Everything to Know About the Top Places to Visit in Russia

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The largest country in the world in terms of land, Russia is known for its diverse landscape - from Siberia's frozen tundras to the Caucasus Mountains' lush forests. The list of famous places to visit in Russia is certainly a long one, with the names including the Red Square in Moscow, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Trans-Siberian Railway, and more.

Let’s read the article below and explore the top 10 places to visit in Russia for an unforgettable trip to the land of the Tsars!

Top Places to Visit in Russia

Here’s a list of some of the famous places to visit in Russia -

Best Places to Visit in Summer Best Places to Visit in Winter Best Places to Visit with Family
Moscow Kizhi Island Kazan
St. Petersburg The Golden Ring National Park Curonian Spit
Altai Sochi Vasilyevsky Island
Lake Baikal Vladivostok Peterhof Palace

1. Moscow

The capital of Russia, Moscow is a vibrant city with a mix of old-world charm and modern-day sophistication. From iconic landmarks to several hidden gems, there are plenty of things to see and do in Moscow that place it on the list of famous places to visit in Russia.

  • Red Square - Undoubtedly the most famous landmark in Moscow, it is a beautiful, historic square surrounded by some of the city's most iconic landmarks like the Kremlin and the State Historical Museum. Red Square is a great place to take a stroll and soak up the atmosphere of Moscow.
  • The Kremlin - The Kremlin is a fortified complex that houses the offices of the President of Russia and several museums such as the Armoury Chamber, which displays a stunning collection of royal regalia, weapons, and ceremonial dresses. This, along with the Red Square, is present on the UNESCO World Heritage List as well!
  • St. Basil's Cathedral - The St. Basil’s Cathedral is an iconic landmark in Russia featuring colourful, onion-shaped domes and stunning interiors. Built in the 16th century by Ivan the Terrible, this cathedral features colourful murals, ornate decorations, and a series of interconnected chapels.
  • Bolshoi Theatre - Among the world's most famous opera and ballet theatres, it is an incredible building with a rich history and performances that truly provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Its interior is adorned with elaborate decorations as well as a grand chandelier.

2. St. Petersburg

One of the most popular Russian places to visit, St. Petersburg is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city with stunning architecture and rich cultural significance. Regarded as the country’s second-largest city, it has also served as the capital of the Russian Empire for almost two centuries (1712–1918).

  • The State Hermitage Museum - Founded by Catherine the Great, it is a massive complex house of over 3 million art and artefacts, including works by Rembrandt, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
  • The Winter Palace - Once the official residence of the Russian monarchs, it is now a popular museum. This palace was built on the order of Empress Elizabeth of Russia and includes the famous Jordan staircase adorned with gilded sculptures.
  • St. Isaac's Cathedral - Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, it is one of the world’s largest cathedrals and is famous for its stunning gilded dome. Featuring classical Greek and Roman architecture, the main hall of this cathedral is decorated with frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures that make it a must-visit for architecture admirers.
  • Peter and Paul Fortress - It is an 18th-century historic fortress built by Peter the Great. Located on an island in the Neva River, it also once served as a prison where the renowned writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and others were held. Currently, it is home to several museums, including the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg and the Museum of Mint.

3. Altai Republic

Considered one of the top places to visit in Russia, Altai is a beautiful region in southern Siberia. It has been. Owing to its unique topography, you can truly enjoy hiking, skiing, rafting, climbing, and more. You can also find plenty of luxurious eco-resorts, charming highland villages, and mineral hot springs to enjoy a relaxing time here.

  • Lake Teletskoye - It is the largest lake in Altai known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. The area around this lake is home to several indigenous tribes, including the Altai people, who have lived in the region for centuries and have preserved their traditional way of life and culture.
  • Katun River - Originating in the Mt Belukha Glacier, this river is a great place to enjoy rafting and kayaking, with several of its sections offering challenging rapids and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  • Altai Mountains - These mountains are home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, including many rare and endangered species, such as the snow leopard, Altai argali sheep, and Altai mountain vole.
  • Belukha Mountain - The highest peak in Altai, it is a three-peaked mountain along the borders of Russia and Kazakhstan and is home to a small alpine valley called the Belukha Nature Park.

