Outdoor Activities and Sports in Russia
Information about popular sports and activities in Russia’s vast outdoors and remote wildernesses...
While many sports and activities can be practiced anywhere, some like skiing or mountaineering need special places such as the mountains in the Ural Region and the Caucasus, Siberia, Lake Baikal and the mountain rivers in Karelia. These areas are best accessed by train or by plane. Car journeys are not advisable due to the poor condition of Russian roads, especially in the countryside areas.
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Both sports are popular at all times of the year, with some Russians even cycling in the winter on ice. Adults and teenagers can participate in regular rides with clubs or groups as well as entering races or events. Cycling is often taken up by school children from an early age.
- Russian Federation of Cycling (English and Russian)
Outdoor sports in the mountains can be enjoyed in many areas throughout Russia, especially in regions with high elevations and sweeping landscapes. These include the Elbrus area and the Caucasus, Ural and Altai Mountains. As well as mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing are also popular.
- Russian Federation for Mountaineering (English and Russian)
Areas for mountaineering in Russia include:
- Altai Mountains in Siberia, one of Russia’s natural reserves on the UNESCO World Heritage List
- Sayan Mountains, a mountain range between northwestern Mongolia and southern Siberia
- Caucasus Mountains, a range of mountains in the southwest of Russia
Aerial activities include hang gliding, paragliding and parachuting. Hot air ballooning is also popular, with an annual ballooning festival taking place in Velikie Luki in Pskov Region.
- Russian Ballooning Association (in Russian)
Fishing is one of the favourite pastimes in Russia. It is not uncommon to see people with fishing rods on the Moskva River embankment in the centre of Moscow. Although unlikely to actually catch anything, the thrill of waiting for the nibble is a draw comparable to even the football craze for many Russians. While in summer, people fishing populate the river banks inside and outside the cities, in the winter season fishing is enjoyed at holes in the ice. Some use fishing as a way to bring home food, for others it is a sport and the fish are set free.
Amateur fishing does not require any permits; people can enjoy fishing in rivers and ponds for free. However, fishing for protected or precious kinds of fish requires payment: R.1 per day of fishing. This applies to semi-professional fishermen who travel across Russia for a memorable catch.