Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Russia

Russia, also officially known as the Russian Federation is a country located in northern Eurasia. Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. The largest country in the world, Russia offers plenty of attractions, from treks up the slopes of glacier-capped mountains to strolls along the shoreline of Earth’s oldest lake. Historical sites and cultural activities in the country’s great cities abound as well. Whether you’re exploring the grounds of Moscow’s Kremlin or wandering through the steppes of Mongolia, a visit to Russia is an adventure not soon forgotten. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Russia along with you family is listed below:

1. Moscow

Moscow is the capital city and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The extensive city of Moscow is a mixture of historical and modern sights. Moscow offers plenty of attractions from the Red Square and the Kremlin to tours in the outskirts of the city, there is something for every visitor. There are numerous things that you can do in Moscow such as you can shop, engage in cultural activities in the capital of music and theatre, or simply be captivated by the beautiful surroundings of Moscow. Moscow is a lively city, full of things to see and places to visit.

2. Kazan

Officially the cit of Kazan is popular as “the third capital of Russia”. It is one of the oldest cities of the county and turned into 1000 years in 2005. Kazan is perhaps one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country. You will find some of the most impressive places of interest here such as the oldest Annunciation Cathedral, Kazan Kremlin, and the core of the old city, the Old Tatar Settlement and iconic buildings of the century-before-last. You will also find various modern architectural monuments in Kazan. The symbols of Kazan are the “Frisbee” of the circus and the modern Qolsharif Mosque.

3. The Golden Ring

Make sure to go on tours around cities which are renowned for their unique monasteries and churches of the 12th-17th centuries, worth a stop. These cities have rather poetic names: Sergiyev Posad, Alexandrov, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Uglich, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky, Suzdal and Vladimir. These impressive places will surely amaze you.

4. Novgorod Veliky

The history of the city is closely connected with the history of Russian statehood, of which one of the pillars is Orthodoxy. For this reason, you can find lots of churches, monasteries and other places of worship in Novgorod Veliky. The most extraordinary is Sofiysky cathedral, which was built in the 11th century. It contains the remains of six Russian saints and many important icons, including the miracle-working icon of Our Lady of the Sign.

5. Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is considered to be the most sought after tourist attractions of Russia. It is in fact the oldest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet. The lake also offers unique, untouched flora, fauna and tasty omuls which the locals catch and then cure by smoking. This magnificent lake is among the mist visit spot of the country. Walking along the area’s ecological routes and communicating with the locals who are untouched by civilization will help you immerse yourself in nature.

6. St. Basil’s Cathedral

One of the extremely popular tourist attractions of Moscow is the St. Basil’s Cathedral. The Cathedral is beautifully decorated with red-brick towers and swirling onion domes, this magnificently impressive cathedral is certainly Russia’s most emblematic building. The cathedral was designed with eight chapels, each representing a successful assault made on Kazan. A ninth chapel was added later to cover the grave of Basil the Blessed, the pious ascetic to whom the cathedral owes its popular name. The Cathedral was constructed during the year 1552.

7. Trans-Siberian Railway

This railway is part of the longest railway system in the world; the classic Trans-Siberian railway runs from Moscow to Vladivostok. Vladivostok is beautiful city quite close to Russia’s borders with China and North Korea. Trans-Siberian Railway started during the year 1891 by Tsar Alexander III and completed by his son, Tsar Nicholas II, in the year 1916, the line is known as the route of the tsars. The train features first-, second- and third-class sleepers, and all to gather provides an excellent travelling experience to the traveler.

8. Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Russia to be found situated in the Caucasus Mountain Range towards Southern part of the country. At 5,642 meters (18,510 ft), Elbrus is included as one of the Seven Summits, the highest summits on each of the planet’s seven continents, leaving a wonderful impression. While the mountain was formed from a volcano, it is considered dormant, with no recorded eruptions. You can also take a cable car system that can even take you to the height of 3,800 meters (12,500 ft).

