by Wojciech Fedoruk - 10 months, 4 weeks ago
Virgin Komi Forests is the most remote and the least visited World Heritage Site on European continent and going there is definitely an adventure.
After coming to Salekhard (which is not connected with 'mainland' Russia by road or train) I had to take a ferry on Ob river to Labytnangi, small town which has its own train station and connection with Moscow. Then I took two trains to small station Kozhym. The tickets may be easily booked online. The station is literally in the middle of nowhere but has one advantage - lays on the border of the Yugyd-Va National Park (the biggest national park in Europe).
Theoretically going to the park requires, as still too many things in Russia, a special but free of charge permit issued by the park authorities. I did not expect to meet anyone during my short visit so I skipped applying for a permit.
From Kozhym you have to walk around 3km on the rail track, cross the river Kozhym and carefully look for a small passage to the track on the left (it is near small shed named 1952km, meaning that this is in this distance to Moscow). The views are not particularly stunning, it is small forest, some water and literally THOUSANDS of mosquitoes. Forget the repellent, see what locals do and wear anti-mosquito net on your head. You pass by the billboard with the park name and UNESCO plaque, which is used by the visitors as a butt for armed visitors.
If you want to visit the park and see its bests, I suggest arranging one of many activities offered by its authorities. Most of them start in Inta, being the park HQ.