Tourism in Russia

Tourism industry in Russia

Tourism is a growing branch of the economy in Russia. According to the World Tourism Organization, Russia occupies one of the leading places in the world in the field of international tourism. In 2014, about 28 million international tourists visited the country (the 9th place in the world).

The rich cultural heritage and natural diversity puts Russia on a prominent place in the world among countries with potential of tourism growth. There are more than two dozen UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country. Different regions and ethnic groups have a wide variety of traditions.

The main tourist routes in Russia include visits to Moscow and St. Petersburg, resort establishments in the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, the Kaliningrad region, the ski resorts of the Caucasus and Siberia, the Golden Ring of Russia, cruises along the Volga, cruises on an icebreaker to the national park “Russian Arctic”, trips on the Trans-Siberian Railway (the Altai Mountains, Lake Baikal), traveling to the volcanoes of Kamchatka and Primorye.

Russia Travel

Tourist attractions of Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area. The country is located in several climatic zones, it is distinguished by a variety of relief forms. Russia has a rich history, hundreds of large and small peoples live here.

Natural attractions of Russia

In Russia there are plenty of interesting and unique objects of nature. First of all, it is Baikal - the deepest freshwater lake in the world. On the shores of Lake Baikal tourist infrastructure is relatively well developed. In particular, there is an excursion train running on the historical section of the Circum-Baikal Railway.

A significant part of the territory of Russia is occupied by mountain systems, including the northern part of the highest mountain system in Europe - the Caucasus, where you can find beautiful waterfalls, canyons, unique species of animals. In Kamchatka there are world-famous volcanoes and the famous Valley of Geysers. This region is also known as the land of bears, which are one of the symbols of Russia.

Other well-known natural attractions are the Stolby Nature Reserve near Krasnoyarsk, the Weathering Pillars of Manpupuner in Komi, the Lena Pillars, the Amur Pillars, the Kungur Cave in the Northern Urals, the Curonian Spit near Kaliningrad, the Daursky Reserve, the Putorana Plateau, the Golden Mountains of Altai, the Sikhote-Alin Reserve, and a number of others. The Amur, Lena, Yenisei, Ob, and Volga rivers are also known as Russian places of interest.

One of the characteristic features of Russia is a large number of territories in the permafrost zone. In the town of Igarka in the Krasnoyarsk region there is a museum dedicated to this natural phenomenon.

Such natural phenomenon as “White Nights”, one of the symbols of St. Petersburg, should also be mentioned. Murmansk and Arkhangelsk oblasts are known for their colorful northern lights.

The variety of Russian nature

Russian mountains

Russian mountains

Author: Alekseev Mitya

Russian fields

Russian fields

Author: Andrey Bogdanov

Russian rivers

Russian rivers

Author: Sveshnikov Alexander

Architectural sights of Russia

Man-made sights of Russia are extremely diverse. Nevertheless, a significant part of them is almost unknown to foreigners. The most popular among tourists are Moscow and St. Petersburg, the towns of the Golden Ring of Russia, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Volgograd, Veliky Novgorod, Vologda, Pskov.

Russia is known for its traditional architecture. You can find beautiful examples of Russian architecture both in cities and in the countryside, for example, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, the Transfiguration Church on the island of Kizhi and the entire unique wooden complex of Kizhi, the Solovetsky archipelago.

The Moscow Kremlin and the Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg are admirable. The historical centers of St. Petersburg, the towns of the Golden Ring, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Veliky Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Tobolsk, Irkutsk are visited by a lot of tourists.

The country also has numerous old and new architectural sights of other peoples, for example, the mosque of Kul-Sharif in Kazan, Lyalya-Tulip in Ufa, the Heart of Chechnya in Grozny, the Golden Monastery of the Buddha Shakyamuni in Elista, the Ivolginsky datsan near Ulan-Ude, the Ancient Bulgar, etc.

One can especially note such unique monuments of defensive architecture as the fortresses of Derbent and Naryn-Kala in Derbent, the Novgorod Kremlin, kremlins of other cities of central Russia, Kronstadt, Vovnushki and other towers of Ingushetia, etc. Such famous work of monumental art as the monument to the Motherland on the Mamayev Hill in Volgograd is also worth mentioning.

