The Volga River, which is the longest river in Europe, begins in the Valdai Hills in Russia, north of Moscow and south of St. Petersburg. The river travels 2,293 miles until it reaches its end at the Caspian Sea. The Volga has multiple tributaries which together form the Vulga river system, drains most of Northern Russia, providing irrigation and hydroelectric power to the country. Travelers taking Volga River cruises travel from eight days up, typically following "The Golden Ring", one of Russia's oldest trade routes.
Volga River Cruises
Volga River cruises last between eight and 18 days. The ships sail from a number of starting locations including St. Petersburg, Moscow, Astrakhan and Rostov-on-Don and ending in one of the other cities. Typically, cruises are offered between May and September, when Russia is enjoying spring, summer and early weather.
These cruises stop in multiple cities up and down the Volga River, so visitors can truly experience the beauty and the history of Russia. Some of the places the ships typically stop include:
- St. Petersburg
- Kizhi Island
Cruises going to and from Rostov-on-Don provide the opportunity for visitors to see all of Russia, from the southern shores to the northern beaches. They have the chance to see the unique history and culture of a magnificent land.
The Cruise and the Ships
Seven ships operate on the Volga River. Made to ride on the river, these small ships usually hold only 200 to 300 passengers. Even though they're small, they all have large windows so travelers can enjoy the view; and air conditioning, so the rooms are comfortable.
On board, passengers enjoy restaurants, bars, swimming pools, saunas, observation lounges, sun decks, reading rooms and even beauty salons. Activities are also available for children.
These cruises are ideal for passengers who enjoy seeing new places and who like history. Ships stop in many ports along the river, providing the opportunity to see many buildings and locations in Russia. Families are welcome on the ship and children will have plenty to do. However, some cruises are designed specifically for adults only.
What's there to See?
Volga River cruise highlights include not only exquisite food and on-board delights, but also the many sights tourists can enjoy when the boat stops in port. This means access to beautiful buildings, bridges, parks, architecture, history and culture.
For instance, in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), visitors can stop in Kizhi Island and see more a wooden cathedral with 22 domes, built without any nails.
In Kostroma, a medieval city, visitors take a tour of Ipatievsky Monastery, which has a golden dome.
Visitors have time to explore modern Russian culture in Moscow with its numerous monasteries and cathedrals, Lenin's tomb and the Red Square.
The Volga River is an ancient trade route, and dozens of cities sprung up along it. Today, Volga River cruises allow individuals to explore these cities and become familiar with modern and ancient Russia. For lovers of history and culture, this cruise is one of the best. Even people who are simply in it for the ride are sure to find something they can enjoy.