Russia is a vast country, filled with a rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural beauty. From the grandeur of Moscow to the beauty of St. Petersburg, Russia has many tourist attractions that are worth exploring. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top tourist attractions in Russia:
Karelia (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
Situated in the north-west of Russia and sharing a border with Finland, the Republic of Karelia boasts a unique culture shaped by the native Karelians, Finns, and Vepsians, who have coexisted with Russians for centuries. The republic is a year-round favorite among tourists for its traditional wooden architecture and nature. In summer, visitors flock to enjoy camping, hiking, whitewater rafting, hunting, and fishing, while in winter, they come for dog-sledding and snowmobile trips.
With more than 80% of its territory covered in forests and over 60,000 lakes, which occupy around a quarter of the republic, it is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Just outside the capital city of Petrozavodsk, named after its founder Peter the Great, lies the Kizhi Island, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Kizhi Pogost, which features the awe-inspiring Transfiguration of the Lord Church. The capital is easily accessible from Moscow via an overnight train.
Solovetsky Islands (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
The Solovetsky Islands, located in Russia’s Arkhangelsk Region, are a hidden gem that should not be missed despite their challenging accessibility. The islands, known as Solovki, played a significant role in Russian history and boast the impressive Spaso-Preobrazhensky Solovetsky Monastery, protected by UNESCO.
Although it served as a Gulag camp during the Soviet period, restoration work continues to maintain the monastery’s heritage. The islands’ natural beauty is equally stunning, creating a magical experience for visitors. Travel options include a short flight from Arkhangelsk or a ferry from Kem, which can be reached by train from Petrozavodsk, although rough crossings due to the White Sea’s unpredictable weather should be taken into account.
With its sub-tropical climate, Sochi is an exceptional city in Russia. The palm tree-lined embankments and beaches on the Black Sea offer a contrast to the typical snowy Russia stereotype. While it has been a popular destination for Russians for decades, the XXII Winter Olympics in 2014 placed it on the international stage.
The games were held in two venues – on the Black Sea coast and up in the mountains of nearby Krasnaya Polyana – highlighting the city’s ability to enjoy the snow and sunshine in a single day. Sochi has excellent transport links with many Russian cities, with flights to the city’s new international airports and train links. From Moscow, a flight takes just over two hours, while a train takes over a day.
Kazan (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan boasts Kazan as its capital, also referred to as Russia’s Third Capital after Moscow and St. Petersburg. Kazan’s culture is a unique blend of European and Asian influences. The city’s main attraction is its white-stone Kremlin, which sits atop a hill and boasts the impressive Qol-Şärif Mosque.
The Staraya Tatarskaya Sloboda (Old Tatar Quarter) houses older mosques as well. Tatarstan’s government has invested heavily in promoting tourism in the region. Visitors can easily explore the nearby cities of Bulgar, Chistopol, Sviyazhsk, and Yelabuga from Kazan.
One of the most iconic sights in Russia can be found in the heart of Moscow: Red Square. This magnificent plaza is named for its striking beauty, as “red” was an older Russian term for something beautiful. Red Square is surrounded by stunning museums, churches, and administrative buildings, making it a popular destination for millions of visitors from around the world who come to experience its rich cultural and historical heritage.
Don’t miss the chance to see some of Red Square’s most iconic landmarks, including the Kremlin Wall, Kazan Cathedral, Statue of Minin, St. St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Lenin Mausoleum, the Iberian Gate, Pozharsky Monument, State Historical Museum, and City Hall.. Including this must-see tourist destination on your itinerary is a sure way to make your trip to Moscow unforgettable and truly enjoyable.
Petersburg (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
One of Russia’s top-rated and most remarkable tourist destinations is a must-have on your travel itinerary: St. Petersburg. This city boasts breathtaking architectural wonders, much like Red Square. From expansive gardens and stunning cathedrals to impressive monuments, museums, and mansions, St. Petersburg has it all. The city is also known for its impressive selection of hotels, restaurants, taverns, and exotic dance bars. Be sure to include this must-visit tourist destination on your list to ensure an unforgettable and truly enjoyable trip.
The Hermitage Museum
Located in St. Petersburg, the Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. It is home to an incredible collection of art and artifacts, including works by Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and da Vinci.
