10 Gorgeous Natural Attractions in Russia
Russia is so huge, it’s intimidating. Think about it: this country spans nine time zones, contains ¼ of the world’s fresh water, and its surface area is bigger than Pluto. But as impressive as that sounds, Russia’s nature is even more impressive. It is absolutely stunning and yet its beautiful looks are quite underrated among people – both tourists, who hardly ever get the chance to explore Russia thoroughly due to its size, and locals, who are used to the looks of the Russian nature. If you ever happen to visit the world’s biggest country, here’s the ultimate list of 10 spectacular natural attractions in Russia.
1. Lake Baikal
The beautiful Lake Baikal is the deepest, the oldest, and the cleanest lake in the world. It is 1,642 metres deep and it’s also a home to more than 1,700 different species of plants and animals, from which the two-thirds cannot be found anywhere else. The lake is 25 million years old and has been under UNESCO since 1996. But as massive as all these facts sound, you forget about them as soon as you see the lake in real life – Baikal is so beautiful that it will just leave you speechless and mindless, but very much inspired.
2. The Russian Taiga Forest
Taiga can be found not only in Russia, but also in Scandinavia and North America where it is simply known as ‘snowforest’. Taiga has mainly pines, spruces and larches, which are mostly covered with snow throughout the whole year that is, in turn, characterized with frost crack, red noses, and fairy-tale-looking landscapes.
3. Kamchatka Volcanoes
Yes, Russia has volcanoes, and yes, some of them are active. The large volcanic belt in the peninsula of Kamchatka has 160 volcanoes, and 29 of which are still pretty much ‘alive’. The most scenic volcano in Kamchatka is, of course, Kronotskaya Sopka, or simply Kronotsky, which is famous for its perfect-looking cone and is widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world.
4. Western Caucasus
Caucasus is the only mountain area in Europe that hasn’t been highly affected by humans. In fact, there’s hardly anybody living there, which is why Caucasus still looks so breathtakingly pure.
5. Lena Pillars
The pillar-looking rocks by the Lena river, one of the three great Siberian rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean, offer a compelling view indeed. The pillars are 150-300 metres high, and look so thoughtful, gloomy, and serious that you don’t feel like speaking when you see them.
6. Uvs Lake
The non-Russian name of the lake Uvs is explained by the fact that the major part of it is actually located in Mongolia. It is a highly saline lake, which means that life hardly exists there. So the hypnotizing mirroring effect that the smooth waters have on you is intensified even more when you know that down there in the water, there’s just a deep abyss of nothing… or a mysterious something that nobody has ever seen, which is probably even eerier.
7. Wrangel Island Reserve
Wrangel Island is a whole different world frozen in time and space; it is one of Russia’s coldest and remotest places. The latest-surviving mammoths actually lived there, completely isolated from the mainland. But unfortunately, even the remoteness of the Wrangel Island couldn’t protect them.
8. Virgin Komi Forests
The largest virgin forest in Europe and Russia’s first natural attraction recognized by UNESCO, Komi Forests are actually part of taiga ecoregion. Wih no doubts whatsoever, Komi Forests has some of the most fantastic beauty spots that you can ever find, but that’s not the only reason why this place is so popular. Apparently, Komi also hides a huge amount of gold. It is, of course, prohibited to extract gold in the virgin forest, but illegal gold mines still exist there.
9. Golden Mountains of Altai
Altai isn’t just lovely – it’s unique: the natural landscapes begin with lush-looking steppe and finish with the incredible gorgeousness of alpine vegetation. Offering the most spectacular view you can ever imagine, the Golden Mountains of Altai aren’t necessarily gold – in fact, when you look at them, you can enjoy the widest palette of all sorts of colours.
If you think that Sikhote-Alin looks so peaceful that nothing can ever happen to you there, beware: this place is a home to Amur tigers, world’s largest felines. In addition to that, Sikhote-Alin is notable for its interesting fauna – here you can find both reindeer, which is typical for taiga, and leopards, which usually live in the tropical areas of our planet.
By Olga Rabo