9. Valley of Geysers

Valley of Geysers is another incredible tourist attraction of Russia, worth a visit. It is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. It is in fact the second largest geyser field in the world and was founded during the year 1941 by local scientist Tatyana Ustinova. Since then it became a popular tourist attraction in Kamchatka and attracts a lot of interest from scientists and tourists.

10. Kizhi Island

The Kizhi Island is one of the beautiful tourist destinations of Russia offering plenty of things to do and see. This magnificent island is situated in Karelia, a region towards the Northwestern part of the country that borders Finland and the White Sea. This Island is renowned for its incredible open-air museum. The museum’s collection features the 120-foot high Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior, a structure made famous by its 22 domes. Other points of interest in this island are dozens of wooden houses, windmills, chapels and barns.

11. St Sophia Cathedral

St Sophia Cathedral is one of the major tourist attractions of Russia, to be found in Novgorod, Russia’s oldest city. The height of this spectacular Cathedral is 125 feet high and adorned with five spectacular domes, the cathedral is the oldest church building in Russia. It also features a range of ancient religious artifacts, including The Mother of God of the Sign, an icon that legend says saved Novgorod from attack in 1169.

12. Suzdal

Suzdal is one of the top visited tourist attractions of Russia. It was also the capital of several Russian principalities, is considered to be the jewel of Russia’s “Golden Ring,” ancient cities that the country has preserved as living museums of Russia’s cultural past. It is regarded as an ideal destination for those visitors who are interested in experience the best of Russia’s historic architecture, full of onion-dome topped Kremlins, cathedrals and monasteries. Dating back to 1024, this beautiful city actually looks like a large open-air museum that transports visitors back in time.

13. Moscow Kremlin

The Kremlin is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Moscow. The atmosphere is suitable Russia’s authoritarian image: the powerful Kremlin walls, the stately buildings and the proliferation of police emphasize the idea that this regime takes itself seriously. Nonetheless, this is the area where visitors to Moscow spend most of their time, and rightly so. The region of Kremlin is considered be the most important historical and architectural region of the city and surely worth a visit. The 250-acre grounds include the Armoury, filled with royal treasures of the past, and the Diamond Fund Exhibition, a collection of jewelry that includes a 190-carat diamond given to Catherine the Great.

14. Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum is one of the best-visit tourist attractions of Russia. This museum was established during the year 1764 by Catherine the Great. This interesting museum is located in the city of Saint Petersburg, is a massive museum of art and culture showing the highlights of a collection of over 3 million items spanning the globe. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.

15. Velikiy Novgorod

Velikiy Novgorod is one of the beautiful places to visit in Russia. It is located on the banks of the pretty river Volkhov, around 190 kilometers towards the south of St. Petersburg. This city is aas old as 1100 years and today it is a prominent. During World War II, the city suffered heavy damage after the Nazi bombings, but the historic monuments were later restored maintaining its real appeal. One of the popular spot of this region is the oldest stone building in Russia – St.Sophia Cathedral in the Novgorod Kremlin.

16. Murmansk

Murmansk is perhaps the most charming area of Russia, located towards the northwestern part of the country. It is the largest town in the world north of the Arctic Circle, lies 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, and on the eastern shore of Kola Bay, at the ice-free Barents Sea, home to Russia’s nuclear-powered ice-breakers. It was established during the year 1915 as a supply port in World War I, was a base for the British, French, and American expeditionary forces against the Bolsheviks in 1918. Today it is a significant fishing port, and its fish-processing plant is one of the largest in Europe. Thousands of visitors flock here during the Festival of the North, held in March and featuring reindeer races and a ski marathon.

17. Vyborg

The city of Vyborg is one of Europe’s oldest cities and has an impressive medieval castle constructed on a rock in the bay. During the year 1293 Vyborg was actually contracted as a fortress. Later in the year 1710 the fortress was captured by Peter I the Great, and Vyborg thenceforth remained under Russian rule. During World War II the city was damaged, but was subsequently rebuilt. Vyborg is an important fishing port and also has ship-repair yards. The population is about 81.000.

