Canoeing, Kayaking and Rafting in Russia

Lake Ladoga kayaking

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Adventure description

Lake Ladoga is the largest freshwater lake in Europe and is the second largest in Russia, yielding to Lake Baikal. The surface area is 17870 square kilometers (6900 square miles), the volume of water is 908 cubic kilometers. The length of the coastline is 1570 kilometers (980 miles). The maximum length of the lake is 219 kilometers (136 miles), the width is 125 kilometers. The average depth of Lake Ladoga is 47 meters, and the maximum depth is 230 meters (760 ft.). There are 660 islands on Ladoga, 80 percent of which are located in the northern part of the lake, forming countless channels, among which it is easy to get lost if there is no map and a compass or GPS navigator.

The north of Lake Ladoga is a rare place in terms of its beauty and attracts tourists.  It is the country of steep cliffs and amber pines, sandy beaches and emerald greenery of birches along the coast. Streams with waterfalls, and tiny lakes on the islands that warm up in the middle of May. Stone islands are home to fresh water seals, moose and black grouse. Sun-heated stones attract snakes crawling out of their holes to warm up. You’ll listen to seagulls screaming in the sky and the rustle of the coastal reeds. Here you can feel the warmth of the smooth surface of granite rocks under your bare feet and the ghostly light of the white night above the distant islands, the squeak of grey spruce tree over your tent and the smell of smoke from your fire. Impressions like this await everyone who wants to travel in these amazing places.

One should always remember that no matter how good the weather is, it is extremely unwise to move away from the shore to the open space of the lake for аdistance of more than a few minutes of paddling. Unexpected squalls with the strongest wind on Lake Ladoga occur frequently and can lead to a tragedy.

On Ladoga you can choose a route of any duration – a few days, a week, or for the whole summer.  It is better to choose places for landing your boat where there is no strong surf and protected from the wind. Otherwise, with the sudden change of weather you may find yourself locked. Carrying kayaks and backpacks to the calm shore through the dense Karelian taiga or boulder bank is very difficult.

Once here, plan to visit the city of Petrozavodsk, the town of Sortavala, the Valaam island monastery and the town of Staraya Ladoga, the old capital of Russia.

Adventure checklist

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