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Sakhalin and Kurile Islands

Home / Travel to Russia & Blog / Sakhalin and Kurile Islands

Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands are located in the east of Russia, to the north of and quite near Japan. The Major Kurile Archipelago stretches for 1,200 kilometres north west to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It includes 56 islands, of which Iturup, Kunashir and Paramushir are the largest.

Sakhalin Island lies between the continent and the Kuriles. It is comparable in size to the European countries of Austria, Switzerland or Ireland. Sakhalin resembles a giant fish in shape. The broadest part of the island is about 160 km. The narrowest place — Poyasok Isthmus — is only 47 kilometres long. Nature reserves, protected by the state, comprise 11.8% of the region's area: there are 2 reserves (Poronaysky and Kurilsky), 1 special nature reserve of federal value (Maliye Kurily), 11 game reserves (to protect and breed species), 2 complex special nature reserves, 47 natural monuments and 1 National Park – "Moneron Island", situated on a rocky island close to Sakhalin’s south-western coast.

It is the first marine national park in Russia, located in the Tatar Strait, near the most south-western point of Sakhalin. The island covers about 30 square kilometres. The rare combination of various forms of underwater topography and the influence of the warm Tsusimskoye Current explain why there are so many specimens of subtropical shellfish, sea urchin (Strongilacentrotus) and many-fingered starfish in the underwater world of Moneron Island.

Tourists will be enchanted by the solemn cliffs, descending steeply to the waves, the waterfalls and numerous bird colonies inhabiting the area around the island’s small rocky islets, the remnants of the Japanese paths that criss-cross the whole island, and the legends about the island’s history. Travelling along the island, visitors find themselves in different climatic zones, passing from the wilderness of the taiga to subtropical forests, from the mossy tundra to the jungles of giant plants. A considerable part of the territory is covered with mountains.

From December through till April, the Russian National Tourist Office offers skiing tours and ice fishing. Sufficient snow falls on Sakhalin from the middle of December, which means it is time to start winter trips. Imagine feeling the breath of winter, taking in the magnificent winter landscapes, enjoying the breathtaking descent from the snow-covered mountain tops! You can experience all this on our winter tours.

In May and June, the Russian National Tourist Office invites tourists to join us on our rafting tours. It’s the time when nature on Sakhalin awakes from its winter sleep, the snow melts quickly and the rivers are in spate.

From June to October, the Russian National Tourist Office offers hiking, speleological tours, trips around the island’s lighthouses and off to the Kurile Islands, as well as to the Moneron and Tyuleny Islands. The Russian National Tourist Office looks forward to welcoming clients at any time of the year, taking you on an exciting adventure tour to Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands!

This is tailor made tours – please send an inquiry.