Ekaterinburg, The Russian Federation
From the airport
Koltsovo International Airport (SVX) is about 16km SE of the city. The most efficient way into the centre of Ekaterinburg is by bus. There’s a bigger bus, the #1, and a smaller mini-bus which is #01. #01 is more expensive, 100 roubles, plus 20 roubles for a suitcase, but it gets you to the centre about 20 minutes faster (in 45 minutes) than the #1 (65 minutes). #1 tickets are only 28 roubles (it seems baggage is included, but I haven’t taken it so can’t be sure). We took the #01, it’s right outside the terminal, you can’t miss it.
There is a train from the airport, but it goes only twice a day. Or take the bus for 5 minutes, get off at Koltsovo Railway Station and take the suburban train from there.
There’s plenty of choice of hotel/accommodation options in Ekaterinburg. It’s a big city and an important cultural and industrial centre of the region. Hotel rooms start at around $25 USD a night, although you might find something cheaper if you look for hostels. We stayed in an Air BnB (a flat which was not far from the centre and accessible by tram), which was perfectly located, and really convenient if you’re staying for more than a few days. If you decide to stay in an Air BnB or some other kind of guest house, your host may not speak English, so be prepared to use Google or another type of translating app to communicate.
Like most Russian cities I’ve been to, there’s very good, efficient, public transport available to get to most parts of the town. There are trams, buses, trolley-buses, a metro and of course taxis. Walking around town is also possible as Yekaterinburg is quite flat.
There are a variety of eating options in Ekaterinburg, as in any big Russian city. They range from the street vendor selling the traditional ‘chebureki’ – here’s a recipe if you want to make some yourself, to the inevitable CCCP café, European style restaurants and more.
Some to try:
Fabrika Kukhnya (in Russian ФАБРИКА-КУХНЯ) – Traditional Russian cuisine
BarBoris (in Russian БАРБОРИС) – A restaurant which uses the recipes of Boris Yeltsin’s wife
Restaurant Panorama A.S.P. (in Russian Панорама АСП) – The highest restaurant in the Urals. Located on the 50th floor of the Vysotskiy Tower
And one we personally tried and loved – My Friend Olivier (in Russian Мой Друг ОЛИВЬЕ) – a place we found randomly while walking in the town one day. Russian and European cuisine, very good!
There’s shopping for everyone in Ekaterinburg, for all tastes and budgets. You can start at MEGA – a huge shopping centre where you can find just about everything you could possibly need.
Or if you want something even bigger, try Grinvich, the biggest and most popular shopping centre in Ekaterinburg.
Of course, there are also other shopping malls, and many, many smaller shops for souvenirs, clothes, household goods, supermarkets and more. Everywhere.
As in most Russian cities, the architecture is amazing. Many different eras of architecture and design makes for an interesting walk through different areas of the city.
Church Upon the Blood – a beautiful Russian church which stands on the site where the last tsar of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II, and his family were executed.
Ekaterinburg History Museum – focussing on Ekaterinburg in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre – features a museum, a conference centre, an art gallery and a bookshop. The museum depicts the former Russian prime minister’s life through seven interactive zones.
Michael Jackson Statue – Yes, there’s a Michael Jackson statue in the Vainer Street pedestrian mall.
The Beatles Monument – Another interesting attraction in Ekaterinburg – a monument to the Beatles. Of course we had to take a look, it’s not far from the Keyboard monument (see below).
And you can’t miss a trip out the the monument which marks the border of Asia and Europe. Actually, there are two monuments in two different places. The newer one is quicker and cheaper to get to, only 17km from the city centre and 600 roubles by taxi (2019). It’s the one we visited. The original one is 40km from the city, so a little more expensive in a taxi to get there (1000 roubles – 2019), but being the original monument, it has a bit more history to it than the new one.
This is the tourist centre office we used for the trip to the Asia/Europe border. They called us a taxi, fixed the price, and waited with us until the taxi came, and greeted us when we returned. They can help you with all your tourist needs.
Ekaterinburg is generally a pretty quirky city for a place that’s in the middle of the largest country in the world. Here are a couple of quirky places, and they’re within walking distance from each other.
The Keyboard Monument – It was covered in snow when we were there (more photos in the link), but it’s a giant, to scale, QWERTY keyboard on the bank of the Iset River. Apparently you type in your wish by stepping on the letters, then press ‘enter’ to make it come true. We were there in May, 2019, and it was covered in snow.
And finally, this. The entrance to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ sewer. What more can I say? It’s in Ekaterinburg.
I would recommend Ekaterinburg as a place that all the family can enjoy. There’s public transport for those who can’t do a lot of walking, and there’s so many things to see there that will be of interest to all age groups. If you’re visiting Russia, don’t miss a trip to Ekaterinburg.
Get yourself an official tourist map. Ekaterinburg has a wonderful system for tourists – a red line, both on maps and physically painted onto the asphalt, for you to follow. Following this red line, 5.5kms, will ensure that you don’t miss the most well-known and historically important sites in the centre of the city. Here’s an example of a map showing the red line and the points of interests you’ll find along the way.
For more information and links, here’s Ekaterinburg’s official site.
Have you been to Ekaterinburg? Got any top tips or interesting information for us about this wonderful city? Let us know in the comments below!