Russia for all seasons: 5 year-round destinations

Russia is among the world’s most popular tourist destinations with up to 30 million annual visitors. Most prefer to visit Russia during summer, but there are plenty of things to see and do any time of year. Here are 5 destinations you can travel to all year round.

1. The realm of the Amur tiger

Photo credit: Yuri SmityukPhoto credit: Yuri Smityuk
Travel to the Far East and follow the endangered Amur tiger through snow covered forests. There are very few of these big cats left on our planet, but a professional guide at the Sikhote-Alyn Reserve will take you to places where the chances of seeing them are high.

Fly to Russia’s largest city on the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok, and from there venture off to the realm of the Amur tiger. The highlights of your trip will be homestays in traditional Russian country lodges, Siberian banyas and plenty of hiking and trekking.

Travel dates: organized all year round
Recommended duration: 9 days / 8 nights


2. Sochi

Russia’s southern resort town of Sochi was a popular domestic tourist destination for decades before 2014’s Olympic Games and deservedly so. Sochi boasts a truly unique location that stretches along the picturesque coast of the Black Sea. In Sochi it is possible to enjoy subtropical beachside relaxation and skiing in the same day as these options are within a 30-minute drive from each other.

Photo credit: TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

Summers in Sochi are warm and sunny so the majority of tourists coming here from May to September prefer relaxing near the seaside. Other types of activities include hiking, visiting nature parks and healing in the mineral waters.

Travel dates: May to September
Recommended duration: 7 days / 6 nights

During the winter months Sochi turns into a busy ski resort with challenges for all kinds of winter sports aficionados from beginners to heli-skiing professionals. Apart from skiing you can enjoy a traditional Russian tea ceremony and have a steam in a banya.  

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-Media

Travel dates: December to February
Recommended duration: 7 days / 6 nights


3. Golden Ring Towns

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-Media
Frozen in time, the Golden Ring towns around Moscow are probably the best-preserved testimonials to Russia’s opulent medieval heritage. From wooden churches to the whitewashed walls of kremlins, these locales are full of historical treasures. Moreover, the Golden Ring is a great place for souvenir shopping. Handmade matreshka dolls and traditional Russian “platki” (shawls) made by local artisans are a perfect gift for your loved ones.

During summer it’s best to explore the Golden Ring towns on a Russian river cruise. You will cover more cities, pay significantly less than you would for a land tour and will enjoy a carefree cruising experience instead of being confined to a bus between cities.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-Media

Travel dates: May to September
Standard duration of a river cruise: 8 days / 7 nights

In winter, the Golden Ring is a wonderful place for traditional celebrations with Christmas markets, ice skating rinks and spectacular displays of onion domed churches covered in snow.

Travel dates: organized all year round
Recommended duration of a land tour: 3 days / 2 nights


4. Lake Baikal

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Legion-Media

Lake Baikal is a bucket-list destination for travelers all over the world. Locals call it the Sacred Sea of Siberia owing to its unique flora and fauna and crystal clear waters. Baikal offers plenty of options for a memorable vacation all year round. In summer you can spend a day with a Buryat shaman who will demonstrate ancient rituals or you can visit Taltsy village, an open-air museum of Siberia’s traditional architecture.

Winter is perfect for ice-fishing and snowmobile trips on the thick Baikal ice. Here you will bear witness to a magical world of ice caves and wind-blown sculptures made entirely from snow and ice.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-Media

Travel dates: organized all year round
Recommended duration: 5 days / 4 nights


5. Moscow & St. Petersburg

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Legion-Media

Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s major tourist destinations with tens of thousands of globetrotters visiting them every month. Taking a photo in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral and walking the long corridors of the Hermitage Museum are fantastic experiences regardless of the weather.

Photo credit: TASS/Yury Belinsky

Spice it up with seasonal activities like riding a Russian troika sled accompanied by a vodka tasting in winter or a boat ride on the Neva River past St. Petersburg’s famous drawbridges in summer and you’ll be well on your way to creating memories to last a lifetime.

Travel dates: organized all year round
Recommended duration: 7 days / 6 nights


The following suggestions are a few of the many tours offered by Travel All Russia. See their website for more details.

About the author: Ivan Shirokov works as Senior Destination Specialist at Travel All Russia - US-based destination management company for premium Russia tours.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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