4. Lake Baikal

Next on our list of top 10 places to visit in Russia is Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake. Located in southern Siberia, it is renowned for its stunning appearance, crystal-clear waters, and unique biodiversity. Notably, Lake Baikal has also been referred to as the world’s oldest lake (25 million years).

  • Olkhon Island - The largest island on Lake Baikal, it is home to the Buryat people who have a rich culture and history. You can explore the island's ancient burial mounds, visit the local shaman rock, and enjoy the surrounding landscapes. 
  • Listvyanka - It is a small village on Lake Baikal's western shore and is known for a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, and ice fishing. You can also explore local museums and visit the St. Nicholas Church.
  • Circum-Baikal Railway - It is a historic railway line that runs along the southern shore of Lake Baikal and passes through several picturesque villages.  You can ride on the historic steam train, explore the local tunnels and bridges, and catch magnificent views of the landscapes from your train window!
  • Barguzin Valley - It is a gorgeous valley on Lake Baikal's eastern shore. This place is also of historical importance - legend has it that Barguzin Valley is the native land of Genghis Khan’s mother.

5. Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island is another famous place to visit in Russia as a unique and picturesque destination in the northern part. It's renowned for its open-air museum as well as numerous traditional wooden buildings, churches, houses, windmills, and barns.

  • Kizhi Pogost - A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island's northern part, it is a complex of two churches and a bell tower, all built entirely out of wood without using a single nail. If you are a history buff, you should certainly explore the local museums and chapels.
  • Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus - The oldest surviving wooden church on the island, this church is located in the southern part of Kizhi Island and the southeastern shore of Lake Onega. It was earlier known as Murom Monastery and is a remarkable religious site in the country.
  • Kizhi Museum of Wooden Architecture - This is a unique open-air museum and has over 80 wooden buildings, including traditional houses, chapels, and windmills. You can learn about the history of the island and even discover the basics of the conservation of wooden architectural monuments.
  • Kizhi Island Nature Reserve - It is a delightful nature reserve founded in 1989. You should check out this place to spot various birds and animals, with examples including gulls, wildfowls, European polecats, elk, red squirrels, foxes, brown bears, and more.

6. The Golden Ring

The Golden Ring is a collection of ancient towns northeast of Moscow. These towns have rich history and unique architecture dating back to the 12-17th centuries. During your Golden Ring tour, you will be exploring several towns that are among the top places to visit in Russia.

  • Suzdal - It is a small picturesque town mainly known for its stunning architecture, including the UNESCO-listed Suzdal Kremlin and the Spaso-Efimiev Monastery. Many of these buildings are made of white stone, which gives Suzdal its distinctive look.
  • Vladimir - You should certainly visit Vladimir on this tour, as it is one of the oldest towns in Russia and is home to several iconic landmarks. You can explore the UNESCO-listed Assumption Cathedral and the Golden Gate, which was once the main entrance to the city.
  • Sergiev Posad - This town has the stunning Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Monastery, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit attraction in the Golden Ring. Vladimir is a great place for architecture enthusiasts, who can enjoy the blend of Russian and Byzantine influences.
  • Rostov Veliky - This town has an excellent blend of history and nature. Besides being home to the Rostov Kremlin as well as churches and a museum of enamel art, it also has scenic lakes and parks like Lake Nero and the Rostov Veliky State Nature Reserve where you can unwind in nature.

7. Sochi

With its popularity soaring when it organised the Winter Olympics in 2014, Sochi is a famous resort city located on the coast of the Black Sea. It's one of the top places to visit in Russia, thanks to its mild climate, pretty beaches, and stunning mountain scenery, including the Caucasus Mountains and Sochi National Park. No wonder it is counted among the best natural places to visit in Russia!

  • Krasnaya Polyana - It is a mountain resort near Sochi and houses some of Russia's best skiing and snowboarding slopes. With plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, and more, it is among the famous places to visit in Russia for adventure seekers.
  • Sochi Park - Created as a part of the Olympic legacy, this is the first large-scale theme park in Russia. It is home to various attractions and rides for visitors of all ages. Sochi Park is divided into several themed zones, each with its own unique atmosphere and attractions. The zones include ‘Fairytale Land’, ‘The Enchanted Forest’, ‘The Land of Science and Fiction’, and ‘The Sea Kingdom’.
  • Sochi Arboretum - The Sochi Arboretum is a botanical garden on the Black Sea coast. Home to various exotic plants and trees, the garden is divided into several thematic areas such as the Mediterranean Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Palm Grove.
  • Olympic Park - The Olympic Park is a large complex built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. It has several sports facilities, including the Fisht Olympic Stadium and the Bolshoy Ice Dome. You can also enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment at the nearby Sochi Park.

