Cities and Towns to Include on Your First Visit to Russia
Rich in history and gorgeous landscape, Russia has plenty to offer travelers. But where to start?
by Joshua Berida | December 12, 2019
Russia is a country that has a long and storied past. Its cities have plenty of stories to tell and architectural gems that make it distinct, but also show the influence of other cultures. You’ll find centuries-old churches, palaces, and quaint houses when you go to big metropolises or just small towns.
If you’re planning a trip to Russia, here are cities and towns to include in your itinerary.
The capital of Russia is the most likely first stop; this bustling city has a mix of old and new. The most popular attraction is the Kremlin, here you’ll find the world famous Saint Basil’s Cathedral, a handful of museums, beautiful buildings and the GUM Department Store just to name a few. There are art galleries and theaters to immerse in Russian culture. You’ll also find parks to get away from the urban sprawl. You’ll see reconstructions of palaces and well-maintained UNESCO-listed centuries old churches.
Saint Petersburg, simply put, is a beautiful, grand city with a lot of old world charm. Fetching buildings line the street of Nevsky Prospekt, stunning churches are a staple of various districts, and palaces-turned-into museums provide you with a glimpse of the city’s illustrious past. Take long walks just to soak everything in and admire all the beauty around you. The Historic Center is home to many attractions that will easily fill your itinerary.
Veliky Novgorod doesn’t have the same grandness and popularity of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, but it is a city full of history. Also known as “The Birthplace of Russia”, Veliky Novgorod has a laid back vibe, small city charm and historic churches and buildings that are centuries old. The UNESCO-listed Kremlin is the city’s main attraction; you’ll find the Cathedral of St. Sophia and the Millennium of Russia Monument inside.
The first impression Vladimir will make on you is unlikely that of a capital city. However, Vladimir was Russia’s capital during its heydays in the 12th to 13th centuries. Fast forward to today, it still has historical significance as part of the country’s Golden Ring Cities. It has a couple of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and plenty of small town charm. The beautiful white monuments and churches you’ll find are vestiges of its storied past.
Sergiev Posad is a possible half-day or whole day trip from Moscow. It grew in size and prominence because of the Trinity Lavra. The Lavra is one of the biggest monasteries in the country and is home to candy-colored and beautiful churches. The town also has a lot of charm; take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood to see fetching buildings and rows of houses.
All these destinations are easily accessible by fast and slow train. You can check schedules and book tickets here.
Will you be visiting Russia soon? Use the hashtag #wanderlustph to show us your travel snaps!