Russia is an enormous country, brimming with culture and attractions. The country spreads over two different continents, Europe and Asia, and is home to various ethnic groups. From the large cities of Moscow and St Petersburg to the deserts of Siberia and the glistening Lake Baikal, Russia has numerous places of interest for tourists. It offers a rich mixture of historic sites and buildings, nature, outdoor activities, modern cities, varied gastronomy, and quaint rural villages. You will find places with a vibrant night scene and those that are tucked up in bed sleeping not long after night fall.
The capital city of Russia, Moscow boasts some top class and iconic attractions. You can enter the once off-limits Kremlin, marvel at the fairytale-like and whimsical St Basil’s Cathedral, stand in the middle of the enormous Red Square, see Lenin’s tomb, visit museums, ride the metro and soak up the amazing and spectacular beauty of the underground stations, and more. Partake in a glass of vodka or two as night falls, check out some of the hip and trendy bars and clubs, and maybe experience the novelty of a Russian steam bath at a place like the amazing Sanduny bathhouses.
2. St Petersburg
Sitting on the Gulf of Finland, St Petersburg is a real treasure in Russia’s crown. Overflowing with cultural attractions, a top spot in the city is the famous Hermitage. Spread over six different grand buildings, it encompasses the Winter Palace of the former Russian Tsars. Today, the Hermitage is home to one of the most impressive collections of art in the world. It boasts over 3 million items from all over the world. See the fateful Church of the Spilled Blood, where Tsar Alexander II was murdered, visit the lovely Summer Gardens, marvel at the sheer size of St Isaac’s Cathedral, and be in awe of the imposing St Peter and Paul Fortress.
Novgorod is the oldest city in Russia. It is home to the magnificent and historic St Sophia Cathedral. You can also visit the former mighty Kremlin, pretty churches, and provincial areas.
The small town of Suzdal really packs a punch when it comes to interesting attractions. It is an ancient town, and one that is very pretty and charming. It has numerous old buildings to admire, including the cathedral, medieval churches, and the Kremlin.
5. Lake Baikal
Situated in Siberia and surrounded by towering mountains, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the whole world. It is also one of the oldest.
6. Valley of Geysers
The large Valley of Geysers is the second biggest geyser field on earth. On the eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, visitors will be rewarded with dramatic sights of bubbling, spurting, gushing, and shooting geysers, all set in a striking landscape.
A large region, Karelia is a real natural gem. It does not see as many visitors, so it can be refreshingly peaceful and quiet. The stark beauty of nature is highlighted by two enormous lakes, lush forests, clean rivers, and undulating hills. It is a great place for outdoor leisure enthusiasts, with hiking, biking, horse riding, sailing, kayaking, rafting, and swimming amongst the activities in store.
Yekaterinburg is a rich town of contrasts. As well as having numerous Soviet era monuments and buildings, it also has a number of traditional Orthodox churches. There are also several great museums to capture all interests.
9. Mount Elbrus
Standing proudly in the Caucasus Mountains, Mount Elbrus reaches high into the sky. A cable car takes visitors part way up the dormant volcano, and they can climb the rest of the way to reach the top. From the summit, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
Of course, no list is complete with mentioning the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympics! Sochi, hugging the Black Sea coast also straddles the Caucasus Mountains, and, depending on which side it falls, Sochi could count as being a part of either Europe or Asia! If the Winter Olympics weren't enough reason to get there, it is also the biggest resort city in Russia, stealing much more heat than the rest of the usually frigid country!
Other top things to do in Russia include taking a journey on the Trans Siberian Railway, and cruising on one of the country’s mighty rivers. Enjoying a journey around Russia is made a lot easier when you can speak a bit of the local language, especially when you consider that a great many signs are in the Russian script! Test your Russian level before you pack those bags, or contact us for courses in your area today!