8. Vladivostok

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok is one of Russia’s major port cities and is the home port of the Russian Pacific fleet.  It also has hills in the surrounding as well as suspension bridges, all of which make it one of the top places to visit in Russia.

  • Golden Horn Bay: This is an iconic landmark of Vladivostok where the city skyline and the ocean come together. Among the best of Russia’s places to visit, you can stroll along the promenade, enjoy the sea breeze, and admire the city view from the other side of the bay.
  • Vladivostok Fortress: This historic fortress was built in the 19th century to protect the city from invaders. It is located on the top of a hill and offers a panoramic view of the city and the sea. You can also visit the museum inside the fortress to learn about the history of Vladivostok.
  • Russky Island: This is the Pacific Ocean’s largest Russian island and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The island has several beaches, hiking trails, and historical sites. You can also visit the Far Eastern Federal University on the island.
  • Oceanarium Akvamir: This is a popular attraction for families and kids, with the Oceanarium having a variety of sea creatures. You can also watch a show featuring these animals and learn about marine life conservation.

9. Kazan

Kazan is one of the top places to visit in Russia located on the banks of the Volga river in the Republic of Tatarstan. It presents a good blend of Russian, Tatar, Jewish, and Buddhist culture and architecture that make it one of Russia’s finest places to visit. 

  • Kazan Kremlin: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kazan Kremlin is a fortress-like structure that houses several important landmarks, including the Qol Sharif Mosque, the Annunciation Cathedral, and the Museum of Tatarstan. You can also enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the Kremlin walls.
  • Kul Sharif Mosque: One of the largest mosques in Russia, this mosque is located inside the Kazan Kremlin. It was reconstructed in 2005 and has become one of the most visited landmarks in Kazan. You can learn about the history of Islam in Tatarstan and admire the mosque’s intricate architecture here.
  • Bauman Street: This is the main pedestrian street in Kazan and a popular spot for tourists. The street is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes and has a lively atmosphere. You can also find several landmarks along the street, including the Kazan State University and the Kazan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
  • The National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan: Opened in 1895, this museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of Tatarstan. You can discover numerous artefacts, traditional costumes, weapons, and musical instruments related to the region’s history here.

10. Curonian Spit National Park

The Curonian Spit National Park is a unique area located on the coast of Lithuania and Russia. It is a long, thin sand dune that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. You can find a diverse range of rare and endangered species here, with the list including sand lizards, the Baltic ringed seal, and more.

With this national park offering stunning natural scenery and wildlife attractions, it is considered one of the best natural places to visit in Russia.

  • Parnidis Dune: This is one of the highest dunes in the Curonian Spit and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area. You can climb to its top and enjoy the view of the sea, the lagoon, and the forest. Interestingly, this dune is also a popular one in Russia’s places to visit to watch sunsets.
  • Hill of Witches: This is a fascinating sculpture park in the forest near Juodkrante. It features over 80 wooden sculptures of witches, demons, and other mythological creatures. You can also walk along the trail and admire the sculptures while learning about the folklore and legends of the region.
  • Dancing Forest: Another one with a quirky name! This is a mysterious and unusual forest near the village of Nagliai, with the trees being curved and twisted in unusual shapes! You can walk along the trail and experience the strange and fascinating landscape.
  • Nida: This is a charming and picturesque town located on the southern end of the Curonian Spit. The town has a rich history and culture and has plenty of landmarks and attractions worth visiting, including the Nida Art Colony, the Ethnographic Fishermen's Museum, and the Amber Gallery.

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As discussed earlier, Russia is the world’s largest country in terms of landmass. This reflects in the number of places as well, with a sheer variety of famous places to visit in Russia! Nevertheless, you can start with our list of the top places to visit in Russia and easily plan your next trip.

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