The Ural mountain range forms a natural division between European and Asian Russia. This lengthy chain, which stretches for 2,000 kilometres from Kazakhstan to the arctic Kara Sea marks the edge of Eastern Russia, an immense mass of tundra and taiga (Siberian forest) and snowy reaches that ends only when the ocean begins.
Dotted with lakes, including Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake, the Eastern Region is a space full of stark and remote beauty. Some would say that the Kamchatka peninsula, reaching out towards Alaska, is one of the most beautiful places to be found anywhere on the planet, with its lava fields and smouldering volcanoes and wild bears.
This wilderness provides a wonderful setting for hiking, skiing, dog sledding, fishing, rafting and any number of adventure holiday options, but there are urban attractions to enjoy too. Ekaterinburg, on the edge of the Urals, is both a handy base for mountain adventures, but also steeped in history. This is where Tsar Nicolas II and his family were executed, and on the spot now stands The Church on the Blood, a memorial to Russia's last reigning royals and to Russian saints. There are numerous other cultural highlights including theatres and museums.
Then there's Vladivostok, Russian for ‘Lord of the East' and the end point of one of the epic Trans-Siberian routes. An energetic port town, Vladivostok was closed to all foreigners and many Russians until 1991, as the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet. Navy ships still dot the harbour, submarines can be toured, there are far-flung islands and remote beaches made accessible by ferry, and a hotch potch of architecture from different eras lining the slopes of this higgledy-piggledy, charismatic city, close to the border with China.