Iturup stretches for 200 km and is from 7 to 27 km wide. In the language of the indigenous people—the Ainu—the name of the island means "jellyfish."
There are about 20 volcanoes on Iturup, 9 of which are active. The highest volcano is Stokap (1,634 m, the highest peak of the island).
Atsonupuri (1,205 m) is considered the most beautiful volcano, for its almost perfect cone shape.
The journey to Iturup begins with the town of Kurilsk, which is situated in the central part of the island, on the shore of the Kuril Gulf of the Sea of Okhotsk.
The town's places of interest include the Kurilsk Museum of Local Lore (Primorsky highway, 5). It has a collection of over 6 thousand items. Guests of the island will be able to see archaeological finds and learn the history of the development of the Kuril Islands. The museum also features sections on flora, fauna and geology. For detailed information on the work of the museum, please see the website http://iturup-muzey.ru/, or call +7 (42454) 42-88-4, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Rocks are one of Iturup’s symbols .
Due to severe erosion, unique rock formations of grey-white pumice formed bizarre canyons and crevices. The height of the rocks is from 17 to 114 m. Their white colour is in sharp contrast with the bright greenery and the dark grey sandy beach.
The Yankito Plateau is another noteworthy place in Iturup. It is a frozen volcanic lava. Here, tourists can not only admire the black west coast, but also learn about the early man sites of the Early Neolithic era (6900-7100 BC) that were found here.
Iturup boasts one of the largest waterfalls in Russia—Ilya Muromets (141 m). Another waterfall, Takaisarabetsu, about 80 m high, is located not far from it.
Another popular tourist route on the island leads to the Baransky Volcano (1,134 m). On the way to the top, travelers will see many hot springs, mud pools and fumaroles. One of the attractions is a hot waterfall on the Kipyashchaya river. Water with a temperature of about 43°C falls from a height of 8 m, raising clouds of steam and spray of acidic aquamarine water.
Yet another landmark is the Lvinaya Past Bay. The bizarre shape of the bay resembles a crab's claw: the rounded bay seems to be ringed by two semicircular capes, Chelust and Klyk. The entrance to the bay is protected by a single rock, Kamen – Lev, 162.4 m high. From a distance, the rock resembles a sleeping lion.
In the south of the island is Kasatka Bay. On its coast, there is Zerkalny beach and Chyortova rock with the remains of Japanese fortifications. Here, near the Rybaki village, you can find hot springs and the Vannochki equipped recreation area, where you can bathe in the thermal water pools.
Iturup has different types of thermal springs: radon, sulfur, acidic. We advise that you consult a healthcare professional before bathing.
Another beautiful place on the island is Zolotaya Bay. During sunset, the coast seems to sparkle with gold due to the special colour of the local clay. There are also many rocks and kekurs (conical rocks) of unusual shapes. The easiest way to get to the bay by sea is from the Port of Kitovy, moving southwest (the distance is about 40 km).
How to get to Iturup
Flights from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Iturup Island are operated by Aurora Airlines. Check the schedule and fares on the airline’s website https://www.flyaurora.ru/.
Another option is to go to Iturup by motor ship from Sakhalin's Port of Korsakov. You can buy tickets for the Igor Farkhutdinov motor ship at https://rfbus.ru/. They are on sale about two months before the start of the trip. Alternatively, you can buy a ticket for the ship in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk at the box office (21 Kommunisticheskiy Avenue; +7 (4242) 22-79-58) or through a tour operator.
The easiest way to explore Iturup is to buy a guided tour from local tour operators. They will take care of logistics, accommodation, and the issuance of permits (for visiting the Kuril Islands, you will need to have a border pass issued by the Federal Security Service of Russia).
It is important to understand that it is quite difficult to explore the Kuril islands on your own, without a guide, because of the lack of roads and related infrastructure. Brown bears also pose a danger to unprepared travellers, especially on Iturup, where they are often found in the north of the island.