The Top 5 Destinations You Should Visit While in Russia

The country of Russia is filled with incredible artistic and cultural energy.  While the country is still developing as a travel destination, there are still, many places to visit, enjoy and get lost in.  For travelers, the best places to visit are in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and traveling along the waterways and rivers.

While visiting any country, there are always the ‘must-see’ destinations.  Let’s adventure into the top 5 of Russia!

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea; is one of Russia’s most tourist friendly cities.  There is much to do and see here.

  • Russian Museumcollection of prerevolutionary Russian art
  • White Nights Festival 2-day festival with evenings filled with food, ballet, opera, and classical music performances
  • St. Isaac’s Cathedralmore of a museum; climb to the rooftop and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city
  • The Hermitageyou’ll find the Winter Palacethe former state residence of the Russian emperors, and over three million works of art and artifacts of global culture
  • Peter and Paul Fortresssituated on an island, founded by Peter the Great; there you’ll find the church in which Peter is buried, the jail (jail which housed some of Peter’s opponents including his rebellious son, Alexei), and a number of museum-style exhibits.
  • Boat Tripstrips on the St. Petersburg canal (June into September)
  • The Marinskii Ballet or the Malii Opera
  • Nevsky Prospektarchitectural emphasis include the brilliant arch of the General Staff Building,  the Kazan Cathedral (Museum of Atheism), and the sights along and through the canals

Moscow

Moscow situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia; first time visitors may be a bit overwhelmed by the vastness of the city, though it’s worth a day trip to search out those magnificent Moscow gems.

  • Red Square – once you’re in Moscow, it’s essential to begin your tour in Red Square.  The centre encompasses the ‘must-see’ landmarks and attractions such as:  Lenin’s Mausoleum. Most love to visit the square at night where St. Basil’s Cathedral illuminates the centre; and GUM – the largest department store in Russia
  • The Kremlinis a walled area inhabited by Russia’s top government offices, in addition to numerous, stunning Orthodox churches
  • The Arbat a great place for tourists to visit; lots of touristy shops and if you’re visiting in the summer, outdoor cafes
  • Novii Arbat a famous contemporary shopping district
  • Gorky Park ride the enormous Ferris Wheel located in the center of the park
  • Sergiev Posad one of the most beautiful churches in Russia
  • Izmailovskii Park weekend flea marketgreat for Russian souvenirs; look out for delicious fresh fruit sold by babushki on the sides of roads and main streets.
  • All-Russian Exhibition Center (V.D.N.Kh.)a fascinating centre dedicated to the world of electronics – it’s certainly worth a look!
  • Ulitsa TverskayaLots of upscale restaurants; the concert hall, and city hall

 Lake Baikal

It’s 20% of the world’s fresh water; Lake Baikal located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia; is pure, and is a paradise of wellbeing and recreation.

  • Camp on the extraordinary cliffs and quiet sandy bays of Olkhon
  • Visit Nikita’s Homestead in vivacious Khuzhir, to look upon in awe, of Shaman Rock, the island’s holiest site for Buryat
  • Enjoy a meal or picnic in quaint Listvyanka; sample smoked omul (Baikal whitefish) and shashlyk (grilled meat skewers) at the waterside market or along the pebbled beach
  • Take a swim in Lake Baikal which is said to contain holistic properties; best area for a swim is the stretch along the northern shore of Olkhon Island
  • Camp in the wild in remote Barguzin Valley
  • Hit the Hotsprings in the spa town of picturesque Arshan.
  • Other fun things to do on Lake Baikal:  kayaking, hike the Baikal Trails along the coast, horseback riding, dog-sled rides, and visit Pribaikalskiy and Zabaikalskiy national parks

Sochi

Sochi, located in Krasnodar Krai, just north of the southern Russian border, is home to the 2014 XXII Olympic Winter Games.   Sochi, which is known as a resort town, is a center for leisure interests such as: night clubs, restaurants, concert halls and theatres.

In addition, a variety of events such as music and film festivals, are held there, most occurring in the summer months which are typically June through August.

Karelia

Karelia, a region, located in Northwestern Russia, which borders Finland, is an adventurer’s oasis.  Known as “the country of lakes,” a quarter of the region’s façade is covered by water.  For water sports enthusiasts, this is the place to be.

  • River Rafting on the wild, rocky rivers
  • A Ski Trip through the virgin white powdered ski terrain
  • Dog-Sledding; whisk through the forests and trails powered by a team of 20 Husky dogs
  • Ice Fishing one of many lakes – a snow adventure in itself
  • Visit Karelskaya Gornitsa; a rustic-village setting, whimsical costumed waiters and excellent Karelian cuisine including an excellently prepared lokhikeytto (Karelian salmon soup)
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