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Where Should You Go During Your Time in Russia?

By Yann, published on 19/03/2019 We Love Prof - IN > Languages > Russian > Cities to Visit in Russia

“I do not like Moscow life. You live here not as you want to live, but as old women want you to.” – Alexander Pushkin

It’s true that Russian cities are a symbol of life in Russia, as fascinating as they are baffling. There’s a lot to discover in the land of the Tsars, the biggest country in the whole world. With 31,657 cities and towns, Russia is around 70 times bigger than the UK.

But before you hurt yourself thinking about that, finish reading our articles on the unmissable cities in Russia. You’ll definitely get itchy feet!

In this article, we’re going to look at where you should go when travelling to Russia.

Moscow, the Unmissable Russian Capital

The Russian capital is a mix of modern and historic. That said, it wasn’t always the capital city. It wasn’t until 1917 that Moscow, having been replaced by Saint Petersburg, became the economic and political centre of the country again.

What should you visit in Moscow? Moscow is a must-see for anyone travelling to Russia. (Source: Mistery08)

Nowadays, the city is an important tourist destination with UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Novodevichy Convent or the Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

This is a dynamic city with some shops open 24 hours a day and others closing between 9 and 10 in the evening! Bars and restaurants are open all night and there are even nighttime cruises on the Moskva River allowing you to see the Russian countryside. You may even bump into Vladimir Putin during a visit to the Kremlin.

Did you know that Moscow is home to one of the biggest and busiest underground railways in the world with 224 stations?

Some of Moscow’s most popular attractions:

  • Red Square
  • The Kremlin
  • Lenin’s Mausoleum
  • The Ostankino Tower
  • The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

Find out how to budget for visiting Russia.

Saint Petersburg, Russia’s “Venice of the North”

“Western, European, accessible”, this is how a lot of tourists see Russia’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg.

It’s home to architectural and historic treasures such as the Peterhof Palace. When Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in 1703, plenty of European artists came and spent time in the city.

Did you know that the Peterhof Palace was Peter the Great’s summer residence and its Baroque architecture was designed to rival that of the Palace of Versailles?

You’ll be surprised at how many people in the city can speak English, French, or German. The city offers a historical and cultural view of Russia and is a great place to visit if you love photography. If you’ve got time, you can also take the boat over the Helsinki in Finland.

You should have a look for the Chizhik Pyzhik statue that apparently brings good luck if you can land a coin on it without it falling into the water.

Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • The Admiralty Building
  • The Saint Petersburg Canals
  • Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
  • The Russian Cruiser Aurora
  • The State Hermitage Museum
  • Kazan Cathedral
  • The Church of the Saviour on Blood
  • Mariinsky Theatre

Kazan, the Capital of Russian-Speaking Tatarstan

Russia’s third city, Kazan, is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, one of the federal subjects of the Russian Federation. It enjoys greater political and economic autonomy than the rest of the country.

What can you do in Kazan? Kazan is a fascinating city in Tatarstan. (Source: Staropramen)

The city is dynamic and has hosted plenty of international sporting competitions including the 2014 World Fencing Championships, 2015 World Aquatic Championships, and 2018 World Cup matches. The view from Kazan Kremlin is unmissable.

Kazan is one of Russia’s oldest cities and was founded in 1005!

Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • The Kul Sharif Mosque
  • The Temple of All Religions
  • The Bolaq Canal
  • The Annunciation Cathedral

Vladivostok, the City Dominating Eastern Russia

Vladivostok is a city in the very east of Russia. It’s one of the country’s biggest port cities and is near the borders with China and North Korea. This is an essential place to visit if you want to enjoy Eastern surprises and Soviet heritage.

The Kamchatka crab (red king crab) is one of the local delicacies and definitely worth trying.

Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • Vladivostok Port
  • The Russky Island Oceanarium
  • Zarya Center for Contemporary Art
  • The Egersheld Lighthouse
  • Korabelnaya Embankment

Sochi, Russia’s Activity Centre

You have to visit this city by the Black Sea near the Caucasus mountains.

What is there to do in Sochi? Sochi is both a beach town and a winter sports resort. (Source: InessaTokmina)

Sochi is far from just a winter sports resort. It’s just a few miles from Abkhazia, a partially-recognised republic on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.

