Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (Russian: Петроп́авловск-камч́атский, pee-truh-PAHV-luhvsk kahm-CHAHT-skee) is the capital and largest city on Russia'sKamchatka Peninsula and the second largest city in the world that is unreachable by road. It is a port city on the Avacha Bay and surrounded by high, snow-capped mountains and volcanoes such that one cannot see the horizon from any point in the city. This city of roughly 200,000 residents is the principal entry point for travelers visiting the peninsula and has a well-built tourist infrastructure to cater to tourists who wish to do anything from wildlife viewing to bear hunting to paragliding.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky shares the same parallels as Manchester and Dublin, but is harsher climate-wise.
In summer the daily temperatures happen to reach 25-30C. Rains are frequent at daytime with mists that occur in evenings. Winters are mitigated by the sea and are much milder than the rest of Siberia.
Snow blizzards and cyclones bring warm temperatures to 0...+1C. The end of January and begining of February are frosty, often about -20C.
The closest analogues in climate are Alaska's Anchorage and Juneau.
The small Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky airport is 16 km from city border in Yelizovo. Most visitors arrive on the Aeroflot flight from Moscow, but S7 and Vladivostok Air offer a 3-hour flight from Vladivostok (10,000 RUB). There is also a regular connection to Khabarovsk by SAT Airlines. The Aeroflot flight is on an A330, S7 and Vladivostok Air use A320s.
Other possible destinations include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. Beginning in July 2012, service will begin to Anchorage on Vladivostok Air.
Bus #113 goes from the airport to the city center for 25 RUR; a taxi would cost about 500 RUR ($20).
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the second largest city in the world that is unreachable by road. However, a handful of roads on the peninsula connect the city with its airport (in Yelizovo) and with the closed city of Vilyuchinsk.
Most things of interest within the city are located within a compact area that can be covered on foot. The central square Teatralnaya is a venue for all major city events. Out of the square are running up three main streets: Leninskaya, Sovetskaya and Partizanskaya. There are also cheap buses and minbuses operating fixed routes throughout the city, mostly along the main road (fare as at July 2011 was 16 Rubles flat fare, pay driver as you alight).
Saint Peter and Pavel on the embankment of the lake in the downtown
Lenin Square — the center of town is based around a statue of Lenin, nearby is a statue of Jean Francois de la Perouse who lead a round-the-world expedition which sank in 1787 en route to Japan from Petropavlovsk.
Nikolskaya hill — excellent views of the city and bay as well as the "Monument of Glory" erected in 1882 in honor of the heroic defense of the city, outnumbered 3-to-1, against the British/French during the Crimean War in 1854.
Vitus Bering monument — the oldest monument in Russia's Far East, built sometime between 1823-26 in honor of Bering, who founded the city
Charles Clerke monument — erected by the British in 1913 in honor of Cpt. Clerke who died shortly after departing Petropavolovsk during a round-the-world voyage in 1779.
Monument to Lt. A. Maksutov's Battery — a reconstruction of the 1854 battery which was the most crucial in the defeat of the Anglo-French siege
Home Volcanos are the closest to the city mountains of Avachinsky group which includes Avachinsky Volcano (2741m), Koryakskaya Sopka (3456m) and Kozelsky volcano (2190m). Avachinsky Volcano is common venue for annual climbing with optional MTB downhill for the crazy.
The Church of Holy Trinity (ХрамСвятойЖивоначальнойТроицы), (Between Prospekt 50let Oktyabrya and Zerkalnaya st). The main church of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.edit
The Church of Saint Nikolai (ХрамСвятителяНиколаяЧудотворца). Small church close to the Trinity church.edit
Museum of Regional Studies open Wed-Sun 10-1 & 2-8, this museum focuses on the native peoples of Kamchatka, the history of Russians on Kamchatka, and the native flora & fauna.
Museum of Volcanoes has a large collection of rock/mineral samples from volcanoes around the world as well as lots of stock footage of volcanic eruptions.
Museum of Fine Arts is only 10 years old but it holds a large collection of Russian and native artists. Open hours 10-18 every day.
