Regions and travel routes

A brief description
For each group we offer an tailor-made travel plan, taking into account the group´s composition and requirements. Here are some details about our most popular routes.
Kaluga district
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
Kaluga is located 190 km south-west from Moscow and is highly industrially and logistically developed. Thanks to local investment programs many industrial plants have been built in the region, also foreign owned (e. g. manufacturing plants of Volkswagen, Volvo, PSMA-group).

The main tourist attraction of Kaluga is the Russian biggest Museum of Cosmonautics. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, one of the founding fathers of Soviet cosmonautics, have lived and worked in Kaluga from 1892-1935. That is why, Kaluga is named “The Cradle of Space Exploration".

Milkmaid and cow statue near Kaluga
In 2019 24% of the population of Kaluga district were employed in agriculture, the agricultural acreage included 1,123,500 ha, 840,500 ha of it were crop land. The main agricultural production output comes from livestock farming, primary from dairy cattle production. Per 1st of March 2020 there were 202,700 livestock units, including 86,900 cows. In crop farming main cultures are grain, potatoes and vegetables.

Traditionally, since 2003, we have been organizing annual tours for readers of the Swiss newspaper SCHWEIZER BAUER ("Swiss Peasant"). Over the years, they have been travelling to different regions of Russia, but the region of Kaluga has always found a special response. In addition to agricultural enterprises that are "obligatory" for visiting, such as "Swiss Milk" and "Ekoniva", every year our guests get the opportunity to visit new interesting farms.

Since 2016 we have combined the region with Moscow, Tver and Saint Petersburg and the travel plan has been renewed each time. The whole tour takes 10 days, it includes 10 -12 farm visits and 7-9 cultural and recreational events.

Kaluga also suits for short trips (e. g. Moscow-Kaluga, 3-4 days) and is interesting for agriculturalists of different professional focus, especially for dairy cattle specialists.
The region of Voronezh
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
Voronezh is situated 520 km southward of Moscow. The city was founded in 1586 and looks back on a colorful past. It was badly destroyed (more than 90%) during the World War II and after it almost completely reconstructed. Voronezh is one of Russia´s cities with over a million of inhabitants and a significant center of industrial production (machine-construction, chemical, food industry).

Agriculture plays a substantial role in the economics of the region. Voronezh is called the capital of the Black Soil Region and the granary of Russia. Main cultures are, of course, grain, but also malting barley, corn, sugar beet and sunflowers.

During last years a significant growth has been achieved in livestock farming. In 2019 525,000 t of meat has been produced in Voronezh region, corresponding to 4% of increase compared with previous year, milk production has risen by 7% to 968,000 t.

The main office and leading plant of "Ekoniva" is located near Voronezh. "Ekoniva" is the biggest milk manufacturer of Russia.

Divnogorye cave monastery, Liski, Voronezh region
The district of Voronezh is extremely popular with our guests from Germany and Switzerland. The region suits well for combined routes of different duration. Here are some examples of our travel routes from the last years:

  • For HOHENLOHER MOLKEREI team in 2019 - 4-days-trip, route: Voronezh – Moscow, including 2 farm visits and a sightseeing tour of Moscow;

  • For AK ROTHER LAUFSTÄLLE team in 2019 – 10-days-trip, route: Voronezh - Moscow - Saint Petersburg, including 9 farm visits and 12 cultural and recreational events;

  • For WEIHENSTEPHAN-TRIESDORF students in 2018 – 8-days-trip, route: Krasnodar region – Moscow – Saint Petersburg, including 17 farm visits + 5 tourist highlights.
Tver region
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
Tver region takes an area of 84.201 square km (twice as big as Switzerland), with the population of а 1,300,000 people (approximately one seventh of the population of Switzerland). Only one quarter of the population lives in the countryside. The area is densely wooded, abounding in water and partly swampy.

Thanks to increasing state support, the agriculture production output of Twer region in 2016-2019 has risen by almost 15% in the whole. Main part (two thirds) of the output comes from livestock farming.

The monastery of Saint Catherine, Tver
In crop farming main cultures are potatoes and vegetables, flax plays also a significant role. There are 6 flax-manufacturing plants in the region, some along with scientific centers.
Numerous water bodies of the region are used for fishery.

Though the Tver region is located on main car and railroad traffic routes between both Russian capitals, only 90 km from Moscow, the region has kept its distinctive countryside character. You will find here old towns with their unique flair and historical buildings, monastery complexes and small out-of-the-way-villages with only a few inhabitants…

Unfortunately, long distances within the region and a weak infrastructure in several parts make it difficult for a traveler to fully enjoy the beauty of the area and to get a picture about its agriculture. Nevertheless, Tver region is definitely worth a stopover of 1-3 days on the route between Moscow and Saint Petersburg to feel the contrast of a big country.
Krasnodar region
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
Krasnodar district lays in the farthest south of Russia. Its capital, Krasnodar, was founded in 1793 by Black-Sea-Cossacks and counts today more than 930,000 inhabitants. The city plays an important role in the economy of Russia´s South, particularly as the center of agriculture and transportation. One of the biggest industrial enterprises is the CLAAS plant. Up to 2,500 combine harvesters and tractors are manufactured here per year. There are 12 state universities in Krasnodar, among them the Krasnodar State Agrarian University.

