Canoeing, rafting and kayaking trips are one of the most common types of active recreation in Russia. This is not surprising, given that Russia has 2.8 million rivers and 2.7 million lakes, or approximately one of each for every 50 Russians. Wilderness water tourism combines elements of active recreation and sport. It is very popular on large rivers of the plains and passable mountain rivers of the Urals, Altai, Caucasus,Siberia and Far East.Traveling around Russia allows to escape into untamed wilderness and to see unusual, often unique for each region architecture, to experience sharply different ethnic groups and their cultures, to seea huge variety of landscapes, and very reach wildlife.
Over the past decade, interest in this type of tourism in Russia has increased and continues to grow. Many tourist destinations are being created and a large number of new routes are being developed.
Russia offers wide range of paddling activities, which differ in terrain, accessibility, difficulty of the routs, unique character of each river and lake, weather patterns and the ways of boat management. In Russia there are 9 regions where this type of tourism is developed: Karelia, Volga region, Caucasus, Ural, Altai and Sayan mountains, Baikal – Transbaikalia, Yakutia – Yenisei river and Far East, but it has been most developed in Karelia, Altai andthe Caucasus.
The rivers of Karelia can be characterized as moderately calm, most of which have 2-3 categories of difficulty, but there are also rivers with rapids of 4-5 categories. A characteristic feature of the Karelian rivers is the frequent alternation of river sections with lakes. The most famous and characteristic rivers of the region are the Okhta, Chirka-Kem, Suna, Pista and BelomorskayaShuya.Karelia is a home to two largest fresh water lakes in Europe.
Altai has rich opportunities for water tourism. Various forms of relief, dense river network and relatively good road access, allow for rafting of any category of difficulty. The majority of the rivers of the highest category of difficulty are concentrated here. The most traveled rivers are the Biya, Katun, Chuya, Chulyshman and Shavla.
The rivers of the Caucasus are characterized by complex rapids and dangerous canyons. The current velocity is high. Typical representatives of the Caucasian rivers are the Kuban, Belaya, BolshayaLaba, BolshayaZelenchuk and Terek. All these rivers have many obstacles of various difficulty categories from the second to the highest – the sixth, offering excellent options for white water paddling enthusiasts.
If you want to spend time enjoying a company of your friends and family, or to find solitude, to relax, or to challenge yourself and test your survival skills, Russia has whatever you want – a river, a lake or a sea shore.