Must-see attractions in Russia

  • Erarta, Museum of modern art.

    Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art

    St Petersburg

    Erarta's superb hoard of 2800 pieces of Russian contemporary art trumps its somewhat far-flung location. Housed in an ingeniously converted neoclassical…

  • Entrance to the Novgorod State United Museum.

    Novgorod State United Museum

    Veliky Novgorod

    Within the kremlin walls is this must-see museum that houses three strikingly comprehensive exhibitions covering the history of Veliky Novgorod, Russian…

  • Church of the Ascension, Gora Sekirnaya, Solovetsky Island, Russia.

    Gora Sekirnaya

    Northern European Russia

    Literally translated as Hatchet Mountain, this infamous 71m-high hill was the site of tortures and summary executions described in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn…

  • St Petersburg, Russia. Sailing ship anchored by the Peter and Paul Fortress.; Shutterstock ID 161765633; Your name (First / Last): Brana V; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: destination page images

    Peter & Paul Fortress

    St Petersburg

    Housing a cathedral where the Romanovs are buried, a former prison and various exhibitions, this large defensive fortress on Zayachy Island is the kernel…

  • Church on the Spilled Blood

    Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood

    St Petersburg

    This five-domed dazzler is St Petersburg’s most elaborate church, with a classic Russian Orthodox exterior and an interior decorated with some 7000 sq…

  • St. Sophia Cathedral on an early August morning, Vologda, Russia.

    St Sofia’s Cathedral

    Northern European Russia

    Powerful five-domed St Sofia’s Cathedral has a soaring interior smothered with beautiful 1680s frescoes. The astonishingly tall iconostasis is filled with…

  • Alexander Nevsky Monastery, named after St Petersburg's patron saint.

    Alexander Nevsky Monastery

    St Petersburg

    The Alexander Nevsky Monastery – named for the patron saint of St Petersburg – is the city's most ancient and eminent monastery. Peter the Great made a…

  • Irbensky, floating lighthouse, museum ship in exposition of Museum of World Ocean over backdrop of Planet Ocean exhibition building on the Pregolya River.

    Museum of the World Ocean


    Strung along the banks of the Pregolya River are several ships, a submarine, maritime machinery and exhibition halls that together make up this excellent…

  • Bolshoy Zayatsky Island

    Bolshoy Zayatsky Island

    Northern European Russia

    This small, wind-whipped island is famous for its 13 labyrinths, including the largest one in northern Russia. A boardwalk loops around the island from…

  • The Amber Museum, inside the Dohna Tower.

    Amber Museum


    Housed in the 19th-century Dohna Tower on the southern shore of the Upper Pond (Верхний пруд), this is a terrific introduction to…

  • Assumption Cathedral at dawn, Smolensk, Russia.

    Assumption Cathedral

    Western European Russia

    Dominating the skyline is this huge green-and-white working cathedral topped by five silver domes. A church has stood here since 1101; this one was built…

  • Saint Sophia Cathedral at Novgorod Kremlin.

    Cathedral of St Sophia

    Veliky Novgorod

    This is the oldest church in Russia (finished in 1050) and one of the country's oldest stone buildings. It's the kremlin's focal point and you couldn't…

  • Nuclear icebreaker Lenin in the port of Murmansk in winter.

    Nuclear Icebreaker Lenin


    Murmansk is a centre for nuclear icebreakers that carve their way to the North Pole, but even in port you can give in to your wildest seafaring–Arctic…

  • St Isaac's Cathedral.

    St Isaac's Cathedral

    St Petersburg

    The golden dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral dominates the St Petersburg skyline. Its obscenely lavish interior is open as a museum, although services are held…

  • Grand Cascade

    Around St Petersburg

    Peterhof's uncontested centrepiece is the Grand Cascade, a symphony of over 140 fountains and canals partly engineered by Peter himself. To see the…

  • Exhibition in Moscow Planetarium.

    Moscow Planetarium


    The planetarium has become one of the biggest and brightest stars on the Moscow museum circuit, now incorporating all kinds of high-tech gadgetry,…

  • Ruins of abandoned railway station in Kirovsk, Russia.

    Abandonded Soviet Train Station

    Kola Peninsula

    This colossal Soviet-era train station stands abandoned and half-forgotten amid the harsh Arctic landscape. The two-platform station, which once took…

  • View from one of towers of the Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod.

    Veliky Novgorod Kremlin

    Veliky Novgorod

    On the west bank of the Volkhov River, and surrounded by a pleasant wooded park, the kremlin is one of Russia’s oldest. Originally called the Detinets …

  • The Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Kargopol, Russia.

    Nativity Cathedral

    Northern European Russia

    The five-domed, 1562 star of Sobornaya Ploschad sports intriguing timber-encased corner buttresses and houses a splendid iconostasis on the 2nd floor …

  • Inside of Stalin's Bunker in Samara.

