Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Russia 2018

As the largest country in the world, there are numerous places to visit in Russia. Russia tourist attractions include from treks up the slopes of glacier-capped mountains to strolls along the shoreline of Earth’s oldest lake. There are many exciting things to do in Russia.  You can travel around the Golden Ring of ancient cities, long journeys on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway and cruises on the big rivers including the Volga.

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Rich in history and culture, Russia offers something for everybody. Whether you are exploring the grounds of Moscow’s Kremlin or drifting through the steppes of Mongolia, you will not forget your visit to Russia. As it is a very big country, so there are numerous must-see places to visit in Russia. So here is a list of the top tourist attractions in Russia that will help you to have a terrific trip.

Best Places to Visit in Russia:

10. Trans-Siberian Railway

Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Russia, Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway | image credit – Wikimedia/Francorov

One of the things to do in Russia is to travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway. It is the longest railway line in the world connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. There are connecting branch lines into Mongolia, China and North Korea. The line is 9,289 km (5,772 mi) long. Begun in 1891 by Tsar Alexander III and completed by his son, Tsar Nicholas II, in 1916. It has connected Moscow with Vladivostok since 1916, and is still being expanded.

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The line is known as the route of the tsars. The line was famous even before it was completed. Most travelers use the train as overnight accommodation from one destination to the next. It is like killing two birds with one stone. You can travel to one of the top tourist attractions in Russia to go to some of the best places to visit in Russia. The train features first-, second- and third-class sleepers, some with private bathrooms and showers. There is also a sophisticated onboard program with an all-inclusive expedition and sightseeing package already included in the price.

9. Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus, tourist attractions in Russia
Mount Elbrus | image credit – Pixabay/kaliberda

One of the most exciting places to visit in Russia is Mount Elbrus. It is a dormant volcano located in the Caucasus Mountain Range in Southern Russia. It is the highest peak in Europe and also one of the Seven Summits. Its West summit is 5642 m high; the East one is 21 m shorter 5621 m.  Even though Mount Elbrus is the highest peak of the European Continent, climbing it is not that difficult.

The regular route up Elbrus is long and arduous but not technically difficult. As a result, the mountain attracts both experienced and novice mountain climbers. Climbing to the summit of the Mount Elbrus is one of the most thrilling things to do in Russia. A cable car system can take visitors as high as 3,800 meters (12,500 ft), facilitating ascents to the summit. The actual danger is the weather that can turn very nasty in a relatively short time. But it is like a haven to the mountain climbers. So gear up and go one of the best places to visit in Russia.

8. Valley of Geysers

Valley of Geysers, Russia tourist attractions
Valley of Geysers | image credit – Flickr/Einar Fredriksen

Valley of Geysers is one of the most exciting places to visit in Russia. It is one of the largest geyser fields in the world and the only one in the continental part of Eurasia.  The Valley of Geysers is situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. Discovered in 1941 by Kronotsky reserve geologist Tatyana Ustinova and observer Anisifor Krupenin, the Valley of Geysers is located in the Kronotskiy State Natural Biosphere Reserve that is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site “Volcanoes of Kamchatka”.

Since then it became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Russia and attracts a lot of interest from scientists and tourists. Approximately 200 geysers exist in the area along with many hot-water springs and perpetual spouters. Over thirty geysers have been named. The largest of these geysers erupts with 60 tons of water once or twice a year. There are 20 large jets and more than 200 smaller thermal springs in Kamchatka. It is a wonder to watch a jet of water erupting from the ground and reaching up to a height of 40 meters (Giant Geyser). Do not miss visiting one of the most awesome places to visit in Russia.

7. Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island, things to do in Russia
Kizhi Island | image credit – Flickr/John Menard

Among many places to visit in Russia, Kizhi Island is considered Russia’s sacred island. Kizhi Island is located in Karelia, a region in Northwestern Russia that borders Finland and the White Sea. Blessed with one of the most picturesque ensembles of wooden churches in Russia, Kizhi Island is one of the best Russia tourist attractions. It is the most scenic destination for travelers on the greatest waterway of Russia, the Volga.

The Church of the Transfiguration built in the early 18th century on a dry stone wall foundation in the island from locally cut Scots pine logs using an extraordinary notching technique that precludes the use of even a single nail. It is the supreme example of Russian wooden architecture. Another church was built in 1764 for winter use known as 9-dome Church of the Intercession. Today, this collection of traditional log structures, centered on two churches and a bell tower that is set in an enclosure still called the Kizhi Pogost, lives on as one of Russia’s greatest open-air museums.

As one of the best places to visit in Russia, Kizhi Island also offers the Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus, the Chapels of Archangel Mikhail, of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, of the Divine Savior, and many others complete the ensemble of this spiritual island. The island offers outstanding scenery during long summer. The domes become a brilliant scarlet in the evening, reflecting the last rays before twilight and then gradually shifts to an ethereal bluish hue before dipping into a nocturnal leaden gray. During winter, the church dazzle in the morning like a lost fairy palace in the early day sun. The Kizhi Island is really one of the most beautiful places to visit in Russia.

6. St Sophia Cathedral, Novgorod

St Sophia Cathedral, Novgorod, tourist attractions in Russia
St Sophia Cathedral, Novgorod | image credit – Wikimedia/Paweł ‘pbm’ Szubert

St Sophia Cathedral is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Russia. The cathedral is located in Novgorod, which is the oldest city of Russia. Situated within the grounds of the city’s Kremlin, St Sophia Cathedral is the most ancient religious building in Russia. It was built by Vladimir of Novgorod in 989 at the behest of his father, Yaroslav the Wise, as an idiom of appreciation to the people of Novgorod for their support of Yaroslav in his struggle for Kiev. The thirteen domed wooden church was replaced by the five-domed stone structure. The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype.

