The "broad island" is how its name is translated from the language of the Ainu people, native to the island. Paramushir is 120 km long and 30 km wide.
It is the Kuril island with the most mountains. Its coastline on the side of the Sea of Okhotsk is narrow and quickly turns into high and ragged cliffs. The coast facing the Pacific is less steep, and has many capes, bays, and rocky ledges.
The biggest landmark of Paramushir is of course, its volcanoes: there are 23 in total, with 5¬ active ones.
The climate is mild – the average annual temperature is about +3 °C and in July–August average day temperature reaches +10…+11 °С.
One would hardly call Paramushir a well-equipped island. Rather, it is a huge pristine nature reserve. Most tourists reach its sights by water: there are few walking routes, and the brown bear certainly pose a danger.
Most of the island territory is impassable, since it is covered with thickets and woods. In addition to the natural obstacles, there are artificial obstacles ones as well: the Japanese left many trenches and ditches, with a total length of 500 km. They are hard to notice in the thicket.
However, tourists who are bold enough to travel here can expect a great adventure.
It will start in Severo-Kurilsk or Sevkur as the locals call it. Most of its main sightseeing are concentrated on the Sakhalinskaya Street. Here you will find the Administration, the Memory Wall, and the monument to the Cossacks-Discoverers of the islands Shumshu and Paramushir. Across the road is the obelisk "To Fighters Who Liberated the Kuril Islands." A bit further on are a helicopter platform and a marine terminal.
The economy of the island is based on fishing and processing of fish and seafood.
The main sight in Paramushir is the Ebeko volcano (1156 m).
This one of the most active volcanoes on the Kurils is situated just 7 km away from Severo-Kurilsk. It regularly produces clouds of ash and steam into the sky.
Interestingly, it has several craters. On the top of the central cone there are three adjacent craters, with a diameter of about 250-300 m and 70 to 100 m deep. Their bottoms are covered with hot lakes and thermal springs. There are many fumaroles on the volcano slopes. A fumarole is a hole that loudly produces gases from the depth of the earth. The largest fumarole field here is called Roaring Fumaroles or White Spring.
To the west of Ebeko are the Verkhneyurievsky hot springs. The water is saturated with aluminium and iron and the temperature varies from +20°C to +93 °C.
In the middle of the island is the highest peak of Paramushir – the active volcano Chikurachki (1816 m). It has the shape of a regular cone, with its top part coloured red. The diameter of its crater is about 450 m.
To the south is the Fussa peninsula, formed entirely by the volcano of the same name (1772 m). The volcano has the shape of a regular cone, sliced off on the top, with a large crater that reaches 700 m wide and 300 m deep.
In summer, the Krasheninnikova Bay, situated nearby and surrounded by volcanoes, welcomes whales and orcas – up to several dozens of animals at once. The Japanese name of the bay Kudirahama means "whale bay" and the name is very apt.
The Pacific coast of Paramushir is remarkable for the amount of waterfalls. For example, there are two waterfalls, about 20 m high each, situated a few dozen metres from each other in the Puyshariya bay. The waterfall on river Puyshariya reaches 50 m. There are more large waterfalls on rivers Kamenistaya and Okeanskaya.
The biggest river on the island is called Tukharka. Its total length is 20 km and the width near the ocean coast exceeds 40 m. During the spawning season the Tukharka is filled with various types of salmon: red, white, and humpback salmon.
The southernmost point of the island is ¬cape Gilyak. There is also a lighthouse of the same name. It safegaurds navigation in the Fourth Kuril Strait – the safest marine passage between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean.
How to Get to Paramushir
Although administratively Paramushir is a part of the Sakhalin Region, it has regular passenger service with the Kamchatka Territory. You can reach the island by water or by helicopter.
The ferry will take you quite a while (about 20 hours) but it is a lot cheaper. You can buy ferry tickets from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Severo-Kurilsk on the website https://rfbus.ru/, 60 days before the trip.
To learn more about helicopter flights to Severo-Kurilsk, visit the website of the air carrier Vityaz-Aero http://vityaz-aero.ru/.
Finally, some tour operators offer tours across the Northern Kurils. They all start in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Most of the programmes include visits to Paramushirs and neighbouring islands: Shumshu, Atlasov, Onekotan, Matua, and other. Tour operators will also help you apply for a border permit.