There are few places in the world that can enthrall quite like Kamchatka, easily Russia's most scenically dramatic region. A vast volcanic peninsula that is almost entirely wilderness, Kamchatka is a place of extraordinary primal beauty, rushing rivers, hot springs and snow-capped peaks. Getting here takes time and effort, and exploring the region even more so, but few visitors leave anything other than awestruck.
Visitors to Kamchatka have traditionally been an intriguing mix of outdoorsy types and package tourists, both with deep pockets. Yet against all odds, Kamchatka has recently become viable for independent, relatively budget-conscious travellers.
The capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, may be gritty, but it enjoys an incredible setting and has its share of easily accessible activities, including lift skiing into late May and some very doable volcano climbs. Kamchatka may not be a budget destination yet, but no longer is it strictly the domain of tycoons.