    Stalin’s Bunker

    Volga Region

    Samara hides a creepy piece of WWII history. This was the place Stalin was to be relocated to in the event that the Germans took Moscow. The never-used…

  • A group of climbers follow each other in a chain while climbing Mt Elbrus, Russia.

    Mt Elbrus

    Russian Caucasus

    The two peaks of Mt Elbrus – the western at 5642m and eastern at 5621m – bulge nearly 1000m above anything else in the vicinity. This volcanic cone has…

  • Entrance to the Kapova Cave located in the Shulgan Tash Nature Reserve, Ural, Russia.

    Capova Cave

    The Urals

    People come from all over to visit this limestone cave with its ancient rock drawings from the Paleolithic era, some dating as far back as 36,400 years.

  • Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin at sunset.


    Nizhny Novgorod

    Built on remnants of an earlier settlement, Nizhny Novgorod’s magnificent kremlin dates to 1500–15 when Italian architect Pyotr Fryazin began work on its…

  • Vyborg castle

    Vyborg Castle


    Rising stoutly from an islet in Vyborg Bay, this castle was built by the Swedes in 1293 when they first captured Karelia from Novgorod. Most of it now…

  • Balcony of Museum-apartment of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Academician Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, who lived here during his exile from 1980 to 1986.

    Memorial Apartment of Andrei Sakharov

    Nizhny Novgorod

    The nondescript flat where dissident scientist Andrei Sakharov, father of Russia's hydrogen bomb, spent seven years in exile after protesting the 1979…

  • Old Vladimir museum.

    Old Vladimir Museum

    Golden Ring

    This red-brick former water tower contains a multistorey exhibit of everyday objects from Vladimir's history (no English signage); the display of old…

  • Snow Village, Kirovsk, Russia.

    Snow Village

    Kola Peninsula

    Every November, ice sculptors from all over the region make their way to Kirovsk to chisel the snowy halls and tunnels of the Snow Village into existence,…

  • Aerial view of city monument Defenders of Soviet Arctic Alyosha.



    One of Murmansk’s most memorable sights is a gigantic concrete soldier nicknamed Alyosha, erected to commemorate the Arctic fighters who perished in the…

  • Manor of Merchant Rukavishnikov on the Verkhne-Volzhskaya Embankment, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

    Rukavishnikov Mansion

    Nizhny Novgorod

    This exhibition space is located inside a 19th-century mansion once belonging to the Rukavishnikov merchant family. You can wander through the rooms on…

  • Park Pobedy (Victory park) at Poklonnaya hill in Moscow, Russia.

    Park Pobedy

    Arbat & Khamovniki

    The Great Patriotic War – as WWII is known in Russia – was a momentous event that is still vivid in the hearts, minds and memories of many Russian…

  • Nizhny Novgorod Cable Car.

    Cable Car

    Nizhny Novgorod

    Connecting Nizhny Novgorod with the unattractive settlement of Bor across the Volga, this cable car offers a spectacular 13-minute ride. In winter there…

  • Prechistenskaya bell tower and Cathedral of the Assumption, Kremlin in Astrakhan.



    The kremlin on top of Zayachy Hill is a peaceful green haven. Its walls and gate towers were built in the 16th century using bricks from the ruins of the…

  • The Northern Maritime Museum in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

    Northern Naval Museum

    Northern European Russia

    Beautifully presented nautical exhibits cluster around the striking centrepiece – the prow of a ship – in the light-filled main hall of Arkhangelsk's…

  • Hermitage-Vyborg, Vyborg, Russia.

    Hermitage Vyborg


    Housed in a wing of a striking building designed by Finnish architect Uno Ulberg in 1930, this small museum hosts themed exhibitions that are curated from…

  • Kazan Kremlin and the river Kazanka.

    Kazan Kremlin


    Kazan’s striking kremlin is home to government offices, pleasant parks, museums, the enormous Kul Sharif Mosque and other religious buildings. Among the…

  • Hermitage Storage Facility

    St Petersburg

    Guided tours of the Hermitage’s state-of-the-art restoration and storage facility are highly recommended. This is not a formal exhibition as such, but the…

  • Assumption Cathedral

    Golden Ring

    Set dramatically high above the Klyazma River, this simple but majestic piece of pre-Mongol architecture is the legacy of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky, the…

  • Street Art Museum

    St Petersburg

    It's well worth the effort making the trip out to see this magnificent collection of street art set inside a former 11-hectare industrial site. You'll…

  • Aerial view of Vologda Kremlin in Vologda, Russia.


    Northern European Russia

    Vologda’s multidomed, attractive kremlin is the city’s historical centrepiece, a 17th-century fortified enclosure built as a church administrative centre…

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