Kuybyshev Reservoir: The Largest Reservoir in Europe

Kuybyshevskoye or Kuybyshev Reservoir, located in the middle of the Volga and lower Kama region of Russia, is the largest reservoir in Europe, and the third largest in the World by surface area. Kuybyshevskoye Reservoir is a balanced mixture of interesting history, natural beauty and plenty of tourist attractions.

Kuybyshev Reservoir Stats

Lake NameKuybyshev Reservoir
Surface area6450.000
Maximum depth41.0
Average depth8.0
Lake typeReservoir
Catchment area1181600.00
InflowsVolga, Kama, Sviyaga, Kazanka, Bolshoy Cheremshan
Shore length2604.00
Mixing typePolymictic
SettlementsKazan, Ulyanovsk, Tolyatti, Zelenodolsk, Volzhsk, Bolghar, Tetushi, Novoulyanovsk, Chistopol, Laishevo
FrozenNovember to April
Dam height45
Dam year1955

Kuybyshev Reservoir Accommodation

Short History and Geography

The reservoir was established by the dam of the Zhiguli Hydroelectric Station, filled between 1955 and 1957. The electric station lies in the Samara Oblast, between the towns of Zhigulevsk and Tolyatti. During the filling of the reservoir a number of small villages and towns were submerged by the waters. They were reconstructed on higher ground, mainly on the shores of Kuybyshevskoye. As an example, the old fortress town of Stavropol-on-Volga was replaced by the town Tolyatti.

The artificial lake is oftentimes referred to as Samara Reservoir and even Kuybyshev Sea.

There are two important reserves in the vicinity of Kuybyshevskoye: Samara River Bend National Park and Zhigulevsky Nature Reserve. The former has various hiking trails, camping and picnic areas and is also known as a popular site for rafting, whilst the latter is an important bird area.

Communities around the Lake

The coastline is home to a number of human settlements, of which we can mention Ulyanovsk, Tolyatti, Samara and Kazan.

Ulyanovsk is the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin, the renowned Russian communist revolutionary, and is also a popular tourist destination thanks to its breathtaking landscapes. Tolyatti, situated north of the Hydroelectric Plant is mainly an industrial town, known especially for its Volga Automobile factory. The city of Samara is famous mainly for its buzzing nightlife, famous historical monuments, museums, theaters, zoos and parks. Kazan is one of the country’s largest cities and the capital of the province of Tatarstan. It is one of the largest commercial, cultural and industrial centers in Russia.


Besides the many outdoor activities that can be pursued in the surrounding national reserves, Kuybyshevskoye is also a popular spot for fishing and boating. Sport fishermen will most likely encounter sturgeon, northern cisco and several species of carp during fishing. Many tourists rent tour boats to sail around the reservoir and explore its small islands.

Although the lake’s coastline is generally steep, the reservoir has a few lovely beaches to relax on, of which the best can be located near the city of Samara.

Kuybyshev Reservoir Map