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Moscow. Photo: Planete-energies

The largest country in the world, Russia offers a broad array of travel experiences, from treks up the slopes of glacier-capped mountains to strolls along the shoreline of Earth’s oldest lake.

Historical sites and cultural activities in the country’s great cities abound as well. Whether you’re exploring the grounds of Moscow’s Kremlin or wandering through the steppes of Mongolia, a visit to Russia is an adventure not soon forgotten. KnowInsider introduces you these top tourist attractions in Russia, hopefully the list can inspire a great Russian itinerary for a memorable trip.

1. Moscow

We are used to saying that Moscow is not Russia. However, despite this, Moscow is still the center of everything and the most popular destination for a domestic tourist. Visiting the capital is a sort of a ‘must-do’ experience for Russians from the other regions. And despite the fact that a ticket to Moscow will cost a Far East resident more than a ticket to a neighboring Asian country, a trip to Moscow is almost a pilgrimage.

Beyond the obvious selfie on the Red Square, domestic tourists adore the GUM department store, the new Zaryadye Park, the Tretyakov Gallery, and among the must-visit places in Moscow are a theater, a circus, and the Zoo.

According to the Russian Union of Tourism Industry, more than 22 million tourists from across the country visited Moscow in 2019, including traveling for sports events, as well as on business trips.

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Krasnodar Territory. Photo: istockphoto

2. Krasnodar Territory

“If there is a heaven on Earth, it’s the Krasnodar Territory.” (Если есть на свете рай - это Краснодарский край). This is a popular proverb in Russia, which was proved by about 16 million domestic tourists in 2019. Indeed this region in the south is a great place for summer holidays - it’s situated on the coasts of two seas - the Black Sea and the Azov Sea - and has lots of resort cities (such as Anapa, Gelendzik, Novorossiysk, Eisk, etc.). And the most popular destination is, of course, Sochi and its suburbs.

Many Russian kids go there for summer camps and return as adults - and there is accommodation for all budgets and entertainment for all tastes. The climate there is mild, so even visiting in winter is a great idea - and a short train ride up its mountains will take you to Sochi’s great ski resorts, as the rbth.

“As a student, I loved going to our Moscow State University camp two hours by train from Sochi,” Julia from Moscow says. “It has it all: nice beach, gorgeous view of the Caucasian mountains, cheap and great local food. We met lots of people from the city of Krasnodar - which doesn’t have access to the sea, so the citizens spend each weekend in Sochi.”

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St. Petersburg. Photo: araioflight

3. St. Petersburg

This city is often compared with Venice, Amsterdam and other historical European cities. And indeed, it was specifically built as a “window to Europe”, because Emperor Peter the Great wanted Russia to be more like a European country.

About 9 million tourists from all around Russia visited the city in 2019. “When you come to St. Petersburg, it seems that there are more royal palaces than ordinary living houses, and you just can’t get enough of the beauty that surrounds you,” says Sasha from Moscow, who tries to spend one weekend a year in the northern capital.

There are plenty of ways to get to St. Petersburg from Moscow, so there are almost never problems with tickets (unless big international events such as the annual Economic Forum). As a rule, St. Petersburg is a destination for two- or three-day school trips. It’s a perfect place for historical and cultural enrichment. Here are 5 must-see places for your first visit.

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Crimea. Photo: tass

4. Crimea

Crimea has always been a favorite resort for Russians - Chekhov and Tolstoy liked coming here, and its nice climate is perfect for recovering from a range of illnesses. Russian tsars had residences here, which were turned into Soviet sanatoriums. There is also the legendary ’Artek’ pioneer camp, which is still in operation. And in 2019, about 7 million Russians visited Crimea.

The peninsula has a big number of resorts all around its perimeter, but one of the most popular cities is Yalta, the ‘Russian Rivera’ and the main city of the southern coast. While in Sevastopol, you can not only have a rest, but also explore ancient history, as there is a museum on ruins of the Greek colony Chersonesus. At the same time, Sevastopol is a city with navy and military glory, that was under siege many times and successfully fought and defended the peninsula.

Besides the great sea resort, Crimea also has mountains and its peak, Ai-Petri, is a great place for climbing - check out our video about this sight.

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Trans-Siberian Railway. Photo: rbth

5. Trans-Siberian Railway

Part of the longest railway system in the world, the classic Trans-Siberian railway runs from Moscow to Vladivostok, a city near Russia’s borders with China and North Korea. Begun in 1891 by Tsar Alexander III and completed by his son, Tsar Nicholas II, in 1916, the line is known as the route of the tsars. Most travelers use the train as overnight accommodation from one destination to the next. The train features first-, second- and third-class sleepers, some with private bathrooms and showers.

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Mount Elbrus. Photo: stingynomads

6. Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus is located in the Caucasus Mountain Range in Southern Russia. At 5,642 meters (18,510 ft), Elbrus is included as one of the Seven Summits, the highest summits on each of the planet’s seven continents, attracting both experienced and novice mountain climbers. While the mountain was formed from a volcano, it is considered dormant, with no recorded eruptions. A cable car system can take visitors as high as 3,800 meters (12,500 ft), facilitating ascents to the summit, as the touropia.

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Valley of Geysers. Photo: amusing planet

7. Valley of Geysers

Situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, the Valley of Geysers is the second largest geyser field in the world. The Valley of Geysers was discovered in 1941 by local scientist Tatyana Ustinova. Since then it became a popular tourist attraction in Kamchatka and attracts a lot of interest from scientists and tourists.

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