Despite its temperate climate, Samara is a self-proclaimed resort. The city stretches along the Volga bank and wisely occupies every centimeter of the coastline. Country's best public waterfront and a clean sandy beach set the tone for the whole city. During warmer months locals finish working early so that they can get a pint of beer, bathe in the fresh waters of the Volga or catch some sun rays before dusk.

Beer is an absolute cult here. The Russian star lager of all times, Zhigulevskoye originated in Samara and have been brewed at the local brewery since 1881. Powered by the Volga river, the brewery is located on the river bank between two embankments. Getting a beer there is like baptism: this is how you should start exploring the city. After the ritual, dive into the old merchantry life of the historic center and discover a rather peculiar architecture of industrial constructivism that came to the city with the October Revolution.

Landmarks

You can see the main city landmarks in a couple of hours. When you are done with the key historic sights explore the old city courtyards and their extraordinary architecture. Ask the locals to show you the real city, and they would gladly do so. Try Facebook or Tinder. The locals like tourists and will happily to introduce you to their routine, which includes beer, long strolls and evening swims in the river. Check out the remnants of historical buildings – Galaktionovskaya, Lev Tolstoy, Frunze, and Samarskaya streets still have old houses from the late XIXth-the early XXth centuries made of stone and wood. Pay special attention to the neighborhood courtyards with their benches, decorations, stairs and annex buildings that have been studied by urban researchers around the world.

Zhigulevskiy brewery

Embankment

Samara has the longest Volga embankment, with its old part stretching ahead of the Brewery and the new part behind it. The embankment is the citizens' favorite summer location where artists perform and perky vendors lure customers with boiled corn. The restaurant alley along the river is pretty decent. Dining and enjoying a sunset on a terrace or at the dock is a must. Also, there are numerous sculptures of Soviet films characters, barge haulers from Ilya Repin's painting and tsar officials, Prince Zasekin and Prince Vladimir. A walk will get you a million selfies with local attractions.

Zhigulevskiy brewery, or «Dno» [Bottom]

It's not that hard to get into one of the country's oldest breweries. Half an hour tours are offered from 10:00 to 17:00. Buy your 800 rubles ticket in the ticket machine at the entrance. Still you might need some luck to avoid a queue for the ticket machine or to get a ticket for a convenient time. In any case, you will definitely get a chance to enjoy plenty of beer and the sight pre-revolutionary industrial architecture. The locals are very proud of the brewery and its product in particular. You can taste Zhigulevskoye beer for 100 rubles a mug in the adjacent bar “Na dne” [On the bottom].

Leningradskaya street

The only pedestrian street in the city, Leningradskaya has been nicknamed “the local Arbat”, although the original one exceeds it in size. This is where all the tourists traditionally go. Explore the architecture of the old merchant city and buy a couple of magnets in a street-stand. Don’t get your expectations too high, these souvenirs are made in China. The most peculiar attraction here is probably a gigantic policeman figure the size of a building. Meet a Soviet book character Uncle Styopa who has become a reason for sad jokes about Russia being a police country, in the past days and in the present.

Samarskaya Square

A big square overlooking the river bank framed by the city hall and a church. Visit it for a great view of the Volga and a photo with the Monument of Glory immortalized on most of the city souvenirs. While the monument represents the important role of aviation in the life of the city, the locals affectionately call it «Panikovskiy with a Goose», after a character from the famous adventure novels about Ostap Bender.

Kuybyshev Square

The locals consider Kuybyshev square the largest in Europe. This is tricky because they count in four small parks on all the square’s corners. Nevertheless, the vast space is indeed impressive. A figure of Valeryan Kuybyshev, a revolutionary and a murderer who gave the city its pre-perestroika name, rises above the square. Right behind him is the Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre where Dmitry Shostakovich played his genius Symphony Number Seven for the first time.

Chapaev Square

Leaving the colossal Kuybyshev figure behind, head down towards the monument to Chapayev and Chapayev Square with its main gem, the Drama Theatre. Resembling a gingerbread house, this building is also one of the city symbols. The view of the Volga and the Brewery from a nearby park is considered iconic.

Strukovsky Park

Down near the Volga river lies a small cozy park with a 200-year history. Thanks to a fountain, grotto, and century trees, this park is a shelter from the craziest heat. Here locals play chess and checkers, on weekends you can enjoy a dance floor and rides for kids, most of which have been here since Soviet years.

