Looking for adventure? Russia is an adrenaline junkie’s dream - fact

Professional guide-climber on the snow-covered summit of Elbrus sleeping volcano

Professional guide-climber on the snow-covered summit of Elbrus sleeping volcano

Legion Media
From diving in sub-zero waters, to venturing across endless plains in the Southern Urals, to traversing the highest peak in Europe – the biggest country in the world is not just for sightseeing. Come and witness the thrills for yourself.

Russia is a country of extremes and you can find all kinds of adventures here, from taking a night walk through Moscow’s notoriously criminal Golyanovo district - which was recognized as the third most dangerous place for tourists in the world - to wrestling bears in Siberia. Just kidding. There are many more civilized ways to explore Russia, so here are a few ideas for the wild at heart.

Ice diving in the Solovetsky Islands

Ice diving in Russia.

Beyond doubt, the Maldives, Seychelles, and other popular diving sites are the obvious choice when it comes to underwater exploring. But take a minute to consider Russia’s subaqueous landscapes.

For example, the country’s northern White Sea is stunning - as long as you are brave enough to jump into waters south of 0 degrees Celsius.

Of course ice diving requires special skills, as you might imagine. The equipment is different from normal gear: It’s far heavier for starters. But those who successfully get through the training can experience the mysterious worlds hiding beneath the calm waters of lakes Valdai and Baikal.   

Diving in the Krasnodar Region, Crimea

Sunken WWI torpedo-boat in the Black Sea.

If you don’t fancy the cold, you can always visit the Black Sea in the south of Russia and enjoy more conventional diving. You’ll find sunken 18th and 19th century ships laid to rest for eternity, full of colorful fish and sealife.

White water rafting in Karelia and Altai

Rafting.

There are various levels of river rafting in Russia, from meandering down a gentle mountain stream to huge white water rapids. One of the best places to test your mettle on the river is the central Karelia Region, with its astonishing landscapes and diverse rivers and lakes. The Pista River near the Finnish border is particularly tricky - helmets, lifejackets, and a fearless attitude are vital. It’s also not a bad spot for a bit of fishing.  

Another location offering great rafting is Altai (South Siberia) with its deep valleys. The Chuya River has a number of stages for more experienced boatmen.

Horse riding in the Southern Urals

Tourists during a ride.

Want to ride a horse as gracefully as Vladimir Putin? (Not necessarily bare-chested). There are endless opportunities to do this in Russia, especially in the eastern regions with their charming prairies and mountain roads. After several days on horseback and sleeping in tents, you will feel like a true nomad.

Speaking of horses, some of the finest in the world live in the Republic of Bashkortostan (1,400 km east of Moscow), where they have been raised and trained for centuries. The area is ideal for trotting through, with greenwood taiga and forest-tundra. You will be at one with nature.

Alpinism in the Elbrus Region

Professional guide-climber on the snow-covered summit of Elbrus sleeping volcano.

The tallest peak in Europe - Mount Elbrus (5,462 km) - is located on the border of the Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia republics in Russia’s North Caucasus.

Conquering this monster is no piece of cake. Even for well-trained mountaineers with all the necessary equipment it will take between seven and 10 days. On average, up to 15 people die attempting to conquer its peak each year so extreme caution must be taken.

For those who do manage to reach the peak though, it’s well worth the risk - the view of the Caucasus Mountains are breathtaking.

Paragliding and hang-gliding in the Caucasus Region

Extreme paragliding.

The Caucasus is great for flying high in general - after climbing up the side of a mountain there’s nothing better than jumping off with a paraglider strapper to your back. The relatively small Yutza Mountain near Pyatigorsk (1,400 km south of Moscow) is a highly recommended place for paragliding and hang-gliding.

Gazing down upon the Caucasus resorts from above is an unforgettable experience, especially in summer when nature is in bloom.

Read more:
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13 vintage photos of Russia’s Golden Ring towns that will melt your heart

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Where to escape snow in Russia: A secret resort between the hills and sea

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