Amber Lake, former Walter Mine

Evgeniy Morozov/

As you leave Yantarny in the direction of Sinyavino, you may want to explore another interesting place: Amber Lake and the former German amber mine named Walter, which today is a destination beloved of alternative backpackers. Walter was the first industrial amber mining site developed by the firm of Stantien and Becker.

The mine remained active after the Second World War, but in 1972–1975, when the development of a new mine was initiated, they stopped pumping water out of Walter. The mine eventually filled up with pristine spring water. The artificial lake is as deep as 30 metres in some parts, and is nearly 2.5 square kilometres in size.  

There is a diving centre at Amber Lake. Beginners can go for a test dive three to six metres deep with an instructor. Divers get to see some amazing sights underwater: remnants of industrial machinery, a rail track disappearing deeper down, and a veritable underwater forest, like a submerged world from the past.