Museums

Museum of Modernism

Museum of Modernism

ADDRESS: Frunze street, 159

OPENING HOURS: Tuesday, Thursday: 13:00-21:00; Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:00-18:00; closed on Mondays

ticket: 80 rubles

samaramodern

Modernist style buildings are quite common in Samara, although local modernism differs from the variations one may find in Europe, Moscow, and St Petersburg. The mansion of Kurlina is one of the most magnificent examples of provincial modernism. This is where the country’s only Museum of Modernism is situated housing dozens of artifacts from an Art Nouveau dining table to a pre-revolutionary typewriter. The museum and its courtyard is a magnet for the young and progressive and a place where they organize concerts, exhibitions, and screenings of silent films with live music. The local coffee shop is probably the best in town.

Literary Museum

ADDRESS: Frunze street, 155

OPENING HOURS: daily: 10:00–18:00; Thursday— 12:00–20:00

Ticket: 150 rubles

samlitmus

The memorial estate of Aleksey Tolstoy is located right next to the Museum of Modernism. It’s a fine example of a Russian farmstead and a place where the writer spent his youth. The exhibit is not as remarkable as the garden with its carved gazebos largely retaining their original form. On special occasions, the garden becomes a place for tea parties, concerts, food markets, drama stagings and poetry readings. A statue of Buratino, the most well-known Tolstoy fairy-tale character and Pinocchio’s Russian peer, meets guests at the entrance.

Victoria gallery

ADDRESS: Nekrasovskaya street, 2

OPENING HOURS: 11:00–19:00 daily; closed on Mondays

ticket: depends on the event

gallery-victoria

This is the main private gallery that belongs to a billionaire Leonid Mikhelson, number one in the Russian Forbes list. This is why here you can see exhibitions featuring artwork from the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, MMOMA as well as the best examples of contemporary art. Not every museum can afford that.

Samara Fine Arts Museum

ADDRESS: Kuybyshev street, 92

OPENING HOURS: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday: 10:00-18:00; Thursday, Saturday: 13:00-21:00; closed on Tuesdays.

Ticket: 80 rubles

artmus

During 100 years since its foundation, this museum managed to acquire an extensive collection of Russian art, lose almost everything in the mid-1930s and restore its collection again by accepting some pieces from the funds of the Russian Museum. The exhibited part of the collection showcases XVI century icons, Bryullov, Aivazovsky, Burlyuk, and Malevich. Don't miss Valentin Purygin, a local Soviet psychedelic artist, it is definitely a must-see. The museum building itself with the original modernist interiors, wide staircases and stucco work is fascinating, too.

Transport

It will take one and a half hour to get from the airport to the city center by car. Use Uber (or other services of this kind) to travel from the airport and the train station so make sure you have Uber, Yandex, or RuTaxi apps downloaded. Don't go for the airport taxis under any circumstances. At best, you will pay ten times the price.

Samara

Apps

For public transport trips, try another useful app — Pribyvalka. It shows transport arrival times. There are buses, trolleybuses, trams, and metro in Samara. The metro is not really convenient as most of the 10 metro stations are in the suburbs. Although is pretty fast, it's unlikely you will be able to reach your destination without changing trains. A much faster way to get somewhere is a minibus [marshrutka].

Trams

On the days of the games take an express tram to get to Samara Arena. Trams will operate 3 hours before and after the matches. The trip will take 40 mins and only 7 stops, Alabin Museum, Victory Square, Leninsky Prospect, Zvezda Concert Hall, Zagorodnyi Park, Barboshin Field, and Moscow Highway.

Public transport in Samara operates from 5:00 to 23:00, metro — from 6:00 to 00:00.

Restaurants and Cafes

Although Samara cannot boast of a distinctly local culinary tradition, there are several restaurant streets with the best places to eat in town. Look for them around Dachnaya, on the embankment or around Leningradskaya and Kuybyshevskaya streets.

«Staraya kvartira» [Old flat]

«U Palycha»

Try the city’s famous gastronomy chain for takeaway or a quick bite. The food is decent and the prices are reasonable. The locals like to come here for dumplings and desserts.

Bar «Kipyatok»

ADDRESS: Leningradskaya street, 40

PHONE: +7 (846) 333–27–20

OPENING HOURS: 11:00–00:00

AVERAGE BILL: 1 000 rubles

vk

A lovely and reasonably priced spot designed in the original merchantry style. Try their soups, main courses, and pies. Get a cup of tea and enjoy the view of the old city from the balcony.

Puri

ADDRESS: Kuybysheva street, 83

PHONE: +7 (846) 989–33–32

OPENING HOURS: 11:00–23:00

AVERAGE BILL: 700 rubles

vk

An excellent place to try Georgian cuisine. We recommend pairing your khachapuri with some Georgian wine. Make a reservation in advance as it gets full in the evenings.

