10 best excursions in Kazan in 2022: from Kremlin to Blue Lakes

Top of the best excursions in Kazan

Kazan is a city with a rich history and at the same time a modern metropolis. New buildings of modern architecture, sports facilities, famous all over the world. There really is something to see and something to marvel at.

Not to be missed:

    : itinerary of the city with descriptions

Especially for your vacation in this wonderful city, we have prepared a selection of the most interesting author’s individual and group tours with real reviews and prices.

Kazan city tour with a visit to the Kazan Kremlin

Kazan is a city where different cultures meet and peacefully coexist. On this bus and walking tour you will admire the golden-domed churches and minarets of mosques, visit the Kremlin and walk through the cobblestone streets of the historic center.

You will see the “visiting cards” of the city and learn the history of its most significant buildings: the Old Tatar Sloboda, Kaban Lake, Kamal Theatre, Tatar Village “Tugan Avilym”, Ekiyat Puppet Theatre, Kazan University, Liberty Square, Bogoroditsky Monastery.

Visit the Kazan Kremlin and see the main sights: the tower of Khansha Suyumbike, the Governor’s Palace, the cannon yard, the building of the Junkers’ School, the snow-white Spasskaya Tower of the 16th century and the Annunciation Cathedral, which served from 1552 to 1918 as the cathedral church of the Kazan diocese. And you will also see the famous Kul Sharif mosque, opened in 2005 to commemorate Kazan’s thousandth anniversary.

Kazan

Kazan walking tours

Here’s another small selection of walking sightseeing tours:

    . Conducted on two routes: the most iconic places of Kazan and the symbols and history of the Kazan Tatars.
  • Kazan First Encounter . This is an individual tour with a personal guide where you can learn all the important things about the third capital on a friendly walk. No crowds or microphones.

Kazan guide reviews

Around Kazan on a double-decker bus

Hop-on, hop-off tours on tourist double-decker buses are popular in many European cities. Now there are such bass-tourists in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kazan.

Kazan double-decker bus

How it works. You buy a ticket for 1 or 2 days for a bus that travels in a circle around the main sights of the city. The gift is an audio guide in Russian and 10 other languages. One full circle lasts 1 hour 15 minutes, its length is fifteen kilometers.

Mode of bus operation in winter (from November to April) from 10-30 to 19-30, in summer (from May to October) – from 9-30 to 21-00.

Guided photo tour of Kazan. The brightest photos!

Do you like to take pictures of the places and cities you visit? Then this excursion is for you – you not only get a lot of high-quality and bright pictures, but also will learn the history of these places and the city as a whole. As a bonus you get a free photo shoot.

You will visit the Kazan Kremlin, Kul Sharif Mosque, Annunciation Cathedral, learn all the mysteries of the Suyumbike Tower and much more. You will learn how and why the Old Tatar Sloboda was formed, get a chance to admire the Palace of Farmers – one of the most colorful modern architectural monuments of the city, see the bright and saturated embankment of the Kazanka River, where you will also find a huge number of beautiful photo landscapes, beautiful puppet theater, Tatar Drama Theater, Bauman Street with its interesting monuments (it is also called Kazan Arbat), Kazan Metro and Kazan Chasha – a superb wedding palace, where you can look at the city from the other side not only from the beautiful observation deck in front of the palace, but also from the observation deck located on its roof.

Excursion to Raifa, the Temple of All Religions and Sviyazhsk

A field trip during which you will visit the Island-town of Sviyazhsk on the “Round Mountain”, the architectural ensemble of the Raifa Bogoroditsky Monastery and the “Temple of All Religions”, based on the idea that all world religions are one and lead to the light and good.

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The town of Sviyazhsk, situated on the “Round Mountain”, chosen by Ivan the Terrible in winter 1550 and built there in spring 1551, has preserved unique monuments of history and architecture and has become the center of Orthodoxy of the Volga region. Surrounded by natural landscapes the city is a unique example of the unity of nature and society, a fabulously charming beauty. There is no place in Russia with so many churches and monasteries per square meter.

