Top things to do

Top Choice Brewery in Samara

Zhiguli Brewery

This unlikely highlight of Samara is best enjoyed on a warm day. Here you can take your plastic bottle out of the rucksack and fill it up at the kiosk that sells the amber gold from the tap. Rows of stalls sell smok…
Top Choice Museum in Ulyanovsk

Goncharov Museum

Tthe writer Ivan Goncharov grew up in this three-storey house, which today is one of Ulyanovsk's most important museums. It tells the story of the house itself (dating from the late 18th century, with lots of 19th-c…
Top Choice Museum in Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhegorodsky State Art Museum

The former governor’s house inside the kremlin is now the Nizhegorodsky State Art Museum. Exhibits range from 14th-century icons to 20th-century paintings by artists such as Nikolai Rerikh and Vasily Surikov.
Top Choice Russian in Nizhny Novgorod

Restoratsia Pyatkin

Pyatkin makes you feel like a merchant back in his mansion after a great trading day at the fair. The menu is full of Volga fish specialities; it brews the unusual apple kvas (fermented rye bread water) for R65 and …
Top Choice Art Gallery in Samara

Samara Art Museum

Easily the most important cultural attraction in the city, the Samara Art Museum exhibits mainly Russian art, including works by those artists who came to the region to paint. Look for Boyarishina, given by Surikov …
Top Choice Russian in Samara


This funky restaurant re-creates the golden age of the Russian culinary arts in the early 20th century. Creative dishes are complemented by homemade kvas and freshly produced cranberry mors (fruit drink).
Top Choice Cafe in Volgograd


A cosy cafe that offers everything you might want, be it a large meal or a light snack, tea, coffee or one of the many alcoholic beverages on the menu. It’s good for breakfast, lunch and especially a predawn chill-o…
Top Choice French in Astrakhan

La Vanile

Flower pots abound, water streams down a glass wall and a canary sings favourite French pop tunes. We tried salmon salad with quail eggs, mushroom profiteroles, and the psychedelic-coloured cherry and almond dessert…
Top Choice Historic Site in Nizhny Novgorod


Built upon remnants of an earlier settlement, Nizhny Novgorod’s magnificent kremlin dates back to 1500–15 when the Italian architect Pyotr Fryazin began work on its 13 towers and 12m-high walls. Inside, most of the …
Top Choice Museum in Kazan

Hermitage Kazan

Located inside the former cadet school building, the Hermitage Kazan has top-flight rotating exhibitions, many of them from the collection of St Petersburg’s Hermitage.