The largest nation in the world, Russia, has a border that spans two continents, and eleven time zones and is literally a world unto itself. The history of this nation, which has witnessed the rise and collapse of powerful empires and unions, only strengthens its unique identity.
Russia is a place worth visiting for tourists of all types because of its vast and breathtaking landscapes in Siberia and the Kamchatka Peninsula, culturally significant heritage sites in the North Caucasus, and vibrant cities like Moscow.
The Most Beautiful Places to Visit In Russia
Check out our list of the top locations to visit in Russia, which includes everything from imposing gilded palaces to colossal natural areas.
Russia’s cultural epicenter is St. Petersburg, and deservedly so. The city is home to more than 200 museums, including the majestic Hermitage. Its ties to the past are also visible in a number of structures, including the luxurious Catherine Palace and the grandiose Church of Saviour on Spilled Blood. Additionally, St. Petersburg may be a wonderful vacation option for book lovers, with places to discover the heritage of Russian authors like Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The vibrant nightlife of the city, which one may start discovering in and around the Nevsky Prospekt, is a final factor contributing to St. Petersburg’s popularity as a top travel destination in Russia.
Lake Baikal is a formidable opponent when it comes to shattering records. This enormous high-altitude rift lake in Siberia is thought to be 25 million years old and the deepest lake in the world, reaching a maximum depth of 1,642 meters. More than 20% of the world’s freshwater is contained in Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake.
Even though much of the lake’s surface freezes over for up to five months of the year, Lake Baikal is one of the cleanest lakes in the world. This is especially apparent in the winter when it is possible to see up to 40 meters into the water in some places.
Due to the wide range of experiences it has to offer, including art institutions like the Tretyakov Gallery, upscale dining establishments like the White Rabbit, and an excellent ballet tradition that is most obviously displayed at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, the country’s capital, is unquestionably among the best locations to visit in Russia.
The Kremlin and Lenin’s tomb are must-see attractions, and Red Square is the best site to observe them. However, other parts of the city, such as the Izmailovo flea market, are also worthwhile stops.
Moscow visitors frequently begin their explorations in the city’s heart, which is home to the Kremlin, Red Square, and the vibrant St. Basil’s Cathedral. Even for travelers who cannot afford the luxury brands sold here, the glass and steel-roofed retail mall GUM is a well-liked location and a terrific spot to sample real Russian cuisine.
Siberia’s Altay Mountains reach across Russia’s border into China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. It has historically been home to numerous ethnic groups engaged in forestry and horse husbandry, and it is now a very well-liked tourism destination for both locals and visitors. The Altay Mountains are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with a number of other parks and lakes.
In winter, cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to Altay’s frozen rivers and snow-capped mountains. In the summer, kayakers, climbers, and hikers are drawn to the region as well (the area surrounding Aktru Glacier is particularly well-liked for trekking).
Unique to the Arctic Circle or areas nearby, the tundra is a biome. Only moss, bushes, and some kinds of grass can survive the winter here since the temperatures are too low for trees to thrive. Permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, is a common term used to describe the tundra in most regions. If the top layer of the ground does melt throughout the summer, marshes and streams will form over the land, creating stunning icebergs of varying colors.
Polar bears, seals, gray wolves, and an abundance of birds during the breeding season call the Russian tundra home.
In addition to offering extensive expanses of pebble and sand beaches, impressive examples of Stalinist architecture, the Kinotavr summer film festival, and a variety of spas and outdoor markets to suit all interests and budgets, Sochi is a summer beach resort town located directly on the Black Sea. Before emptying into the Black Sea, the longest river in Russia, the Mzymta, passes through Sochi and is a highly well-liked rafting location.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 3000-square-kilometer Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve is only 50 kilometers from Sochi and is home to several rare species of flora and animals, including the critically endangered Persian leopard.
The Peterhof Palace is the city’s claim to fame, despite the fact that it is home to a university and a significant Russian watch manufacturer. The palace grounds span nearly 4000 hectares and were initially planned and constructed in the early 1700s for Tsar Peter the Great in a style that is similar to the Palace of Versailles.
Around the palace, there are 173 garden fountains, some of which, like the Grand Cascade fountains, have unique characteristics that turn on water jets when people approach.
The city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, which lies in the Russian Far East, is inaccessible by road and can only be reached by air; it is surrounded by volcanoes, notably the active, snow-capped Koryakskaya Sopka volcano.
However, those that accept the challenge and arrive here will find a bustling city center full of monuments, squares, and cathedrals. The city is directly adjacent to Avacha Bay, a fantastic location for a stroll along the water and to join a whale-watching excursion.
Olkhon, one of the biggest lake islands in the world, is covered in the taiga, lush woods, and high mountains. The Buryats, an indigenous Mongolic people who consider the island to be a potent spiritual location, make up the majority of the island’s small permanent population. The island is located in Eastern Siberia.
Olkhon Island’s tourism business is expanding as more people flock to the island to see locations like the coastline sand dunes, the neighboring abandoned Peschanaya Village, and the former Soviet work camp.
Vladivostok, the largest port city in Russia, is situated close to the borders with China and North Korea, as well as just across the ocean from Japan. The city, a significant station on the Trans-Siberian Railway, was really off-limits to outsiders during the Soviet Union era, but it now draws a large number of international travelers eager to explore it.
Numerous parks and open areas can be found around the city, such as Sportivnaya Harbor with its lovely beach and promenade and the Eagle’s Nest viewpoint at the top of a hill.
Novosibirsk, the third-largest city in Russia and the unofficial capital of Siberia is situated on the banks of the Ob River. It is a place where the summers are hot enough to swim and sunbathe (Novosibirsk has its own artificial beach on the shores of a reservoir), and the winters can get as cold as -45 degrees Celsius.
The city has a lot to offer tourists, including the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, a number of universities, and a number of museums. A lot of diesel and steam locomotives, electric trains, snowplows, and a variety of odd carriages, including tank cars, hospital and jail vehicles, and even fire engines, may be found in the Outdoor Museum for Railway Technology.
Anapa is well known for its sandy beaches, spas, and breathtaking views from the rocky peninsula where the city’s lighthouse is situated. The Anapa is wonderfully situated against the Black Sea and has been a highly well-liked vacation spot for decades. Anapa, a somewhat more understated destination than Sochi, provides guests with a ton of entertainment options besides coastline sights.
The Anapa Archaeological Museum and the lone intact gate of an Ottoman fort that previously stood in this region are also interesting sites. Additionally, there is the archeological site of Gorgippia, which was once a bustling harbor for the marine trade and dates to the sixth century BCE.
The Taiga Forest
The Russian taiga is a distinctive ecoregion that lies between the colder mixed woods in the south and the freezing tundra in the north. In essence, it is a variety of boreal forest that solely supports coniferous trees, such as pine, spruce, and larches.
Taiga also covers parts of Alaska and Canada, but the Russian taiga offers a level of solitary beauty that is unmatched. While the Siberian taiga can easily see nights of -50°C during the coldest months, temperatures here can drop as low as -20°C.
This tiny, six-kilometer-long island in northwest Russia’s Lake Onega has been inhabited at least since the 15th century.
The Kizhi Pogost, an outdoor museum with more than 80 antique wooden constructions, is the most well-known attraction on the island. Particularly beautiful and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site are the two churches from the 18th century. They are also regarded as among Europe’s most magnificent and tallest wooden buildings.
Just over 150 people live permanently in Dargavs, also known as “the city of the dead,” and there are probably just as many dead people there. This tiny community, which is close to the Georgian border and is only accessible after a long and tough drive, is well-known for its historic cemetery.