Best Places to Visit in Russia
The world’s largest country truly has it all – mountains, valleys, frozen lands and warm sandy beaches, and a surprising number of natural destinations to impress any visitor. Moscow and St. Some of the oldest cities in Russia, including St. Petersburg, retain their imperial splendor not only in architecture but also in magnificent parks, shopping centers and even metro stations.
Other cities and regions – including far-flung Siberian and Far Eastern destinations – offer the opportunity to explore the enchanting beauty of the tundra and the Northern Lights, volcanoes and more than you can imagine. From stunning gilded palaces to expansive natural spaces, check out our list of the Best Places to Visit in Russia and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Russia
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Russia:
The Altai Mountains in Siberia stretch from Russia to China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Traditionally inhabited by different ethnic groups engaged in horse breeding and forestry, it is also a very popular tourist destination for locals and tourists alike. The Altai Mountains, along with many nature reserves and lakes, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Altai has a lot of unspoiled beauty with frozen rivers and snow-capped mountains that attract cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts in winter, as well as hikers in summer (the area around Aktrul Glacier is particularly good for trekking), Canoeing, and climbing. Unusual activities such as diving, caving, plant and mushroom picking are available here.
Denisova Cave in Siberia is particularly important as it contains bone fragments, artifacts and even prehistoric horses, some of which date back 50,000 years.
The resort town of Belokuriha is a popular starting point for Altai adventures and many tourism agencies offer tours from here.
Sochi is a summer seaside resort on the Black Sea with tall pebbles and sands, magnificent examples of Stalinist architecture, a summer film festival called Kinotavr, and numerous spas and open spaces to suit every budget and pleasure market. Russia’s longest river, Mzymta, runs through Sochi before flowing into the Black Sea and is a very popular rafting destination.
Just 50 kilometers from Sochi, the 3,000 square kilometer Caucasian National Natural Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many unique species of flora and fauna, including the endangered Iranian leopard.
Nearby Rosa Khutor ski resort is another winter favorite and world-class alpine ski resort where the 2014 Winter Olympics were held.
3. Lake Baikal
When it comes to breaking records, Lake Baikal is hard to beat. This huge rift lake at a high altitude in Siberia is the oldest and deepest lake in the world – it reaches a maximum depth of 1642 meters and is an estimated 25 million years old. Lake Baikal is also the largest freshwater lake in the world – more than 20% of the world’s fresh water is contained in this lake.
Although Lake Baikal is considered one of the clearest lakes in the world, this is especially true during the winter months, when in some areas water can still be seen at a depth of 40 meters, even though the lake is frozen most of the time. up to five times a year.
For about a month around August, the lake temperature can reach around 16 degrees Celsius, perfect for a quick dip or a short swim. However, it usually stays below five degrees Celsius for the rest of the year.
In the summer, Lake Baikal is a popular destination for kayaking, boating, and island-hopping to explore the coastline and beaches. In winter, when the lake freezes, visitors can go cross-country skiing in various parts of the lake and visit the frozen Tazheran Steppes caves.
Since most international flights arrive in Moscow or at least stop in Moscow, it is worth planning your trip so that you have at least a few hours to explore the city. The Russian capital is a magnificent combination of greenery, stunning architecture and many historical sites from the past.
Visitors to Moscow usually begin their exploration in the centre, where the Kremlin, Red Square and colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral are located. With its glass and steel roof, the GUM shopping mall is also a popular destination even for tourists who can’t afford the luxury brands sold here and is a great place to sample authentic Russian cuisine.
Even if museums are not for you, the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow (having only Russian art); Pushkin Museum (with more international collections); and there are some great options to visit, including the Kremlin Armory Museum for some unique items. Like the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible and the gilded royal chariot.
The Bolshoi Theater is one of the largest ballet and opera theaters in the world and is also worth a visit if you can get tickets.
Some of the best places in Moscow require a bit of walking to explore properly, such as the pedestrian street Stary Arbat and the boardwalk along the Moscow River.
Moscow’s metro stations are works of art in their own right, adorned with porcelain reliefs, crystal chandeliers, and unique mosaic artworks that basically make them look like underground palaces. Mayakovskaya Metro Station, with its ceiling mosaics and pink rhodochrosite columns, and Kiyevskaya Station, full of white marble, frescoes and fine art, are two of the most striking places.
5. St. Petersburg
st. Although St. Petersburg is smaller than Moscow, it actually has a lot to offer, but it is often impossible to see it all in one day. Compared to Moscow, St. Petersburg is more European – fine art and fine design details mixed with history. You can explore on foot, see the architecture up close, or take a cruise to explore some of the 300km of canals that run through the Imperial City.
