Best Russian Regions to Visit


You are here

Last updated:

Of course, everyone has heard about the magnificence of the Russian capitals, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. But Russia is so much more. With the "biggest country in the world," title comes an incredible diversity in terms of nature, culture, and people. Let's discover other regions together.

Popular Destinations to Visit in Russia

It's impossible to understand and explore Russia during one visit fully. Maybe several lifetimes won't be enough to comprehend the mysterious Russian soul completely. But all journeys have to start somewhere, so we've put together a list of remarkable regions you definitely won't regret exploring in Russia.

The Republic of Karelia

Although most people associate vast untouched forests and ancient mountains with Siberia, actually, there is no need to go that far to take in the wild beauty of Russian northern nature. Instead, you can travel to the Republic of Karelia, a small Russian region bordering Finland. Karelia should be on the bucket list of every visualize because it's one of the world's most stunning areas. The region boasts dense green forests, rapid rivers, breathtaking lakes, and scenic valleys.

Karelia Region on your tour to Russia

Some travelers come to seek quiet and inspiration among this unspeakable beauty of Ruskeala National Mountain Park. Some prefer more action-packed holidays exploring the Marble Canyon or spending time in Karelia kayaking, hiking, bicycling in summer, skiing, snowboarding, and dog sledding in winter. But don't think that the only thing making Karelia worth visiting is nature. Being a bridge between Russian and Scandinavian cultures, the region took the best from both sides and turned into something unique and beautiful. In fact, the famous wooden Transfiguration Church of Kizhi is located in Karelia too!

Must-see sights in Karelia:

  • Kizhi Museum
  • Vallam Island
  • Kivach Falls
  • Gornyy Park Ruskeala
  • Valaamskiy Monastery

Golden Ring

They say, the best way to comprehend Russian culture is to explore the cities of the Golden Ring, offering to see the main architectural monuments of Ancient Russia. Although the Golden Ring isn't a region officially, it is certainly a must-visit.

This route was created by the Russian journalist, Yuriy Bychkov, in 1965. He had an idea to create a circular path, connecting all the "must-see" historic cities. Two years later he set off on the grand tour, making stops in 8 cities: Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Suzdal, Vladimir, Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, and Rostov Veliky.

Golden Ring Region on your tour to Russia

Upon his return, Yuriy wrote a series of essays, describing his tour. The series got the title "The Golden Ring".

Today, numerous travelers add on the Golden Ring towns to their Russia travel itineraries as to get a better understanding of Russian history.

Must-see sights in Golden Ring

  • Monastery of St. Ipaty
  • Holy Assumption Cathedral
  • Vvedenskiy Tolga Convent
  • Yaroslavl Embankment
  • Borodins' Blacksmith Shop

The Altai Krai

Enormous mountains, deep rivers, endless valleys, and mysterious caves of Altai beckon travelers, longing for beauty, peace, and quiet.

Altai Krai Region on your tour to Russia

The region is also popular among the leisure activities fans. In summer they come to hike in Altai's nature reservations, kayak the Charysh, Peschanaya, and Anuy rivers, and enjoy the long bicycle rides. Winter offers the opportunity to enjoy skiing and snowboarding at the Belokuriha resort and to take part in the dog sled racing with a team of tireless husky.

Must-see sights in Altai Krai

  • Tserkovka Mountain
  • Malinovoye Lake
  • Bol'shoye Yarovoyet Resort

Lake Baikal

A true one-of-a-kind place, you won't find anything like the famous Baikal anywhere else on the planet. Just imagine, 22% of all the freshwater in the world is concentrated in one place. The locals do their best to preserve the unique nature, so the region is one of the most unpolluted places in the world, and water in the famous lake is still absolutely drinkable.

Lake Baikal on your tour to Russia

The lake itself is an unforgettable sight, 636 km (396 mi) long and 48 km (30 mi) wide with 27 islands scattered through the territory. The biggest one is called Olhon and it's very popular among tourists. There is a range of boat trips available, you can choose a one day trip or a multi-day cruise, exploring the most sacred locations of the region.

Apart from cruising, travelers come to Baikal Lake Region to go hiking, bicycling, fishing, or just to take long walks, enjoy the fresh air, and marvel at the beautiful views.

The Buryatia Region

For last, we've saved the incredible Buryatia Region, set on the shores of Lake Baikal. And part of what makes it so incredible is its location.

Being a crossroad between China, Russia, and Mongolia, the Buryatia is an amazing mix of cultures, traditions, and religions.

Buryatia Region on your tour to Russia

The cuisine is fascinating in Buryatia, it's an interesting blend of the Russian, Siberian, and original Buryatia's traditions, and the classic Buryatian receipts can't leave anyone indifferent.

The Russian Buddhists' main religious center, the Ivolginsky Datsan monastery, is the most famous place of interest in the region and a "must-visit" during Russian travel. If you are lucky, you can even see a traditional daily service, honoring religious teachings' protectors.

Must-see sights in Buryatia Region

  • Ivolginsky Datsan Buddhist Temple
  • Chamar-Daban Mountain Rage
  • Pik Lyubvi - Peak of Love