If you are thinking about traveling to Russia, you might be interested to learn what to see in Russia.
Based on our experience in organizing tours to Russia, we can say that there is no better way to embark on a journey to the Russian history and culture than to visit the two capitals: present-day capital – Moscow in all its glory and mesmerizing former imperial capital – St. Petersburg. Both cities combine the best elements of Russia’s turbulent past and spectacular present.
You can enrich your experience by taking Moscow or St. Petersburg river cruises to have a unique opportunity to see the vivid life of the capital cities from a different perspective. If you wish to explore the whole spectrum of the multifaceted Russian culture, you can’t miss the beautiful historic Golden Ring towns as well as the unforgettable Trans-Siberian railroad adventure.
Here are the top 7 experiences in Russia selected by VisitRussia.com:
- Saint Petersburg – the Venice of the North, the jewel in the crown of the historic Russian cities. It seduces all its visitors with grand facades, glittering spires and gilded domes. Lose yourself amid a grand collection of European art at the Hermitage Museum or Russian art at the Russian Museum; enjoy world class-performances by maestro Gergiev and his company at the Mariinsky Theatre; witness the Grand Cascade’s symphony of fountains at Peterhof and visit Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlovsk – this is just the tip of the iceberg of the wonderful things you can see and do in St. Petersburg.
- Moscow – the awe-inspiring capital of Russia bursting with energy and lust for life. If there is one word to describe Moscow, it will be colossal. The largest city in Russia has plenty to offer for its visitors. We suggest you start with the Red Square – see Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral and Kremlin, pay a visit to Vladimir Ilich at the Lenin Mausoleum. Fancy some art? Then Tretyakov Gallery and Pushkin Fine Arts Museum will fully satisfy your need. In the evening enjoy the great classical opera or ballet performances at the Bolshoi Theatre, but acquire the tickets in advance as they are selling out pretty fast.
- Golden ring towns – a plethora of traditional Russian cities that preserve the spirit of the old Russia. Grassy hills indicate the ramparts that once protected their territory; white-washed walls surround their ancient monasteries, most of which are active again; spires of Orthodox churches mark the horizon and their interiors are covered with faded frescoes. The Golden Ring is a place full of art and history, magic and mystery in the pursuit of the precarious balance between the 12th and the 21st centuries.
- Kazan – the Istanbul on the Volga, the city which successfully manages to combine Muslim and Christian cultures. It is more than a thousand years old and accumulated many architectural treasures through the centuries. The first place to mention is Kazan Kremlin – the focal point of the city’s historic center, declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 2000. Inside the Kremlin walls, you can find the magnificent Annunciation Cathedral and enormous Kul Sharif Mosque – the largest mosque in Europe. Spend some time exploring the city and you will find some hidden gems like the Ethnographic Museum in the Kazan Federal University or the avant-garde Museum of Soviet Art.
- Velikiy Novgorod – the history of this ancient city is closely intertwined with the history of Orthodoxy that is why you will find many traditional onion-domed churches here. The enormous Novgorod Kremlin is the city’s architectural centerpiece, so you won’t miss it. On the side of the hidden gem, there is the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Folk Wooden Architecture, where you have a chance to explore the way of life of the common folk in a traditional Russian village.
- Volga river cruises – sail down the longest river in Europe to see the magnificent panorama of central Russia’s historic cities and picturesque landscapes. Volga River or Volga-Matushka (Mother Volga) has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture and the best way to fully comprehend it is to take this amazing cruise.
- Trans-Siberian railroad adventure – the last but not the least in our list is the journey on the longest railway line in the world, one of the 20th century’s engineering wonders, connecting Moscow with the Vladivostok – the ultimate journey through the whole country. The 9289 km long trip can be done, nonstop, in a week, but unless you’re into extreme relaxation we recommend hopping on and off the train, making more of an adventure of it.