Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

It’s amazing how many people, thinking about a winter vacation, choose exclusively from warm tropical destinations, when a real winter fairy tale begins in our country. Lush snowdrifts shining in the sun and snow-covered fir trees fascinate with their beauty no less than palm trees. And winter active entertainment is much more interesting than lying on the beach. For those who are ready to try something new this year, we have compiled a list of places in Russia that are definitely worth visiting in winter.


Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Photo: © Igor Ivanko/

Baikal is incredibly beautiful in summer, but in winter it is transformed, putting on a fabulously beautiful outfit – the famous Baikal ice. The waters of the deepest and cleanest lake on the planet freeze in dozens of different forms: zaberegi, kolobovnik, shah, osenets – these are just a few names of Baikal ice of different shapes and structures. In some places it is so transparent that it seems as if you can see the bottom under your feet. In other parts, the glass surface is painted with incredible three-dimensional patterns. In winter, it’s easier to move around Lake Baikal – you can drive straight on the ice by car. And the lake also becomes a giant skating rink, something like this is not installed in any city square. Well, if you want to warm up, hot springs are at your service: a warm mineral bath in the open air.


Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Photo: © Fedor Lashkov/

Another place that is even more interesting to visit in winter than in summer is Karelia. Vast expanses are covered with snow, and winter activities are open for tourists: dog sledding, ice fishing and even a ski slope at the Yalgora resort and a winter wake park with a snow kiting school. At the same time, nature becomes truly charming, especially the Paanajärvi National Park near the Arctic Circle, which turns into a real snow kingdom. The Ruskeala Marble Canyon is especially beautiful in winter at sunset, which colors the snow-covered spruce trees in purple and gold tones. Just don’t forget that you need to be thoroughly prepared for a trip to Karelia in winter, because it’s really cold here.


Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Photo: © Anton Petrus

A city that you would hardly think of going on a trip to actually attracts tourists in winter not only from Russia, but also from abroad. Murmansk is located beyond the Arctic Circle and, for example, in January there is no day as such – about two hours a day there is barely light, like late evening. But this is where you have a great chance of catching a mind-blowing light show that nature itself puts on—the aurora borealis. Of course, to see it, you will have to travel outside the city so that artificial lighting does not interfere. Well, if the wait time for the light show falls on the New Year holidays, you can join the folk festivities, drink tea from a real samovar and try traditional local venison.


Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Photo: @castenoid/@anxious5/

Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Excursions from local residents in Kaliningrad

The westernmost city in Russia has a very mild European climate. Winter here is short, lasting from mid-December to February, and there are almost no severe frosts. Therefore, when Kaliningrad is covered in snow, it turns into a classic gingerbread city with beautiful houses and warm night lights. Sights such as the Fishing Village, the Cathedral and the Queen Louise Church look great in a winter setting, and walks along the streets can be varied with ice skating, tasting hot mulled wine or a trip to the coast – cozy resort towns are just half an hour’s drive from the regional center. In general, winter Kaliningrad is an excellent budget alternative to a trip to Europe.


Traveling around Russia: where the winter fairy tale lives

Photo: © Denis Budkov/

Few people have not heard about the magical beauty of Kamchatka, but most tourists strive to get there in the summer to see the vibrant nature in all its glory. Thanks to this, in winter, tickets to Kamchatka are greatly reduced in price, which only benefits lovers of snow and extreme sports. In winter, ski resorts and endless freeride fields open in Kamchatka. Here you can ride dog sleds and snowmobiles, warm up in thermal springs, and also stop by an ethnic village and get up close and personal with real furry reindeer. Is it worth mentioning that the layer of red caviar on sandwiches is usually thicker than bread?

You can find the ideal hotel on OneTwoTrip.

Text author: Irina Krokhaleva

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