Best Places to Visit in Russia

Russia’s profound history radiates from the walls of the Kremlin through its bedazzling rural towns. 

Learn About Imperial Russia in Moscow

From the flamboyant days of Tsardom to the stark austerity of the Federation, Moscow has been at the epicenter of the evolution of Russia. A visit will reveal the layers of phenomenal architecture that act as the moving force behind the city’s ultimate allure. Most of it clusters around Red Square. Take your time to walk on the square to get a sense of its historic importance. St. Basil’s Cathedral is indisputably the star attraction, anchoring the square as an epitome of Soviet architecture. Right across on the other edge, the State Historical Museum brings the iconic crimson facades of Moscow to the stage. And the most recognizable structure in the city, the imposing Kremlin, meets visitors a few blocks away. There is no better place to learn about Russia’s gilded history than the Armory. These are among the best places to visit in Russia on a cultural trip.

Explore the Countryside in the Golden Ring

Once you step out of the dynamic Moscow, a blissful small-town scene greets you in the ancient cities of Vladimir, Suzdal, Sergiyev Posad, and Pereslavly Zalesskiy. They are hailed as valuable open-air museums in the country, boasting a rich collection of kremlins, churches, and monasteries. The White Stone Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal alone qualify as the best places to visit in Russia. No trip to Sergiyev Posad is complete without a visit to the Trinity Monastery. While in Suzdal, take a stroll on the riverside and relish the Russian countryside to the fullest. For a more modern taste seasoned with traditional touches, head to Vladimir. It is the best place to experience local life at its best. Pereslavl-Zalesskiy is arguably the most idyllic of all, with its translucent lake and emerald countryside studded with the onion domes you are accustomed to seeing in the Golden Ring.

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Spend a Day in the Trendy St. Petersburg

For all its imperial flair and religious importance, it is the inspiring aura of St. Petersburg that visitors cherish the most. It is the hippest stretch of Russia, blending the invigorating charms of a European city with traditional Russian culture. Among sociable cafes and bars strewn across its narrow alleys, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood stands out as the most salient structure in the city. It is one of the best places to visit in Russia. The relics of the monumental Tsardom are all around it, and if you are looking to get a concentrated dose, the Hermitage is the place to be.

Must-See Sights in Russia

Here is everything you need to know about the best places to visit in Russia.

The Red Square

The Red Square is the heart of Moscow, home to Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Tomb and the number one witness of Russia’s history.

Why You Should Visit:

The Red Square is a must-visit attraction in Moscow, known for its iconic architecture, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere.


Don’t Miss:

-Visit St. Basil’s Cathedral, a symbol of Russia’s identity and the most recognizable landmark on the Red Square.

-See Lenin’s Mausoleum, where the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin has been on display since his death in 1924.

-Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Kremlin, which takes place every day at noon.


Keep in Mind:

-Due to the significance of the Red Square, expect security checks at the entrances. Plan your visit accordingly and be prepared for possible queues.

-As the Red Square is a major cultural and historical site, it’s advisable to dress modestly and respectfully. Cover your shoulders and knees, especially if you plan to visit religious sites within the area.

-Respect any signage or instructions regarding photography to ensure a smooth and respectful visit.

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St. Petersburg

Get surrounded by the glorious monuments of the cultural capital of Russia; discover the Nevsky Prospect, Church of the Spilled Blood, Hermitage, and many more.

Why You Should Visit:

St. Petersburg is a cultural hub and a city of contrasts, with a mix of historical landmarks, stunning architecture, and modern attractions that make it a top destination in Russia.


Don’t Miss:

-Visit the State Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and most impressive art museums in the world, with a collection of over 3 million items.

-See the Peter and Paul Fortress, which served as a prison for political prisoners in the 19th and 20th centuries.

-Take a boat tour along the city’s numerous canals and see the city from a unique perspective.


Keep in Mind:

-Check the visa requirements well in advance and ensure you have the necessary documentation to avoid any complications during your visit.

-Be prepared for cold winters and mild summers, and pack appropriate clothing and accessories to stay comfortable during your visit.

-Check the opening hours in advance and plan your visit accordingly to avoid disappointment.

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best places to visit in Russia

Church of the Spilled Blood

An architectural masterpiece with the combination of baroque, classical and modernist styles. This church was built where Tsar II Alexander was assassinated.

