One of the most magnificent and mysterious countries on the globe, Russia is also the largest. For a country so massive, the range of landscapes and experiences on offer is simply awesome. This is a vacation that you’ll never forget, for breath taking scenery, a long and dramatic history and a fascinating culture – it has to be Russia. Here are the top ten sights that are a must for the one country that still offers real travel adventure.
#1 The Kremlin and Red Square
This attraction might be the first thing you think of when you think of Russia. The Kremlin is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, is home to the political powers of the nation and includes cathedrals, museums and some impressive treasure troves. Moscow is a must for a sense of all things Soviet and is a bustling introduction to life in the city. It is one of the biggest cities in the world with a heart of ancient, beautiful architecture which spreads out to modern suburbs.
#2 St Basil’s Cathedral
Also found in Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral is a wonder to behold. This brightly colored church was built in the 16th century and its totally distinctive architecture makes it a top attraction in Moscow. It is unique to the time period and unique to Russia, with no other structure quite like it anywhere in the world.
#3 Valley of Geysers
On the far east of this great country, you’ll find the Kamchatka Peninsula, where the world’s second largest collection of geysers can be found. Not discovered until 1941, it has since become a major draw for tourists and scientists alike. This is a must-see attraction for those who love awe-inspiring natural phenomenon and you know it’s something a bit special when the World Heritage folks think so too.
#4 The Hermitage Museum
If you’re looking for some supreme culture then you must head to this museum in St. Petersburg. Catherine the Great needed somewhere to house her extensive collection of art and artefacts so founded the museum in 1764. It is one of the biggest and oldest museums in the world with a staggering collection of over 3 million items spread into six buildings. You might need more than a day for this attraction!
#5 Lake Baikal
Russia does big like no other country and Lake Baikal is no exception. The lake holds approximately 20% of all the fresh water on the planet and boasts being the deepest and oldest lake on Earth! A trip to this water hole is like no other as you’ll be looking back in time – by 25 million years! Found in Siberia, it is surrounded by stunning mountains and contains some of the clearest water you’ll ever see.
Situated in the Ural Mountains, this city might not be first on your list but it’s definitely worth the effort. This is the place where the last of the Tsars were executed in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. As well as it’s fascinating past, it is a cultural gem full of libraries, theaters, music and dance. You’ll find over 30 museums in the city including the oldest wooden sculpture in the world.
This is a fascinating region that crosses the Finland-Russia border. If you desire an escape into wilderness that’s steeped in history and an interesting mix of cultures then head to Karelia. A wild paradise where bears and wolves roam free and adventure activities abound. Experience skiing, hiking, kayaking and even dog-sledding.
Sochi can be found on the Russian Riviera and even though it sees snow in winter, during the summer months it’s almost sub-tropical and boasts amazing beaches. A popular spot for Russians to take their vacations, it is a resort used to the limelight, having hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014 and the Russian Grand Prix.
Europe’s largest and longest river flows through the center of Russia and is considered their national river. Playing a crucial role in the folklore of Russian culture, it is the subject of poems, songs and tales dating back 7000 years. Many Russian cities sit proudly on its banks and despite the industrialization, much of the river follows stunning wilderness which is home to an incredible array of wildlife.
#10 Stalingrad Battlefield
For those who love history, a must-do activity is a trip to the site of the Stalingrad Battle, to see the battering from the Nazis during WWII. The Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 was one of the deadliest of the war and you can still witness the damage to buildings and visit museums dedicated to Russia’s bloodiest battle.