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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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, 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-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.
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 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.