Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is both an utterly intriguing place to visit and a gateway to some of the finest scenery in Russia. Facing the crystal clear waters of Avacha Bay and two gigantic volcanoes, this port is a window to the rare geography at what seems to be the very end of the world. The climate is warm, considering that it lies on the Russian coastline, no doubt because it is a perfect spot from which to embark toward the Pacific.
But the town itself is more than just a hub for wider expeditions. The town is ringed by snow-capped mountains, and caters for everything from bear-hunting to paragliding. For an utterly unique port experience, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky surprises at every single turn.
From the main port, you can charter private excursions to this volcanic chain of 32 islands stretching across the Bering Sea between Russia and Japan. An amazingly diverse geological and biological site, this remarkable atoll supports a huge range of wildlife, from massive colonies of falcons to Kamchatka brown bears. But that's just one jewel in the crown of the Kuril Islands. Lowland forests and alpine meadows sprawl alongside active volcanoes, in a beautiful tableau which showcases the finest the Pacific has to offer. With constant hikes touring the area year round, you can be sure you'll get a once in a lifetime chance to discover the Kuril's wonder for yourself if you visit Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Kamchatka State Unified Museum
If you head towards the locale of ul Leniskaya, you can find this extraordinary collection of cultural artifacts documenting the history of the Kamchatka peninsula. The museum features a brilliant mix of relics and murals that are housed within a timber building overlooking the entire expanse of the bay. Ancient weaponry and flags, dioramas of the Crimean conflict, and photographs of the Tolbachik eruption are all on display, making it a vital spot for history lovers.
Nalychevo Nature Park
A diverse landscape of volcanic soil and coastal serenity lies at the core of this national park, which over 700,000 hectares of land. Nalychevo Park can be visited year round and offers everything from hiking to dog-sledding. Not only is the park massive, but it also has some surprising features which are unlike anywhere else in Russia. The geothermal undercurrents that belie the scenery have created hot pools which can be bathed in today, reaching highs of 30 degrees, even in the depths of winter.
Shopping in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
For an utterly fantastic boutique shopping experience, make sure to head to GUM, which sells fine clothing and souvenirs designed by local artists. The range is fantastic, with sterling silver pocket watches and luxury leather jackets being the stand-out highlights.
Eating out in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
For a taste of the orient in an unusual locale, a trip to the Kioto Sushi Bar is an absolute must. Serving up fresh salmon and tuna from the harbour, the chefs here create vibrant delicacies that have to be tasted to be believed. Make sure to book to avoid disappointment, as its become local favourite.