18. Sochi

Sochi is well considered as a wonderful Russia’s resort at the Black Sea. With its subtropical climate, warm sea and adjoining modern resort complexes, Sochi has long attracted heads of state, foreign tourists and Russians alike. The region of Sochi offers plenty of things to do and see. Once here you can witness its streets and gardens are filled with exotic subtropical trees and shrubs. You will find beautiful waterfalls, hilltop views, mineral springs and alpine vistas to enjoy.

19. Vladivostok

The town of Vladivostok was discovered during the year 1860 as a Russian military outpost. This town has been a prominent site of Russia for a long period of time. It is the site of the Far Eastern Scientific Centre, the Far Eastern State University, and medical, art education, polytechnic, trade, and marine-engineering institutes. The city has amateur and professional theatres as well as a philharmonic society and symphony orchestra. It offers some of the interesting tourist attractions. There are also museums of local history and of the history of the Pacific Fleet.

20. Volga cruise

Once in Russia it is a must to enjoy in Volga Cruise, it is one of the major tourist attractions of the country. The music plays almost constantly on the top decks. You can also enjoy some of the best events and discos that are held here. At night, the motorboat travels quickly, whereas during the day, it stops in cities along the way. In Volgograd you can visit Mamayev Kurgan and see the giant statue of the Motherland.

21. Yekaterinburg

The city of Yekaterinburg is one of the most interesting places to visit in Russia. It is considered as an ideal destination for those travelers who want to see traditional Orthodox churches alongside the architectural style of the builders of the “new world” who tried to destroy these very churches. This city is also blessed with biggest collection of monuments of Soviet constructivism, standing side by side with traditional museums.

22. Samara

Samara was officially established during the year 1586 when on the bank of the Volga River the construction of the fortress to protect the country from the invasion of martial nomadic tribes. Samara offers some of the famous historical attractions, considered worth visiting. Plenty of renowned personalities worked and lived in Samara including outstanding Russian writers Lev Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, painters Ilya Repin, Vasily Surikov and Ivan Aivazovsky, revolutionists Michael Frunze and Vladimir Lenin. Even French writer Alexander Duma had paid a visit to Samara in the year 1858.

23. Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad was actually established during the year 1255, previously it was known as the old city Kenigsberg, founded by the knights of the Teutonic order. This city is well considered as one of the unique cities of Russia which is occupied by parks and public gardens, was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. Here the architecture typical for old European capitals is harmonically combined with modern buildings. One of the major tourist attractions of Kaliningrad is its magnificent zoo, where the visitors can see various animals and birds, including the rare ones. Today, even with the extensive damage suffered during World War II, Kaliningrad offers an amazing opportunity to see a Russian world still somewhat untainted by the world of fast food and easy living.

24. Rostov-on-Don

Rostov-on-Don is another famous tourist attraction of Russia that was established during the year 1749 on the right bank of the Don River. Mainly because of its geographical location on the crossroads of the land and water roads, the economics in Rostov developed rapidly; soon it was called the merchants` city. It offers various beautiful and attractive tourist spots in Russia. During the Great Patriotic War Rostov was laid in ruins, buildings of the theatres, schools, hospitals, clubs, institutes were burned. Thousands of people were shot, exhausted or captivated.

25. Omsk

Omsk is a huge industrial, educational and cultural center, established during the year 1716 it is one of the beautiful contemporary city with wide thoroughfares, numerous bridges and high sky-scrapers. The city of Omsk offers some of the examples of architecture of previous centuries including the Tobolskie Gate leading to the city fortress, the oldest constructions in Omsk. The palace of a general-governor is another interesting sight of Omsk. This old building has seen various historical events significant for Russian history.

26. Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral is beautifully decorated with five golden helmet domes and four semicircular gables facing the square. This magnificent Cathedral was the focal church of prerevolutionary Russia, and the burial place of most of the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church from the 1320s to 1700. The Assumption Cathedral is one of the top tourist attractions of the city. A striking 1660s fresco of the Virgin Mary faces Sobornaya Pl, above the door once used for royal processions. Once in Kremlin it is considered a must visit tourist spot.

27. Armoury

The Armoury was discovered under Vasily III to manufacture and store weapons during the year 1511, imperial arms and regalia for the royal court. After a period of time it also started producing jewellery, icon frames as well as embroidery. During the reign of Peter the Great all craftspeople, goldsmiths and silversmiths were sent to St Petersburg and the armoury became a sheer museum that displays the royal resources. Armoury in Moscow is place worth visiting. Today it contains abundance of treasures for ogling, and remains a highlight of any visit to the Kremlin.

28. Terem Palace

The Terem Palace of Moscow is one of the most famous attractions of the city that belongs to the 16th century. It is the most impressive of the Kremlin palaces. The palace was constructed by Vasily III is made of stone, and the palace includes living quarters, a dining room, living room, study, bedroom and small chapel. Catch a glimpse of its cluster of 11 golden domes and chequered roof behind and above the Church of the Deposition of the Robe.

29. Diamond Fund Exhibition

Diamond Fund Exhibition is considered one of the fascinating spots to visit in Moscow. The Exhibition displays some of the best collection of diamond, mainly precious stones and jewellery garnered by tsars and empresses that also contain such weighty beasts as the 190-carat diamond given to Catherine the Great by her lover Grigory Orlov. The beauty of this magnificent diamonds is simply worth a visit.

30. The State Museum

The State History Museum of Moscow has an enormous collection covering the whole Russian empire from the time of the Stone Age. The museum structure dates back to as early as ninetieth century. The building of the museum itself is a huge attraction. Once here you can find room is in the style of a different period or region, some with highly decorated walls echoing Old Russian churches. The museum was reopened during the year 1997; each year sees the addition of a few more Galleries.

31. Bolshoi Theatre

Theatre Square anchors ul Petrovka with its three grand theatres surrounding a wide plaza and flowing fountain. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Moscow. It is indeed considered as the world-renowned landmark of the city of Moscow. The present pink-and-white beauty was built in 1824, replacing the Petrovka Theatre that previously stood on this site. This historic theatre saw the premier of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake during the year 1877 and The Nutcracker in 1919.

32. Ice Sculpture Gallery

The Ice Sculpture Gallery is one of the famous tourist attractions of Moscow. It is said that it has a long history in Russia. Cool off in the first-ever year-round Ice Sculpture Gallery, which is present in a refrigerated winter-wonderland tent towards the west part of Krasnaya Presnya Park. The changing exhibit is small but spectacular – the frozen masterpieces enhanced by colorful lights and dreamy music. Ice Sculpture Gallery of Moscow is indeed one of the must visit attractions. Sculptures have depicted elaborate scenes from Russian fairytales, which changes on a biannual basis. The admission price includes a special down vest and warm fuzzy foot-covers to protect you from the -10°C climate.

33. Gorky Park

The Gorky Park of the most impressive tourist spots of the city of Moscow. Part Ornamental Park, part fun fair, it is among the most festive places in Moscow – it is considered an ideal way to escape the hubbub of the city. Officially the Park Kultury, it’s named after Maxim Gorky. The park occupies an area of around 3km along the river, upstream of Krymsky most. You can’t miss the showy entrance, marked by colorful flags waving in the wind, and the happy sounds of an old-fashioned carousel. This park is an ideal place for family entertainment. Some of the famous attractions of this park include a small Western-style amusement park, which features two roller coasters and almost a dozen other terror-inducing attractions.