Suzdal is a beautifully preserved medieval Russian city that has been carefully maintained by the government. Visitors to this city can witness the best examples of Russian architecture, from onion-shaped multicoloured domes to finely crafted cathedrals and monasteries. Most of the city’s residents live in modest wooden dwellings, and contemporary structures are nowhere to be found.
Suzdal offers a glimpse into what Russia was like in earlier times, making it a must-visit destination due to its fascinating history, breathtaking scenery, and peaceful environment. Be sure to add Suzdal to your travel itinerary for a truly enjoyable and unforgettable trip.
Known as the “Pearl of Siberia,” Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is surrounded by stunning scenery, including snow-capped mountains and deep forests.
Volga River (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
Upon arriving in Russia, you’ll notice the presence of both vast and small bodies of water. Russia takes great pride in the Volga River, which stretches an impressive 3700 km and is the longest river in the world. Settlements have sprung up along its banks as a result of the river’s expansive reach.
The Volga River has played a significant role in the development of ancient Russian trade with the rest of the world. To truly appreciate the length and splendor of this magnificent river, consider taking a boat ride along its banks. Don’t miss the chance to include this must-visit destination on your itinerary for a memorable and enjoyable trip.
Altai (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
The Altai Mountains of Siberia span across China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia. Historically, this region has been home to several ethnic groups engaged in forestry and horse breeding. Today, it is a highly popular tourist destination for both locals and visitors alike. The Altai Mountains are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several nature reserves and lakes.
The preserved natural beauty of Altay attracts cross-country visitors and outdoor enthusiasts in the winter, while hikers, kayakers, and climbers flock to the area in the summer. Additionally, visitors can engage in unconventional activities such as diving, cave exploration, and mushroom and herb gathering. Don’t miss out on the chance to add this must-visit destination to your itinerary for a truly enjoyable and memorable trip.
The Golden Ring
The Golden Ring is a series of ancient towns and cities located northeast of Moscow. These historic towns are home to some of the oldest and most beautiful churches and monasteries in Russia.
The Russian Tundra (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
The harsh winter climate of the Russian tundra only allows for the survival of moss, bushes, and certain types of grass, as trees cannot mature in such low temperatures. The term “tundra” commonly refers to regions characterized by Arctic ice or permanently frozen ground.
During the summer, when the top layer of earth thaws, wetlands and rivers form, creating stunning icebergs in various colors. The Russian tundra is home to polar bears, penguins, grey wolves, and a plethora of birds during the breeding season. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this unique and fascinating ecosystem.
The Bolshoi Theatre
Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre is one of the most famous opera and ballet theaters in the world. It has a rich history, having been founded in 1776, and has hosted some of the greatest performers in history.
Vladivostok (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
Vladivostok, Russia’s largest port city, sits near the borders of China and North Korea, across the ocean from Japan. The city was a significant station on the Trans-Siberian Railway, but it was off-limits to outsiders during the Soviet era. Today, it attracts many international travelers every year. The city boasts numerous parks and open areas, such as Sportivnaya Harbor with its beautiful beach and promenade, and the Eagle’s Nest viewpoint atop a hill.
Vladivostok’s Russky Bridge is an impressive feat of architecture, measuring 1,885 meters and holding the record as the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge. Don’t miss the opportunity to include this destination in your travel itinerary for a memorable and enjoyable trip.
The Peterhof Palace
Located just outside St. Petersburg, the Peterhof Palace is a stunning example of Russian Baroque architecture. It is home to beautiful gardens, fountains, and a palace that was once the summer residence of Russian tsars.
Kizhi Island (Tourist Attractions of Russia)
Kizhi Island, situated in Northwestern Russia’s Karelia region, adjacent to Finland and the White Sea, is best known for its magnificent open-air museum. The area has been inhabited by Karelians since the 13th century, divided between Eastern and Western cultures. The museum’s collection includes the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior, a 120-foot tall building distinguished by its 22 domes.
Other popular tourist attractions include numerous wooden houses, windmills, churches, and barns. Craft exhibitions and folk groups showcase rural culture. Therefore, be sure to add this tourist destination to your itinerary to make your trip truly memorable and enjoyable.
Map of Russia:
These are just a few of the many tourist attractions that Russia has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, or adventure, Russia has something for everyone.