Parburg

ADDRESS: Malogvardeyskaya street, 96

Phone: +7 (927) 907–55–44

OPENING HOURS: Monday — Thursday— 12:00–00:00; Friday — 12:00–02:00; Saturday — 14:00–02:00; Sunday — 14:00–00:00

AVERAGE BILL: 700 rubles

parburg

The first burger-bar in town and the locals’ big favorite. Try their cocktails and beer from around the world. Vegetarian options in the steampunk interior? Hell yeah!

Carrie

ADDRESS: Dachnaya street, 2

Phone: +7 (846) 202–90–09

OPENING HOURS: Monday — Thursday— 08:00–23:00; Friday — 08:00–00:00; Saturday — 10:00–00:00; Sunday — 10:00–23:00

AVERAGE BILL: 500 rubles

carriecafe

A decent local chain of coffee shops with desserts and breakfasts served all day long. They also have locations around Kuybyshev square and the embankment.

«Pryanyy Barashek» [Spicy lamb] and Bootlegger Muzcafe

ADDRESS: Dachnaya street, 2g

phone: +7 (846) 973–78–78

OPENING HOURS: Monday — Thursday— 11:00–00:00; Friday — 11:00–01:00; Saturday — 12:00–01:00; Sunday — 12:00–00:00

AVERAGE BILL: 800 rubles

milimon-family

Two-storey restaurant complex with an Eastern cuisine place on the first floor and a large hall designed as a bootlegger speakeasy bar. Try their house-made cheese.

«Gruziya» («Georgia»)

ADDRESS: Buyanov street, 135b

PHONE: +7 (937) 642–30–57

OPENING HOURS: 09:00–22:00

Cozy atmosphere and large portions served with lemonade or Georgian beer make this place stand out.

Al Halal

ADDRESS: Kommunisticheskaya street, 4b

PHONE: +7 (919) 805–01–53, +7 (929) 700–10–60

OPENING HOURS: Monday — Sunday — 09:00–23:00

AVERAGE BILL: 350 rubles

vk

What looks like a gaudy place with a plastic sign, cheap tables, and bright green walls, might in fact serve the most authentic Eastern cuisine in town. For a very reasonable price you will get a huge portion of pilaff, kebab, fatty manti [meat dumplings] and a salad «Natasha Rostova» generously dressed with mayonnaise.

«Chayka-chayka»

ADDRESS: Volzhskiy avenue, 34

PHONE: +7 (846) 972–75–65

OPENING HOURS: Sunday — Thursday— 12:00–00:00; Friday — Saturday — 12:00–02:00

AVERAGE BILL: 1 500 rubles

beerhouse-samara

A restaurant on the embankment with pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven under the supervision of an Italian chef. The menu includes pasta and a variety of meat courses. Its best feature is the view of the Volga.

«Staraya kvartira» [Old flat]

ADDRESS: Samarskaya street, 51

Phone: +7 (846) 332–22–60

OPENING HOURS: Sunday — Thursday— 12:00–00:00; Friday — Saturday — 12:00–02:00

AVERAGE BILL: 1 000 rubles

oldflat

Popular among tourists, this place is inspired by Soviet communal apartments, long gone Soviet yards, factory canteens, and tiny kitchens. This is the best place for some vodka shots.

Cucina Casu

ADDRESS: 6th Proseka street, 165

PHONE: +7 (937) 067–08–67

OPENING HOURS: Monday — Friday — 09:00–22:00; Saturday — Sunday — 11:00–22:00

AVERAGE BILL: 1 000 rubles

instagram

Italian cuisine in a new neighborhood managed by an Italian chef. Pizza, house cheese and pasta cooked with local seafood and based on Italian recipes.

Stores, Markets, Gastro Boutiques

Vittoria Gourmet

You can get local fruit and veggies at Gubernskiy and Troitskiy markets or one of the suburban markets like “Chapiteau” in Privolzhskiy. Bread from a local baking factory can be found in chain supermarkets. Try sushki [Russian pretzels] and baranki [Russian bagels] — Russian specialties that make great souvenirs.

Check out Vittoria Gourmet gastro boutique with high quality imported goods and farm meat.

Where to drink

Sky Bar

«Na dne» [On the bottom]

ADDRESS: Volzhskiy avenue, 4

PHONE: +7 (846) 332–64–22

OPENING HOURS: 12:00–00:00

AVERAGE BILL: 600 rubles

bigvill

A must with locally brewed beer where you will find crowds of locals and many tourists like yourself. Two floors with Zhigulevskoye and Fon Vakano on draft. An average price for a mug is 100 rubles. Order several at once to avoid queueing at the bar.

