The Best Places to Visit in Russia

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Russia is a country unlike any other. It is the biggest country in the world, stretching along the top of Europe and Asia. However, it is a country that many people don’t think to visit, or decide to just go to the two main cities, Moscow and St Petersburg. 

In reality, there is so much more to see in this spectacular country. As well as a unique culture, there are some breathtaking landscapes and a fascinating history to learn about. 

To help with your wanderlust, here is a list of the amazing places to visit in Russia!

Places to visit in Russia

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is one of the most amazing locations you can visit in Russia. It is right in the east of the country, not too far from the border with Mongolia. 

It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world – a huge surface of beautiful crystal clear water with extraordinary nature around. It’s a wonderful place for hiking, admiring nature and even going swimming in the summer! 

Caspian Sea

Caspian Sea at sunset

The Caspian Sea is a huge lake in the west of Russia – in fact, it’s the largest lake in the world! As well as Russia, it borders Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan. 

This area of Russia is sometimes considered unsafe, and it’s not for the faint-hearted traveller. However, it is close to the epic Caucasus mountains, and the nature is spectacular. The people are incredibly hospitable too! 

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg is a city that borders Europe and Asia. It is located to the east of the Ural Mountains, and you can visit the mountains from here. The city is also famous for being the site of Church on the Blood, which is a modern church where the Romanovs were massacred in 1918 during the Russian revolution. If you are interested in Russian history, Yekaterinburg is a must-visit! 

Kazan

Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, which is a semi-autonomous region in Russia and home to the Tartar ethinic minority. Here, you can try Tartar food, visit the historic Kazan Kremlin and learn about Russia’s diverse religions at the Kul Sharif mosque. 

Moscow

Of course, you can’t visit Russia without going to Moscow! The capital of Russia is home to some of its world-famous attractions, including Red Square and the Kremlin. Also, don’t miss trying Moscow food and doing a tour around the city’s subway. It’s a great place to learn about Russian history, from the Tsars to the Soviets! 

St Petersburg

St Petersburg is Russia’s old capital and second city, and is the most ‘European’ city in the country. Don’t miss the Hermitage Museum which is located in Katherine the Great’s Winter Palace, Peterhof Palace with all of its magnificent fountains, and the Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral. It’s also worth spending some time enjoying St Petersburg’s gastronomical scene, as well as enjoying the nightlife. 

Tips for visiting Russia 

Getting a visa

Citizens of most countries need a visa to visit Russia. The procedure to get a Russian tourist visa is usually fast and straightforward; there is quite a lot of paperwork, but it’s easy to fill out. You will also need to provide your passport with at least 6 months until it expires and three blank pages (one of these will be occupied by the Russian visa). 

You also may need to provide additional photos and a Russian invitation letter. You can organise these with a visa agency. 

Take the train

Russia is famous for having the longest train journey in the world – the Trans Siberian Railway. It runs from Moscow in the west to Vladivostok in the east. Other lines will take you to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and Beijing in China. This is a wonderful way to explore Russia – you can stop at all of the major cities, and see the beauty of the country from your window. 

Here’s my blog post about taking this train from Ulaanbaatar to Novosibirsk in Siberia. 

Learn some Russian

While more and more younger people speak English, Russia is definitely somewhere where it helps to learn the local lingo. Just learning some Russian from YouTube or DuoLingo is really helpful – if you can grasp some basic phrases, you’ll be able to get around Russia much more easily! You can also speak Russian in many other countries that were part of the USSR, such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. 

Russia is a fascinating place to visit, and somewhere where you’ll have amazing travel tales from! Hopefully, this blog post has given you some inspiration for visiting Russia and has helped you work out a plan for your trip there.

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