Types of Holiday in Russia

Information on the different types of tourism popular in Russia, including inspiration for potential itineraries…

Cultural Tourism

Cultural tourism is well developed in Russia, with a massive wealth of history, arts, and architecture, particularly in Moscow and St Petersburg, but also elsewhere around the country. Places worth visiting include art galleries, museums, historical homes, and there are also festivals to attend; see below for sections on all these. There are also performances of theatre, music, ballet and circuses.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia

There are 15 cultural monuments in Russia on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with more sites on the tentative list for inclusion.

Historical Homes

Fans of Russian culture can visit house-museums of Russian authors, painters, composers and scientists, and English-speaking guides may be available upon request. These include the homes of the following:

Moscow

St Petersburg

Other Areas

Festivals and Events

Russia celebrates many holidays and festivals during the year. For a list of national and regional holidays, see the Guide, Public Holidays in Russia.

There are also lots of annual events, with some of the most awaited and best attended being:

  • For a calendar (in Russian) with more annual festivals and holidays: Click here

Historical and Military Tourism

Focusing on reconstructing specific events in history, the best-known is Kulikovo Pole Festival at Tula City (190 Km south of Moscow), which celebrates victory of the Russian Prince Dmitry Donskoi over the Tatar Khan in 1382. Other famous tourist sites include Borodino Field, not far from Moscow, where the battle between Napoleonic and Russian armies was fought in 1812, the sites of Moscow Battle of December 1941 against Hitler’s army, and Volgograd (previously known as Stalingrad), where one of the bitterest battles in the course of World War II was fought.

Gastronomic Tourism

This kind of itinerary provides an opportunity to sample the cuisine of Russia’s different regions. The Kostroma Region prides itself on cheese production and invites tourists to taste the local produce. Another gastronomic ‘attraction’ is vodka, and the town of Shuya in Ivanovo Region has a vodka museum, where a tasting session can be organised upon request.

Outdoor Activities and Adventure Tourism

Russia’s vast countryside is popular with fans of outdoor activities and adventure sports such as hiking, climbing, paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, snowboarding and dog sledging. Places for these include the Lake Baikal area, Kamchatka, the Russian Arctic, Siberia, Karelia and the mountainous regions of the Russian Caucasus and the Ural Mountains. Tours to the Russian Arctic often take visitors to the hut of Willem Barentsz, a Dutch explorer who led many expeditions to the Arctic.

There are 10 nature reserves in Russia, which feature on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and Nature Reserves. These are:

Religious Tourism

Russia carefully preserves its remaining monasteries and churches. Some of them served as prisons, even before the Soviet Union, but others escaped this sad fate and retained their status as a religious body. The best-known religious sites are the Solovetsky Islands, the Trinity Sergius Lavra Monastery, the Nilov and Nikolo-Ugreshsky monasteries and Optina Hermitage. Many are quite easily accessible and represent an unforgettable combination of piety and architectural beauty.

Spa Tourism

The banya is an integral part of traditional Russian culture, and some regions cater specifically for this type of tourist. It is also common to find spa facilities in many city and country-house hotels. Some worth visiting are: