At 2,292 miles long, the Volga is the longest river in Europe, and flows into the Caspian Sea. Here travellers can explore the diversity of this Soviet area: from the rich and unparalleled cultural heritage to walks through the green steppes, a change in scenery is guaranteed. The land of the tsars will certainly live up to history enthusiasts' expectations. In the city of Tver, you can visit the beautiful, colossal Church of the Transfiguration, and in Yaroslavl, you will find the emerald domes of the Church of Elijah the Prophet. Inside, there are stunning wall murals to be discovered. From the magnificent forests of Kazan that stretch for miles, to the Rybinsk Reservoir with its polar landscapes, nature lovers will not be disappointed. A trip to the heart of Russia is both exciting and rewarding because it never ceases to amaze with its history and its buildings with their unique architecture. Visitors can't help but enjoy a trip to the Volga region.
Surface area : 536400.0 km2
Population : 16905000 inhabitants
Time difference : UTC+4. Since Moscow and St. Petersburg don't use daylight saving time, in the summer they are only 3 hours ahead.
There are not many shops in the Volga region, so it's best to visit Moscow or St.Petersburg if you want to go shopping.
In St.Petersburg, there are lots of clothes shops. Eke People, a small trendy showroom, has reasonably priced items from both local and international designers. Vintage lovers should visit Off, where they will find many Soviet fashion treasures. It is impossible to leave St. Petersburg without having visited the markets, especiallyKuznechny, the most popular market in St. Petersburg. Here you will find the best products, although they are quite expensive. Moscow also has all kinds of shops. Music lovers will be delighted to discover Soyouz, a record store with new and complete catalogues for you to browse through. The obvious advantage being that you can listen before you buy. You're sure to find plenty of choice for souvenirs in both cities, with many small kiosks devoted to them.
Russian cuisine is very varied. The harsh climate makes hearty dishes very tempting. Therefore, faced with never-ending winters, the Russian population mainly eats fish, poultry and game, which is usually cooked in a stew, as well as mushrooms, berries and honey. Growing cereals, rye, wheat, barley and millet is important, as this provides the ingredients for a wide range of breads, semolina, crÍpes and beverages, such as beer and of course the inevitable vodka. Russian specialities, such as solyanka, a cabbage soup, and selyodka pod shuboy, which consists of herring covered with many layers of vegetables, are very popular with both locals and tourists alike.
A useful tip: in Russia, the best dishes are those prepared by the locals, and expensive restaurants do not always serve good quality food.
For an overall experience of the Volga region, you should take a cruise, as many tourists choose to do. Cruises usually operate from May until the end of September. The rest of the time, the Volga is frozen and is not navigable. Cruises depart from the North River Terminal, which is located to the north of Moscow. You will undoubtedly appreciate the terminal itself, as it is a perfect example of Stalinist architecture. For those who have time, the flower garden and small surrounding woods are also worth a visit. Practical advice: all the cruise ships look the same. To avoid any mistakes, make sure to find out the name of your boat.
Finally, ten minutes from the river terminal, there is an underground station. From here, you can take a 30 minute train ride to the centre of Moscow.