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Samara Introduction

The regional capital of Samara is set on the Volga river, across from the Zhiguli Hills, and it's most famous for the beauty and relaxed vibe of its long, pedestrianised embankment. Celebrated for its pioneering developments in the aerospace industry during the Soviet era, Samara's still a major industrial and engineering centre, but these days it's almost as well known for its buzzing nightlife and great restaurants. The city's well stocked with art galleries and museums, mainly focusing on Samara's 20th-century history.

Hotels in Samara

Hotels in Samara are mostly in the mid-range to budget bracket, with a relatively small number of more upscale places. Samara hotels almost always offer free Wi-Fi, and a good proportion of places across all price ranges offer free breakfast and parking. Luxury hotels in Samara are generally branches of international chains catering to business travellers, and usually feature pools, spas, bars and restaurants. Some add free airport shuttles and extra fitness facilities. Cheap Samara hotels, on the other hand, sometimes offer amenities normally found in more expensive hotels, including private bathrooms, and even restaurants or pools.

Where to stay in Samara

The majority of Samara's accommodation is in the central Leninsky district. Samara's relaxed river embankment is the heart of the city, and many of the city's hotels are spread along the streets a little way back from it. There's also a decent cluster of mid-range accommodation round Samara Passazhirskaya train station, which has excellent travel connections while still being only 1.5 miles (or a half-hour walk) from the river. Slightly further out, the Oktyabrsky district is another hub for hotels. It features botanical gardens and the city zoo, and has a young, academic vibe thanks to its proximity to Samara's university.

Things to see in Samara

At more than 3 miles long, the embankment along the Volga is a long, traffic-free zone with beautiful river views. Locals come to swim, cycle and relax. Several museums in Samara deal with the city's 20th-century history, of which the best known is Stalin's Bunker. Never used, this complex deep underground was designed to house the Soviet leader in the event that Moscow fell during WW2. Back above ground, Samara's contribution to the space race is celebrated at the Samara Space Museum, and also at the aviation and space exploration museum at Korolev's Museum of Aviation and Astronautics. Going further back in time, the Alabin Museum showcases regional paleontology finds. The city is also well provided with art museums. The Samara Art Museum is the most extensive, with an impressive collection of mainly Russian artworks, while the Modern Museum is a compact establishment dealing with the Art Nouveau movement.

How to get to Samara

Samara is served by Kurumoch International Airport, with a wide range of domestic connections and a smaller selection of international destinations. The airport's around 25 miles from the city, and visitors can get to the centre via train or taxi. Samara Station also offers good train connections to other major Russian cities, including Nizhniy Novgorod, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Other travellers access the city by overnight bus or through cruises along the Volga. Travel in Samara itself is via buses/trolley buses, taxis, trams and an underground metro line. The metro is fast but limited, and the most popular and efficient method of getting around is the trams.