In addition to civil and church architecture, in Russia there are a lot of interesting technical places of interest: the Ostankino TV tower, the drawbridges of St. Petersburg, the cable-stayed bridges of Vladivostok, the old mining plants of the Urals, the hydroelectric power plants (in particular, the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP), giant quarries (for example, the diamond mine in Mirny), the world’s deepest Kola borehole and others.

As in the case of natural attractions, Russia has museums that reflect all aspects of human activity, including world-famous ones, such as the State Hermitage Museum and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

The cities of Russia



Author: Sergey Kozin

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg

Author: Alex Grachov



Author: Vyacheslav Leksin

Other attractions of Russia

Cruises along such major rivers as the Volga, Lena, Yenisei are also popular among tourists. Here, especially on the Volga, connected by the channel system with Moscow and St. Petersburg, a lot of different offers are available. On smaller rivers, as well as large lakes and some sea routes, cruises are also carried out. One of the most interesting examples is a cruise on an icebreaker to the North Pole from Murmansk.

Pilgrimage tourism is gradually developing and becoming popular. The main centers of such tourism are the following well-known monasteries: Valaam, Trinity-Sergius Lavra, Nilo-Stolobenskaya Desert, Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, Verkhoturye Nikolayevsky Monastery, Svyato-Uspensky Sarov Desert, Belogorsky Resurrection Monastery, Raifa Monastery, Sviyazhsk monasteries and others.

Hunting and fishing in Russia is very diverse. Despite the fact that Russia is considered one of the countries with the coldest climate, its territory includes regions with a moderate sea climate (the Kaliningrad region, Taman), a semi-dry Mediterranean climate (a stretch of coast from Anapa to Tuapse), a humid subtropical climate (Sochi), a moderate monsoon climate (Primorsky Krai), where summer resorts are located.

Features of traveling to Russia

Accommodation in Russia

Today, all possible accommodation offers are presented in Russia: hotels of all classes, hostels, motels along the main highways, camping sites, and apartment rentals. The largest share of the hotel market is occupied by Moscow, St. Petersburg, the resorts of the Krasnodar region (primarily post-Olympic Sochi), the towns of the Golden Ring, Kazan.

There is no single booking system in Russia. In popular Internet services there are mainly hotels located on popular tourist routes. A lot of hotels, hostels and firms offering apartments for rent have websites with their own reservation system, but hotels in small non-tourist towns are characterized by a lack of sites.

Catering in Russia

Catering in Russia is enough to meet the demands of tourists. The only problem that can be faced is that in small towns and villages on weekends all restaurants and cafes can be closed for special services (they hold private banquets and do not accept other clients).

In terms of cuisine, some variety is represented only in major cities (regional centers), and in the most popular tourist centers. Everywhere there are Russian and Ukrainian cuisines, which are known for their soups and salads.

The most famous dishes of Russian cuisine known abroad are pancakes, cabbage soup, pies, pelmeni, red and black caviar. It is impossible not to mention Russian vodka. Depending on the region, local national cuisine can also be presented.

Russian landscapes

Russian winter

Russian winter

Author: Michel Mignotet

Russian steppes

Russian steppes

Author: Dvornikov Mikhail

Russian lakes

Russian lakes

Author: Mikhail Grizly

Transport, language, money in Russia

Today, the most developed and used transport in Russia is rail transport. Traveling by car is not very convenient, given the size of the country, insufficient safety and development of the road network. The air communication between the regions is also very limited. You can fly from Moscow to a significant number of regional centers, but that’s all.

An important problem is the language barrier. The Russian language is based on Cyrillic, so reading or at least interpreting inscriptions and texts made in Russian for most tourists is an extremely difficult task. Transliteration of signs and translation of texts is not common in Russia, but the situation is gradually changing.

In addition, very few people outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg can speak English, although almost all schools in Russia teach English. In some regions of Russia, locals speak Russian badly, actively using the language of the people living in this particular place. This is especially evident in rural areas, for example, in Bashkiria, the Caucasus republics, the northern regions of Russia, Buryatia, the national republics of Central Russia.

