How Far is Russia from Alaska

Alaska serves as a fascinating geographical enigma; although it’s a U.S. state, it shares closer proximities with other nations such as Canada and Russia.

In terms of linear distance, the narrowest gap between the Russian mainland and the Alaskan mainland is a mere 55 miles (88 km). Yet, if we delve into the minutest separations, the Russian island of Big Diomede and its Alaskan counterpart, Little Diomede, is positioned just 2.5 miles (4 km) apart. During winter months, this gap is navigable by foot.

In this exploration, we’ll address various questions orbiting this unique geographical juxtaposition, such as the visibility of Russia from Alaskan coasts and the body of water that demarcates Alaska and Russia. Moreover, we’ll examine whether Alaska’s geographical closeness to Russia surpasses its distance to the contiguous United States and explore the feasibility of direct travel routes between Alaska and Russia.”

In this article, we’ll also probe whether Alaska maintains a shorter geographical distance from Russia compared to its separation from the contiguous United States.


Russia is an expansive nation covering two continents and multiple time zones, marked by its stark contrasts from bustling metropolises to untouched natural landscapes. Despite the geographical vastness, Russia shares a historical and cultural intimacy with Alaska. This connection speaks volumes about human resilience and the potential for meaningful relationships across great distances, reinforcing our collective sense of humanity and belonging.

For those contemplating a sea voyage from Russia to Alaska, options such as ferries and cruise ships exist. The voyage between the Vladivostok port in Russia and Alaska’s Whittier port spans approximately 3,568 miles (around 5,740 kilometers), and it usually takes between 10 to 14 days depending on weather conditions and the chosen course.

The prevalent method for such a maritime journey involves a ferry service originating from Vladivostok, Russia, and culminating at Unalaska, Alaska. This route includes various intermittent stops at other ports. 

Embarking on this sea journey offers a unique adventure but comes with its own set of challenges. The Bering Sea is known for its tempestuous conditions, and the weather is often unpredictable. Additionally, ferry amenities may not offer luxurious comfort, making the voyage a potentially taxing experience.


Situated within close geographic proximity to Russia, Alaska stands as a captivating yet remote U.S. state. Although the distance between the two regions might seem minimal, traversing it is no simple feat due to formidable bodies of water and challenging climatic conditions.

Alaska is a vibrant mosaic of indigenous communities and has a storied history anchored in its natural wealth, from gold extraction to fisheries. These natural resources have been instrumental in sculpting both its economy and cultural fabric. Its nearness to Russia—a nation abundant in diverse cultural and historical nuances—offers tantalizing prospects for exploration and study, albeit with its own set of logistical hurdles.

For those contemplating an air journey between Russia and Alaska, key considerations include the considerable distance between major airports in each area. Specifically, the span between Moscow, Russia’s capital, and Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, measures roughly 4,770 miles or approximately 7,674 kilometers. The estimated flight duration from Moscow to Anchorage hovers around 10 hours, although this can vary based on airline and flight path.

Air travel remains the predominant mode for traversing the distance between Russia and Alaska. Though the flight time is substantial, it pales in comparison to the duration of a sea journey. Typically, air travel itineraries between these two regions necessitate a stopover, often in cities such as Seattle or San Francisco, prior to reaching the final destination in Anchorage.

How Far Is Russia From Alaska?

The measurement of the distance between mainland Russia and mainland Alaska, separated by the Bering Strait, is approximately 55 miles (88 kilometers). Additionally, there is a remarkable proximity between the Alaskan island of Big Diomede and the Russian Little Diomede Island, with a mere 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) separating them.

When determining the distance between Russia and Alaska, one can employ various methods for measurement.

Distance Between Settlements

Calculating the distance between the towns and settlements of Russia and Alaska is a logical approach, as these locations are typically connected by human travel, rendering it a practical measurement.

In Russia, the easternmost settlement is Uelen, home to 720 residents. On the Alaskan side, the town of Wales holds the title of being the easternmost mainland settlement, with a population of 145. The distance spanning Uelen and Wales measures approximately 62 miles (99 kilometers).

Mainland Russia To Mainland Alaska

The separation between mainland Russia and mainland Alaska can be quantified by assessing the distance from Chukotsky District, which marks Russia’s eastern extremity, to the town of Wales, the westernmost point of mainland Alaska. Spanning approximately 55 miles or 88 kilometers, these two locations are divided by the natural waterway known as the Bering Strait.

Closest Possible Distance

One method of gauging the proximity between Russia and Alaska involves focusing on the minimal distance separating them. In this context, attention is often directed toward the Diomede Islands situated within the Bering Strait. Comprised of Big Diomede, which is under Russian jurisdiction, and Little Diomede, belonging to Alaska, these islands are a mere 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) apart.

What amplifies the intrigue of this spatial closeness is the seasonal freezing of the waterway between the islands. During the colder months, the sea solidifies, theoretically enabling one to traverse the distance from Alaska to Russia on foot by moving from Little to Big Diomede Island.

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How Far is Russia From Alaska by Water?

For those contemplating a waterborne journey from Russia to Alaska, options generally include either a ferry or a cruise vessel. The separation between key harbors—such as Vladivostok in Russia and Whittier in Alaska—fluctuates based on the chosen course and means of transportation. Specifically, the distance by sea between these two ports is about 3,568 miles (5,740 kilometers), and a voyage generally spans 10 to 14 days, influenced by meteorological factors and route specifics.

The prevalent waterborne travel method from Russia to Alaska involves taking a ferry, often originating from Vladivostok and terminating at Unalaska in Alaska, albeit not directly. The journey includes multiple intermediary stops at various harbors.

Embarking on this kind of maritime expedition can be thrilling but comes with its own set of challenges. The Bering Sea is known for its turbulent waters, and weather patterns can be capricious. Additionally, the trip’s duration can be lengthy and might lack the comfort some travelers seek, given that ferry amenities don’t always align with luxury standards.

How Far is Russia from Alaska by Plane?

Should you be contemplating an aerial journey from Russia to Alaska, it’s imperative to account for the distances between significant airports in each locale. Specifically, the span between Moscow, Russia’s capital, and Anchorage, Alaska’s most populous city, is roughly 4,770 miles (7,674 kilometers). The estimated flight duration between Moscow and Anchorage is around 10 hours, although this can vary based on the carrier and the chosen route.

Air travel stands as the most prevalent means of traversing the distance between Russia and Alaska. While the journey is elongated, it’s considerably swifter than maritime alternatives. It’s worth noting that the majority of flights from Russia to Alaska necessitate a stopover, often in cities such as Seattle or San Francisco, before reaching the final destination in Anchorage.

How Far is Russia from Alaska by Boat?

Embarking on a maritime expedition from Alaska to Russia offers an audacious voyage replete with unparalleled vistas and unique encounters. A nautical traversal of the Bering Strait involves covering an approximate distance of 55 miles. It’s crucial to note that these aquatic pathways are subject to volatility and can present specialized challenges. To secure your well-being as you revel in the splendors of the open ocean, it’s advisable to meticulously orchestrate your seafaring adventure under expert supervision.

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Can You Travel From Alaska To Russia?

Traveling from Alaska to Russia is feasible, but not via the Bering Strait due to the absence of immigration facilities at that location. The process of journeying between these two regions may actually entail a longer route than anticipated, given the need for customs and immigration clearances from both the U.S. and Russian authorities.

While the minimal geographical distance separating Russia and Alaska is a mere 2.5 miles (4KM) across the Diomede Islands—and one could theoretically walk this distance in winter—this option is rendered impractical by the lack of immigration checkpoints to process passport validations and visa issuance.

Consequently, a more circuitous route is required for travel. A viable option might be a multi-leg flight, most likely commencing with a leg from Anchorage to Seattle. From Seattle, you would board a direct flight to Doha, Qatar, followed by a final flight segment to Moscow. The entire journey could span up to 36 hours.

