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Exploring Russia Through A River Cruise

Russia river cruise

Published: 13 March 2015

Great cities, charming towns, great attractions and a rich history and culture tempt tourists and travellers from around the world to spend holidays in Russia throughout the year. One of the best ways to explore the wondrous treasures of this fascinating country is through its excellent waterways. Home to the Volga River, the longest river in Europe with a length of 3,690 km, Russia boasts some of the most scenic river cruises in the world. Our top pick of Russian river cruises in 2015 is the wonderful route that takes you from Moscow to St. Petersburg, covering some of the best places to visit in Russia.

By land, the two famous cities are only about 650 km apart, but the cruise between them takes you through ten different rivers, reservoirs, lakes and canals.

Spend some time exploring the tourist attractions of Moscow; the Red Square, the Kremlin, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Bolshoi Theatre before boarding your river cruise from the cruise terminal in the northwest of the city on the Volga-Baltic Canal System.

From there, your rivership will take you to the city of Uglich where you can visit its many monasteries, churches, museums and the splendid Palace of the Uglich Princes. The Church of Demetrius on the Blood is one site you shouldn’t leave without visiting either.

The next stop, Kostroma, offers the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful Russian countryside and visit the Ipatyevsky Monastery, the final resting place of the Gudunovs and Yaroslavl, a university city and major port.

A night spent crossing the Rybinsk Reservoir and Beloye Lake gets you to the farming village of Goritsy on the Sheksna River. From there, the cruise passes through six locks onto another stretch of the Volga-Baltic Canal and across the vast Lake Onega. The lake, which is 284 km long and 80 km wide, is home to 1,650 islands. Visit the Open-Air Museum of Architecture and the Transfiguration Church, with 22 onion domes, believed to be the world’s largest wooden church on Kizhi Island.

The rugged landscape that greets your eyes as you pass on from Lake Onega to Lake Ladoga is majestic and provides excellent photo opportunities. Cruises generally make a stop at the small village of Svirstroy, where you can pick up some great souvenirs and handicrafts to take home.

There are over 70 rivers that feed Lake Ladoga, but the one that will take you to St. Petersburg is River Neva. The city is built on 42 islands of the Neva’s broad delta and has its own canal system. As you dock on the northwest corner of the city, you can organise your St. Petersburg holidays and plan your sightseeing excursions. Don’t miss out on the Hermitage complex, Peter and Paul Fortress, Peterhof and the Mariinsky Theatre.

Though there are a number of other Russian river cruises, the ‘Waterway of the Tsars’ that takes you from Moscow to St. Petersburg is considered one of the best river cruises in the country, because not only do you get to see so many of the famous sights, but truly get to observe daily life in the villages and towns on the way.
A great trip for 2015!

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