Russia is much bigger than most people realize, encompassing several time zones and hundreds of small states and towns. While most people are familiar with Moscow and Saint Petersburg, there are hundreds of small towns across Russia that are well worth a visit. If you want to enjoy a taste of local culture and steer clear of the more touristy areas around the region, here’s where you can explore Russia’s coolest towns.
One of the most ethnically diverse areas of Russia is the capital of Tatarstan. You’ll find a beautiful mosque here and several landmarks the tell the rich history of the Tatar Muslims. The Tatars had a big influence on this part of Russia and there was a time when they lived peacefully alongside Christians.
You probably won’t find another QWERTY keyboard monument sitting in the grass anywhere else in the world. This quirky town is one of the stops along the Trans-Siberian Railway and is a must-stop destination for seeing the monument and enjoying the riverside attractions.
The architectural landmarks around this little town are akin to something out of a Disney movie. This historic city dates all the way back to 937 as an early Russian settlement. You can see a kremlin (fortress) up close here and several buildings and churches that date back thousands of years.
Ostashkov is one of the provincial towns in Russia and has home to dozens of historic landmarks and sites worth exploring. You can take a tour of the Ascension Church that overlooks Lake Seliger and also visit the famous Nilov Monastery during your trip.
Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and beautiful setting of this coastal town, previously part of Germany. The town was relatively untouched by Soviet rule during the war era and has maintained much of its old-world Prussian charm. It’s a peaceful resort town that’s perfect for a weekend bed and breakfast retreat.