A Winter’s Journey to… Siberia?
While most of your traveler friends count the days to their tropical island getaways this winter, you might consider bucking the trend and heading somewhere that’s completely off the beaten path. Siberia might not top anybody’s list of winter travel destinations, but it holds untold rewards for those willing to embrace the challenges of traveling there. Here are 5 reasons you should forego your swimsuit and sunburn this year and head to Russia’s frozen tundra instead. Don’t forget to bring a jacket.
1. Siberia is Uncommonly Beautiful
There’s something really special about those crisp winter days in Siberia. The sky is a deep clear blue, the air is fresh, and you can see to the horizon and beyond. It’s a special sort of beauty that can’t be found anywhere else.
Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world, is widely regarded as the most beautiful Siberian destination. Come in late winter to see its entire surface frozen over, and for the really adventurous there’s even a marathon which crosses the lake from one side to the other.
2. Locals are Overwhelmingly Hospitable
This part of the world isn’t exactly known for friendliness, but let’s face it: you’d have your “game face” on too if you lived in a place where it was -30 for half the year. Make the effort to get through locals’ occasionally frosty exteriors, and you’ll find their warm hearts take the chill out of even the coldest Siberian days.
The best place to interact with locals is on the Trans Siberian Railway. Come prepared knowing some basic Russian greetings and bring some food and drink to share, and you’re virtually guaranteed to make new friends.
3. It’s Unique
When’s the last time anyone’s told you about their upcoming winter trip to Siberia? I rest my case.
Of all the little oddities, perhaps the strangest among them is the outdoor ice cream kiosk in Tomsk. Really? Ice cream?
4. It’s Exciting
It’s fascinating to see people go about their normal, daily lives in a climate that’s so severe and unforgiving. Experiencing that firsthand is enough to pique any traveler’s interest. There’s also ice fishing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and plenty of beautifully ornate cafés for when it’s time to get out of the cold.
5. You’ll Feel Warm When You Return Home
Your friends will return from their short beach holidays dreading the remainder of winter. You, on the other hand, can rejoice in the relative warmth that coming home provides.
It’s all a matter of perspective, and a winter’s visit to Siberia will certainly change yours.