On this page I have made a selection of the best activities, tours, tourist cards and daytrips that can be done in Russia in English by local agencies. Most guided tour platforms such as GetYourGuide or Civitatis no longer offer activities in Russia due to international sanctions. That is why I recommend the Russian website Sputnik which connects tourists with local Russian agencies and allows them to pay for trips and activities easily and with some added advantages:
- In many activities it allows you to book in advance and make payment at the beginning of the activity in Russia. This option is ideal since the platform does not allow payments with foreign Visa, MasterCard, JCB, or American Express cards.
- At some very crowded tourist attractions it allows you to skip the line.
- After making your payment you will receive immediate confirmation of your booking for the activity or tour. You can print the confirmation or present it on your mobile phone (You don’t need to print it).
- Most of the activities give you the option of free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance in case something unforeseen happens.
- For the vast majority of activities there is a private English-speaking guide.
- Real reviews by other tourists so you can choose the activities with the highest ratings.
1. Moscow, the capital of Russia
Moscow is the capital of Rusia and there you can find countless tourist attractions: visit Red Square and the Kremlin, visit some of its more than 400 museums, attend a ballet or opera performance at the Bolshoi Theater, go to a Russian folklore show, see its spectacular Metro, take a cruise on the Moscova River, see the Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Stalin’s skyscrapers, the financial district of Moscow City, Sparrow Hills, Arbat Street, Gorky Park, Kolomenskoye, etc. The city is huge and the possibilities are endless.
2. St. Petersburg, the capital of the north
St. Petersburg is the second Russian capital, the capital of the north, located along the shore of Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland. In this spectacular city you can find a host of palaces, museums, cathedrals and monuments to visit, such as the Hermitage Museum, attend an opera at the Mariinsky Theatre, visit the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood or St. Isaac’s Cathedral, see the Peterhof Gardens or the Catherine Palace, among other tourist attractions.
3. The Golden Ring of Russia
The Golden Ring of Russia is an itinerary that passes through a series of cities of interest to tourists. Located northeast of Moscow, it includes a set of medieval towns with monasteries, churches, cathedrals and kremlins which hold a thousand years of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. Some of these towns, such as Suzdal or Sergiyev Posad, are near Moscow and are a good place for a 1-day trip to the more rural part of Russia. Other cities are further away and visiting them will require more time (spend a night or a weekend).
4. Irkutsk and Lake Baikal
The Transiberian is a railway route (not a train) that crosses Russia from end to end but also connects with Mongolia and China. Very different trains run along this route, both regular lines and luxury trains operated by private companies. One compulsory stop is Irkutsk and the imposing Lake Baikal.
5. Kazan, the third capital and the crossroad of cultures
Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tartarstan and is considered Russia’s third capital after Moscow and St. Petersburg. It is also a fascinating mix of western and eastern cultures. Inside Kazan’s Kremlin, only 100 meters separate the Qol Šärif mosque, one of Europe’s largest, and the Cathedral of the Annunciation, a major Orthodox temple. Islam and Christianity exist side by side in this city, also called the Volga’s Istanbul, its sister city.
6. Sochi, the “Russian Riviera"
Sochi, regarded as the “Russian Riviera”, is one Russia’s most important tourist cities due to its privileged location on the shores of the Black Sea and being an hour away by train from the snowy mountains of the Caucasus Mountains and their ski slopes. The staging of the 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as its organization, also in 2014, of its first Formula 1 race, and having hosted the 2018 World Cup, have made it famous worldwide.