Russia is the largest country in the world, and its mighty scale is reflected in the magnificence of its culture and natural beauty. Colorful, intricate and monumental, Russia should be on everyone’s list of vacation destinations. There are so many beautiful cities to see, and everything is beautiful in its own way. Russia is the bridge between Russia and Asia. The melting pot of Russia has some of the most magnificent and sensational cities in the world. Without further ado, here’s a list of Russia’s best cities to visit.
Saint Petersburg steals the most attention. It was founded in 1703 and has changed names several times. Saint Petersburg is also known as Petrograd and Leningrad. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the city became Sankt Petersburg (in Russian). Dropping Lenin’s name meant giving up the legacy of the Russian revolutionary leader.
There are five opulent imperial palaces around the city, namely Peterhof, Catherine Palace, Gatchina, Konstantinovsky Palace and Oranienbaum Palace. Much of the city’s architecture is Baroque and Neoclassical. The architectural styles can be seen in some of Saint Petersburg’s heritage sitesincluding the Winter Palace (home to the famous Hermitage), Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, and the Mariinsky Theater, to name a few.
Not many people know that Amsterdam served as a source of inspiration for the construction of Saint Petersburg. Peter the Great admired the way Amsterdam turned into the richest city in Europe. An interesting place to visit in Saint Petersburg is New Holland, an artificial island in the heart of the city.
Moscow attracts travelers from all over the world. It’s fast, lively, busy and mystical. The Bolshoi Theater is a must when visiting Russia. The theater season opens in October and top performances can be seen, such as the Nutcracker. If you don’t feel like seeing a performance, at least take a tour of the theater.
Can you survive in Moscow if you don’t speak? the Russian local language? Well, yes. Restaurants in the center have an English menu. Almost all companies have someone who speaks English. Because of the focus on tourists, you hear English all around you. So why should you learn Russian? Because it can be fruitful for your social life and career opportunities. Learning the Russian language is a very rewarding investment.
In case you didn’t know, Russia is home to some of the most delicious traditional dishes, many of which are considered culinary masterpieces. Examples of must-try dishes include 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.
Located on the banks of the Volga, Kazan is a delightful mix of Russian and Asian cultures. Street signs are written in both languages. If you are interested in Tatar culture, stop at the bazaars in the Central Market. Residents from all over the city come here to buy food and handicrafts, many of which are unique to the area. You will love the lively atmosphere.
Kazan is considered the sports capital of Russia. So far, it has hosted about 100 World and European Championships and can accommodate 45,000 spectators. FIFA has awarded the Kazan Arena 5 stars. The stadium was built with 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 take the trolley bus.
If you want to enjoy a unique shopping experience, Kazan is the best place to be. You will find national ornaments, figurines and handmade products such as shoes, bags and so on. If you want to buy authentic souvenirs, buy Tatar antiques. You will find coins, military items, books and candlesticks.
Vladivostok is a city on the move, so cultural attractions keep popping up. Mariinsky Theater Primorsky Stage, for example, opened its doors in 2013. It is the most modern performing arts building in the Far East. It is designed as a cube within a cube using modern technologies. The ballet group consists of dancers from Russia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the USA, Romania and Korea.
Primorsky Safari Park is the place to go if you want to see the wildlife of Russia’s Far East. The forest is located near the village of Shkotovo. The Safari Park helps injured and sick animals, provides information about the environment and releases animals after rehabilitation. You can see deer, eagles, forest cats, wolves and the famous brown bear in their natural habitat. During the excursion you will be guided by local experts. You can walk on the same territory with animals that are not separated by cages or barriers.
While in Vladivostok, don’t miss the chance to ride the funicular. It is a kind of funicular system. The transport novelty of Vladivostok was inaugurated in 1962 by Nikita Khrushchev. The funicular is located on the slope of the Orlínaya sopka. The drive is not very long, but goes through some beautiful scenery.
From Sochi you can explore the Russian Riviera, hike in the Agura Valley or stop at the 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 moving to the United States to continue her tennis development.
Despite its small size, Sochi is a breathtaking city. It features green space and public artwork. Enjoy the panorama. If you’re up for the challenge, go after the falls. There are plenty of options for taking Instagram photos. More and more tourists are making trips to Eagle Rock and Agur Waterfalls. The water is warm well into October. Outside the falls there are caves.
Last but not least, the Dolphinarium offers swimming with dolphins. If this doesn’t sound appealing, at least check out the spectacular jumps, naughty games and synchronized swimming. The Dolfinarium is a full-service amusement park. Wherever you sit, the performance is superb.