Category Archives: Russian City Reviews

Why Visit Novosibirsk?

Ice-and-Snow-Sculptures-2

WHY VISIT?: The 3rd (or 4th, depending on who you ask) largest city in Russia, Novosibirsk is a mecca for big business, but as the unofficial capital of Siberia, it’s also a growing tourist destination. HOW TO GET THERE: Novosibirsk has an international airport, called Tolmachevo. Although you can take a train from Moscow, bear in mind that’s a two-day trip and then some! (If you’d like to spend a few days on the train to get a detailed feel for the Siberian countryside, then please go here for tickets: http://www.russiantrain.com) WHERE TO STAY: The best hotel in Novosibirsk is ... Read More »

Why Visit Nizhny Novgorod?

Statue-on-Bolshaya-Pokrovskaya

WHY VISIT?: One of the largest cities in Russia, and located on the banks of the legendary Volga River, Nizhny Novgorod is a great example of modern-day Russia. HOW TO GET THERE: Nizhny Novgorod has an international airport. But if you’re coming from Moscow, consider riding their new high-speed train called Sapsan. You can buy tickets here, though they still don’t seem to have an English version of their site: http://sapsan.su/rail-tickets.htm WHERE TO STAY: The best of the luxury hotels is probably… Alexandrovsky Garden Hotel Although its exterior doesn’t blow me away (it looks like an industrial style shopping mall) ... Read More »

Why Travel To Western Ukraine?

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WHY VISIT?: Western Ukraine is where the heart of the Ukrainian people can be found. From the castles of Lutsk to the gorgeous, European-style architecture of Lvov, Western Ukraine is a growing tourist destination. HOW TO GET THERE: Fly to Kiev, take a cab to the train station, and from there buy a ticket on one of the minivans that leave on the hour or so to either Lvov (or “Lviv” in Ukrainian) or to Lutsk. WHERE TO STAY: Probably best to make Lvov your home base and plan to take a short day trip to Lutsk. As always, just ... Read More »

What is BALAKLAVA, Ukraine?

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Balaklava is a small port town to the south of Sevastopol where the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade took place. In fact, it’s played a major role in all sorts of military conflicts through the centuries. Speaking of things military: Can you spot the military base in this photo? See the tunnel entrance at the base of the hill? Here’s a close-up: And here’s a look inside: You’re looking at a secret, and formerly highly classified Soviet submarine base, which was in operation until 1993. Being built inside that hill, it was designed to survive a direct nuclear impact. ... Read More »

Why Travel to Yalta, Ukraine?

Port_YALTA

Why Travel to Yalta, Ukraine? WHY VISIT?: Once a Black Sea playground for Russian Tsars, Yalta has turned into a summer haven for Russian and European travelers. Below is a video I shot during a trip to Yalta: HOW TO GET THERE: Yalta has no airport, so some combination of planes, trains, buses and taxis will be needed to get you there. Flying into Kiev is a must. From there, most travelers then fly to Simferopol (the capital of the Crimean peninsula). And finally, from Simferopol they take either a bus or a taxi down to Yalta. WHERE TO STAY: ... Read More »

Why Travel to St. Petersburg, Russia?

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Why Travel to St. Petersburg, Russia? WHY VISIT?: The beauty of St. Petersburg is reason enough to visit, but that it’s home to the Hermitage – a museum rivaled only by the Louvre in Paris – vaults it into Must-See status. HOW TO GET THERE: You can of course fly to St. Petersburg. But since it’s located on the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea, you can also visit on one of the many cruise lines that visit the city. (Royal Carribean, Princess, and Cunard being three of the biggest.) WHERE TO STAY: Compared to Moscow, the prices in ... Read More »

Why travel to Sevastopol Ukraine?

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Sevastopol is one of the tougher cities in Ukraine to get to, but with its amazing waterfront and dramatic scenery, it’s absolutely worth the extra effort. Below are a couple videos I shot during the summer in Sevastopol. Summer in Sevastopol Sevastopol Boardwalk HOW TO GET THERE: Although there is an airport in Sevastopol called БЕЛЬБЕК (Belbek), it’s rarely in use, so the train is your best option. Assuming you’d be flying in to Kiev, here’s what to do next: Plan to spend at least a day in Kiev. Then, head over to Kiev’s main train station to buy your ... Read More »

Why Travel To Kiev Ukraine?

Why Travel to Kiev, Ukraine? WHY VISIT?: The capital of Ukraine, Kiev has everything from world class shopping, to sandy beaches (along the Dnepr river) and enough action for the most demanding nightlife seeker. HOW TO GET THERE: Kiev’s main international airport is called Borispol. If you know some Russian you can take a very cheap van ride from the airport into the city center, getting dropped off at the train station. From there you can hop the subway to wherever you need to go. Otherwise, you’ll likely pay $35 to $40 for a cab into town. WHERE TO STAY: ... Read More »

Why Travel to Odessa Ukraine?

Why Travel to Odessa, Ukraine? WHY VISIT?: Odessa has a great mix of beach life, culture and nightlife that appeals to travelers the world over. HOW TO GET THERE: Unless you’re well-versed in Ukrainian train travel, or are traveling with someone who is, it’s best to fly into Odessa. If possible, arrange for ground transportation ahead of time, to avoid paying outrageous cab fares. WHERE TO STAY: Below I’ve listed four options, in order of increasing price. If you’ve read any of the other city reports on this site (like the one about visiting Kiev, or Sevastopol, and so on), ... Read More »

Moscow Review

Affi Mall MOSCOW

WHY VISIT?: Moscow is simply a world-class city, on par with New York, London, Paris or Tokyo. HOW TO GET THERE: With three international airports, there are all sorts of options for getting to Moscow. Ground transportation on the other hand can be confusing, especially if you don't know the language, so it's best if you arrange an airport transfer ahead of time. WHERE TO STAY: Moscow has probably no less than twenty 5 star hotels. But be prepared to pay upwards of $500 per night or more. I can't recommend any particular hotel because I've always chosen the cheaper option, which is to rent an apartment. But I'll be... Read More »