Places to Visit in Russia

Information on some of the main sightseeing highlights across Russia…

Moscow

The capital city of Russia is usually the top choice for anyone planning to visit the country. Founded in 1147, the city boasts numerous theatres, museums, art galleries, parks and boulevards, and other attractions such as Moscow Zoo. Moscow has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kremlin and Red Square and Kolomenskoe Church of the Ascension, with a few more including Trinity Sergius Lavra Monastery in Sergiev Posad, located just a short journey away by bus or train. Tourist infrastructure is getting developed rapidly to catch up with global standards and requirements. Street names and signboards in both Russian and English are becoming common.

St Petersburg

Due to its location and closer relationship with Europe, Russia’s second city of St Petersburg is astonishingly well developed as a tourist destination. Often called the Venice of the North for its many picturesque canals and Western architecture, the historic city centre and its environs also appear on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Unlike Moscow, the city operates a special Guest Card that allows to make significant savings on visiting museums and tourist attractions, as well as on using the public transport.

The most visited sites and monuments in the historic city centre, itself a dedicated heritage site, include Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral on Vasilevsky Island; Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo palatial complexes; the imperial residences of Gatchina and Pavlovsk; the Hermitage museum; The Russian Museum; Alexander Pushkin Museum in Moika St; museum of the Leningrad Blockade and Piskarevskoe Cemetery; Kazan Cathedral; St Isaac Cathedral; and the Cathedral of the Saviour on the Blood erected on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.

  • For more information from Visit Petersburg – the official city tourism portal: Click here

The Golden Ring Cities

The so-called Golden Ring of Russia embraces 16 ancient Russian cities and towns located to the north of Moscow in the region historically known as Zalesye. These include Alexandrov, Gus-Khrustalny, Ivanovo, Kalyazin, Kostroma, Moscow, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Plyos, Rostov Veliky, Rybinsk, Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Uglich, Vladimir, Yuriev-Polsky and Yaroslavl. This tourist route was created in Soviet times to develop both domestic and foreign tourism. Most of these towns are open-air museums, carefully preserving the unique architecture and church monuments of the 12th to 18th centuries. Bus trips to the area usually last for up to one week, allowing visitors to see the countryside and a glimpse of mediaeval Russia, and to enjoy traditional Russian hospitality.

  • For an operator offering tours of the area: Click here

Lake Baikal

The area round Lake Baikal – the world’s largest freshwater lake containing 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water – provides a great introduction to a very different side to the country. Nature reigns here, and tourists can enjoy the sweeping landscapes of the Russian Far East. Foreign tourists frequently visit the area so English-speaking guides and hotel staff are not rare. For information from tour operators in Baikal, see below:

The Trans-Siberian Railway

The two-week trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway travels across the entire country from Moscow to the border with China in the far east of Russia and is the longest railway in the world at over 9,000 Km. This has long been one of the dream journeys for many travellers and is normally undertaken with multiple stops along the route. Alternative journeys that go partly along the same route are Trans-Manchurian (Moscow-Harbin-Beijing) and Trans-Mongolian (Moscow-Ulaanbaatar-Beijing).

Information on the English website of the rail network, national carrier Russian Railways (Rossiyskiye Zheleznye Dorogi - RZD) including details of timetables and ticket offices can be found here.