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Overview

From the Ural Mountains to the great Lena River, the sheer enormity of Siberia is hard to comprehend. Fearfully cold in winter, swelteringly hot in summer and with a dark history as a penal colony, Siberia doesn't readily shout "tourist destination." However, the beautiful peak-studded south of the region offers world-class rafting, hiking and mountaineering possibilities. Amid seemingly endless forests are cutely ramshackle wooden-cottage villages. A handful of the region’s cities hide appealingly evocative historic cores behind their harsh Soviet exteriors. Of these, Tomsk, and Tobolsk are the most memorable. Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude also have ...

From the Ural Mountains to the great Lena River, the sheer enormity of Siberia is hard to comprehend. Fearfully cold in winter, swelteringly hot in summer and with a dark history as a penal colony, Siberia doesn't readily shout "tourist destination." However, the beautiful peak-studded south of the region offers world-class rafting, hiking and mountaineering possibilities. Amid seemingly endless forests are cutely ramshackle wooden-cottage villages. A handful of the region’s cities hide appealingly evocative historic cores behind their harsh Soviet exteriors. Of these, Tomsk, and Tobolsk are the most memorable. Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude also have a certain charm and offer launching points to visit Siberia's greatest attraction, Lake Baikal. Both are possible stops along the Trans Siberian Railway. Away from the tracks in Tuva, Altai, Buryatiya and Khakassia, local Buddhist and shamanistic beliefs remain closer to those of Mongolia or Tibet.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    March for the best winter weather; July and August can be very hot.