Best places to take a river cruise in Russia

Home to a range of magnificent cities and unforgettable museums, it’s easy to see why Russia is increasingly becoming a popular vacation destination. Russia has a lot to offer in terms of Russia river cruise vacations. Even more – the incredible waterways system in Russia enables ocean-cruising ships to travel all the way from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. While it’s located hundreds of miles inward, Moscow – one of Russia’s capitals – is connected to five different seas by a range of rivers and canals. The best places to take a Russian river cruise are:

Photo credit: Aleksander Markin

River Volga:

At over two thousand miles long, this is Europe’s longest river and the main waterway in western Russia. It’s divided into three different parts – the upper, middle and lower Volgas. From around mid-March to mid-December, the Volga can be navigated throughout most of its course, although if you’re traveling during May or June, be aware that it can be more suspectable to flooding due to a large amount of melted snow. There are a number of canals connecting the Volga with points of the Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov and Moscow. Check out the best Volga river cruises in Russia here. 

River Don:

The lower Volga is linked with the Don in Volgograd Province in southwestern Russia by the Volga-Don canal. Generally, this river flows in a southerly direction until just to the north of Volgograd, where it turns to a more south-westerly direction. At the east of Rostov-on-the-Don, it empties into the Sea of Azow. Like the River Volga, this river also has three sections – the upper, middle and lower courses. 

River Neva:

This river starts its course at Lake Ladoga, flowing just over forty miles to the Finnish Bay of the Baltic Sea. Late summer is an ideal time of year to cruise across this lake; you’ll get to see the monastery on Valaam Island. Bear in mind that the eight-hour crossing can get a little choppy sometimes, so summertime tends to be an ideal choice. If you plan to stop in St Petersburg, this city is built on over forty islands in the river’s broad delta – similar to Venice, it’s located on a complex canal system. If you’re visiting in winter a cruise might not be available, but you can certainly skate on the river when it freezes over. You can also stop in St Petersburg and take a train to another part of Russia to explore further – check out this site: Russian Trains™.

River Dnieper:

With a length of 1,370 miles, this river is the most significant in the Ukraine. Since it dissects the country, it has acted as a commercial artery for hundreds of years. Its source is located southwest of Moscow, and it flows in a southerly direction through the west of Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus before opening into the Black Sea. It can be navigated throughout its entire course and tends to be free of ice for around eight months out of the year; one of the main reasons why it’s such a vital traffic route. If you’re hoping to visit Kiev during your trip, this cruise is ideal as it flows through the modern port. 

The Ships:

Most Russian river ships will carry up to 250 passengers, and tend to offer minimal yet practical cabins. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience then opt for a ship that’s been completely rebuilt or at least refurbished; these tend to be owned jointly by Russian and American or European countries, or chartered to major operators. 

Where will your Russian river cruise take you?

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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