How far is Russia from Alaska driving?

The distance between Russia and Alaska can vary depending on the specific locations you are traveling between. The two closest points between Russia and Alaska are:

Bering Strait: The narrowest point between Russia (specifically the Russian Chukotka Autonomous Okrug) and Alaska (specifically the Seward Peninsula) is the Bering Strait. It is approximately 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point. However, it’s important to note that there is no bridge or road connecting these two regions due to the challenging geography and harsh climate.

Nome, Alaska, to Provideniya, Russia: Nome, Alaska, and Provideniya, Russia, are two relatively close settlements on either side of the Bering Strait. The approximate driving distance between these two locations is about 190 miles (305 kilometers). However, to travel between them, you would typically need to take a flight or use other means of transportation since there is no direct road connection.

Please note that driving from Alaska to Russia is not a practical or feasible option due to the lack of road infrastructure and the Bering Strait’s geographical challenges. Travel between these regions typically involves air or sea transportation.

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How far is Russia from Alaska by boat?

The nautical distance between Russia and Alaska is contingent on the designated route and the points of departure and arrival. The Bering Strait, the water mass separating Russia’s Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, measures around 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) at its most constricted width.

A maritime crossing of the Bering Strait would necessitate navigating this specific distance. It’s important to be aware that such a venture can be perilous, owing to the cold ocean temperatures, presence of ice floes, and volatile meteorological conditions characteristic of this area. Specialized seafaring vessels are commonly employed for such transits, and meticulous planning and adherence to safety protocols are crucial.

Should a waterborne journey between Russia and Alaska be under consideration, consultation with seasoned maritime experts is strongly advised, given that this is not a standard or recommended travel method for this particular route. The majority of individuals moving between these two regions opt for air travel or other alternatives, as there are no established ferry lines or routine boating paths linking them.

Why can’t you fly from Alaska to Russia?

The absence of direct flight routes from Alaska to Russia, despite their geographical proximity, is an interesting case study in logistics, geopolitics, and market dynamics. Though the two regions share a maritime boundary, travelers must still resort to alternative itineraries or transportation options when venturing from one to the other.

Several forces coalesce to prevent the establishment of a direct air route. Geopolitical considerations are one of the prime factors, given the nuanced relationship between the United States and Russia. Coupled with this are logistical hurdles; setting up a new flight route involves not just aircraft and fuel, but complex negotiations regarding air rights, security, and border controls. Additionally, the market demand for such a specific route seems insufficient to warrant major airline involvement, at least with the data currently available.

Thus, the inability to fly directly from Alaska to Russia is a confluence of political intricacies, operational challenges, and limited consumer interest. Prospective travelers must, as a result, explore alternative pathways or modes of transport to bridge the geographical distance that is surprisingly not mirrored by transportation accessibility.

Can you walk from Alaska to Russia?

No, you cannot walk from Alaska to Russia. The Bering Strait, which separates Alaska (USA) and Russia (specifically, the Russian Chukotka Autonomous Okrug), is a body of water that is approximately 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point. It is not possible to walk across it.

The Bering Strait is known for its extremely cold water temperatures, strong currents, and the presence of sea ice, particularly during the winter months. Attempting to walk or swim across the Bering Strait would be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal due to these harsh conditions.

Travel between Alaska and Russia typically involves air or sea transportation, such as taking a flight or traveling on a specialized vessel or ferry. There is no land bridge or pedestrian route connecting the two regions.

Can You Drive To Russia From Alaska?

In a purely hypothetical scenario, the idea of driving from Russia to Alaska might sound intriguing. This hypothetical journey would involve traversing the icy expanse between the Big and Little Diomede islands during the winter months when the sea freezes over.

However, practicality and legality raise significant challenges. First, there’s the issue of ice thickness. For a vehicle to safely traverse ice, it typically requires a thickness of around 8-12 inches. Determining the exact thickness of the ice can be difficult, making it a risky proposition.