For an overdose of white and gold, you can find the Moika Palace (most famously where Rasputin was murdered) and the neoclassical 19th-century St. Visit Isaac’s Cathedral.
Maybe St. Petersburg’s most famous tourist attraction, the Hermitage Museum is also the second largest art and culture museum in the world, with a collection of over 3 million items covering everything from prehistoric art (including items from the nomadic tribes of the Altai). ) to Taste, Catherine the Great’s art collection.
st. About 25 kilometers from St. Petersburg, it’s worth taking a day trip to Peterhof Palace. Built in the early 1700s as the summer residence of Peter the Great, it looks a lot like Versailles in France.
6. Russian Tundra
Tundra is a unique biome found only within or near the Arctic Circle. The temperatures here are too low for trees to grow and only mosses, shrubs and certain types of grass survive the winter. In most places, tundra is synonymous with permafrost – meaning the ground is permanently frozen. In areas where the surface melts in the summer, marshes and streams can form on land, creating beautifully colored icy waters.
During the nesting season, the Russian tundra is home to polar bears, seals, gray wolves and large numbers of birds. In the last few decades, ecotourism has become increasingly interesting in the tundra zone, especially in the Great Arctic National Nature Reserve near Krasnoyarsk Krai, where tourists can use a number of eco-friendly routes to explore. Try an educational birdwatching tour. or a visit.
The city of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula not only offers incredible tundra views but is also a great place to visit the Northern Lights.
Peterhof may be home to a university and a major Russian watch manufacturer, but this relatively small city is famous for Peterhof. Originally designed and built in a style similar to Versailles for Tsar Peter the Great in the early 1700s, the palace grounds cover approximately 4,000 hectares.
There are 173 garden fountains around the palace, some of which, like the Great Cascade fountain, have a special function of activating a spray of water when people approach. The lower garden is designed in the French formal style, featuring marble statues, shaded walkways, and even an aviary.
The Grand Palace is an architectural masterpiece, rich in color (gold details everywhere), art imported from Asia and the Far East, walls covered in authentic Chinese silk and a huge ballroom covered with gilded carvings. The palace contains 10 separate museums that house 18th century art, furniture and palace objects.
8. Olkhon Island
Olkhon, one of the largest lake islands in the world, is covered with steep mountains, dense forests and taiga. Located in eastern Siberia, the island has a small resident population and is mostly made up of the local Buryat people, an indigenous Mongolian group who view the island as a powerful spiritual site.
On Olkhon Island, tourism has become a thriving industry, with tourists coming to explore places like the coastal dunes, the abandoned village of Peschanaya, and the former Soviet labor camp nearby.
The area is also known for its “walking trees,” an unusual phenomenon where strong winds blow tree roots off the beach and make it look like a standing person.
There are several semi-urban settlements on the island, the largest of which is Khuzir, which offers homestays for tourists who want to stay. The village is also home to the small but interesting Reviakin State Historical Museum, which documents life on the island back to the Neolithic period.
Vladivostok is located near the border between China and North Korea, across the sea from Japan, and is Russia’s largest port city. An important stop on the Trans-Siberian railway line, the city was almost forbidden to foreigners during Soviet times and now welcomes many foreign tourists who want to explore it.
The city has many parks and public spaces, including Sportivnaya Harbor with its beautiful beaches and promenade, and the Eagle’s Nest Viewpoint at the top of the hill.
The Russian Bridge in Vladivostok is a stunning architectural marvel and, at 1,885 meters, the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The bridge connects Vladivostok and Russky Island, where visitors can find Filipvsky Bay and its beautiful sandy beaches, as well as the military museum Voroshilov Fortress.
History buffs will have the opportunity to explore the WWII C-56 submarine or visit the Vladivostok Castle Museum, which was originally built to protect the city from a possible Japanese attack.
Strategically located next to the Black Sea, Anapa has been a very popular holiday destination for decades, known for its sandy beaches, hot springs and stunning views of the rocky promontory where Anapa’s lighthouse is located. Anapa is a more modest destination than Sochi, and in addition to its waterfront attractions, Anapa offers many other things to keep visitors entertained.
Sights worth exploring include the Anapa Archaeological Museum and the only remaining gate to the Ottoman fortress that once occupied the area. There is also the archaeological site of Gurgypia, which dates back to the 6th century BC and was once a busy sea trading port.
The Sukko Valley and the Bolshoi Utrish wildlife sanctuary are just minutes from the city and offer many options for exploring nature, swimming in clear waters and hiking.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Russia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Russia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.