7 May 2020
Situated in the heart of Russia, Krasnoyarsk makes a popular stop along the Trans Siberian Railway.
It’s perhaps not the most beautiful city in Russia, but it does make an excellent jumping-off point for exploring further afield, such as the Stolby Nature Reserve or the wider Sayan Mountains.
The city also boasts some excellent dining options, a lively riverside promenade and plenty of green spaces, making it a decent stopover for travellers needing some time away from the tracks with enough to keep you occupied for a day or two.
These are the best things to do in Krasnoyarsk.
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Take A Day Trip To The Beautiful Stolby Nature Reserve
Located just outside the downtown area, Stolby Nature Reserve is the major drawcard for visitors and without a doubt the best thing to do in Krasnoyarsk. If you’re someone who loves getting up close with nature, be sure to add this beautiful spot to your Trans Siberian Railway itinerary.
‘Stolby’ is the name given to the tall ochre-stained rock pillars that punctuate the forested mountains of the reserve. The area is crisscrossed in a maze of tiny trails that make for some wonderful hiking, but best of all is clambering up the stolby themselves to enjoy the splendid views across the surrounding landscapes.
Stolby Nature Reserve is an easy day trip from the city and is able to be visited at any time of year. If you have just one day in Krasnoyarsk, I’d highly recommend spending it here in favour of taking in the city sights, while a two-day visit will allow plenty of time to fit in the rest of the items on this list.
Cross Vinogradovskiy Most And Take A Stroll On Tatyshev Island
On a sunny winter afternoon, the calm quiet of Tatyshev Island provided a welcome respite; a sea of autumnal trees and empty snow-dusted trails drenched in rich golden light.
Jutting out from the eastern edge of town, the pedestrian-only Vinogradovskiy Most guides you across the Yenisei River toward the island that is a popular spot for outdoor activities.
Even with the winter chill, locals were out enjoying the sunshine, strolling slowly between the auburn trees, fishing from the river banks or running with their dogs. In summer, biking and rollerblading are also common.
TOP TIP | Rada, a lovely Indian-inspired vegetarian restaurant, is located just around the corner from the bridge and serves up a delicious and reasonably priced Business Lunch.
Take In The City Views From Paraskevy Pyatnitsy Chapel
Perched atop the Karaulnaya Gora, the Paraskevy Pyatnitsy Chapel has seen a great deal of change since its humble beginning in the early 18th century as a simple wooden cross. After several designs and restorations, the quaint emerald and white chapel that stands today has become an icon of Krasnoyarsk and was even featured on the old 10 ruble note.
Its high vantage point allows visitors to take in the entire city from above – the grand old buildings of the downtown grid, the rigid Soviet blocks, the shimmering thread of the Yenisei River, the blueish haze of the industry and the silhouette of the mountains rising in the distance.
Though not far from the city centre, I’d recommend taking a taxi to the top instead of trying to get there on foot. Normally, I prefer to walk absolutely everywhere, but taking the suggested route on Google Maps led me through a series of less than friendly neighbourhoods where I ended up getting chased off by a very aggressive unchained dog.
Later I got chatting to a local tour guide who insisted that I walking in this area alone probably wasn’t a good idea. Though I generally felt very safe in Russia, taking a taxi here is recommended. As with the rest of the country, ridesharing apps like Yandex and Maxim (similar to Uber) are widely used and very affordable.
Cafe Hop And Spot The Quirky Statues On Mira Avenue
Krasnoyarsk may be small but it’s bursting with cool bars, cosy dessert houses and great restaurants.
Mira Avenue runs through the heart of the city and is the best spot to go when you’re after a drink or bite to eat.
Its mixture of grand pastel facades and rigid Soviet architecture also makes it the prettiest and most interesting city street to explore. You’ll find a number of key attractions here as well including the Intercession Cathedral, Revolution Square, the theatre and a collection of quirky statues that are beloved around the city.
Walk Along The Yenisei River And See The Kommunal’nyy Bridge
Oh, what a difference some sunshine makes.
I began my day in Krasnoyarsk right here beside the water beneath a shapeless grey sky. The walkway was still and silent, a sombre scene painted in black and white.
However, when I returned in the late afternoon, the difference could not have been more stark.
Sunshine streamed across the water staining the horizon in vivid orange, men lined the barrier fishing and chatting in small groups, the distant mountains burned brightly in the fading light and couples strolled arm-in-arm dressed in their winter finest.
The embankment is worth a visit at any time of day, but it’s at its best in the afternoon sun which brings a surge of life to the water’s edge. In summer, food trucks and riverside cafes also open their doors lending to an even livelier atmosphere.
Krasnoyarsk is a rapidly growing city in Siberia and you’ll find accommodation here to suit every budget.
Hovel Hostel | This brightly coloured hostel has an excellent location just a couple of blocks from the central Lenin and Mira Streets where you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes and bus stops for both Stolby Nature Reserve and the train station. It’s a simple but cosy space with large lockers, a curtain, light and power socket for each bed. There’s a large lounge area and kitchen too and a decent breakfast is included. Check rates and reviews here.
InWood Hostel | Another top-rated and colourful option for budget travellers, InWood is set a short way from the centre along Lenin Street close to the Yenisey River. The hostel has a modern design with a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable beds and breakfast included. Check rates and reviews here.
Dom Hotels | Krasnoyarsk is home to a trio of central, top-rated Dom Hotels, each with a unique style that caters to different types of travellers.
NEO is the trendy, 3-starred offering with colour-blocked walls and spacious rooms. Check rates and reviews here.
Classic is a modern 4-star hotel with an English-style pub, in house restaurant and optional buffet breakfast. Check rates and reviews here.
Apart offers bright, self-contained apartments which are perfect for groups, longer stays or anyone who prefers to cook their own meals. Check rates and reviews here.
Hotel PoliArt | A cosy and quaint hotel set just off Lenin Street, PoliArt is a favourite in Krasnoyarsk and offers a decent buffet breakfast. It’s also just around the corner from the bus stop for Stolby Nature Reserve. Check rates and reviews here.
Located about half way between Irkutsk and Novosibirsk, there are daily trains from either city to Krasnoyarsk as well as from Moscow or Vladivostok.
The train station sits on the west side of town and is served by several city buses and street trolleys. With the one-way street system, transport heading into town usually travels along Karl Marx Street, while those heading towards the train station take Lenin Street instead. Tickets cost R26 (€0.30) and you may be charged for an extra ticket if you’re travelling with a lot of luggage.
Krasnoyarsk’s location near the Sayan Mountains makes it a popular stop on the Trans Siberian Railway for travellers looking to explore the region, with places like Ergaki Nature Reserve just a bus ride away. You’ll find all the routes and timetables for long-distance buses listed here.
Krasnoyarsk is also linked to numerous Russian cities by plane, along with international connections to China, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Vietnam and Thailand.