Overview of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, Church in the name of Sergius of Radonezh, Cathedral of Joy of All Who Sorrow (visit), Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Church of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Church in the name of the Holy Kings Constantine and Helen.

Raifa Virgin Monastery was founded in the 17th century and is located 30 km from Kazan, in a protected forest, on the shore of a beautiful forest lake. Its architectural ensemble is one of the most majestic in the Middle Volga region and has been forming for centuries. The main relic of the monastery is the miracle-working Georgian image of the Most Holy Mother of God (XVII century). On the territory of the monastery there is a holy spring illuminated by the patriarch. “Temple of all religions. It is based on the idea that all religions of the world are one. They all lead to light and good. It is a daring idea to combine seemingly incompatible things in one architectural structure. The complex combines 16 world religions (including extinct ones).

Night tour “Kazan Lights”.

Do you know how the streets of Kazan were illuminated before there was electricity? No? If you are still full of energy after a busy sightseeing program and you want to see and hear about another Kazan, we invite you to dive into the fairy-tale image of the night capital. You will see Kazan, hushed and tranquil, all in the lights of the historical buildings. Excursion goes through the brightest places of the city at night.

What places you’ll see:

  • A fairy-tale castle – a puppet theater;
  • A new city registry office;
  • Europe’s largest media facade of Kazan Arena stadium;
  • the Palace of Farmers and the new embankment;
  • the enchanting spectacle of a million colorful splashing fountains decorating Kazan’s squares, parks and embankments (in summertime).

Excursion to Bolgar (Northern Mecca)

Outbound group bus tour. Bolgar is a holy place for the Volga Tatars. Here in 922 Islam was adopted as the official state religion.

The Bulgarian fortress is the capital of one of the early state associations in Eastern Europe. The Bulgarian Historical and Architectural Complex is the northernmost monument of medieval Muslim architecture in the world and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

What places you’ll see:

  • The Cathedral Mosque and Grand Minaret – the center of the architectural ensemble
  • The Eastern Mausoleum – a Muslim tomb
  • North Mausoleum – the symbol of the Bulgarian fortress
  • The Khan Tomb and the Small Minaret – holy places of remembrance
  • The Black Chamber – People’s memory associates its name with a beautiful legend of the Bulgarian princess Altynchech, who threw herself from the roof of the building after she refused to marry the Golden Horde Khan
  • The White Mosque is one of the most significant structures that have added to the modern collection of Tatarstan’s architectural heritage. The white dignity of the structure, gives the mosque a resemblance to the Indian Taj Mahal.

Excursion to Yoshkar-Ola

How about the suggestion – in one trip also visit the capital of another Republic of Mari El?

In the last decade, Yoshkar-Ola has transformed: the center is practically rebuilt from scratch. Therefore, you should go to Mari El first of all not for the history of dusty centuries, but to see the modern life of the main city of this republic. An excursion to Yoshkar-Ola is a great entertainment that allows you to learn a lot about the city, which was built to strengthen the borders, and eventually became a real historical monument. Yoshkar-Ola – Kazan – a tourist route, which has long been loved by guests of the city due to the fact that the monuments of military history, which is more than 300 years old, organically coexists with modern attractions.

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What places you’ll see:

  • Obolensky-Nogotko Square. Obolensky-Nogotko square;
  • the most precise Mari Clock – “the clock with a donkey” on the building of the art gallery
  • The monument to the city founder Obolensky-Nogotkov;
  • a copy of the Tsar Cannon;
  • Monument to Holy Martyr Bishop Leonid of Mari;
  • Eight Minutes of the Gospel Miracle – a clock with moving figures of the holy apostles;
  • Amsterdam embankment with sculptural compositions and monuments to famous artists;
  • The Annunciation Tower with the chime of the chimes;
  • sit on a bench with Yoshkin’s cat;
  • stroll through the “Italian Park.

“Hospitable House of Bai” – interactive program

An author interactive program “Bai Hospitable House” during which you will get acquainted with both cultural and gastronomic habits of the Tatar people. All guests of Kazan are certainly welcome to visit the main house of the Tatar village – the Bai House. Ebika and Babai, the wealthy owners of the house, will reveal many of the secrets of the way of life, customs and traditions of the Tatar people.

Guests are divided into two groups and sit at tables in the men’s and women’s sides of the house. At the table, at a hearty lunch or dinner of national dishes (soup Tokmach, Chak-chak, Peremyach, Triangle, Kystybyy, Kosh Tele, Koimak) dear guests Ebika and Babay will tell about favorite dishes of the Tatar people through stories and legends.

Fascinating stories with musical accompaniment will reveal interesting elements of the national holidays of summer and winter solstice – Navruz, Nardugan, Sabantuy and other holidays. The most intimate and interesting part of the evening will be the introduction through the actors’ performance to the national traditions and customs of the Tatar people. You will be introduced to the concepts of Su yuly, Aulok Oy, Nikah, Baby Tue, as well as interesting table games.

  • interactive program
  • dinner
  • musical and dancing accompaniment of the evening.

Walk around the Tatar settlement

Kazan tours

Tatar Sloboda is one of the main attractions of Kazan. This area is most of all like an open-air museum. Walking here, you feel as if you get to the past centuries, when merchants, professors and writers lived here.

As part of the tour you are sure to walk along the shore of Lake Kaban. There is a legend, according to which, before the city was besieged by Ivan the Terrible, the khan’s treasures were hidden at the bottom of this lake. What’s interesting – archaeologists and treasure hunters still haven’t been able to find it.

Then you will go to the old Kazan al-Marjani mosque, which was built back in 1770 with the permission of Catherine II, and then get a closer look at the Tatar culture and life.

During the walk, you will see ancient manors and houses where merchants and landlords once lived, and while you admire them, you will learn about Kazan customs and traditions. If you want, you can take part in a master class and cook the famous national dish – real Tatar echpochmak and drink tea with delicious local sweets.

Blue Lakes of Kazan – auto tour

This tour can be safely attributed to the recreational. Blue Lakes, as they are nicknamed in the people, are quite close to Kazan, in the middle of a dense forest, standing for many centuries. This is a positive energy zone, which is a real gem of nature in Tatarstan. The water in the lakes is transparent, in many places you can see the bottom. The purity of the water and the beauty of the bottom are truly amazing and make you come back here again and again! The external beauty is only one side. The second is due to the chemical composition of the local water. It has curative powers. This is not a popular belief, but chemistry. Blue lakes belong to the brackish-water sulfate reservoirs. They have a beneficial effect on the entire body. To fully feel the power of the lakes, you need to take a dip in the water. Here is where the difficulty arises: the temperature does not rise above +5 degrees Celsius all year round. In fact, this does not stop anyone. There is a spring of power on the Blue Lakes. As a nice bonus you get absolutely free photo session on a professional camera and a small organized picnic.

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Night immersive excursion

Kazan tours

For 70 minutes you will get acquainted with Kazan in a completely unfamiliar form.

You will be dressed in cloaks, provided with an audio guide and headphones, in which professional actors’ voices and studio soundtrack will sound the main performance. Accompanied by an old lantern man Farolero you will listen to amazing stories about life in the city while walking through the very center of Kazan.

You will see: Palace of Farmers, May Day Square, Kazan Kremlin, Kul Sharif Mosque, Monument of Architects.

Night lights of the city, actors in cloaks and masks, unexpected sounds, smells and tastes, strange finds, show elements and surprises. The city will unfold in a new way. You will plunge into a real fairy tale in the streets of the ancient city!

10 very interesting excursions in Kazan

I have chosen the most fascinating and rich excursions that will help you to learn Kazan and its surroundings from different sides. All of them have been tested by tourists who have left excellent reviews. Take your pick!

Content:

Where to look for good tours

All tours we book only on our favorite service Tripster. There you can read real tourist reviews, so it’s easy to choose a good and interesting tour. Prices are lower than the street vendors, and there is more reliability. In addition, there are unique author’s tours that will show you the country from a new side. I heartily recommend it.

For your convenience, we made an author’s guide to Kazan for smartphones. Download it if you want to have all the marks and descriptions of sights at your fingertips. The map works even without Internet. The cost is 200 ₽.

Getting to know Kazan for the first time

This is one of the best sightseeing tours of Kazan with a visit to the Kremlin, according to tourist reviews. It is simple and with a standard program, but it is ideal for the first acquaintance with the city, to cast a general view and learn the history in general, and then go deeper into the places and themes you like. It’s convenient that the tour is conducted by car – you have time to see both the old Kazan and the new symbols of the city. The guide is excellent, everyone praises him. The price in 2022 is 4000 ₽ for a tour for 1-4 people.

There is a similar tour by car also with excellent reviews. The sightseeing tour by bus around Kazan is popular, but I recommend taking an individual tour by car. For a company or family, the price is almost the same and the comfort is much more!

Palace of Farmers in Kazan

Farmers Palace.

Around Kazan with a local.

If you want to find in an unfamiliar city a new friend and a wonderful interlocutor, who will not be boring and lively talk about the city, its history and modernity, as well as introduce the life, traditions and cuisine of the Tatars, then you should definitely take a tour of Kazan from Alexander. Reviews about it only positive, and tourists write that the 6-hour walk flew by unnoticed. The tour costs 8,500 ₽.

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There is a similar tour, but with a slightly different route, and it lasts 4 hours.

What to see in Kazan in 1 day

Chernoyarsk Passage.

Evening sightseeing tour in Kazan.

I never understood tourists’ interest in evening tours until I saw Kazan at night myself. The city is really cool and thoughtfully illuminated, it’s impressive! And when you admire the buildings in the company of an excellent guide, the impression is doubled. If you want a good sightseeing tour of evening Kazan in a comfortable car with a knowledgeable guide, you can ask Refat. Even children enjoy the tour. The price in 2022 is ₽4,600.

There is also a group evening tour around Kazan by bus, but I can’t recommend it. In general, the reviews are not bad, but you know yourself – as luck with the guide, neighbors, the bus and the weather. Individual tours by car with friends or family are much more comfortable.

Excursion around evening Kazan

Evening Kazan is beautiful – the city has excellent lighting, especially near the Kremlin. Often they make the lighting cheesy and only spoil the view, but in Kazan, they did it smartly.

Kazan Kremlin up and down

This is the best Kremlin tour in Kazan – it has about 150 “A” reviews! The charismatic and erudite guide Tatiana talks about Kazan and the Kremlin so much that it inspires you to explore the city and its history in more detail. According to reviews, even in the bitter cold, two hours of walking will fly by like a blink of an eye. The cost of the tour is 2600 ₽ .

If Tatiana’s excursion is unavailable, take a walk in the Kremlin with Alexander.

Excursions in Kazan

Kul Sharif Mosque in the Kremlin.

Who are the Tatars

To understand what the Tatar capital looked like a century and a half ago, it is worth taking a walk through the Old Tatar Settlement. This is where the locals were exiled after the capture of Kazan by Grozny. As a result, a unique district with national architecture was formed. Here Kazan reveals itself in a new way: wooden houses, daisies on the gates, old mosques, which were built by wealthy merchants, and a pleasant atmosphere. In general, we liked the suburb very much! If you’re interested in it, I advice you to take an ethnographic excursion around the Old Tatar Settlement not just to admire the architecture, but to learn about the past and present of the Tatar people, their life, language and traditions, to immerse yourself in the culture. The price of the tour is 2900 ₽ .

There is a similar tour of the sloboda, also with excellent reviews.

What to see in Kazan in 2 days

Colorful and tidy houses in the Old Tatar Sloboda.