34. Moscow Museum of Modern Art

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is an interesting place to visit in Moscow. This museum is a pet project of the ubiquitous Zurab Tsereteli and is present in a classical 18th-century merchant’s home. It is an ideal light-filled setting for a stunning collection of paintings, sculptures and graphics, which includes both Russian and foreign artists that belongs to 20th Century. Most impressive among this collection is the avant-garde art, with works by Chagall, Kandinsky and Malevich. Unique to this museum is its exhibit of ‘nonconformist’ artists from the 1950s and ‘60s – those whose work was not acceptable to the Soviet regime.

35. Red Square

Red Square also known as Krasnaya Ploshchad is considered to be the major landmark of Moscow over 500 turbulent years. It is said that this grand structure of Moscow recall the city’s eventful history. Here, Ivan the Terrible injured prisoners before repenting of his sins at Lobnoe Mesto; he was responsible for the construction of St. Basil’s Cathedral. During the year 1812 a victorious Napoleon addressed his troops on the square, while stabbing their horses in the cathedral. Lenin Mausoleum was added by the Communists, who later demolished both the Resurrection Gate and Kazan Cathedral to make way for enormous military parades. The square has been restored to its pre-Soviet appearance.

36. Tretyakov Gallery

The Tretyakov Gallery is today the world’s largest repository of Russian art, with more than 130,000 works. The Gallery offers some of the spectacular work of some of the renowned artist across the world. Tretyakov envisioned a gallery for ordinary citizens that would cover the entire spectrum of Russian art. The collection begins with ancient icons painted by anonymous masters, and ends with colourful pre-Revolution works inspired by Fauvism and later condemned by the Communists as degenerate. You will also find works dating from 20th century are shown at the nearby New Tretyakov.

37. Metro Stations

Metro Stations in Moscow started during the year 1935 as part of the government’s plan to transform Moscow into the world’s capital of Communism, the metro’s first stations were conceived as magnificent showcases of Soviet success. The Metro stations of Moscow are an incredibly attractive place to witness. It is said that thousands of laborers and genuinely patriotic volunteers dug the tunnels, initially using simple pickaxes and shovels. Currently, retaining ubiquitous red stars and original Soviet artworks, the metro is a working museum of Communist design. The system carries 7 million passengers a day and currently has 177 stations on 12 lines.

38. Novodevichiy Convent

The Novodevichiy Convent is an impressive tourist attraction of Moscow and a UNESCO-listed convent. It was established during the year 1525 in order to celebrate Grand Prince Basil III’s recapture of Smolensk in the year 1514. Many aristocrats took their vows here and it became known as a nunnery of nobility. Tsarevna Sophia Alexeyevna (1657-1704), who served as a transitional ruler of Russia, ordered the reconstruction of many of the buildings in Moscow Baroque style, with fine ornamentation. It was taken over b Napoleon’s Troops during the year, and later used as a female prison before becoming a museum during Communism.

39. Kolomenskoe Estate

The Kolomenskoe Estate is located in pleasant riverside parkland and was actually the favorite summer residence of Ivan the Terrible and was also famous with Tsar Mikhail I (1596-1645). Both leaders made improvements, but it was Tsar Alexei (1629-76) who decided to construct his “country Kremlin” here. A fine wooden palace, with an eclectic collection of structure and 270 lavishly furnished rooms, was created in the year 1667. After Alexei’s death the palace fell into disrepair and was demolished by Catherine the Great (1729-96). The estate manages to pull plenty of tourists from around the world.

40. Kuskovo Estate

The Kuskovo Estate of Moscow is among the most impressive tourist attractions of the city. It was constructed during the 18th century and is representative of typical Russian estate architecture. The Estate is one of the spectacular sites of Moscow with a palace, a large park and ponds. The estate is an ideal place to visit on a nice day out. It is a very beautiful combination of baroque and classicism. Kuskovo also has a museum and during summers it hosts festivals and concerts.