Museum of Salmon tells about history, biology and geographical habitat of salmon, one of the ancient fish on Earth, which was being caught and processed from the times of Neolith up to the third millenium. The museum opertates on working days and needs a preliminary call (23-58-35).
Some shops accept credit cards, but acceptance is not widespread. Most Bankomats (ATMs) limit cash withdrawals to either 6,000 or 10,000 Rubles - note that some will levy a 2% fee in addition to whatever your own bank charges. As at July 2011 Rosbank, Gazprom Bank and Bank of Moscow did not levy a fee. The Bankomat at the airport has a 20,000 Ruble limit, but charges 2%.
Rossiiskaya Bookstore, 2 Tushkanova St.. A good place to stock up on area mapsedit
Kamchatka expo (Камчатскийвставочныйцентр), 62, Leninskaya st., ☎ 41-24-27. A place where a tourist can buy all necessary things for a trip.edit
Shaman, an ethnic store with a variety of memorable trinkets.
'Kamchatka Souvenirs', a department in GUM, the Central Supermarket offers pictures of artists, videos, wooden and bone carvings.
Shamsa (Шамса) supermarkets are great for food and beverage. The deli section sells useful snacks such as piroshki, syrnicki etc. Credit cards accepted - there is a big branch just across the road from the Km10 bus station.
Chempivon Bar, 10/3 Kruchiny st, ☎ +7 (962) 290-36-62. Enjoyable and small place. There is always live music and parties.edit
Café Baraka, 15/1, 60 let Oktyabrya ('Parus' center, 4th floor), ☎ 23-43-93. Mo-Fr 12:00-0:00, Sa-Su 12:00-6:00. Fusion of European and Japanese cuisines, hooka-lounge, lounge-bar, DJ in violet-grey neon room.edit
Geyser Hotel, 10 Toporkova St., ☎ +7 4152 58595, . A budget Soviet hotel, looks awful from outside but rooms inside have been renovated and are very comfortable and excellent value for this part of the world. Limited English spoken. Excellent views. Tour agency Vision of Kamchatka is based here. Single rooms for 2550 RUR, credit cards accepted with no surcharge.edit
Hotel Avacha, 61 Leningradskaya St., ☎ +7 4152 410808. Three stars and probably the best choice after the Hotel Petropavlovsk. Rooms are below western standards, but the hotel has a central location.edit
Hotel Petropavlovsk, 31a Karl Marx Ave., ☎ +7 4152 50374, . The city's "premiere" three star hotel is slightly less centrally located then the Avacha, but has a better restaurant and amenities. Regardless of whether you stay here, this is a good stop for its ATM machines, if you can get them to work (if not, try Planeta shopping centre). English-speaking staffedit
Public transportation in Kamchatka is limited to buses. The main bus station is on Pobedy Prospect and offers daily services (in high season) to Esso, Oktyabrsky, Milkovo, and Ust-Kamchatsk. Be sure to get to the ticket office early in the morning. It opens at 8:00AM.
Pimchakh (Пимчах) is a reconstruction of a traditional Itelmen village serving as a cultural center for the Itelmens (original inhabitants of southern Kamchatka, now mostly assimillated, with their language on the verge of extinction). The camp is located in beautiful countryside at the base of Ostraya Gora ("Steep Mountain" in Russian, due to the peculiarly conical shape), a few kilometers beyond Sosnovka village (Сосновка). It is possible to visit the place independently, if you're an adventurous traveller. One first needs to get to Sosnovka. Sosnovka can be reached by infrequent public buses from Yelizovo bus station (Yelizovo is the small airport town served by frequent buses from Petropavlovsk.) There are also more frequent public buses that go to the Sosnovka/Nikolaevka intersection on the main road between Yelizovo and Termalny, from where one can walk on the paved road to Sosnovka (around 4km). In Sosnovka, one has to find the dirt road starting at Tatyana shop (Татьяна) next to the bus stop. One can then walk on that dirt road for 1.5-2km through the cultivated agricultural land. At some point, the fields on the right end, giving way to the forest. Behind the last field, one takes a right turn to another dirt road. That place is marked by a small ПИМЧАХ sign. From there, it's a nice walk for a couple more kilometers to the Itelmen cultural center. Google map