Yakutsk Travel Guide

Discover Yakutsk, one of the coldest cities in the world with this ultimate travel guide featuring things to do, places to visit, and more.

Introduction to Yakutsk

Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha Republic, sits on the Lena River and is famous for its cold temperatures, which during winters, can drop as low as -50° C. Despite the harsh climate, Yakutsk is home to around 300,000 people and boasts a unique and fascinating culture. In this travel guide, we will explore the best things to do, places to visit, and local customs to experience in Yakutsk.

List of Places to Visit in Yakutsk

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Yakutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore

This museum offers a collection of over 200,000 items detailing the history, culture, and traditions of the Yakut people. Exhibits include archeological findings, works of art, and artifacts highlighting the region’s indigenous flora and fauna.

The Historical Center of Yakutsk

The heart of the city, the Yakutsk Historical Center, is a must-visit for its unique architecture and traditional wooden buildings. The center showcases the cultural heritage of the Yakut people and features intricately carved facades, brightly painted shutters, and ornamental roofs.

Natural Attractions of Yakutsk: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Permafrost Kingdom

Come and experience the Permafrost Kingdom, a man-made ice complex that features ice sculptures and archeological discoveries of mammoths from the region. The temperature remains below 10 °C throughout the year, providing a unique and refreshing experience in the hot summer months.

Lena Pillars Nature Park

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Lena Pillars is a natural wonder and a breathtaking example of Mother Nature at her finest. Formed of basalt pillars, towering up to 100 m high, this natural wonder is best experienced by boat.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Yakutsk

Famous for its pristine nature and vast forests, Yakutsk’s surrounding areas offer avid hikers and bikers some excellent outdoorsy activities. Some popular routes include:

  • Khamar-Daban Trail
  • Verkhoyansk Range
  • Buluus Glacier

Best Things to Do in Yakutsk: Activities and Tours

Northern lights watching

The stunning aurora borealis is on full display during the long winter nights in Yakutsk. The best time to witness this magical event is from October through to March. Guided tours are available to make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Dog sledding tours

Visit Yakutsk and make the most of its cold climate by setting out to explore the local area on a classic dog sled. The experience takes you through the sweeping expanses of frozen tundra and across the glittering Lena River, providing an unforgettable adventure.

Week-Long Itinerary for Yakutsk

Day 1-2: Yakutsk city tour including the Historical Center of Yakutsk and the Yakutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore

Day 3: Visit the Permafrost Kingdom and learn about mammoths and the history of Yakut people.

Day 4: Take a boat tour of Lena Pillars Nature Park

Day 5: Hiking or biking tour of the nearby Verkhoyansk Range

Day 6: Create your own hand-made matryoshka doll with a local artist.

Day 7: Northern light watching tour in the evening complete with a traditional yakut dinner by a campfire.

Food and Drink Scene of Yakutsk

Must-Try Dishes


Stroganina is a traditional Yakut dish made from thinly sliced raw frozen fish and served with a side of salt, pepper, and olive oil.


Sahtiyan is a Yakutian bread cooked in the Tandoor oven and packed with flavors of herbs and spices.

Local Beverages


This fermented drink is made from birch sap and is a favorite among locals.


A favorite Yakutian alcoholic drink made from cow’s milk and honey.

Where to Stay in Yakutsk: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Hotel Polar Star

This hotel offers clean, comfortable rooms and suites that are furnished in a traditional Yakutian style. The location is ideal for exploring the city as it sits in the city center.

Hostel Old Timers

If you are looking for budget accommodation, Hostel Old Timers is the place to be. It is located in the Historical Center of Yakutsk, making it the perfect place for exploring the city’s culture and traditions.

What to Buy in Yakutsk: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Yakutian Clothing

Yakutian clothing is made from reindeer leather and fur and is typically adorned with intricate embroidery and beadwork. The items available for purchase include boots, hats, and jackets.


Traditional jewelry made from mammoth tusks and bones can be found all over Yakutsk. These one-of-a-kind pieces would make the perfect gifts to bring home.

Local Culture and Customs of Yakutsk

The majority of Yakutian people practice shamanism and believe the world to be alive and inhabited by spirits. Visitors are always welcome at local ceremonies, which typically occur around important events such as the solstices. It is customary to bring small gifts and a bottle of Yakutian vodka.

Best Time to Visit Yakutsk

The best times to visit Yakutsk are from May to September, when the milder temperatures make it easier to explore the city and its surroundings. However, if you can withstand the cold, visiting from October through to March also offers an opportunity to witness the northern lights.

Do’s and Don’ts of Yakutsk


  • Participate in local traditions and ceremonies.
  • Dress appropriately for the cold weather.
  • Try the traditional cuisine and drinks.


  • Disrespect the local culture and beliefs.
  • Ignore the warnings of wild animal encounters.

Safety and Health

Safety in Yakutsk

Yakutsk is a relatively safe city for travelers. However, it is always important to remain vigilant and take precautions to avoid petty theft.

Health in Yakutsk

As Yakutsk is known for its cold and harsh winter conditions, visitors should come prepared with warm layers and appropriate footwear. Also, visitors should drink bottled water or boil tap water as the tap water in Yakutsk is known to be contaminated.

Getting to Yakutsk: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Yakutsk

The most convenient way to reach Yakutsk is via its airport, the Yakutsk Airport (YKS), which has direct flights from Moscow.

Bus Stations Near Yakutsk

Alternatively, visitors can take the bus from Irkutsk or Khabarovsk, nearby cities in Russia.

Other Options

Yakutsk is also accessible via the Lenok river, though it is not a popular method of transportation.

How to Get Around in Yakutsk

The best way to explore Yakutsk city is on foot. For destinations further out, you can take a taxi, rent a car, or try public transportation.

Where to Go Next from Yakutsk: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

The Valley of Geysers

This stunning natural area is located in Kamchatka and is home to a large number of geysers and hot springs.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal, located just a few hundred kilometers from Yakutsk, is the world’s deepest and most ancient lake and offers numerous activities, including trekking, skiing, and wildlife watching.


With its unique culture, stunning natural scenery, and rich history, Yakutsk is a city that you won’t forget. This ultimate travel guide provides a wealth of information to ensure that you make the most of your visit. Come and explore the world’s coldest city and experience everything Yakutsk has to offer.