Vladivostok takes a long time to awaken from winter hibernation, but then gets into the summer spirit so intensely that it does not let go of warmth and sun until October. The city buzzes with activity: seafood is eaten by the ton, and powerboats cut tracks across the sea. The port-city vibe merges together with resort romance, and sampling this cocktail can re-energize you for the year ahead.
June rolls into the city with thick fog and heavy rains, the probability of which even weather forecasters cannot always predict. So, we advise that you also give up exact planning and succumb to this wave of uncertainty. For example, a trip to a scenic overlook should be postponed if the bridges are not visible because of the impenetrable cloud blanket. However, sometimes the fog lies very low – and then it is definitely worth climbing a hill to see the mystical landscape from a bird's eye view.
On a sunny day, be sure to arrange a leisurely lunch or dinner on an outdoor terrace at one of the city’s restaurants. Choose an establishment close to the sea to fully experience the resort atmosphere. Even in places far from the seashore, though, you can smell the salty air and hear the cries of seagulls. As a rule, tourists order fresh Far East seafood and Russia Pacific Cuisine.
For many, the feeling of summer comes only after swimming season opens. In June, the Sea of Japan may still seem unapproachably cold, but local residents dive in when the water is 10°-15° C (50° to 59° F). If you are not a fan of such extremes, you can enjoy picnics on the beach and «behold» the already stunning summer sunsets. Or, to spend time in a swimsuit by a pool, head off to "Shtykovskiye Prudy (Ponds)" — a family recreation park seventy kilometers from Vladivostok where you can relax surrounded by both taiga nature and excellent infrastructure.
Do you want to get out of your comfort zone and add an item to your list of personal achievements? Climb one of Primorye’s mountain peaks. The honorary title "Primorskiy Panther" is bestowed on those conquering ten summits, but it’s enough for you to do just one to get acquainted with the unique nature of the region. Remember that on any trip to the forest between May and November you risk picking up ticks – so wear pants and long-sleeved shirts and be sure to use insect repellents.
July is vacation month! First of all, there is genuine summer weather, and the water warms up so you can completely surrender to seaside adventures. Secondly, Vladivostok’s main holidays happen this month: City Day, Fisherman's Day, and Navy Day. So put on a blue-and-white striped sailor shirt and get ready to dissolve into the warm embrace of the city.
Getting to know Vladivostok should always start by engaging with the Sea of Japan. To make it unforgettable, don’t just go TO the sea but ON the sea. And best to make it for the whole day: "park" the boat somewhere between islands and enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and other marine resort pleasures. Suggestions for renting boats and yachts can be found through search engines, as well as on city websites and bulletin boards.
Another scenario for a maritime rendezvous is an educational sea excursion, during which you will see Vladivostok through the eyes of its discoverers. A pleasure cabin-boat follows the route of the ships on which founders and first settlers arrived: through the East Bosporus Pass to Golden Horn Bay. And just as it was more than one hundred and fifty years ago – the quaint, marvelous coastal facade of the city on the hills is on glorious display. Nowadays, travelers can view nearby modern symbols of Vladivostok – the grandiose Russian and Golden Bridges.
Places that you cannot reach by foot or boat, you can glide to on a SUP. Thanks to paddle boards, inaccessible picture-book coves are revealed to adventurous outdoor people. This sport began in Hawaii and, within Russia, has become hugely popular in Vladivostok. "Take a stroll" on emerald clear waters and confirm that our Pacific views are in no way inferior to those on the other side of the ocean.
This is the time to try the taste of Vladivostok that’s hidden between two sections of a Primorsky scallop shell. It is such a sacred and strategic product for local residents that it even became the main character of a story – "Vladivostok-3000: a short film of the Pacific Republic" – created by rock star Ilya Lagutenko and writer Vasily Avchenko.
The gastronomic festival "Na Grebne!" ("On the Ridge!") – so named for the distinctive shell of this tasty and healthful mollusk – is held at the beginning of July. For a limited time, restaurants offer fresh scallop dishes at special prices. Eat plenty to stock up on healthy vitamins, and then take some Far Eastern seafood home as gifts for family and friends.
August is the most anticipated and beloved month. Stable good weather is firmly established and the sea has warmed up to a comfortably refreshing 22° C (72° F). Wake up early and wander till the middle of the night so as not to miss a minute of Pacific summer.
All roads lead to the beach. You can sunbathe and swim within the city limits or go to Russian Island to explore the wild but breathtakingly scenic bays. An obligatory item on agendas of "Mumiy Troll" fans is a trip to Shamora – perhaps the city’s most popular beach. In general, beach infrastructure in Vladivostok and surrounding areas is not as developed as it is on the Black Sea coast, but it’s only a matter of time. On the other hand, here you can visit unique sites like Glass Bay (Steklyannaya Bukhta) – which is all strewn with glass pebbles – pieces of broken glass and porcelain that over many years have been worn into smooth, rounded shapes by the sea currents. You can get to Glass Bay by taxi or on the "Yemar" bus (Бухта Емар) from the stop at Lugovaya Square.
In late July-early August, Vladivostok becomes the cultural capital of the Far East. Mariinsky Theater’s Primorskiy Stage hosts the International Mariinsky Festival, the mastermind conception of Valery Gergiyev. This high-art festival especially attracts residents of neighboring Asian countries, who come to admire Russian ballet and opera performed by famous artists. The festival is hugely popular, so be sure to buy tickets in advance.
One of the main attractions in summer is the yacht club "Seven Feet." This is a place for ambient strolls and beautiful photo shoots against a backdrop of water craft and sailboats. Come here at sunset to fully appreciate the enchantment of an urban resort. If you like to exercise even while traveling, start your jog here, moving toward Fyodorov Bay and on to the stadium with its unique location right on the beach. There are also spectator sports at "Seven Feet" in August: amateur and professional regattas are held regularly, as well as dragon boat trainings and competitions.
If you are lucky enough to come to Vladivostok for a week or two, it makes sense to visit the Far East Marine Reserve, the first marine reserve in Russia. Its eastern, southern and western sections are situated in the Khasansky district in the south of Primorye – a location of extraordinary beauty and strong energy. Nature’s creations evoke awe and admiration: sea stacks, grottoes, and rocky outcroppings with endangered species of pine trees growing picturesquely along the cliffs. The landscape complements the fantastic turquoise color of the sea.
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Vladivostok is not one of those places that hibernates when the cold weather sets in. The city transforms into a winter resort where you can go skiing – and afterward relax in style. Come ready for adventure – just don’t forget to bring your sunglasses.
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