The agricultural sector of Krasnodar region is extremely interesting. The agricultural acreage includes more than 4,75 millions of hectares of land and is considered as Russia´s main granary. Two thirds of the agricultural output are produced in crop farming. A moderately continental climate with a yearly rainfall of 750 mm and a benign soil yield here a good crop.

One of the biggest industrial enterprises is the CLAAS plant. Up to 2,500 combine harvesters and tractors are manufactured here per year
Today Krasnodar district ranks as the 1st best in the country in grain, corn, sugar beet and rice. Sunflowers, soya, fruits and vegetables also figure prominently. On the Black Sea coast winegrowing has risen significantly during last years. In livestock farming dairy and beef cattle breeding prevail; swine, goats, sheep and poultry farming is also widely spread.

The region does not suit for short tours, because there are practically no non-stop-flights from Europe. So the optimal way to travel to Krasnodar region is with a stop in Moscow. Furthermore, while planning the trip you should bear in mind, that it would take you minimum 4 hours from Krasnodar, and even longer from the main agricultural sites, to get to the Olympic buildings in Sotchi.

Here are some examples for possible travel routes including Krasnodar region:

  • In 2018 and 2019 we organized for the newspaper SCHWEIZER BAUER tours to the Krasnodar region (Krasnodar - Anapa – Sochi), the duration of the route is 6/7 days, including 8/6 farm visits and 4 cultural events both.
  • In 2020, an autumn tour is planned for the same group with the following route: Volgograd - Krasnodar – Moscow and surroundings. This is a 9-days-trip including 11 agricultural and 8 tourist highlights.
  • In May 2020 a tour for students of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf should have taken place, routed Krasnodar – Voronezh – Moscow, with the duration of 7 days, including 9 farm visits and 5 recreational events.
The region of Siberia
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
The trip to Siberia stands out even among our handpicked tours. On this tour our guests enjoy the peculiar character and immensity of Siberia, its woods, steppes, wide rivers and, of course, the unique Baikal lake. The distinctive flair of Siberian villages remembers of the traditions of their founders – migrants from other territories and even countries – among others, German people, who has migrated to Siberia in many waves since 1750.

Siberian cities are industrial, economic and educational centers of the region, each of them worth seeing. Unfortunately, originally preserved historical objects are rare. Even more fascinating is the open-air-museum of traditional wooden buildings located directly on the route from Irkutsk to the Baikal lake. And, of course, one of the region´s most important points of attraction is the Transsib, the longest railway road of the world. On our tours, we combine all these highlights with visiting of typical local farms, creating eventful programs.

Siberia: Unique flair of the villages
Both the Russian Empire, and after it the Soviet Union have paid great attention to the agricultural development of Siberia. In 1913 agriculture became the leading economic sector of the region. Surplus agricultural products, primarily grain, were exported to other regions of Russia and abroad. Over 4,000 butter plants exported more than 62,000 t butter per year.

Since 1950th, during the Virgin Lands Campaign, millions of hectares of steppe had been converted into crop land, establishing grain monocultures.

Siberia: Berd Mountains, Novosibirsk region
Beside of grain, today main cultures raised in the region are sugar beet, legumes, sunflowers, corn, buckwheat, raps etc. In livestock farming dairy and beef cattle breeding plays the main role, but they also breed sheep, swine and, in lesser extent, poultry.

Our specialized tours are concentrated on agriculturally best developed areas between Novosibirsk and Barnaul. Big agrarian holdings, different breeding farms and small homesteads are located here.

Along with its doubtless attractiveness, the Siberia tour may bring some inconvenience. You have to be prepared for remarkable time zones change, longer distances in comparison to Europe and partly bad road conditions.

For these reasons, for a visit to Siberia we recommend trips of longer duration, minimum 7 days, better 9-10 days, if possible – 14 days. Because of long distances tours to Siberia are more expensive than comparable tours to European parts of Russia. We do not recommend to combine Siberia tours with other regions (excluding Moscow), or, at least, before going to Siberia.
Golden Ring (Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov, Uglitch)
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
The districts of Yaroslavl and Kostroma are traditional agricultural areas of central Russia. The quality of their dairy products, especially butter and cheese, has been famous since ever. Cattle breeds of Kostroma and Yaroslavl, Romanov sheep and Breitovo swine breeds are very well known in Russia.

In both regions potatoes, vegetables and flax are the main cultures. Though in recent years especially in Yaroslavl industrial production has grown substantially, the agricultural sector remains an important source of income in both districts, its products are sold in Moscow and other cities across Russia.

The Kremlin of Rostov
Beside of a rich agricultural program, the tour allows visiting the cities of the Golden ring of Russia. In each of these cities you can enjoy unique historic and cultural objects of amazing beauty, many of them are inscribed on The World Heritage List of UNESCO. Golden ring cities are connected by Volga, the longest and mightiest river in Europe.

