Russia is the largest country in the world and its massive dimensions are mirrored in the splendor of its culture and natural beauty. Colorful, intricate and monumental, Russia should be on everyone’s holiday bucket list. There are so many wonderful cities to see and everything is beautiful in its own way. Russia forms a bridge between Russia and Asia. The melting pot that is Russia boasts some of the most spectacular and sensational cities in the world. Without further ado, here is a list of the best Russian cities to visit.
St. Petersburg steals most of the attention. It was founded in 1703 and changed its name several times. St. Petersburg was also known as St. Petersburg and Leningrad. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city became Sankt-Petersburg (in Russian). Dropping Lenin’s name meant abandoning the Russian revolutionary leader’s legacy.
There are five sumptuous imperial palaces around the city, namely Peterhof, Catherine Palace, Gatčina, Konstantinovsky Palace and Oranienbaum Palace. Much of the city’s architecture is baroque and neoclassical. Architectural styles can be seen in some monuments of St. Petersburgincluding the Winter Palace (home of the famous Hermitage), St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Mariinsky Theater to name a few.
Few people know that Amsterdam served as inspiration for the construction of St. Petersburg. Peter the Great admired the way Amsterdam turned into the richest city in Europe. An interesting place to visit in St. Petersburg is New Holland, an artificial island located in the heart of the city.
Moscow attracts travelers from all over the world. It’s fast, lively, crowded and mystical. The Grand Theater is a must for a visit to Russia. In October, the theater season opens and you can see top performances such as The Nutcracker. If you are not interested in the performance, at least take a guided tour inside the theater.
You can survive in Moscow if you don’t talk Russian local language? Okay, yes. Restaurants in the center have English menus. Almost all businesses have someone who speaks English. You will hear English all around you due to the focus on tourists. So why bother learning Russian? Because it can be fruitful for your social life and career opportunities. Your study of the Russian language is a very profitable investment.
In case you didn’t know, Russia offers some of the tastiest traditional dishes, many of which are considered culinary masterpieces. Examples of dishes that you simply must try are borscht, pelmeni, sirniki, okroshka and shashlik. It’s worth trying something other than beef stroganoff. You will be surprised by the variety of ingredients and flavors.
Kazan is located on the banks of the Volga and is a wonderful mix of Russian and Asian cultures. The streets are written in both languages. If you are interested in Tatar culture, stop by the bazaars in the Central Market. Residents from all over the city come here to shop for food and crafts, many of which are unique to the area. You will enjoy a vibrant atmosphere.
Kazan is considered the sports capital of Russia. So far, around 100 world and European championships have been held here and it can accommodate 45,000 spectators. FIFA awarded the Kazan Arena 5 stars. The stadium was built with the fans in mind. With so many attractions nearby, it should definitely be on your list of places to visit. The Kazan Arena can be reached by tram. Alternatively, you can catch a trolleybus.
If you want to enjoy a unique shopping experience, Kazan is the best place. You can find national ornaments, figurines and handmade products such as shoes, bags and so on. If you want to buy authentic souvenirs, get Tatar antiques. Here you will find coins, military items, books and candlesticks.
Vladivostok is a city on the move, so cultural attractions are constantly increasing. Mariinsky Theater Primorsky Stage, for example, was opened in 2013. It is the most modern theater building in the Far East. It was designed as a cube in a cube with the help of modern technologies. The ballet company consists of dancers from Russia, Japan, Kazakhstan, USA, Romania and Korea.
Primorsky Safari Park is the place to go if you want to see wildlife in the Far East of Russia. The forest is located near the village of Shkotovo. The Safari Park helps injured and sick animals, offers environmental education and releases wildlife after rehabilitation. You can see deer, eagles, forest cats, wolves and the famous brown bear in their natural habitat. Local experts will accompany you during the excursion. You can walk in the same territory with animals that are not separated by cages or barriers.
While you’re in Vladivostok, don’t miss the opportunity to ride the cable car. It is a type of ropeway system. Vladivostok’s new transport facility was inaugurated in 1962 by Nikita Khrushchev. The cable car is located on the slope of Orlínaya sopka. The road is not very long, but it leads through a beautiful landscape.
From Sochi, you can explore the Russian Riviera, hike the Agura Valley, or stop at nearby ski resorts. Sochi is known for its sports facilities. Did you know that tennis schools in the city have trained stars like Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Maria Sharapova? Sharapova spent six years in Sochi before leaving for the United States to continue her tennis development.
Despite its small size, Sochi is a breathtaking city. It boasts greenery and public artworks. Capture the panorama. If you’re up for a challenge, go chase the waterfalls. There are many ways to take photos on Instagram. More and more tourists are taking trips to Eagle Rock and Agur Falls. The water is warm until October. There are caves outside the falls.
Last but not least, the Dolphinarium offers swimming with dolphins. If that doesn’t sound appealing, at least check out the spectacular jumps, naughty games and synchronized swimming. The Dolphinarium is a full-service theme park. No matter where you sit, the performance is excellent.