Perhaps the most critical hurdle is the absence of immigration checkpoints between the Big and Little Diomede islands. In any real-world international border crossing, you’d need to follow established procedures. This would involve leaving the US at an official checkpoint, then entering Russia through their immigration process and obtaining the necessary visa stamp on your passport.

Regrettably, the absence of immigration checkpoints on the icy route between these islands means that adhering to legal immigration requirements becomes virtually impossible. Attempting to proceed would, in essence, constitute an illegal entry into Russia, which is a serious offense.

So, while the idea of driving from Russia to Alaska might spark curiosity, the practical realities of ice thickness and the absence of immigration checkpoints make it an endeavor fraught with legal and safety concerns.

Can You Swim From Russia to Alaska? 

Some individuals have successfully completed the remarkable swim from Russia to Alaska, with one of the most prominent swimmers being Lynne Cox, who achieved this feat as the first person to do so. Her motivation behind this extraordinary endeavor was to alleviate Cold War tensions between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

During her swim, Cox was accompanied by local indigenous Inupiaq guides who used their traditional skin boats for support. Remarkably, just two hours and five minutes after starting her journey, Cox arrived at the Russian border, where two soldiers came to her aid and helped her out of the icy waters.

Another individual who embarked on a daring swim was the Frenchman Philippe Croizon. In 1994, he suffered a tragic accident that resulted in the amputation of his arms and legs. However, despite this adversity, Croizon decided to raise awareness for amputees and people with disabilities by undertaking the challenging swim across the English Channel in 2010.

In 2012, Croizon set out from Little Diomede in the Bering Strait and swam towards Big Diomede. While he was not permitted to enter Russian waters, he successfully completed the swim in an astonishingly short time, accomplishing the feat in just one hour and 15 minutes.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to get to Russia from Alaska?

The flight from Alaska to Russia covers a distance of just under 5 hours and typically departs from Anchorage, Alaska, before landing at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport in Eastern Russia. Although flights are generally accessible throughout the year, it’s essential to note that the options for airlines and routes are quite limited for this particular journey.

How far is Alaska from Russia by ship?

The sea voyage between the port of Vladivostok in Russia and the port of Whittier in Alaska spans approximately 3,568 miles (5,740 kilometers). The duration of this journey typically ranges from 10 to 14 days, with the exact time needed dependent on various factors, including weather conditions and the specific route taken by the ship.

What is the closest country to Alaska?

Alaska stands as one of only two U.S. states that do not share a land border with another state; the other is Hawaii. To the east, Alaska shares its border with Canada, specifically with the Canadian provinces of Yukon Territory and British Columbia. Additionally, Alaska also maintains a maritime boundary to the west, where it meets the waters of Russia.

How far is Alaska to Russia by plane?

The shortest aerial distance, or bird fly distance, between Russia and Alaska is approximately 4,746 kilometers or 2,949 miles. If you were to travel by airplane at an average speed of 560 miles per hour from Russia to Alaska, it would take approximately 5.27 hours to reach your destination.

Can you visit Russia from Alaska?

Indeed, when traveling between Alaska and Russia, it’s important to note that the journey typically involves departing from Alaska outside of a designated port of call, but you are required to arrive at an official port in Russia to complete the international voyage and undergo customs and immigration processing. This distinction is crucial for travelers planning such trips.


Indeed, traveling further into Russia from Alaska requires obtaining travel permission from the Chukotka Autonomous Region, which is located in the eastern part of Russia. This permission is essential for exploring the area beyond the initial entry point.

It’s crucial to highlight that attempting to cross the Bering Strait on foot, by kayak, or by swimming would lead to arrest and deportation from the country you arrive at. Both Russia and the United States closely patrol their borders in this region, including employing dogs for security.

However, during the winter season, there is a unique opportunity to cross the two islands on foot. An ice bridge forms, connecting the two islands, and this temporary passage allows travelers to cross from one side to the other during this specific time. It’s a fascinating aspect of the region’s geography, but travelers must still adhere to legal and safety requirements.