Top-5 places in Siberia for your outstanding nature travel
Siberia is a paradise for true nature lovers. With its area of about 10 million square kilometer it contains all kinds of landscapes – arctic ice shores and semi-deserts, high snowy mountains and tundra lowlands, thousands of rivers and lakes, glaciers and caves. In some areas for hundreds of kilometers you can’t find any village or settlement and nature is really wild. And of course, Siberia is a home for so many species of animals and birds which live here undisturbed by humans and feel very good.
If you wish to travel to Siberia, the first idea which comes to mind is the Trans-Siberian Express. But travelling by train, all natural beauty just sweeps by you at a speed of 100 km/h. You are not able to smell the fresh air in the mountains, to listen to the silence, to touch tender leaves, to enjoy a sunset or watch wild animals playing. To experience the real Siberia you should take a special tour to one (or more) of the following stunning Siberian destinations.
1. Altai mountains
Altai is a very picturesque and impressive mountain land situated almost in the middle of Eurasia where Siberia meets Asia. You can cross Russian Altai travelling along one of the most beautiful roads in the world – the Chuyskiy tract – and observe how mountains grow from 400 to 4000 meters and landscapes change after every turn of the road.
You can see green meadows covered with flowers and thick forests, bold rocks and snow-covered peaks, dark-blue lakes and whitewater rivers, sparkling waterfalls and endless caves.
Turn from the asphalt road and drive a few kilometers – and you find yourself in the middle of pristine nature. Clean water in the rivers which you can drink, fresh air without any pollution – there are no industrial enterprises for about 500 km around, wild animals and birds. Altai is home to the elusive snow leopard, lynx and manul. Vultures, eagles, falcons and cranes fly in the sky.
If you visit Sailugem national park, you can even check trap cameras and be the first to see new videos of snow leopards.
2. Baikal lake
Baikal is a majestic and amazing lake situated in the middle of Siberia. It has a superlative degree in many aspects – the largest world’s freshwater lake by volume, the deepest in the world – 1620 meters, the oldest existing lake. And it is superlative in its beauty.
Due to Baikal’s great length (636 km), nature also changes significantly. The Island Olkhon with its rocks and sand dunes is ideal for landscape photographers. If you want to swim in Baikal’s clear water (you can see the bottom at the depth of 40 m) better to go to the side of Republic Buryatia. In the bays, water can warm up to 20 degrees in July. And the north of the lake is impassable thick taiga. Another good idea is to come to Baikal in the winter to see its fantastic ice. The layer of ice is more than 1 meter thick, cars drive over it and it is a great destination for photographers.
Plant and animal life of the lake is very rich, the majority of species are endemic to Baikal. The real treasure of the lake is a nerpa (Baikal seal), a species of earless seal. You can take a special boat trip to the islands to watch nerpas in their habitat.
3. Putorana Plateau
This is the wildest and less visited by tourists place in our list of travel ideas for Siberia holidays. There are almost no roads, you can get there either by helicopter or boats in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter.
The Putorana Plateau is located in northern Central Siberia. The Plateau is 100 km north of the Arctic circle. The area is famous as “the land of 10,000 lakes and 1,000 waterfalls”. The concentration of waterfalls is the highest in Russia and no other elevated province can be compared in the number and depth of lakes. The relief consist of rocks shaped in huge steps and terraces with tabletops rising up 1,000-1,500 m at sea level, cut by deep canyons.
An endemic Putorana snow sheep inhabit the plateau. It is also a place of reindeer migration twice a year. There are no human settlements on the plateau, though local tribes with a reindeer herding tradition live in a nearby village.
4. Krasnoyarsk stolby
The Stolby nature reserve is situated close to Krasnoyarsk city.
The main attraction of the park is its rocks of wonderful beauty. They stay in a distance one from each other, rising high out of the green ocean of taiga. The rocks are 60-90 m high and have strange forms which resemble people, animals or things. Every rock has its own name. They appeared due to volcanism and were shaped during time by wind, water and erosion. The word “Stolby” is translated from Russian as “Pillars”.
Because of the particular shape of the rocks, Stolby has become the local center of cliff-climbing. The original technique of free-climbing invented by local sportsmen was acclaimed worldwide.
Nature in Stolby reserve is very beautiful – it is a junction of forest steppe and mountain taiga. Nowadays the touristic area of the National Nature Reserve “Stolby” is a well-kept zone with tracking routes of different length and difficulty. There are routes of 4 km for families with kids and longer paths of 15 – 16 km for more experienced hikers.
Ergaki is a natural park and tourist center located in the Western Sayan mountains.
Surprisingly, the place remains relatively unknown even in Russia considering the natural highlights it offers to hikers, photographers, nature admirers and other travelers, who are ready to explore this area off the beaten track.
The natural park includes the Ergaki mountain range, located in the central part of the Western Sayan. From east to west, the Ergaki mountain range is about 80 kilometers long, and its maximum width is 70 kilometers. The mountains are not very high – about 2000-2500 meters. But sharp granite peaks rising to the sky and reflecting in the lakes make the views really amazing.
Nowadays tourism facilities in this corner of Siberia are being developed and you can find good accommodation and a tour itinerary to suits you best.