Mother Russia has worn many guises over the years, from flashy New Russians via Soviet propaganda and Tsarist opulence and poverty, but perhaps beneath all this is an aspect of Russia's character that has long charmed its visitors: an impulse to make the everyday beautiful. This tradition is still going strong, as testified by Russia's notoriously sharply dressed women and a cultural love for glitter and glamour; but its roots go much further back. Think of typically Russian matryoshka dolls, of ornate lacquer crockery and brightly painted boxes, and in part, you're thinking about Nizhny Novgorod. The region is home to a rich craft tradition that produces many of the items synonymous with Russia. Its intricately carved wooden houses and classical streets echo this; but as ever in Russia, times are a-changing, buildings are being renovated and new establishments are opening. Known locally as Nizhny, the city's proximity to Moscow makes it an ideal spot for Muscovites and tourists to get a glimpse of the 'real' Russia, the one of colourful wooden houses, grey Volga skies and fairytales.
- Arriving & Getting Around
- Sightseeing in Nizhny Novgorod
- Outside Nizhny Novgorod
- Hotels in Nizhny Novgorod
- Hostels in Nizhny Novgorod
- Restaurants & Cafes
- Shopping in Nizhny Novgorod
Arriving & Getting AroundThere are several daily flights to Nizhny Novgorod from Moscow as well as many overnight trains, although arguably the quickest and most comfortable way to arrive is by taking one of the express trains which travel between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod in four hours. Click here for more information and timetables.
Once in Nizhny Novgorod you will find the city centre is very walkable whilst public transport in Nizhny Novgorod (served by a network of metro, trams and buses) is very well developed.
Sightseeing in Nizhny NovgorodIt may not have Moscow's Red Square or St. Petersburg's Winter Palace, but Nizhny Novgorod still has some pretty fascinating places to visit. Nizhny's small but ecclectic collection of museums and art galleries has something for everyone, and if you find yourself wanting more, there are plenty of interesting places to visit outside the city too.
- Bolshoe Boldino
- National Centre of Contemporary Art
- Rukavishnikov Estate
- Shchelokovsky Khutor
- State Literature Museum
- The Kremlin
- Tram Tours
- Volga Cable Car
Outside Nizhny Novgorod
Hotels in Nizhny NovgorodNizhny's hotels range from the slick and modern to the classy and classical - a few of the best include:
Grand Hotel Oka Premium, 4*: Light and spacious rooms, suites and apartments with all mod cons, a little way outside the centre. www.en.hoteloka.ru, (+7) 831 425 94 23, room prices start at 4800Rbl.
Sergievskaya Hotel: Tying in well with Nizhny's late nineteenth century streets, this luxury hotel is made up like a merchant's mansion complete with four poster beds, a five-to-ten-minute walk from the city centre in one direction and the riverbank in the other. www.hotel-sergievskaya.ru, (+7) 831 433 00 10, room prices start at 2500Rbl.
Ibis Nizhny Novgorod, 3*: Modern and comfortable, as one would expect from the Ibis chain, and only a short walk to the centre. www.ibis.com, (+7) 831 233 11 20, room prices start at 2900Rbl.
Hostels in Nizhny NovgorodNizhny's three hostels can prove a little more costly than your average hostel - but they're definitely a few steps up from basic living and are all centrally located. Spaces fill up fast, especially in summer, so book in advance as far as possible.
Restaurants & CafesOur price guide is based on the average price of a main course:
€ 0 - 600Rbl
€€ 600 - 1000Rbl
€€€ 1000 - 1,500Rbl
€€€€ 1,500Rbl plus
Tip only for good service, 8%-10% is considered good. Also remember to check your bill to see if they already included service.
Shopping in Nizhny NovgorodSouvenirs
The region surrounding Nizhny Novgorod has long been famed for its artistic productivity and the range and standard of its traditional crafts. The best place to get your hands on some local souvenirs is the large grey block of a building on Bolshaya Pokrovskaya, covered in red and yellow flowers, that also houses the regional craft museum (Bol. Pokrovskaya ul. 43). If you can brave the army of matryoshki you'll find a wealth of attractive souvenirs in Nizhny's regional style, 'khokhloma', from swan-shaped serving dishes to the less traditional iPhone covers and computer mice. There's also a wide selection of knives and silver podstakanniky (metal holders for your glass of tea), embroidered linen and painted chairs. Prices vary so there's something for every budget.
The European chain 'Spar' is Nizhny's corner shop of choice, which is lucky as they're everywhere and slightly more useful than the average produkty shop. There's an especially big one ('Eurospar') with a selection of European products on ul. Belinskogo.
Aside from the boutique shops along Bol. Pokrovskaya ul., there are also a number of smallish shopping centres around the town centre area. For a wider selection of Western shops, head to 'Fantastika' (from Minin Square: buses 45, 90, marshrutka 2, or any other that advertises 'Fantastika'), a large shopping centre with most of the usual shops and a very large supermarket. Sedmoe Nebo (Seventh Heaven) on the Lower Bank, ul. Beketova, is pretty similar.