The currency of the Russian Federation is the Russian ruble. It is almost impossible to use other currency. The exception is passenger transport, which crosses the border, and some, very few, companies providing various tourist services and products in large tourist centers.

Currency exchange in the province is somewhat more complicated than in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but almost always it is a feasible task (especially if you need to buy rubles). This service is provided in almost all banks.

Tourist targeted scams in Russia

Most visits to Russia are safe and trouble-free. That said, there are a number of things to watch out for. The first is unofficial taxis. These taxis do not have meters and you can be easily overcharged. To get around this, you can use taxi booking apps like Yandex or Gett. Other issues involve being ripped off by ballet ticket touts or fake/overpriced amber, if you have not done your research on the correct places to buy these items from. For more information, check out the website for a list of travel scams in Russia.

Local residents in Russia

In general, people living in Russia are quite peaceful and friendly. In most regions of the country, a visiting person will always be helped. If there are places of interest in the area, they will try to explain how to get to them.

The situation may change in places with a large number of tourists. Also quite often locals of provincial tourist centers too clearly see the difference between their own standard of living and the level of living of visitors. This may lead to conflicts, however, these are only individual cases and not the rule.

In places where tourism is an important source of income for the local population, there are cases of imposing services, the prices for services provided to foreign tourists (excursions, tours, museums, souvenirs, food) can be several times higher than for local residents.

On the general relatively favorable background, several regions of the Russian Federation are distinguished, where the number of crimes against visitors is higher. This is primarily some of the republics of the North Caucasus and the Republic of Tuva. Finally, in any region of Russia, tourists have a risk to meet with certain categories of people who pose a danger to them.

Photos and pictures

Russian churches

Church in Novgorod

Church in Novgorod

Author: Zaritsky Igor

Cathedral in Yaroslavl

Cathedral in Yaroslavl

Author: Nadezda Shklyaeva

Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

The questions of our visitors

Sasha Ali asks: When I'm going to Russia, my cousin told me that I can only exchange the new 100 dollar bill to Russian rubles. Is that true? He told me if you have an old 100 dollar bill and the brand new one with the blue strip they won't exchange to rubles. Also can I exchange like 5, 10, 20, 50 dollar bills too?
Expert's answer:
Officially, there are no restrictions on the exchange of old banknotes, but in practice you may encounter problems. Employees of banks can say that they can not check the authenticity of old notes or simply refuse to do it despite the fact that these actions are unlawful. Thus, you'd better follow your cousin's advice and take new notes or your Visa/Mastercard.
Michel asks: Visit Russia for work soon. Diet requires a low gluten and no bread and avoid toxins, I know Russia food is bread often and salty unhealthy, what to do?
Expert's answer:
In grocery stores in Russia, you can find quite a wide range of food products and I think you will be able to find the products that fit your diet.
Robin asks: What is the Golden Ring and why does it have that name?
Expert's answer:
The Golden Ring of Russia includes various tourist routes passing through ancient Russian towns with a number of unique historical, cultural and religious monuments. There are eight major centers - Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Vladimir, and Suzdal. The author of the term and the very idea of the ring route was the journalist and writer Yuri Bychkov, who, in November-December 1967, published in the newspaper "Soviet Culture" a series of essays on Old Russian towns under the general title "The Golden Ring". The word "golden" is for the golden domes of numerous churches.

The comments of our visitors

Visiting Russia
I am coming to Russia at the end of July, 2018 in order to express my respect to 25 million people who died during the war against the nazi monster. Long live the RED ARMY

Russian Insights
Thank you and your readers/commentators for the wonderful information this website provides. I have found information on the atmosphere of each Russian city or area to be the most thorough, compared with all other Russian Expat/Visiter sites. I have found the layout and poignancy of your search and menu options to be easy to navigate. Thank you for all your good work!

Hello. I love your blog! Such amazing pictures and posts. Keep going! This is my all time favorite blog. Have a nice day. M.

Sponsored Links: