Where to go in Russia in summer: the sea, the mountains, the best cities
Summer is a great time to travel in Russia: the sea warms up on the southern coast of the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas, the ancient cities of the Golden Ring appear in all their glory, in Siberia and the Urals there is good weather, and in the north the day does not end because of the white nights. There are many inexpensive tickets and tours to attract tourists, as many put off traveling even in 2022. So now is a great chance to start exploring the country, finding new places, visiting resorts, exploring mountaintops and getting to hard-to-reach places.
List of Places
Caucasian Mineral Waters.
The resort towns of the Caucasian Mineral Waters, including Pyatigorsk, Kislovodsk, and Essentuki. The region is rich in both natural and historical sites, because Lermontov lived and died here, and in the XIX century to vacation at these resorts came from all over the country. Everyone can choose something for themselves: trips and trekking in the mountains, visiting museums and historical sites, a leisurely stroll through the beautiful gardens or a health program in spas.
Must visit the panoramic Kislovodsk Park, look at the architecture of Piatigorsk in Art Nouveau style and the place of Lermontov’s death on the picturesque mountain Mashuk, climb the Beshtau at Zheleznovodsk, enjoy the historical buildings Yessentuki.
Start your trip usually from Mineralnye Vody, where almost always have cheap tickets. Move between cities conveniently by train or private car. There are ropeways to the most popular peaks. For mountain walks it is better to choose the area of Prielbrusya and Cheget.
One of the best regions for a beach vacation remains the Krasnodar region, but it is also the most popular destination for tourists – especially with closed borders. During the peak season (July-August), there can be too many people in the big cities on the coast. If this does not scare you, feel free to choose the places with the best infrastructure: Sochi, Anapa and Gelendzhik.
And to choose a place to stay is much easier at domik.travel – convenient booking, simple search, no extra charges, and most importantly – direct phone numbers. Look for current promotions from hotels, resorts and other accommodation in Krasnodar and plan your vacation!
Sochi is the most interesting in terms of sightseeing, because there is quite a lot to see in and around the city: the valley of 33 waterfalls, caves, mountains, abandoned sanatoriums, pre-revolutionary dachas and impressive viewing platforms. The Olympic Park with a modern stadium and quite a developed infrastructure remained near Sochi from the Olympics. By the way, it is Sochi is usually cheap flights from Moscow, St. Petersburg and regions.
What to see in Sochi – a guide to the center and suburbs.
Those who like a quiet holiday will suit more places outside the big cities, and those who are looking for something unusual, will suit Abrau-Dyurso resort with picturesque vineyards, where they make the same name champagne.
Continue your journey to the cities of interest from a historical point of view: Novorossiysk, Taman, Temryuk and Krasnodar itself.
The Kaliningrad region is a great option for beach lovers as well as for a rich historical trip to former German cities.
The bathing season here begins in July and is concentrated on the Baltic Sea coast and the protected Curonian Spit. It is especially beautiful on the Spit – snow-white beaches, clean sea and forests. The best resort towns on the coast are Svetlogorsk and Zelenogradsk. Svetlogorsk has a more developed infrastructure, whereas Zelenogradsk has perfectly preserved historic German buildings, which makes it look like a small European town. On the spit itself you can usually stay in Lesnoy and Rybachy.
In Kaliningrad itself is interesting, but you should not expect the atmosphere of an old town, as almost all the buildings were destroyed during the war. The island of Immanuel Kant, with its Königsberg Cathedral and museum, is worth a visit, where you can read about the troubled history of Kaliningrad.
To understand what Kaliningrad region looked like as part of Germany, it is worth traveling to small towns. The city of Kaliningrad was once a part of Germany, and it is worth traveling to small towns and cities by train.
Must see Sovetsk – former Tilsit – on the border with Lithuania, walk through the ruins of Insterburg castle in Chernyakhovsk and admire the preserved German churches in Guryevsk.
Lake Baikal and Irkutsk
Summer is the best time to visit Lake Baikal and Irkutsk. Even in the summer months, there won’t be the debilitating heat on the coast, but it’s warm enough to go on an expedition to the islands or settle on the shore itself. Traditionally, travelers go to Olkhon Island, where they are attracted to its ancient history, picturesque places and the opportunity to see the Baltic seals.
A good option to see most of the coast is a four-hour trip along the historic Circum-Baikal railroad from Slyudyanka to Listvyanka. From the train window you’ll see spectacular landscapes, and at the stops there will be impressive arches and tunnels, real works of engineering art of the time.
One comes to Baikal from Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude. For the first time it suits Irkutsk better: first, flights there are usually much cheaper, and there are really cheap tickets – see the current offers here; second, Irkutsk is interesting in itself. Its center preserves the unique Siberian wooden architecture, ancient temples, merchant mansions and cozy streets.
Astrakhan is a city on the Volga near the Caspian Sea with a well-preserved historical heritage. Its center partly resembles the cities of the Golden Ring, with notable churches and civic buildings of the century before last.
Astrakhan region has many natural attractions, the most unusual of which is Lake Baskunchak and the lotus valley. The salty white-pink lake Baskunchak resembles ethereal landscapes and at the same time is therapeutic. It is convenient to get there with a tour, or choose a vacation package with a course of treatment.
Unique lotus fields in the Volga delta can be visited only two months a year – from July to September, while the lotuses are in bloom.
St. Petersburg and surroundings
St. Petersburg is always a great idea for a trip, especially in summer during the White Nights, which last until mid-July. Some come for a day, some for a month, and either way there is always something to see. If the main attractions are already bored, see a list of unusual places in St. Petersburg, many of which do not know, even the locals.
When the weather is hot, you don’t always want to walk around the city, so 25 ideas for weekend trips from St. Petersburg will come in handy. There are countless interesting places in the Leningrad region, so it is easy to choose something according to your preferences: former royal residences in the nearby suburbs, abandoned forts of Kronstadt, medieval fortresses, the Lutheran heritage of Ingermanland churches, quiet nature parks, the coast of the Finnish Gulf or Ladoga Lake .
For lovers of mountains, the Altai Territory with its breathtaking scenery is best suited. A trip to Altai is a real adventure, but you must prepare for the lack of infrastructure, long hikes and inaccessible places. The views and mountains are often compared to the Alps.
Travelers recommend going to the Shavli Lakes on the North Chuisky Ridge. The bright turquoise lakes are surrounded by mountain ranges with snowy peaks. You can easily get to them from Biysk or Gorno-Altaisk.
Sea of Azov
The Azov Sea is preferred by kiters, lovers of active recreation and travelers with children – the shallow water and windy weather are the reasons for that. The main difference from the Black Sea coast – less developed infrastructure, which is justified by lower prices for accommodation and meals. Another plus is the therapeutic mud.
The largest and most developed settlement is Eisk, the city is also something to see, including entertainment for children. Stanytsia Golubitskaya is also a relatively well-developed resort. Lovers of secluded and wild recreation should look closer to Dolzhanskaya, Kuchuguri and Temryuksky area.
Karelia is first and foremost nature, but the region’s capital, Petrozavodsk, is also worth a visit. It is a cozy city on the shore of Lake Onega. Nearby is the famous wooden island of Kizhi . By the way, it is easier to get to it by the way from Medvezhjegorsk.
Ruskeala Mountain Park was once a place of extraction of marble, which was used to build many sights of St. Petersburg. Now it is a picturesque canyon, where you can take many beautiful pictures, ride a boat or walk along one of the ready-made trails. From St. Petersburg here is convenient to get by Lastochka.
Sortavala is an unusual and original town not far from Ruskeala with preserved Finnish buildings, that’s why it doesn’t resemble other Russian towns and reminds Vyborg. To see the churches will be interesting on the Valaam Island.
The Golden Ring is one of the most successful and popular tourist routes, uniting the most picturesque ancient cities of Central Russia. You can plan a trip both by the biggest and most interesting points, and diversifying it with unusual and semi-abandoned places.
Yaroslavl, the conditional capital of the Golden Ring, amazes with the quantity and variety of architectural and cultural heritage, the streets of Kostroma seem to take us back several centuries, Rostov the Great and Vladimir preserve the oldest buildings of the country, and such places as Plyos and Uglich are filled with silence and tranquility.
To visit all the most important things is convenient both by car and by public transport. In Rostov the Great, Pereslavl-Zalessky and Sergiev Posad it is better to come with a guide. It is convenient to see several places at once with a cruise on the Volga.
Read more: the Golden Ring of Russia – what points of the route are better to choose.
Vladimir region itself is very underestimated by tourists, despite the fact that it unites a lot of ancient Russian cities with rich history. The route through the region is more suitable for a road trip and is especially convenient for residents of Moscow and neighboring regions, as the main points are located quite compactly. From other regions is convenient to get by train, bus and train.
Vladimir is an eternally cozy center of the region, which has managed to maintain the atmosphere of an old town: the main street has remained virtually unchanged for the past two centuries, and in the center there are unique monuments of ancient Russian architecture with frescoes by Andrei Rublev. At the same time, Vladimir is actively developing: there are many modern cafes and restaurants, all the tourist spots are landscaped.
Suzdal and Murom, which keeps heritage of thousand-year history, and Gorokhovets, with well-preserved wooden houses of the century before last, are no less interesting.
Many were in Yaroslavl as the most beautiful city of the Golden Ring, but in addition to him in Yaroslavl region there are many undervalued interesting cities. There are so many such places that you can spend several days stopping by small old towns, former noble estates and abandoned churches.
Definitely worth the attention of Uglich and Rostov the Great. They used to be powerful centers of Ancient Russia, and since then have survived many examples of ancient Russian architecture, including defensive structures of the Kremlin, ancient monasteries and civilian buildings.
Rybinsk and Myshkin are also worth a visit. This is an unusual city on the banks of the Volga, each of which is unique in its own way. Rybinsk is a former industrial center with a solid merchant building and an impressive Rybinsk reservoir with the Uglich Hydroelectric Power Plant. After the construction of the Uglich hydroelectric power station flooded several settlements near it – you can read about it here.
Myshkin develops its tourist potential due to the cult of the mouse, but in addition to all the attractions associated with mice, there are many interesting things in it. For example, small museums, revealing the spirit of a merchant district town of the second half of the 19th century.
From Moscow or Vladimir it is convenient to plan a route along the Volga cities. It is convenient to travel through it by car, train or cruise. Usually visit Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary and Kazan. On a river cruise, the route continues to Ulyanovsk, Saratov, and Volgograd.
You can see examples of cruises here.
Murmansk region and polar day
Many people go to Murmansk and Kirovsk in winter to see white nights and visit ski resorts. At the same time, summer is a great time to visit the Murmansk region and the Arctic Circle. In summer there is a comfortable warm temperature, while there is no heat. It is worthwhile to take a walk in the polar nature, see low-growing plants and go to places hard to reach in winter. In addition, it is the polar day, which means that the sun does not go below the horizon, which in itself is quite unusual.
Most of the sights of Murmansk are connected with the sea: icebreakers, monuments to sailors, museums of the Northern Sea Fleet. There are several atmospheric places in the city, such as Abram Cape overlooking the Kola Bay and the memorial to the defenders of the Soviet Polar region.
Teriberka is the most accessible access point to the Arctic Ocean. The small village became famous after the film “Leviathan”, where it appeared in a depressing light. Despite the decline experienced by the settlements of the Far North, modern establishments, hostels began to appear here, bicycle rentals were opened. It is here where the cemetery of ships and walks along the ocean shore. You can get here by shuttle, with a tour or by car.
A special place near Murmansk – Rybachy peninsula . Untouched northern nature, breathtaking landscapes remain difficult to visit on their own. Most people go there with a tour in specially equipped cars.
Krasnoyarsk and the Stolby Nature Reserve
Ural and Siberian cities are best visited in the summertime, and one of the best options in Siberia is Krasnoyarsk. It is interesting with its preserved historic buildings with wooden houses in the main streets, distinctive appearance, embankments along the Yenisei and interesting surroundings. First of all it is a national park Krasnoyarsk columns.
Krasnoyarsk Pillars is a large national park with unique smooth rocks, which are called pillars. In the syenite rocks someone sees giants and other mythological creatures, so they are all shrouded in many legends. There are convenient hiking trails through the park, allowing you to see the main points in one walk. However, many advise visiting the park with a special guide, who will tell you about the legends, show you the secret places and help you not to get lost.
The stone pillars on the Manpupuner Plateau in the Northern Urals are considered one of the wonders of Russia. Once high mountains, but constant precipitation and wind have left only large pillars. The unusual geological phenomenon became a place of worship of the local population, the Mansi tribe, and the pillars became known as idols or Bolvans.
Despite the impressive views of the plateau and the entire Northern Urals, few have been to these places. The reason for this is the remoteness and inaccessibility of the area, because you have to get here on a difficult road on foot.
If you want to visit the beautiful places of the Northern Urals, but do not want to overcome kilometers of mountain roads on foot, there is a more affordable way – to visit them with a guide in his car. There is a special guided tour, where you will see the Stone City with huge boulders, ethnopark and mountain ranges.
Mountains and the Caspian Sea in Dagestan
Dagestan is one of the most beautiful regions with authentic villages with centuries-old traditions, the country’s oldest city, mountain ranges and the Caspian Sea coast.
Those who want to be immersed in history should go to Derbent where there were the most ancient settlements, go to mountains near Shalbuzdag, see sandy dunes in Sary-Kum, mountain lake Kezenoy-Am on the border with Chechnya, old abandoned villages in Stary Goor and underground Saltinsky waterfall near Gunib, beaches of Caspian Sea in Makhachkala or Izbash.
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Where to vacation in Russia in the summer of 2022: not only the sea
The best places for recreation in Russia in the summer are not limited to the beaches. In our country there are many places where you can go in the summer, besides the sea. Unique Kazan, ancient Yaroslavl, colorful Rostov-on-Don and other cities are ready to offer even the most spoiled tourist an interesting and unusual vacation.
I will tell you about the beautiful places where you can find inexpensive vacation in Russia in the summer.
Moscow: so different, but always interesting.
Summer Moscow is like a revived frame from the good old Soviet movies: a lot of greenery, shiny sidewalks from the watering machines and wide avenues, drenched in sunshine.
Moscow may be a classic Moscow, with a obligatory photo session on Red Square, a visit to the Tretyakov Gallery, a stroll along the All-Russian Exhibition Center to the Ostankino Tower, a ride on the Vorobyovy Gory cable car or on a streetcar on the Moskva River.
Moscow may be non-trivial – to meet the sunrise on the roof of the Stalinka building, to look at the subway as an underground palace, or even to descend with a Digger to the underground Neglinka River.
Moscow can be like a childhood dream come true – to an all-day amusement park, a zoo or a circus performance.
Moscow is also theatrical, musical, museum and gastronomic. Each trip to the capital is not like the previous one, because it is always so pleasant to rediscover this city.
St. Petersburg: stained glass, tiles and other treasures
Summer is the best time to visit the city on the Neva. The white nights, incredible sunsets over the Gulf of Finland and long walks on Vasilevsky Island. St. Petersburg is a place where all recommendations can seem smaller than they really are.
A walk along Nevsky Prospect turns into an open-air concert, an accidental conversation in a trolleybus turns into an acquaintance with an art critic, you can peek into an unattractive front room and there you’ll see the miraculously preserved stained glass windows, a fireplace with tiles and enamel-painted caryatids propping up the high ceiling. Not a city, but a veritable treasure trove for the inquisitive tourist. And this is without considering the fact that a day can visit the chic Peterhof, blooming Pavlovsk, distinctive Vyborg, Kronstadt and a dozen other places, where you can take a day tour or easily get on their own.
Kazan: between East and West
Kazan is often called the third capital. In fact, it would be more appropriate to compare the city to Istanbul. So seamlessly intertwined here are the East and West, Tatar and Russian, Muslim and Orthodox. Regional authenticity has become one of the main attractions of Kazan, and it manifests not only in the cuisine or language. Just look at the main attraction of the Tatar capital – Kul-Sharif Mosque neighbors with the Cathedral of the Annunciation.
Not far from Kazan is the Universal Temple – a place where more than ten different religions have joined together. At the festival of historical reconstruction in Bolgar you can plunge into the distant past. In Sviyazhsk you can admire the confluence of the Volga and Sviyaga, and the island city itself will remind at the same time Suzdal, Valaam and Solovki.
Nizhny Novgorod: sunsets on the banks of the Volga
Nizhny Novgorod is called the capital of sunsets. The matter is in the unique location of the city on the high bank overlooking exactly the side of the sunset. Seeing with your own eyes how the sun descends behind the Volga, painting the walls of the already brick-red Kremlin in an even ruder color is one of the most vivid impressions of the city.
The Volga is so good here that it can sometimes replace the sea, not only in terms of sunsets, but also beach recreation. The beaches are sandy, the places are green and the water is clean. You can try your hand at surfing on the Mountain-Sea, or go fishing at local ponds. Urban recreation lovers will enjoy the Kremlin, the old Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street and the long embankments.
For lunch you can have a look at the gallery of taste “Park Kultury”, where they serve author’s dishes from local farm products.
Yaroslavl: a city with a thousand years of history
Monument to Yaroslav the Wise, John the Baptist Church, bell tower and gates of Transfiguration Monastery, Chapel of Kazan icon of the Mother of God – the main sights of Yaroslavl everyone has seen on the banknote of thousand rubles.
What you can not fit on any bill are the old streets, private museums, picturesque arrow, green squares and a variety of attractions in the neighborhood.
You can visit Vyatsky – a village that is called the most beautiful in Russia, visit the Nekrasov estate Karabikha, where the lord’s house with an outbuilding and a front yard, an orchard and landscape parks have been preserved.
In Yaroslavl you should definitely try one of the three kinds of fish soup, white pickles, brine in mustard dressing, pancake with melted cottage cheese, and if you are lucky to find a hot “douparka”.
Krasnodar: leisurely, southern, cultured
Krasnodar seems underrated against the backdrop of the Black Sea coast resorts and especially Sochi. But this is misleading – for the past year, Krasnodar has been breaking all records for internal migration. The new million-strong city surprises with a rich cultural life for the leisurely south.
There are many theaters, museums, galleries and concert halls, where Moscow and other musicians come to tour.
And it is also a very green city. Krasnodar Park, popularly referred to as Galitsky Park, is considered by many to be a step above Moscow’s Zaryadye. Krasnodar cuisine is incredibly delicious and authentic – a mixture of Ukrainian and Caucasian traditions. Borsch and shashlik are cooked here everywhere and always do it on the top level.
Another point of the gastronomic trip is dishes made of farm produce, for which Kuban is famous for a long time.
Rostov-on-Don: a city with smell, taste and history
Another city in the south, where there is no sea, but the Don is not bad at all. Southern flavor in Rostov-on-Don just oozes from all the streets and alleys, along with the aroma of fried blueberries and bunches of hanging gerdelle. You can learn more about the merchant and Cossack history of the city, walk along the mighty Don and bypass all the creative spaces and trendy restaurants. Lovers of author’s cuisine have long made legends about the latter here.
Local Don cuisine is not just fish and crawfish, but also an amazing mixture of Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian and Cossack traditions. Only here you will be served “kokhfiy with oseledze,” ukha with tuzluk, pirozhki with quinoa, and a bottle of sparkling wine will be uncorked with a saber. It’s not that it can’t be opened otherwise, but if you start eating like a Cossack, you’ll definitely get to the sabrage.
Kaliningrad: one foot in Europe
Kaliningrad is on the Baltic Sea, but people come here not for it. They come to the westernmost city of our country to feel a little bit in Europe – to look at the preserved Gothic architecture and taste the famous Koenigsberg Klopsy.
For the sea you should go to Zelenogradsk, Svetlogorsk or the village of Yantarny. The Baltic Sea is hardly suitable for swimming even on the sunniest summer day, but walks along the sand dunes and amber searches at the surf’s edge are really nice. Complement the scenery mocking cries of seagulls and the scent of pine needles heated in the sun.
Tips for tourists
1. Travel to Russia is better to plan in advance. For example, buying train tickets in advance will be much cheaper than buying them the day before. In addition, Russian Railways often offers various promotions and discounts.
2. City Days, local festivals and national holidays will add impressions to any trip. For example, in June in St. Petersburg there is a holiday of graduates “Scarlet Sails”, and in the Kaliningrad region – the championship on amber fishing.
3. Chain cafes and restaurants certainly inspire confidence. But it is worth to trust the recommendations from the Internet or the advice of townspeople to discover local projects and author’s cuisine.
4. the same advice applies to hotels. Chain hotels hold a certain bar, but it is much more interesting to stay in private hotels. Especially if they are old buildings or projects with a history.
5. Do not neglect the art galleries in the regions. By the number of exhibits they can barely compete with the Tretyakov Gallery or the Hermitage, but among them are really rare works of art.