Russia is the biggest country in the world, and its mighty scale is mirrored in the splendor of its culture and natural beauty. Colorful, intricate, and monumental, Russia should be on everyone’s list of holiday destinations. There are so many splendid cities to see, and everything is beautiful in its own way. Russia forms the bridge between Russia and Asia. The melting pot that is Russia boasts 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.
Table of Contents
Saint Petersburg steals most of the attention. Founded in 1703, it has changed its name several times. Saint Petersburg has also been known as Petrograd and Leningrad. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the city became Sankt-Petersburg (in Russian). Dropping Lenin’s name signified abandoning the legacy of the Russian revolutionary leader.
There are five sumptuous 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 sites, including the Winter Palace (home to the renowned Hermitage), Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, and the Mariinsky Theatre, to name a few.
Not many know that Amsterdam served as an inspiration for the construction of Saint Petersburg. Peter the Great admired the way Amsterdam transformed into the richest city in Europe. An interesting place to visit in Saint Petersburg is New Holland, an artificial island located in the heart of the city.
Moscow draws travelers from all over the world. It’s fast, lively, crowded, and mystical. The Bolshoi Theater is a must-do for a visit to Russia. The theatrical season opens in October, and you can see top performances, such as the Nutcracker. If you have no interest in seeing a performance, at least take a guided tour inside 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 businesses have someone who speaks English. You’ll hear English all around you because of the focus on tourists. So, why bother learning Russian? Because it can be fruitful for your social life and career opportunities. Your learning of the Russian language is a highly rewarding investment.
In case you didn’t know, Russia accommodates some of the most delicious traditional foods, 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’ll 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’re interested in the Tatar culture, stop by 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’ll enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Kazan is regarded as the sports capital of Russia. Until now, it’s hosted roughly 100 world and European championships and can accommodate 45 000 spectators. FIFA awarded the Kazan Arena 5 stars. The stadium has been 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 catch the trolleybus.
If you want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, Kazan is the best place to be. You can find national ornaments, figurines, and handmade products like footwear, bags, and so on. If you’re looking to buy authentic souvenirs, get Tatar antiques. You’ll find coins, military items, books, and candle holders.
Vladivostok is a city on the move, so cultural attractions keep popping up. Mariinsky Theater Primorsky Stage, for instance, opened in 2013. It’s the most modern building of performing arts in the Far East. It was designed as a cube in a cube with the help of modern technologies. The ballet troupe is made up of dancers from Russia, Japan, Kazakhstan, USA, Romania, and Korea.
Primorsky Safari Park is the place to go if you want to see Russia’s Far East wildlife. The forest is located near the village of Shkotovo. The Safari Park helps wounded and sick animals, offers education on the environment, and releases wildlife after rehabilitation. You can see deer, eagles, forest cats, wolves, and the renowned brown bear in their natural habitat. During the excursion, you’ll be accompanied by local experts. You can walk on the same territory with animals that aren’t separated by cages or barriers.
While you’re in Vladivostok, don’t miss out on the chance to ride the funicular. It’s a type of cable railway system. Vladivostok’s transport novelty was inaugurated in 1962 by Nikita Khrushchev. The funicular is located on the slope of the Orlínaya sopka. The ride isn’t very long, but it passes through magnificent scenery.
From Sochi, you can explore the Russian Riviera, go hiking on Agura Valley, or stop by the nearby ski resorts. Sochi is well-known for its sporting 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 with green space and public artwork. Take in the panorama. If you’re up for the challenge, go chase the waterfalls. There are plenty of options for taking Instagram photos. More and more tourists take trips to Eagle Rock and Agur Waterfalls. The waters are warm well into October. Outside the waterfalls, there are caves.
Last but not least, the Dolphinarium offers swimming with dolphins. If this doesn’t sound tempting, at least see the spectacular jumps, mischievous games, and synchronized swimming. The Dolphinarium is a full-service amusement park. No matter where you’re seated, the performance is exquisite.