For summer beach holidays, tourists in Russia prefer resorts on the Black Sea, however, in the summer you can relax on the Baltic Sea, in the Mineralnye Vody region, as well as in small towns in the Central region of Russia.
In this review on the Geomerid online travel guide, you can read about cities that are not focused on sightseeing tourism, but on recreation. It can be a holiday on the beach, as well as in the pastoral atmosphere of Russian nature:
9. Golden Mountains of Altay
Click on the hyperlinks to read in detail about each city and see a large number of photos
Sochi is the main year-round resort in Russia. It is located on the Black Sea coast, on the southern slope of the Caucasus Mountain Range. The mountains protect it from the cold northern winds, so Sochi has a subtropical climate. In summer, people swim here on the beaches of the Black Sea. There are a lot of natural attractions in the Caucasus Mountains, including dozens of trekking routes.
In winter, Sochi becomes a ski resort. The infrastructure for winter recreation was created for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The winter recreation center is located in the village of Krasnaya Polyana, which is located 50 kilometers north of Sochi. Krasnaya Polyana is located in the mountain gorge of the Mzymta River. The climate here is completely different. It is very interesting to come here in the summer to walk along mountain trekking routes.
Gelendzhik is in the center of Russian Black Sea coast, to the south of Novorossiysk. The resort zone of Gelendzhik, as the other resorts in the Caucasus, isn’t only within the city, but covers the territory of some 100 kilometers. It includes settlements Kabardinka, Divnomorskoe, and Arkipo-Osipovka in the north, as well as settlements а также поселки Dzhanhot, Praskoveevka, Krinitsa and Betta in the south.
Unlike Sochi, which is only 260 kilometers off, Gelendzhik features dry, Mediterranean climate, the same as on the rest of the Black Sea coast. There are no tall Caucasian mountains here, still, the spurs of the Markhotsky Range impart a kind of picturesqueness to surrounding landscapes of Gelendzhik.
Kislovodsk resort is located 50 kilometers to the south-west of the other balneological resorts in the Mineralnye Vody Region: Pyatigorsk, Yessentuki and Zheleznovodsk, located in the immediate vicinity of each other. But all the same Kislovodsk is the most popular resort for those who go to the Mineralnye Vody Region for recreation.
The main difference of Kislovodsk from the rest of balneological resorts is the huge terraced Resort Park on the slope of the Djinal Ridge. The town properly is located at the altitude of 800-1,100 m in the foothills of the Caucasus Ridge. And though the mountains are far away and can be seen only in good weather, in Kislovodsk you can feel the mountain climate, which creates, together with Narzan springs, the resort atmosphere there.
Hydrosulfuric (or sulfide), carbon and radon springs are concentrated at the foot of Mount Mashuk in Pyatigorsk resort, which has determined the specific of local sanatoriums: treatment of musculoskeletal system and locomotor apparatus. Also some sanatoriums offer the treatment of skin, urological and gynecological diseases.
You can go to Pyatigorsk not only for treatment but also for the historical sites, as well as places mentioned in the novel «Twelve Chairs» and stories of Lermontov. Lake «Proval» is the most famous attraction of Pyatigorsk. There are also parks, several complexes with mineral baths and just a resort atmosphere.
Yalta is the largest and most famous beach resort in Crimea and all of Russia. Yalta can be compared with Sochi, which is located on the Caucasian coast of Russia. Yalta began to develop as a resort at the end of the 19th century, and it became a resort for the high society of the Russian Empire. Emperors and aristocrats built their palaces here.
In the 19th century, the largest resort on the Southern coast of Crimea was Gurzuf, however, the climate of Yalta was more conducive for the development of the most famous resort in Crimea. This is due to the structure of the Crimean Mountains. In the Yalta area they are located in a form of large amphitheater far from the sea. Thanks to this, pine forests have grown here. Pine phytoncides, sea breeze and mountain air have created a unique climate in Yalta, useful for the treatment of lung diseases.
The Svetlogorsk is the largest resort on the Baltic sea coast in the Kaliningrad region. In East Prussian times, it was called Rauschen. The historic center of Rauschen is preserved, and walking among the German houses of the 19th century is a pleasure.
Today, the historical part of the city is very well preserved, since the city was not destroyed at all during the World War II. Many of the houses located on Lenin street and in the Larch Park area have been preserved from the time of East Prussia or have been restored in the German style. Along the sea, at the foot of a high slope (40-60 meters) for 2 kilometers stretches the Embankment of Svetlogorsk. It is called the Promenade.
The small town of Ples is located on the banks of the Volga River. It can be called a tourist resort in the middle of the Russian strip, as it retains the atmosphere of a quiet provincial town on the banks of a large river. It is not yet part of the Golden ring route, but it fully deserves to be.
Until the 19th century, Ples was an important commercial port in the middle reaches of the Volga. At the foot of the Sobornaya Mountain on the Volga embankment, many mansions belonging to Pless merchants appeared. Everything changed in 1871. The railway from Ivanovo to Volga River was laid not to Ples, but to Kineshma (40 km downstream from Ples). Kineshma became the main port in this region, and Ples became a quiet holiday village among picturesque hills, where Russian artists sought inspiration.
Out of the cities of the Golden Ring Suzdal may be considered to be the most interesting for tourists. Here feels the atmosphere of harmony and quietness that this ancient city lives in. It is just the atmosphere as it is imaged by most residents of the city. And by the abundance of historical sites concentrated on a small territory (five monasteries and over 30 churches), Suzdal has probably no peers.
The main sights of the city are Suzdal Kremlin, Nativity Cathedral, the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius, Intercession Monastery, Museum of Wood Architecture, and the Square with Trading Rows. You may see no other sights, though during your promenades in the city you are sure to drop in at the other monasteries and churches as all of them are located in the immediate vicinity of each other.
"Golden Mountains of Altay" is a collective definition of the most beautiful places of the Altay Mountains, which were included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List in 1998. These places are part of two biosphere reserves: the Altay Reserve and the Katun Reserve, as well as tourist areas on the Ukok Plateau and Mount Belukha.
The word "Altay" in translation from the Turkic language means "Golden Mountains". The Altay mountain system is located in the geographical center of the Eurasian continent. The central point is located near Mount Belukha, the most famous attraction of Altay. Some followers of esoteric teachings considered Mount Belukha to be the mystical center of the Earth, where the legendary country of Shambhala is located.
Derbent is the oldest city in Russia, at the same time; it is one of the most beautiful cities in the Caucasus. Many tourists consider Dagestan as an opportunity to travel to the mountains, but the historical sights of Derbent are of no less interest. Derbent is also developing as a resort on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
Derbent is a picturesque Caucasian city. It`s not just about its attractions, but about the general atmosphere on the narrow streets of the old quarters. The Naryn-Kala fortress, the fortress walls and the Juma Mosque were built in the 6th-8th centuries. The mosque and the fortress are the oldest in Russia. In 2003, they were included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.