Best Places to Visit in Russia

Best Places to Visit in Russia

vacation russia

Russia is a vast country with beautiful landscapes, dramatic, historic architecture, and significant natural resources. It is, currently, however, a country that is not attractive to many tourists for a variety of reasons ranging from crime to the difficulty in arranging a visit. We have placed Russia in the “Add-on” travel category because we recommend that the tourist should limit the extent of their travel in Russia. We suggest visiting Moscow, St. Petersburg, or cruising the rivers, waterways, and canals between the two for a wonderful vacation experience. The rest of Russia remains an elusive quarry for the casual traveler.

Russia is a vast and diverse nation that continues to evolve politically and economically. Travel and living conditions in Russia contrast sharply with those in Europe and the United States. Major urban centers show tremendous differences in economic development compared to rural areas, as is true is most countries, but in Russia the differences are considerable.

While good tourist facilities exist in Moscow, St. Petersburg and some other large cities, they are not developed in most of Russia and some of the travel-related services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available.

We recommend that you visit Russia only as part of a tour that has been arranged through a reputable service. Although Russia is a country of glorious landscapes and unique culture, it does not provide a travel environment that makes tourism either easy or enjoyable.

  • Russia TravelMoscow

    • Russia’s recent history has been challenging for both its people and infrastructure, but Moscow’s tourist attractions remain world class.
    • Be sure to see the Kremlin and Red Square (both are included in the Moscow UNESCO World Heritage Site), as well as St. Basil’s Cathedral, perhaps the most outstanding sight in Moscow.  The area  around the Kremlin is notable for its unique and powerful architecture, as well as for the fact that the Kremlin has been a powerful force in the history of Europe and the world.
    • In addition, be sure to see the Bolshoi Theater, the Lenin Mausoleum and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, as all are worthwhile attractions.
      • Other parts of Moscow are not as inviting to the tourist.  If you do not accept our suggestion to join a tour of the country, then consider arranging a professional tour guide to escort you around the city.
  • St. Petersburg

    • Formerly the Capital of Russia, St. Petersburg was the home of the Tsars who wanted a capital that reflected a European version of Russian culture. The historic center of Saint Petersburg and its related monuments have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The city, also known as the Venice of the North, has many noteworthy attractions, but its crown jewel is the State Hermitage Museum.
      • Sitting astride the banks of the River Neva, the core of the Hermitage was constructed in the mid-eighteenth century and extended during later periods.
      • The buildings of the State Hermitage Museum  such as The Winter Palace of Peter I, the Great Hermitage and the Menshikov Palace) have delightful, styles of architecture (including Baroque or neoclassical).
      • The collections in the Hermitage, especially the collection of the Department of Russian Culture and the Treasure Gallery, will beckon to you, as the collections at the Hermitage include unique and compelling treasures.
      • It would take weeks  to view all of the wonders of the State Hermitage Museum and we suggest that you would do well to arrange a tour guide to take you through the highlights of this wonderful, multi-building complex.
        • See the official website  of the museum for more details on the collection and on visiting,

St. Petersburg

  • River Cruise between Moscow and St. Petersburg

    • The most practical way to see Russia’s countryside is to take a cruise that explores the waterways between Moscow and St. Petersburg.  Not only will you have a chance to visit the two greatest cities in Russia, but you will also see  beautiful countryside and visit towns of historic significance along the way – all while enjoying the attractive upper reach of the Volga River.
Volga River
Volga River

Additional Resources

For more detailed information on the cities and attractions in Russia, see the country’s official tourism website Visit Russia, which is based in the UK.   The website  represents the Russian National Tourist Office in the United States. Both website provide additional details for visiting the towns covered above, as well as information for other cities and attractions in Russia that did not make our list.

For country facts on the Russian Federation, as well as travel information related to visas, driving rules, safety, medical conditions, visas and other travel-related information, see this page on Russia Federation Travel from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department.  Regardless of your home country, we think you will find the information provided to be useful when planning a trip to Russia.

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