Why You Should Visit:

The Church of the Spilled Blood is a remarkable sight to behold, featuring intricate mosaics, stunning domes, and a tragic history that makes it one of the most unique and memorable attractions in St. Petersburg.


Don’t Miss:

-Marvel at the stunning mosaics covering the church’s interior walls and ceilings.

-Learn about the history of the church, which was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.

-Take in the picturesque view of the church and its colorful domes from the Griboedov Canal.

Keep in Mind:

-When visiting religious sites such as the Church of the Spilled Blood, dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing clothing.

-Follow any guidelines provided by the staff and be respectful of the sacred atmosphere.

-Consider visiting early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the busiest times.

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Moscow

Explore the fascinating history of the Red Square, visit the spectacular Kremlin and let the architecture of the St. Basil’s Cathedral leave you speechless.

Why You Should Visit:

Moscow is a fascinating city that offers something for everyone, with an array of historical landmarks, cultural attractions, and vibrant nightlife that make it a must-see destination in Russia.


Don’t Miss:

-Experience the world-class performances at the renowned Bolshoi Theatre, home to the Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera, and witness the grandeur of Russian performing arts.

-Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Gorky Park, a popular recreational spot in Moscow, with its beautiful gardens, cycling paths, outdoor activities, and cultural events.

-Wander along the charming pedestrian street of Arbat, lined with shops, cafes, and street performers, and experience the lively atmosphere of Moscow’s cultural and historical district.


Keep in Mind:

-Plan your itinerary and allow extra time for travel between attractions.

-Moscow experiences distinct seasons, with cold winters and warm summers. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions during your visit. In winter, bring warm clothing, including hats, scarves, and gloves, as temperatures can drop significantly.

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Kremlin Palace

Also one of the largest museums in the world, this breath-taking complex from the 14th century includes 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals, the Kremlin Wall and Towers.

Why You Should Visit:

The Kremlin Palace is a symbol of power and grandeur in Russia, with a rich history and stunning architecture that make it a top attraction in Moscow.


Don’t Miss:

-Tour the grand State Kremlin Palace, which serves as the official residence of the Russian President and has hosted numerous international events and concerts.

-Visit the Armoury Chamber Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Russian imperial treasures, including Faberge eggs, carriages, and coronation robes.

-See the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, a 16th-century tower that offers stunning views of Moscow and the surrounding Kremlin walls.


Keep in Mind:

-To visit the Kremlin Palace, it’s advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during the peak tourist season. This will ensure your entry and help you avoid long queues at the ticket counters.

-Allow sufficient time for security procedures and plan your visit accordingly.

-Professional guides can provide in-depth information about the history and significance of the site, enhancing your overall experience.

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best places to visit in Russia

Suzdal

Suzdal is a town northeast of Moscow, Russia. It’s part of the Golden Ring cluster of ancient towns. The Suzdal Kremlin is a centuries-old fortress.

Why You Should Visit:

Suzdal is a charming town located in the heart of the Russian countryside, known for its peaceful atmosphere, beautiful architecture, and rich cultural heritage that make it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Don’t Miss:

-Visit the Suzdal Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes a group of historical and architectural monuments dating back to the 10th century.

-See the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, an outstanding example of Russian wooden architecture from the 17th century.

-Stroll through the charming town and enjoy its peaceful atmosphere, which makes it a popular destination for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of Moscow.


Keep in Mind:

-Suzdal is a small town, and public transportation options may be limited. Plan your visit accordingly and consider exploring the town on foot or renting a bicycle to get around more easily.

-It’s recommended to cover your shoulders and knees, especially when entering religious buildings.

-Familiarize yourself with basic Russian etiquette, such as greeting locals with a polite “hello” or “good day” and using appropriate hand gestures when interacting with others.

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Russia FAQ

What are the top tourist attractions in Moscow?

Moscow, the capital city of Russia, is home to a variety of famous tourist attractions that reflect the country’s rich history and culture. The top tourist attractions in Moscow include the iconic Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theatre, Gorky Park, and the Tretyakov Gallery. Other must-see sights include the Moscow Metro, which is known for its ornate stations, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. Visitors can also explore Moscow’s vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene, which includes a variety of restaurants, bars, and clubs.

How many days should I spend in St. Petersburg?

