natural border between Europe and Asia. It stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the deserted areas in the south of Kazakhstan.
This huge, wild area offers lots of activities for the intrepid adventurers. Local rivers are always full of water and have some great rapids of different levels.
The most popular river for rafting is Vishera. Here you can do a seven-day trip visiting some remote and incredibly beautiful places.
Most people do this trip with a company as it’s easier to arrange and plan everything, but if you’re an experienced rafter you can do it on your own. Total distance of this weeklong trip is about 130km.
There are plenty of shorter rafting routes here too. If you prefer kayaking over rafting, it’s possible to explore local rivers by kayak as well. Just remember water in mountain rivers is very cold, even in summer.
Ice Diving In Baikal Lake
Diving in the deepest lake in the world is quite exciting, and at the right time of year you can even do some ice diving there!
Baikal is located in the heart of Siberia, so you can imagine how cold it gets in winter – something between -25С and -30C!
The ice layer reaches 1.5-2m and it’s quite a work to make an ice-hole. Of course for this kind of diving you need a dry suit.
The dive itself is between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the diver, with average visibility of 20m. Ice diving in Baikal is unique due to its crystal-clear water. The ice cover on the lake is like glass, and is so transparent that it allows daylight to easily penetrate the lake.
On a good sunny day with no snow on the surface you can see cars and people on the ice from 40m deep. To be able to do ice-diving you need to have a special qualification. You can do the course in Irkutsk, the nearest big city.
The best months for ice diving are February-beginning of March when the ice cover is thick and there are more sunny days.
These are only some of the best adventure activities in Russia that you can check out! Have you been to Russia? If so tell us your favourite adventures n the comments below!