Old Kazan.

If you have already seen all the main attractions of Kazan, I advise you to take this tour through the charming old part of the city, where almost no tourists reach. Hidden here are beautiful merchant houses, in the cozy gardens and parks, students of the art school paint in plein air, sparrows and pigeons bathe in the fountains, and locals hurry about their business. It is quiet, peaceful and authentic. You will be transported back to the times of Kazan province and be surprised what a diverse city it is. The tour around the streets of the city is worth seeing on its own, but for a full immersion in history it is better to take a guided tour. The price is 3,500 ₽ .

Chukashev House in Kazan

Chukashev House.

Raifa, Sviyazhsk, the Ecumenical Temple

Raifa Monastery, Sviyazhsk, and the Ecumenical Temple are probably the three main attractions outside of Kazan. We’ve been to all of them, but we drove ourselves. In my opinion, only pilgrims and believers should go to the monastery, and there is nothing for ordinary tourists to do. The Universal Temple, or the Temple of All Religions – an extraordinary museum, conceived and created by the hands of one artist, which can not fail to impress. But the most beautiful place is the original island-town of Sviyazhsk. It was here that Ivan the Terrible built a fortress to take Kazan. In general, you will accumulate a lot of impressions and beautiful photos, I guarantee! And it will be twice as interesting to visit these places with the guide. The 7 hour tour costs 11900 ₽ .

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If you are not interested in the monastery, you can take a similar tour, where instead of it you will be taken to Innopolis – a very interesting project of the city of the future. So far the city looks lifeless, but the buildings in Innopolis are stylish and photogenic – come and see what the new futuristic cities might look like.

Frescoes inside the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Sviyazhsk. Temple of all religions.

Tatar cuisine – learn, cook, taste

I really love Tatar cuisine! It is an attraction in itself. I advise you to try national dishes, because it’s a great way to get to know another culture better. And even better, you can learn to cook them at the chef’s master-class, and then you can try all the dishes while listening to our guide telling you about the traditions and secrets of local cuisine. The price for the master class is ₽5,500-7,000 depending on the program.

There is another master class combined with a walk around Kazan, and just a baked goods tasting with the guide’s stories and a ride around the city. Find out where to eat tasty and inexpensive food in Kazan.

7 Wonders of Yoshkar-Ola

Excursion from Kazan to Yoshkar-Ola is probably the most ambiguous in our list. On the one hand, it is very fascinating to learn the history of the city and listen to a story about the religion, traditions and culture of the Mari people. Drive past dense forests full of ancient temples and shrines, and learn about the magic and paganism of the Mari people. It is also curious to try the national dishes and local natural products.

On the other hand, the motley new-fashioned building in the center of the city is for a lover. To me, the Kremlin in Moscow, the Brugge embankment and the Spas na Krovi in St. Petersburg look like pathetic decorations and examples of outright kitsch in the Russian countryside. I would have preferred to see something original, Mari. In general, most tourists are delighted with Yoshkar-Ola and find the city amazing and cozy. It’s up to you to decide whether to go there or not! The excursion to Yoshkar-Ola from Kazan is conducted by car and costs 9500 ₽ for 1-4 people.

A group bus tour to Yoshkar-Ola is also available, it costs ₽1800 per person.

Yoshkar-Ola

Yoshkar-Ola, Amsterdam embankment. Photo: ShchipkovaElena / commons.wikimedia.org / License CC BY-SA 4.0.

Blue Lakes

I advise to go on a tour to the Blue Lakes if you have already seen everything in Kazan or are tired of the big city and like hiking in nature. Along the way you will see Kazan from a new perspective and learn from Arsen’s guide about the stages of the city’s development. And then you can relax on the amazingly beautiful lakes with crystal clear water that doesn’t freeze even in winter. The lakes are usually visited in summer, but according to reviews, they are beautiful at any time of year. An excursion to the Blue Lakes costs ₽4,700 .

If this excursion is not available, take an alternative route by car or bus tour.

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