To truly experience the best of St. Petersburg, it is recommended to spend at least 3-4 days in the city. This will give you enough time to explore the city’s major landmarks, visit its famous museums and art galleries, and enjoy the local culture and cuisine.

What are the best museums to visit in St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg is known for its rich history and culture, and it’s home to some of the most renowned museums in the world. The top museums to visit in St. Petersburg include the State Hermitage Museum, which houses over three million art and artifact pieces, including works by Rembrandt and da Vinci; the Russian Museum, which features the world’s largest collection of Russian art; and the FabergĂ© Museum, which showcases exquisite works of art by the famous Russian jeweler Peter Carl FabergĂ©. Other notable museums include the St. Petersburg Kunstkamera, which displays a vast collection of ethnography and anthropology, and the Museum of Political History, which chronicles the country’s political history from the early 20th century to the present day.

What is the nightlife like in Moscow?

Moscow is famous for its vibrant and diverse nightlife scene, which caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. The city is home to numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues, as well as theaters, cinemas, and other cultural attractions that stay open late into the night. Some of the most popular nightlife areas in Moscow include the trendy Red October district, the historic Arbat street, and the bustling Tverskaya street. Visitors can enjoy everything from live music and DJ sets to opera and ballet performances, along with a wide variety of food and drink options. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some venues may have dress codes or require reservations, and that the legal drinking age in Russia is 18.

What are the best things to do in the Russian countryside?

Russia is a vast country with a diverse landscape, and there are many things to do in the countryside. One of the top attractions is visiting Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake, in Siberia. Another popular destination is the Golden Ring, a historic ring of cities northeast of Moscow that offers a glimpse into Russia’s past. For those interested in nature, Kamchatka, in the Russian Far East, is home to some of the world’s most spectacular volcanic landscapes and wildlife. Additionally, the Caucasus Mountains in the south offer opportunities for hiking and exploring traditional villages.

What is the food like in Russia?

Russian cuisine is a diverse and flavorful blend of influences from Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Siberia. Traditional dishes often feature hearty ingredients like potatoes, beef, pork, and fish, as well as grains like buckwheat and barley. Some must-try dishes include borscht, a tangy beet soup; pelmeni, savory dumplings filled with meat; blini, thin pancakes often served with sour cream and caviar; and shashlik, grilled meat skewers. Russian cuisine also features a wide variety of pickled vegetables and preserved foods, a reflection of the country’s long, cold winters. For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to try medovik, a honey cake, or vareniki, sweet or savory stuffed dumplings.

How can I explore the Russian art scene?

Russia has a rich and diverse art scene that is worth exploring. A great way to start is by visiting the many art museums and galleries in Moscow and St. Petersburg, such as the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Hermitage Museum. You can also attend art exhibitions, festivals, and events that take place throughout the year in different cities across Russia. Another way to explore the Russian art scene is by visiting the studios of local artists, where you can see their works in progress and even purchase some pieces directly from the artists themselves. Additionally, you can join a guided art tour or workshop, where you can learn more about the different styles and techniques of Russian art while creating your own pieces.

What are the best souvenirs to buy in Russia?

Russia is a country with a rich cultural heritage and a long history, which is reflected in the variety of souvenirs available for purchase. Some of the best souvenirs to buy in Russia include traditional handicrafts such as matryoshka dolls, lacquer boxes, and samovars. Other popular items include fur hats, traditional Russian scarves, and hand-painted porcelain figurines. For those interested in music, traditional balalaika instruments or CDs of famous Russian musicians can also make for unique and memorable souvenirs. Additionally, vodka and caviar are famous Russian products that many tourists choose to bring home as gifts for friends and family.

What are the best places to visit in Siberia?

Siberia, the vast region that occupies a significant part of Russia, is home to stunning natural landscapes, diverse cultures, and unique experiences. Among the top places to visit in Siberia are Lake Baikal, the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world, where visitors can enjoy hiking, skiing, and ice skating in winter, and swimming and boating in summer. Another must-visit destination is the Altai Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with breathtaking scenery, including snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and lush forests. Other popular destinations include the city of Novosibirsk, a hub of scientific and cultural activities, and the historic town of Tobolsk, known for its well-preserved architecture and rich history. Visitors can also experience traditional nomadic lifestyles by visiting the indigenous peoples of Siberia, such as the Yakuts and the Evenki.

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