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 Christmas trees powdered with snow 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 where you should definitely go in winter.

Baikal

Photo: © Igor Ivanko / nationalgeographic.com

Baikal is incredibly beautiful in summer, but in winter it transforms, putting on a fabulously beautiful outfit – the famous Baikal ice. The waters of the deepest and purest lake on the planet freeze in dozens of different forms: zabregi, kolobovnik, shah, osenets – these are just a few names of Baikal ice, different in shape and structure. 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 traced in incredible three-dimensional patterns. In winter, it is easier to navigate Lake Baikal – you can drive directly on the ice by car. And the lake also becomes a giant skating rink, which is not put on any city square. Well, if you want to warm up, there are hot springs at your service: a warm mineral bath in the open air.

I want to go to Baikal!

Karelia

Photo: Karelia
Photo: © Fyodor Lashkov / nationalgeographic.com

Another place that is even more interesting to visit in winter than in summer is Karelia. Endless expanses are covered with snow, and winter entertainment opens up 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. Ruskeala Marble Canyon is especially good in winter at sunset, which colors the snow-covered fir trees in purple-gold tones. Just do not forget that you need to thoroughly prepare for a trip to Karelia in winter, because it is really cold here.

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I want to go to Karelia!

Murmansk

Photo: Murmansk
Photo: © Anton Petrus

The city, which it would hardly occur to you to go on a trip, in fact 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 it is barely light, like late evening. But it is here that there are great chances to catch a breathtaking light show, which is arranged by nature itself – the aurora borealis. Of course, to see it, you have to travel outside the city, so that artificial lighting does not interfere. Well, if the waiting time for the light show falls on New Year’s holidays, you can join the festivities, drink tea from a real samovar and taste the traditional local venison.

I want to go to Murmansk!

Kaliningrad

Photo: Kaliningrad
Photo: @castenoid / @ anxious5 / Instagram.com
Photo: Kaliningrad

Excursions from local residents in Kaliningrad

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

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I want to go to Kaliningrad!

Kamchatka

Photo: Kamchatka
Photo: © Denis Budkov / nationalgeographic.com

Few have not heard about the magical beauty of Kamchatka, but most tourists tend 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 plays into the hands of fans 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 the thermal springs, and also stop by an ethnic village and get to know real furry reindeer. Needless to say, it is customary to make a layer of red caviar on sandwiches thicker than bread here?

I want to go to Kamchatka!

Text author: Irina Krokhaleva