Last updated on November 29, 2020
Russia is home to some of the most wild and wondrous natural landscapes on the planet, but which is the most beautiful city in Russia?
For the citizens of many countries in the global West, Russia represents something of an enigma. On one hand it’s well-represented in pop-culture, especially in literature and the arts, but on the other hand it’s often portrayed as playing home to sinister political and military characters in films and television shows.
Part of that complex depiction is due in large part to its position as a superpower during the Cold War with aspirations that were in direct competition with the United States and its allies.
Prior to that dynamic, Russia was seen as a place of great intrigue. A vast country that capped the Asian continent and formed an integral cultural and geographic bridge between the East and West. As a result of that melting pot of influences, the Russia of today boasts some of the most impressive and exciting cities in the world.
Tip: If you’d like to explore Russia’s beautiful cities, you’ll need to navigate the Russian visa application process that will help inform the itinerary of their trip regarding which cities in Russia they want to visit.
Exploring Moscow and St. Petersburg
When someone mentions Russian cities, there is no question as to which ones jump to the forefront. Moscow and St. Petersburg are two incredibly iconic cities, well-known for reasons that range from architecture and history to culture and nightlife.
Moscow May Be the Biggest, but is it the Most Beautiful City in Russia?
Moscow is simply one of the most impressive cities on the planet. The metropolitan area is home to around 20 million people, making it one of the more populous urban areas around.
Despite its size and importance to the various empires that have ruled over the Russian territory over the years, Moscow was not always the cultural hub and capital city that it has blossomed into today.
However, over the past century, when Russia has taken up attention and space in the minds of Western historians, travelers, writers, and politicians, Moscow has been front and center as the pulsating heart of the rugged, complex nation.
For travelers who have followed those minds to explore Moscow on their own, they have found no shortage of activities to occupy themselves with.
One of the reasons why Moscow stands out as exceptionally beautiful is because of its sheer vastness. Unlike many European cities, like Barcelona or Krakow, whose small city centers lend themselves well to a quick weekend getaway, Moscow demands your time because of how well spaced out it is.
As a result of how much physical space it occupies, Moscow can give visitors the feeling that they are exploring a quaint neighborhood instead of being smack dab in the middle of the hectic chaos that many cities of its size are known to give off.
How About St. Petersburg?
Situated on the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg is highly regarded in terms of its beauty. Despite being large in its own right, it pales in comparison to Moscow, providing tourists with a completely different feel than its larger counterpart.
In addition to its dramatic positioning on the water, St. Petersburg is famous for its architecture. The city is home to many well-preserved buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries that feature a variety of architectural styles including Baroque and Neoclassical designs.
St. Petersburg is thought to be particularly beautiful in the evening as the city transitions from day to night, as well as being extraordinary from above, which is why some places offer up their roofs for visitors to climb onto and take in the exceptional cityscape as the lights begin dotting the horizon.
What Other Russian Cities are Beautiful?
Moscow and St. Petersburg may be the largest and most famous cities in Russia, but they are certainly not the only ones worth mentioning.
In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek moniker, the city of Irkutsk was nicknamed the Paris of Siberia. Despite not living up to the City of Light, Irkutsk is still gorgeous in its own right, thanks in large part to its location on Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world.
The city blends the charming small-town feel of a European village with the modern Russian architectural trademark flourishes that can be found throughout the country.
It is amazing to think that Vladivostok, a city in the East of Russia, borders the Pacific Ocean, especially when you consider that St. Petersburg on the West coast sits on the Baltic Sea. Vladivostok is within a stone’s throw of China and North Korea.
It is perhaps most famous for being the destination of the trans-Siberian railway, which is considered by many people to be the most spectacular train journey in the world.
Thanks to the beautiful squares and design of the city, travelers are not disappointed when they finally arrive in Vladivostok.
What about you? What other beautiful cities have you visited in Russia? And which was your favourite? Leave a comment below to share your experiences and travel advice.
Dorothy Jones is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.