A trip to this region can be easily extended with Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Tver, Kaluga. Some time ago we organized an extremely eventful and impressive tour for the "Farmer newspaper" readers (Switzerland) with the following highlights:

  • Kostroma and surroundings – 1 day (visit to a small homestead, an elk- and fish-farm, a folklore-lunch) –
  • Yaroslavl and surroundings – 1,5 days (meeting with the local authorities, visit to a cattle breeding farm and a vegetables raising family homestead, to the Baltica-brewery, a sightseeing and a Volga ship tour) –
  • Rostov and surroundings – 1 day (visit to a big modern agricultural enterprise, excursion to the Kremlin of Rostov and visit to a monastery with a farm in Rostov) –
  • Uglitch – 1 day (visit to a full-cycled production of widely ranged organic agricultural products) –
  • Moscow – 0,5 days (sightseeing tour).
Moscow and surroundings
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
The capital of Russia is doubtless its main industrial and financial center. Per November of 2019, 104 of 200 biggest Russian enterprises were registered in Moscow. A lot of scientific, educational and cultural facilities are concentrated here, including more than 150 theatres, over 400 state and private museums. In 2019 25 millions of tourists have visited the city.

If you have at least half a day to your disposal while visiting Moscow, you should take time for a sightseeing tour with the following highlights: The Red Square and the St.-Basil´s cathedral, as if emerged from a fairy tale, the reconstructed mighty cathedral of Christ the Savior, newly opened Zaryadye park, Stalin towers and the modern Moscow City, the Bolschoy Theatre, Sparrow Hills with their unique panorama.

Moscow: St.-Basil´s cathedral
During a longer stay we recommend a visit to the Kremlin inner grounds – the oldest part of the city; an underground tour with its amazing stations looking like palaces, an excursion to the Union´s Exhibition park with architectural monuments from the Soviet Era, a Moskva ship tour.

Also a "must" is a lazy walk through comfortable pedestrian streets of the old town with their souvenir shops and cozy restaurants, inviting to a rest with a mug of beer.

Most international flights to Russia go to Moscow, so the city serves as a starting point of almost all our tours. It appears obvious to spend 1-3 days in this extraordinary city with its impressive highlights directly after arrival or before the department.

Though the agricultural sector of Moscow region is highly diversified and well developed, visiting the objects themselves often turns into a logistical challenge due to long distances and overburdened roads.

For this reason, on our tours we choose for visiting only the sites located close to the city, for instance, the Lenin-sovkhoz. This interesting farming company has succeeded not only as Moscow´s main strawberry supplier, but also raises fruits, other berries and vegetables, runs modern milk and juice producing plants, even a small petting zoo and several impressive social facilities.
Saint Petersburg and surroundings
Agriculture ***** Sightseeing ***** Logistics *****
Saint Petersburg has many names – “Venice of the North", “Cultural capital of Russia", “Open-air museum". The city was founded in 1703 on the Neva banks by the tsar Peter I and had been Russia´s capital for a long time. Tsars had built here their palaces and summer residences, best architects and engineers had planned and constructed cathedrals, fortresses, canals and bridges. The first museum of Russia had opened here, much more followed; their collections are huge.

Saint Petersburg is an extremely popular tourist destination, especially much-frequented in June, during the White Nights, which are bright enough for reading a paper, as the travel guides advertise.

St. Petersburg: Moyka embankments
Due to an always full schedule our guests have never time for papers. The sightseeing tour alone includes not only stops by the Isaak cathedral – one of the world biggest sacral buildings, by the eastern point (“strelka") of the Vasilievsky island facing the Hermitage, by the battle cruiser “Aurora" and other fascinating monuments; but also a visit to the Peter-Pavel´s fortress with its shrines of Russian tsars; a ship tour on the Neva and its canals, a trip to charming Peterhof grounds.

St. Petersburg: The interior of the Isaak cathedrale
A special highlight is the excursion to the Royal Village (Tsarskoe Selo), the favorite residence of Russian Empress Catherine II, with its world famous Amber Room. Definitely worth enjoying are the bascule bridges opening, picturesque folklore performances, the Hermitage tour and so on…

Only 2% of Russian agricultural output is produced in the district of Leningrad. Within the region agriculture plays a secondary part as well. Nevertheless, there are several interesting farms around Saint Petersburg, mainly specialized in dairy cattle breeding, but also in other fields, to complete the trip to Saint Petersburg by 2-3 interesting farm visits.

Saint Petersburg is less favorably logistically connected than Moscow, but its advantage are numerous international flights to Europa, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Within Russia Saint Petersburg is well connected per air and railroad. This allows to arrange flexible travel plans including several destinations, using multi-stop-flights (for instance, with arriving in Moscow and departing from Saint Petersburg or the other way round).
We are constantly extending our routes, developing new programs on request of our guests and are always open for visit proposals from our partners – agrarian sites, farmers and local authorities.
© 2021 Smirenin Ltd. Image sources: own records, open sources, Igor Konovalov, Sergey Zhukov, partner farms.
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