Russian seas contribute to the ecological diversity of this vast country. From the palm trees of the Black Sea coast to the world’s largest lake, also known as the Caspian Sea, Russian seas are home to a variety of flora and fauna and provide some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country. If you want to visit a sea in Russia, the popularity of the Black Sea in recent years has been significant. Towns along the coast such as Sochi boast spa treatments and mineral waters, along with strong sun and surf. While Russia is traditional thought of more for its cities, monuments, and churches in terms of tourism than its beaches, the coast along the Black Sea might just change that assumption over time.
The Sea of Azov is located just north of the Black Sea. It has gained recognition for being the world’s shallowest sea. The Don River flows into the Sea of Azov, and it shares its shores between Russia and Ukraine. The average depth of this shallow sea is just 43 feet, with a maximum depth of 50 feet; a combination of the shallow nature of the Sea of Azov and its low saline content mean that it is very susceptible to freezing. This sea is also a good example of the effects of over-fishing, as historically it was home to a wide variety of fish whose numbers have been significantly depleted over time.
The Baltic Sea is the inland sea of Northern Europe. Sweden, Poland, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia all have coastlines along the Baltic Sea, and St Petersburg is connected to the Baltic Sea via the Gulf of Finland. Home to almost 5 million people, St Petersburg is the largest city on the coast of the Baltic Sea and a popular destination among visitors to Russia. The sea was originally carved by glaciers during one of the ice ages, and the sea today occupies this glacial basin. The Baltic Sea in Russia has played an important role historically, as it has served as a major waterway to St Petersburg and on to Moscow via the rivers.
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth. The Caspian Sea in Russia touches the southern border of the country and shares the coastline with northern Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. About 5.5 million years ago, the Caspian Sea became landlocked when a tectonic shift cut it off from the rest of the ocean. As a result, the salt content of the Caspian Sea is only about one-third that of the ocean, though it does vary in different areas. Many rivers flow into this sea in Russia, most significantly the Volga River, which is the longest in Europe.
Other Russian seas include those along the coastline of Siberia and in the Far East, such as the Sea of Okhotsk, known for their untainted beauty. The marine life is different at each sea in Russia, and all offer unique flora and fauna. Fisherman, hikers, and wildlife enthusiasts will all find different pleasures from the many seas of Russia. River cruises and lakes, including Lake Baikal near Irkutsk, also offer stunning options for getting out on the water.