Sochi enjoys both snowy mountains in the winter (this helped when it hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 2014) and warm beaches in the summer. Spas are also accessible throughout the year! Whether it’s for sport of relaxation, you’re spoilt for choice.

Did you know that Vladimir Putin has a dacha (a type of summer home) in Dagomys outside of Sochi?

Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • Sochi Promenade
  • Pushkin Avenue
  • The Maritime Hotel
  • Sochi Art Museum
  • The Caucasus Nature Reserve

Suzdal and Vladimir, Authentic Russian Towns

Let’s dive into Russian history by visiting Suzdal and Vladimir. Both are in the Vladimir Oblast and it’ll only take you a couple hours and rubles to get from one to another. Expect Russian architectural beauty from the second you arrive. The Golden Ring of Russia is a group of cities to the northeast of Moscow.

Not to be missed:

  • Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir
  • Suzdal Kremlin and the Cathedral of the Nativity
  • Monastery of Saint Euthymius, Suzdal

Irkutsk, the Gateway to the Russian-Speaking World

This city is a timeless place.

What is there to do in Irkutsk? In addition to the sights in Irkutsk, you can also visit Lake Baikal. (Source: jackmac34)

While this city doesn’t tend to get included in most lists, it’s the main place to access Lake Baikal, one of the country’s most famous sights. Irkutsk is an original place with old buildings made from Siberian wood.

It’ll take you around an hour to get to all the sites of natural beauty and you’ll need between 3 and 4 days to fully appreciate all the different activities. You can get to Irkutsk from Moscow by plane (a flight lasting 5 and a half hours) or by taking the famous Trans-Siberian Railway for around three and a half days (87 hours in total). It holds the record for the biggest fresh-water lake (23,500km2).

Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • Prince Vladimir Temple
  • The Cathedral of The Epiphany
  • The White House
  • The steppes around Lake Baikal

Murmansk, in the Arctic Circle

What about a walk around Russian arctic territory?

The city isn’t very dynamic, notably due to its tumultuous history, particularly in the Second World War. It got its name from the Vikings who settled in the Kola Bay.

Even though it’s not cold all year round, Murmansk is a popular destination in winter as you can observe the Aurora Borealis, go whale-watching in the Barents Sea, or stay in a Russian dacha. This is an unmissable experience if you want to enjoy the Russian banya (sauna) in winter. This is the largest city in the Arctic Circle.

Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • Saint Nicholas Cathedral
  • The Marine Station
  • The Monument for the Defenders of the Soviet Arctic during the Great Patriotic War

There are also cities like Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, and Yekaterinburg, for example. Of course, we could go on forever if we talked about them all!

Before you go, don’t forget about obtaining your visas, buying rubles, and getting travel advice.

So which city would you like to go to?

Don’t forget that if you want to travel to Russia, you’ll need to sort out accommodation, a Russian visa (which involves booking somewhere to stay), consider getting out with a tour operator before your trip to Russia, ensure your passport is still valid, contact the consulate, etc.

Russia welcomes plenty of tourists every year, so make sure you’ve planned which regions you want to visit, got your Russian visa, made sure your passport is still valid, and you’ve bought your rubles.

Before you travel to Russia, you might want to learn more about the basics of the language. On Superprof, you can find private tutors offering Russian lessons. There are three types of tutorials available on the platform: private tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.

Private tutorials are usually the most expensive option but they also offer the highest level of teaching and tutorials that are tailored to the individual. Online tutorials are generally cheaper as the tutor has fewer expenditures and can schedule more tutorials per day since they don’t have to travel. Finally, group tutorials are even cheaper because the cost is divided among the students but you won’t get the lessons tailored to each individual student.

If you’re thinking about becoming a tutor, you can create a profile on Superprof. Tutors who offer quality tutorials and tailored lessons won’t tend to have any problems finding students as your profile will quickly fill up with glowing reviews. If you’re looking to entice students, we recommend offering the first hour of tutorials for free so that potential students can see what you’re capable of and you can talk about the different types of tutoring you offer.

Don’t worry if your students end up going to Russia, either! You can continue tutoring them as long as you both have decent internet connections through online private tutorials.

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