After a long winter of snow and ice, temperatures are climbing in Russia and attracting tourists this summer primarily for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The world’s biggest football (soccer) match, however, provides a great excuse for visitors to the world’s largest country to check out some of the top tourist destinations across the vast territorty that encapsulates every kind of climate, culture and ethnicity imaginable.
Caspian News has put together what its writers believe to be some of the top five attractions for those visiting Russia this summer.
5. Rejuvenate yourself in Yessentuki
If you want to find some unique treatments for your health and skincare, this historical resoirt town of Yessentuki, in the southwestern part of Russia, is for you. Famous for its mineral-rich hot springs, the town boasts plenty of treatment facilities that cater to Russians and visitors alike.
Yessentuki, also known as Essentuki, treats roughly 130 000 patients per year. Its sanatoriums and medicinal mud bath clinics can help in the prevention of chronic pains and disease, as well as digestive disorders. The town’s 1,500-year history is reason enough to visit, even if health tourism is not your thing, with plenty of historical sights and picturesque areas perfect for selfies.
4. Discover wild nature in Kamchatka
Spotting a brown bear in Russia is simply a ‘must’; and the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East is the perfect spot for doing it. There you can see how these majestic animals hunt for sockeye salmon, which form the major part of their daily diet. If you head east, get ready for an outdoor adventure and living in the wild, where pitching a tent near the town of Dvuhyurtochnoe will give you a chance to watch brown bears in action. While in the town, which boasts one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in Russia, you’ll have the chance to take a dip in natural hot springs and swimming pools filled with their thermal waters.
3. Tour Russia’s cultural capital, from its rooftops
“If people knew how nice it is to walk on the roofs, they would stop strolling along the streets,” once said a character from a popular Soviet cartoon called “Karlsson On The Roof,” which was based on children's books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Saint Petersburg, considered Russia’s cultural capital, has long been offering tourists a unique way to experience its historical and cultural sites. Excursions from rooftops of buildings and various structures, accompanied by a guide, allow visitors to get a 360-degreee panoramic view of sites like St. Isaac's Cathedral or Spas-On-the-Blood.
2. Take a road trip through Altai
Altai is known as a paradise thanks to its fascinating beauty. Mountain peaks are reflected in the turquoise-colored waters of rivers, while golden meadows, waterfalls, caves and glaciers all lure visitors in by their boundless natural beauty. If you are a fan of driving, don’t miss the 1,000 km-long Chuysky Tract, known as the Siberian Silk Road.
1. Visit the North Pole
How many people can boast a selfie taken at the North Pole? A cruise to one of the most exclusive destinations in the world is unforgettable, as you cross the Arctic Ocean while on board the most powerful atomic icebreaker in the world. Here you can spot polar bears and walruses on the Russian archipelago known as Franz Josef Land. Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack a winter coat!