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

©Andrey Pozharskiy/Shutterstock

Western European Russia

This ancient, Arcadian region showcases Mother Russia at her most fertile: Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and nothing less than the modern country itself were all born here. It’s a lofty legacy and nowhere does Western European Russia (Западно – Европейская Россия) let you forget it. The imposing kremlins, soaring cathedrals and cultural treasures of cities such as Veliky Novgorod, Pskov and Smolensk bear stunning testament to golden eras. Budding writers flock to the area’s wealth of literary estates – Staraya Russa, Spasskoe-Lutovinovo, Yasnaya Polyana and Pushkin’s ancestral home, Mikhailovskoe – with high hopes there’s something in the water; and character-filled smaller towns such as Yelets and Oryol are photogenic throwbacks to prerevolutionary Russia. Even the tiny, far-flung village of Stary Izborsk – a stone’s throw from the Estonian border – claims a distinguished heritage: it’s home to the oldest stone fortress in Russia.


Must-see attractions


Latest stories from Western European Russia

Filter by interest:


Beyond the Trans-Siberian: travelling Russia's unexplored northwest by train

Nov 28, 2019 • 4 min read


Purchase our award-winning guidebooks

Get to the heart of Western European Russia with one of our in-depth, award-winning guidebooks, covering maps, itineraries, and expert guidance.

Go Beyond

Western European Russia and beyond