«Turbaza Veterok» [Camp site Breeze]

ADDRESS: Kuybysheva street, 96

PHONE: +7 (962) 605–65–85

OPENING HOURS: Sunday — Thursday— 12:00–02:00; Friday — Saturday — 12:00–04:00

AVERAGE BILL: 700 rubles

instagram

Noisy and fun bar where young Samara folks drink and party. Besides «Na dne» beer, there are local infusions for 120 rubles and simple snacks.

Bridge

ADDRESS: Malogvardeyskaya street, 63a

PHONE: +7 (846) 333–86–25, +7 (903) 302–75–22

OPENING HOURS: Sunday, Tuesday — Thursday— 19:30–00:30; Friday — Saturday — 19:30–02:30; closed on Mondays

AVERAGE BILL: 700 rubles

vk

This neon-lighted restaurant-hall has one of the best cocktails in town and Japanese small bites. There is no sign, so look for the neon lights in the windows.

«Podval» [Basement]

ADDRESS: Galaktionovskiy street, 46

PHONE: +7 (846) 332–92–83

OPENING HOURS: Thursday— Sunday — 19:00–04:00

AVERAGE BILL: 500 rubles

rock63

The oldest rock-bar in town with beer and local bands. Practice some Russian rock songs you have just heard in Podval in a karaoke-bar nearby.

Sky Bar

ADDRESS: Sadovaya street, 137

PHONE: +7 (846) 207–39–93

OPENING HOURS: Monday — Thursday— 12:00–00:00; Friday — 12:00–03:00; Saturday — 13:00–03:00; Sunday — 13:00–00:00

AVERAGE BILL: 1 000 rubles

instagram

A spot on the top floor of a high-rise where you can sip your cocktails or Moët with a view of the old city. If the weather is nice, head directly to the rooftop terrace.

Places to avoid

Avoid Kirov Square and bus terminals if possible. They are always crowded and the risk of being mugged is rather high. Don't visit local strip-bars – you won't find anything there besides a chance to get into a fight with drunk seekers of love for sale.

Souvenirs

«Vsyo drugoye» [Everything different]

«Vsyo drugoye» [Everything different]

ADDRESS: Molodogvardeyskiy spusk street, 76

OPENING HOURS: 10:00–21:00

vsedrugoeshop

Instead of magnets made in China and sold at the railway station, consider more patriotic and less gaudy souvenirs like backpacks of the Tolyatti brand Sputnik, plates and mugs with city landmarks, T-shirts with nicknames of city areas.

«Sambook»

ADDRESS: Frunze street, 145

OPENING HOURS: 10:00–20:00

sambook

Traditional Russian souvenirs at their best and weirdest – khokhloma trays, birchbark and gzhel crafts sitting near painted spoons and icons. A kitschy hand-painted Russian police car made of porcelain would cost you 200-300 dollars.

Outside Samara

The locals often spend their weekends at “the Greater Volga”, taking a double-decker ferry from the River Port to one of the nearby islands, or a “Khivus” boat from the Brewery dock, or a taxi-motorboat from the dock in Osipenko street. Tickets to the other bank of the Volga cost 100 rubles, a 5-seat taxi-boat will take you there for 1000 rubles.

Shiryayevo

Rozhdestveno

One of the most ancient villages of the Samarskaya Luka National Park area, where the locals like to ride bikes from a nearby rental spot. It's close to the villages Podgory and White (or Bold) Hill, offering a great vista point of the Volga river. An additional bonus is good LTE coverage on the hill, while other places might have no coverage at all.

Shiryayevo

One of the biggest and most spectacular Russian villages. Visit the local Repin museum, explore old mountain tunnels and hike in the national park, where you can spend a night in a tent or at a mini-hotel. Check the river transit schedule if you plan to come back the same day. Buses and taxis are hardly available here.

Zelyonenkiy

The closest of the well-maintained islands where the residents come to bathe and drink beer Zhigulevskoye. In good company, you can enjoy your stay even for a week. Some locals like to spend the whole summer in a campsite here, taking a water taxi to work.


Tourist's Centre

ADDRESS: Frunze street, 140, 1st floor

PHONE NUMBERS: +7 (846) 207–07–38, +7 (846) 207–07–39

DOWNLOAD offline route around Samara for MAPS.ME


Pictures: cover – Ivan Annenkov, 1, 3 – myskina6 – stock.adobe.com, 2 – Samara's Museum of Modernism, 4 – Old Flat restaurant, 5 – Vittoria Gourmet, 6 – Sky Bar, 7 – Vsyo drugoye, 8 – tramp51 – stock.adobe.com

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