A ‘second capital’ to Moscow during World War 2, Samara is now one of Russia’s most popular beach resorts. Clean, sandy beaches slope down to the river Volga, flanked by green parks and historic buildings.
Visit Samara for sunbathing and Soviet sightseeing or use it as a base for exploring the wilderness of the surrounding Zhiguli mountains.
Top things to see and do
- Swim in the clear waters of the Volga river or sunbathe and play beach games like volleyball on its sandy banks. In colder weather, stroll along the waterfront to take in some of the city’s finest buildings and monuments.
- Descend into Stalin’s bunker, 37m below the Academy of Culture and Art. The bunker was built in Samara as a back-up base for the Soviet dictator and his government in case the Germans conquered Moscow during World War 2.
- Pick up a picnic lunch from the food stalls at Troitsky Market and eat it on the beach. The market sells good quality locally-produced fruit, vegetables, bread, meat and cheese.
- Discover the history of Samara, from pre-historic times to World War 2 at The Alabin Museum. A huge complex sprawling across several different buildings, the museum’s highlights include local dinosaur fossils and Lenin’s childhood home.
- Try ukha, a traditional Russian fish soup, made with the morning’s catch from the Volga, or pelmeni, Siberian meat pies.
Tips for travellers
If you’re feeling active, explore the Samara Bend National Park and the Zhiguli Mountains on a 10-day guided raft trip, known locally as zhigulyovskaya krugosvetka (‘around the world’).