41. Historical Museum (SHM)

Another beautiful destination of the city is the historical museum of Moscow. The museum has displays a huge collection representing every phase of the Russian history. It surely attracts those visitors who are interested in knowing the history of Moscow. It is located on Red Square and it has multiple exhibitions, which display Russia from antiquity until the 21st century. The museum is one of the most popular in Moscow.

42. Central House of Artist

Among the must visit tourist attractions of Moscow is the Central House of Artist. It is indeed the largest exhibition centre in the entire Russia. The House was started during the year 1979 and consists of 27 halls with 60 galleries. Annually it hosts hundreds of exhibitions from all over the world. You will also find a beautiful park with an open air Sculpture Museum, along with recreation areas and playgrounds for children.

43. Old Arbat Street

Moscow’s most popular thoroughfare is Old Arbat Street. This region of Moscow is regarded as a tourist-oriented place where you’ll be able to find some not-so-unusual souvenirs here. You’ll have more than one artist, musician, or juggler vying for your attention, depending upon the season and the time of day. Old Arbat Street is completely pedestrian, which means it’s great for people watching.

44. Victory Park

The Victory Park of Moscow is one of the prominent parks of the city and well memorializes the Great Patriotic War, also popular as World War II. It is said that this war took a huge toll on Russia, and elderly Russians are respected for having survived this difficult time. All over Russia you’ll find World War II memorials, but this Park is Moscow’s home for these monuments, sculptures, fountains, and obelisks.

45. Sparrow Hills

The Sparrow Hills are considered to be one of the beautiful attractions of Moscow. Once here you can get a panoramic view of the city from here. This vantage point allows you to get a good look at the expanse of the city. Perfect for photographs, a romantic moment, or jotting down thoughts in your travel journal.

46. Cathedral of Christ the Savior

One of the famous tourist spots of Moscow is Cathedral of Christ the Savior. This huge cathedral today dominates the skyline along the River of Moscow. You will find it on the site of an ancient church which was similar to this church and also bears the same name. This Cathedral was constructed in between 1839 and 1860, and finally sanctified in the year 1883. The church commemorates Russia’s victory over Napoleon. The original was destroyed during Stalin’s orgy of explosive secularism. Stalin planned to replace the church with a 315m-high Palace of Soviets (including a 100m-high statue of Lenin), but the project never got off the ground – literally.

47. Gulag History Museum

The Gulag History Museum is considered to be one of the unique museums to be found in Moscow. The museum is dedicated to the Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies, better known as the GULAG. You will find guides here dressed like guards describe the huge network of labor camps that once existed in the former Soviet Union and recount the horrors of camp life. Millions of prisoners spent years in these labor camps, made prominent by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book The Gulag Archipelago.

48. Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve

Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve is an ancient royal country seat and one of the popular places to visit in vibrant city of Moscow. This Museum Reserve is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It is located in the middle of 4 sq km of parkland, on a bluff above a bend in the Moscow River; many festivals are held here. From Bolshaya ul, enter at the rear of the grounds through the 17th-century Saviour Gate to the whitewashed Our Lady of Kazan Church, both built in the time of Tsar Alexey.

49. Alexandrovsky Garden

The Alexandrovsky Garden is considered to the most popular park and also claims to be the first public park in Moscow. The park is also famous for its Colorful flower beds and impressive Kremlin. Back in the 17th century, the Neglinnaya River ran through the present gardens, with dams and mills along its banks. When the river was diverted underground, the garden was founded by architect Osip Bove, in the year 1821.

50. ZKP Tagansky Cold War Museum

The ZKP Tagansky Cold War Museum is located on a quiet side street near Taganskaya Pl, in an ordinary neoclassical building. Operated during the Cold War by Central Telephone and Telegraph, the facility was actually created to serve as the communications headquarters in the event of a nuclear attack. As such, the building was just a shell and served as entry into the 7000-sq-metre space that is 60m underground. This museum is a fairly interesting museum to visit that offers some of the finest collections.

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