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14 Places Russian Locals Don't Want You to Know About

Russia Insider Guides
by Marina Vinogradova Dec 19, 2016

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Jack London Lake

 Jack London lakeMagadan, RussiaNational park Jack London Lake provides accomodation (wooden huts or tents) and walking tours to the lake, fishing. Book a pick-up by SUV from Magadan to the national park. #nature #mountains #hiking

Jack London Lake is a deep mountain lake in Magadan region in east Russia. The legend says that when the scientists discovered the lake, they found a copy of “Martin Eden” by Jack London on the shore and named the lake after the American writer. No one knows how the book got so far from civilization, but the story inspired many romantics to explore the landmark.

Chara Sands

 Chara sandsNovaya Chara, RussiaA desert in between mountain ranges of Siberia 10 km away from Novaya Chara station on Baikal-Amur railway. If you visit in May you can see the flowers blooming in the sands.

You don’t expect to find a desert in the middle of Siberia. Yet Chara sands, surrounded by mountains and little rivers and bogs, definitely exist. In winter you almost don’t distinguish the sand from the snow, but in May flowers bloom on the yellow sands, turning this little desert into a field of purple.

Tserkov’ Pokrova na Nerli

 Tserkov’ Pokrova na NerliSuzdalskiy rayon, RussiaThe Intercession church stand far from any road in a water-meadow. Walk across the vast field to this perfection of a church and get lost in time.
Bus 152 from Vladimir to Bogolubovo.

Elton Lake

 Lake EltonPallasovka, RussiaThe biggest salt lake in Russia near Kazakhstan border. Can be reached by bus or by train from Volgograd. Due to the proximity of the border you might get stopped by border control – have your passport with you.
#nature #saltlake #hiking

Elton lake is the saltiest lake in Russia located in the steppes near Kazakhstan border. Since the times of Ivan the Terrible, it has given Russia 80% of its salt. It is quite far from Volgograd, but you won’t regret the trip once you see the golden water of the lake.


 DivnogoryeDivnogorye, RussiaThe area is famous for massive chalk pillars and cave churches. Divnogorye national park works May to November, there is a camping site and a guest house on its territory. #nature #caves #cavechurch #camping #chalk

Divnogorye is a nature reserve near Voronezh, a town on the bank of the river Don. The name means “wonder mounts” and refers to massive chalk formations. If you walk over hollow spots of the chalk plateau, you can hear an echo of your steps.

Dombay Valley

 Dombay valleyDombay, RussiaDombay valley is great for skiing in winter and cycling in summer and stargazing any season. #active #sports #cycling #skiing #hiking #mountains

Dombay Mountains, often referred to as the Russian Alps, attract many climbers and skiers during winter and hikers and cyclists during mild springs and summers. You can also try paragliding and have a dip in cool alpine lakes. Russian adventure seekers love the beauty and tranquillity of Dombay which is never crowded with tourists.

Kizhi Pogost

 Kizhi PogostMedvezhyegorskiy rayon, RussiaThe museum of wooden architecture in Kizhi is open all year round. Wooden churches with onion-shaped domes are surrounded by the harsh nature of the Russian North.
To get to Kizhi: from Moscow or St.Petersburg by plane to Petrozavodsk, then by speed boat to Kizhi island.

Kizhi island in the Republic of Karelia is an open air museum within a wooden structure. Once a small rural settlement, during the 1950’s wooden buildings from all over Karelia were moved here for preservation. Now you can explore around 80 objects including peasant houses, mills, saunas and churches.

St. Basil’s Cathedral

 St. Basil’s CathedralMoskva, Russia#history #museum #architecture
One of the most famous buildings in Russia, St.Basil’s cathedral is magical in winter


 Arch-StoyanieNikola-Lenivets, RussiaLand-art festival Arch-Stoyanie takes place every July in Kaluga region. Massive art objects are created on the territory of Nikola-Lenivets park.
During the festival the buses are organised from Salarievo metro station, Moscow and Kaluga-1 train station.

Nikola-Lenivets village is located in Kaluga region 200 km from Moscow. Every summer in the end of July Nikola-Lenivets hosts a big festival of land art called Arch-Stoyanie. Landscape designers from different Russian cities and some foreign participants assemble sculptures in the field near the village. The largest installations such as Bobur or Universal Mind are permanent. It is a great place to spend a weekend any time of year.

Koporskaya Fortress

 Koporskaya FortressKoporye, RussiaRuins of 13th century fortress in Leningrad region are worth visiting, especially if you are a fan of Middle Ages history. Two hours on a train from Baltiskiy train station to Kapishe stop, then 15 minutes by bus to Koporie fortress. There are daily trains at 9 a.m.

The Koporye fortress was built in the 13th century. The fort has been passed between the Russians and Swedes until it was taken by Russians in 1703 during the Great Northern War. The ruins of the fortress are among the most impressive in the country. It’s not too far from Saint Petersburg – just two hours on the train.

Krutitsy Metochion

 Krutitsy MetochionMoskva, RussiaThe complex of monastery buildings, 17th century architecture. Five minutes walk from Proletarskaya metro station.
#architecture #history #free

Krutitsy Metochion, south-east of Moscow, showcases Russian 17th-century church architecture. The Patriarch of Russian Orthodox church is secluded and quiet: it is easy to forget you are in a huge metropolis while you explore the red-brick structures.


 Moscow-DelhiMoskva, RussiaBest indian food in Moscow. There is no menu: it all depends on what the chef feels like today. Lunches from 1 p.m., suppers from 5 p.m.
Don’t forget to take off your shoes! :)
#vegetarian #indianfood #organicfood #healthy-eats

Moscow-Delhi is not a typical restaurant. Clay walls, a few tables, a kitchen amidst them, and no menu at all. This is not a place where you get served – you come here as a friend and get treated as a dear guest. Moscow-Delhi opened three years ago in a dark cellar with just three tables, but now it is one of the best places with organic food in Moscow.

Loft project ETAGI

 Loft project ETAGISankt-Peterburg, RussiaLocals keep the addresses of open roofs in secret. But the famous exhibition loft ЭТАЖИ offers access to their roof 24/7 (entrance fee 250 rub/4$). You can bring your food&drinks and have a picnic on the roof

The most romantic way to see Saint Petersburg is to find an open roof and watch the sunset. The access to roofs can be restricted, attic doors are locked, and locals do not share the addresses of those with access – the less people know, the better chance that the roof will stay open. Tip, make friends with the locals.

Flacon Design Factory

 FlaconMoskva, RussiaA complex of workshops and showrooms, bookstores, educational projects, shops and cafes. Check out graffiti, get a healthy snack in Vkusicvet (or a steak at FLC!) and explore the local designers’ shops

Flacon design factory is a creative space in the north of Moscow. Once a crystal factory, Flacon is now home to multiple workshops, showrooms, exhibition halls, designer shops, educational centers and cafes.

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