Saint Sophia Cathedral features a selection of ancient religious artifacts, which include The Mother of God of the Sign; an icon that legend says saved Novgorod from attack in 1169. The cathedral has three famous ornately carved gates that also date back to the 12th century. As one of the best places to visit in Russia, the cathedral exterior is remarkable in its majesty and epic splendor evoking the memories of Novgorod’s glorious past and invincible might. The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior.

5. Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal, Russia tourist attractions
Lake Baikal | image credit – Flickr/amanderson2

Lake Baikal is one of the best places to visit in Russia. Lake Baikal is so large that it is often mistaken for a sea. Many travelers on the Trans-Siberian railway make plans to stop at Lake Baikal. Located in south-central Siberia, Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest lake on Earth. It is about 25 million years old. Lake Baikal holds around 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. Surrounded by mountain ranges, Baikal is an immense and breathtaking area of natural beauty. The lake is considered one of the clearest lakes in the world. The lake is known as the Pearl of Siberia. There are several resorts in Lake Baikal, making the area one of the most popular tourist attractions in Russia.

Spending your holidays or some time of it here is one of the things to do in Russia. Summer travelers enjoy unimaginable vistas across waters of the deepest blue to soaring mountain ranges on the opposite shore. During winter, visitors marvel at its powder-white surface, which is frozen steel-hard and scored with icy roads. You can swim in it, even drink its water, and skirt its southern tip by train, cycle or dog sled over it in winter. Or you can simply admire it from 2000km of shoreline. No matter what you do, you will agree with me that it is one of the best places to visit in Russia.

4. Suzdal

Suzdal, things to do in Russia
Suzdal | image credit – Pixabay/Geese_double_D

If you want to learn about the cultural past of Russia, one of the best places to visit in Russia would be Suzdal. Suzdal is a small town on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia. Suzdal can simply be described as the “Golden Ring” that comes with a diamond. It was once the capital of several Russian principalities, but the local merchants failed to persuade the government into building the Trans-Siberian Railway through their town. As a result, Suzdal was bypassed not only by trains but by the 20th century altogether. But now, it is one of the most intriguing tourist attractions in Russia. When you go there it will seem like you have simply jumped back in time.

Suzdal is a perfect example of the twelfth and thirteenth-century Russian architecture. As one of the best places to visit in Russia, Suzdal features many 13th and 14th centuries’ monasteries, including the Monastery of our Savior and St. Euthymius with its attached church, Cathedral of Transfiguration. The houses are built out of wood and they are brightly painted. One of the most famous things to do in Russia is to walk down the path of Suzdal, which will take you back in time for real. Suzdal gives a true sense of Russia.

3. Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin, tourist attractions in Russia
Moscow Kremlin | image credit – Wikimedia/NVO

The Kremlin is one of the must-see attractions in Russia for anyone visiting Moscow. The Moscow Kremlin has played a dominant role in Russian life for over 800 years. One of the most alluring and enigmatic places to visit in Russia, the Moscow Kremlin is a potent symbol of two mighty imperial cultures; one is the medieval Muscovy and the other one is the Soviet Union. Now it is home to the nation’s top governmental offices. So two-thirds of the citadel territories are closed to visitors. But the open portion contains enough treasure to occupy several days of sightseeing.

It is one of the must-things to do in Russia to visit the Kremlin and explore the Russian history to date. The walled enclosure houses four cathedrals built in the 15th and 16th century as well as several notable museums. You can visit the Armory, which is filled with royal treasures of the past. Or you can go to the Diamond Fund Exhibition, a collection of jewelry that includes a 190-carat diamond given to Catherine the Great. As one of the best places to visit in Russia, the Kremlin is at once mesmerizing and foreboding, a blend of generous magnificence and ascetic secrecy.

2. Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum, Russia tourist attractions
Hermitage Museum | image credit – Flickr/cabezadeturco

One of the most amazing places to visit in Russia is the Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious museums. Located in Saint Petersburg, the Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. With the possible exception of the Louvre, there is no museum in the world that rivals the Hermitage in size and quality. From Impressionist masterpieces to fascinating Oriental treasures, this colossal museum of art and culture has a collection of over 3 million items spanning the globe. The museum is especially strong in Italian Renaissance and French Impressionist paintings, as well as possessing exceptional collections of works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse.

You should not miss the excellent Greek and Roman antiquities collection and its exhibits of Siberian and Central Asian art. The bulk of the Hermitage collection is housed in the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, and its several annexes. One of the must-things do in Russia is to take multiple trips to this fascinating museum to get a brief taste of the riches on offer here. This museum demands multiple visits. After all, it is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Russia.

1. Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral, things to do in Russia
Saint Basil’s Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/Anton Zelenov

Saint Basil’s Cathedral was constructed on Red Square in the heart of Moscow between 1554 and 1561 and has been among the top Russia tourist attractions. The Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. This crazy mystification of colors, patterns, and shapes is the climax of a style that is unique to Russian architecture, which makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Russia.

This distinctive architecture is the thing that attracts visitors not the building’s interior artifacts. The cathedral was designed to resemble the shape of a bonfire in full flame. The cathedral’s apparent anarchy of shapes hides a comprehensible plan of nine main chapels. The architecture is not only unique to the period in which it was built but to any subsequent period. The Cathedral is now a museum and one of the best places to visit in Russia.

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