Things To Do In Russia Instead Of Watching The World Cup

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With World Cup fever in full swing we thought we’d share some interesting things to do in each location of the tournament. Great for a bit of sightseeing before or after a match, or as a way to escape the footballing throngs!

Nizhny Novgorod

The Chkalov Stairs is a monumental flight of steps – 560 in total – in the centre of Nizhny Novgorod. The steps have been built in a figure of eight shape, and connect Minin and Pozharsky Square, the Upper Volga and the Lower Volga embankments, and offer spectacular views of the surrounding area. This is the place to go to chill out and take in the views, for locals as well as visitors to the area.

Kazan

Kaban Lakes is a huge body of water rife with rumour of treasure! According to legend, this lake has hidden gold, looting by troops of Ivan the Terrible, that once belonged to Khan’s Queen Syuyumbike. Treasure aside, visitors will be blessed with beautiful views of sweeping cityscapes that are great from the shore, and even more impressive if you take a tour on a paddleboat.

Samara

Stalin’s Bunker is a top attraction in this city, and while Stalin was never actually here, it is packed full of everything that would have been required had he needed to come. Top tips for visiting include to wear comfy shoes, as this attraction is either 8 or 16 floors below ground (depending on your sources), and also brush up on your Russian as there is no English version of the guided tour. There is an excellent bar and restaurant at the facility where you can get your strength after burning all those calories on steps!

Sochi

Mount Akhun is the highest point in Sochi. Follow the long and winding road to the top and you’ll reach an observation tower that delivers breath-taking views of the Black Sea and surrounding forests as well as the Matsesta and Khosta rivers, which flank the mountain. Top tip is to go on a clear day, otherwise all you’ll see from the tower is fog.

St Petersburg

There is so much to see here that it is recommended that you jump aboard a tour. These will give you a fly-by experience of Russian Imperial palaces, the Peterhof Fountain Park, the Hermitage Museum and includes a canal cruise through the ‘Venice of the North’. For an added dose of Russian culture, get tickets to see a ballet.

Moscow

St Basil’s Cathedral is the number one attraction in Moscow. It was built by Ivan the Terrible in the 16thCentury, and borders the second must-do thing in Moscow, Red Square. The Cathedral is a colourful architectural delight, featuring nine separate chapels, each with a unique design and capped with its own individually shaped and coloured dome. Fun fact – it wasn’t always this colourful, it was once white to match the Kremlin, with the domes painted gold. The colours began to be added in the 17thCentury to reflect the colours that described the Kingdom of Heaven in the Book of Revelation.