Kamchatka is hundreds of kilometers of virgin taiga and alpine tundra. Pure ice-cold mountain rivers and volcanic tuffs. It is the so-called "domestic" volcanoes, fishing, all-terrain buses and trucks equipped to carry people, and a very short summer. It is dog sled teams, bears and snow-white mountain passes even in summer.
The peninsula's capital is unlike any other town in Russia. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatksky is one of the oldest cities in the Russian Far East. Kamchatka's eastern coast is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the most seismic area on Earth. This is why there are almost no tall buildings in the city, while the strong and squat five-story buildings have additional support for withstanding the frequent earthquakes.
In winter, you can ski or snowboard down one of the domestic volcanoes to the coast of the Pacific Ocean itself. In summer, you can take a trip around Avachinsky Bay on a motor boat, sail up to the Three Brothers rocks and observe a colony of seabirds: tufted puffins, cormorants, guillemots and gulls; on Starichkov Island (named after the colony of ancient murrelets («starik» in Russian) living here) you can enjoy fishing for perch, lenok, halibut and shellfish.
Khalaktyrsky beach, famous for its pure black sand, is not far fr om Petropavlovsk-Kamchatksky. This is a true natural wonder, and the beach is popular with people fr om the city. Although it becomes very busy at weekends, it stretches for 30 kilometers, so there is enough place for everyone. In summer, some people come to sunbathe and in recent years, surfing has become popular in Kamchatka. You can also swim, but even during the hottest time of year, the water never reaches more than +15 °C.
The village of Esso in Central Kamchatka, 520 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatksky, is in a mountainous area, in the caldera (crater) of an ancient extinct volcano, wh ere two rivers meet. The village is known as the Switzerland of Kamchatka. The deep wooded valley, the rocky peaks of the Sredinny Range rising behind it, and rapid rivers give the area around Esso a true Alpine feel.
Visitors come to Esso from all over the world. The only ethnographic museum in Kamchatka Krai can be found here. Here you can see unique shamanism items and original Even artefacts. Esso is also the center of the Volcanoes of Kamchatka nature park. Bystrinsky Park is a vast natural complex made up of taiga, wildlife, thermal springs, the traditional way of life of the local Evens, the Sredinny Range and numerous lakes and rivers.
Kamchatka is a region of volcanoes. There are more than 300, thirty of which are believed to be active. The Peninsula lies close to a zone wh ere giant tectonic plates meet and is one of the chains in the Pacific Ring of Fire, making it a vast natural museum of volcanology. The exponents include active and dormant volcanoes and other related natural formations: geysers, steam vents, hot springs, mud pools, etc. One of the largest volcanic centers in the world can be found here — the Klyuchevskaya group of volcanoes and Shiveluch volcano. Some of the active volcanoes, Avachinsky, Gorely and Mutnovsky, can be climbed.
The second most popular attraction in Kamchatka after the volcanoes is the cold and hot mineral springs, which have different chemical compositions and temperatures. Some of the sources and hot springs are in volcano craters or at the bottom of a caldera, while others are in river valleys and on elevated shores.
Among the mountains of the Eastern Volcano Belt, at a height of more than 500 meters, in the tributary of the Shumnaya River, hides one of the wonders of the natural world — the Valley of Geysers. Here you can see all famous contemporary forms of hydrothermal activity, including permanently active and pulsating boiling springs, hot lakes, geysers, mud pools, mud volcanoes, steam streams and heated ground all closely located in a small area. Each of these geysers is unique, with its own name and character.
The region's visiting card is the Kamchatka brown bear, or as it is known in the West, the Kamchatka Grizzly. If you go to Kurile Lake, you will be sure to see a Kamchatka Grizzly in its natural environment. The lake is the largest spawning ground for sockeye salmon, up to 12 million, in Eurasia. On the shores of the lake, you can see up to 30 bears peacefully catching fish at the same time.