Vladivostok has a unique, remote location in the Russian Federation: you can fly to Tokyo in just under three hours, but Moscow is nearly nine hours away by plane. Once known as the Wild East due to its reputation as a mafia hub, this port on the Sea of Japan now boasts attractions like the Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art and the S-56 Submarine Museum. Popular with international business travellers as well as those disembarking the Trans-Siberian Railway – which terminates here – Vladivostok has excellent opera, funky modern art, delicious food and a fascinating history. Here are the top things to do in the city.
Almost 60 years old, Vladivostok’s time-honoured transport novelty is still attracting crowds. It was built in 1962, when then-President Nikita Khrushchev, returning from a visit to the USA, recognised Vladivostok’s potential as the San Francisco of the USSR. The only one of its kind in Russia apart from a lesser version in Sochi, the funicular is actually a vital public service – although if you’re here as a tourist you won’t regret hopping aboard. The ride isn’t very long, but it’s cheap and passes through beautiful scenery. At the top you disembark right beside the main viewing platform on Eagle’s Nest Hill, which gives a mesmerising view.
Jo Fernandez-Corugedo contributed additional reporting to this article.