Lenin Street, the main road in Magadan

Magadan (Russian: Магада́н, mah-gah-DAHN) is the capital of Russia's Magadan Oblast, with a population of 100,000.


Magadan is one of the few ports in this remote part of Russia, kept open over winter by resident icebreakers. The town is quite isolated - there is no railway, and the only road out of town is impassable in summer to all but the most hardy of off-road vehicles.

Historically, Magadan served in large part as a gateway to the notorious Kolyma Gulags. Some souvenir shops at the airport and in town sell T-shirts and postcards of a convict against a background of a prison camp holding a sign "Welcome to Kolyma" - locals say this is a reference to a disrespectful Russian movie, and prefer that tourists do not buy them.

Get in

By plane

Magadan has an airport with regular flights to Moscow. The airport is actually located at the town of Sokol, some 50km along the Road of Bones, and as at July 2011 it was refreshingly free of rip-offs. Unusually for an airport, it has a fishmonger's counter offering fish and shellfish. Bus 111 connects with town centre every 45 minutes during daytime (55 RUB, 70 min).

Interavia Airlines: Magadan to Moscow Domodedovo Wednesdays and Fridays.

Yakutia Air Company: Magadan to Moscow Vnukovo Intl via Novosibirsk on Wednesdays. Magadan to Yakutsk on Wednesday (and via Khabarovsk most other days). Magadan to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on Tuesday (fortnightly in off-season) - expensive flight on Antonov 24, but much cheaper/quicker than going via Vladivostok or Khabarovsk.

Vladivostok Air: Magadan to Vladivostok direct and via Khabarovsk Novyy on Tues/Wed/Saturday - varies seasonally

Transaero: Magadan to Moscow Domodedovo - daily flights in peak season, four times per week in off peak.

By car

Main article: Kolyma Highway

There is a road connecting Magadan with Yakutsk and rest of Russia, the M56 Kolyma highway. It's discouraging nickname Road of Bones gives a clue to it's construction by slave labour in the 1930s. This route passes through extremely remote areas and although improvements have been done in recent years it is still not recommended to traverse the road without serious consulting and preparation.

By bus

All regional buses departs and arrives at the central bus station located at the corner of pr. Lenina and ul. Proletarskaya. Most villages and towns has daily connections. There's no public transport that traverses the whole journey from Yakutsk on the Kolyma Highway but there's a service from the gold mining town Susuman which lies about 1/3 on the route.

By boat

Magadan port

There are no passenger ferries to Magadan but SASCO runs regular cargo shippings from Vladivostok that can accommodate passengers. Knowledge of Russian is essential for inquiries.


Mask of Sorrow, dedicated to victims of the Gulag prisoner camps.



There is a relatively plentiful supply of Mammoth Tusks unearthed in the area, and these are made into interesting carvings which can be bought in souvenir shops - but cheaper at the workshop, if you can find it. Price of raw Mammoth Tusk was approx USD600/kg as at July 2011.



Okean Hotel - has an interesting pole-dancing bar, admission 200-250 Rubles, beers 150 Rubles, definitely worth a visit if this is your thing, or even if this is your first experience. Ladies welcome, very non-threatening.


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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.