Welcome to Novosibirsk!

Dear visitor from whatever corner of the world!

I am happy to welcome you in this blog and I hope you find it useful! This blog is for you, if you are planning a travel or stay in Novosibirsk and other places in Siberia or you are only considering it.

My name is Olga Tkachenko, I work and live in Novosibirsk, Western Siberia, Russia, together with my  husband and our three sons. I am a freelance English-Russian and German-Russian tour guide, interpreter, and translator. Me and my team of experienced and dedicated tour guides and interpreters, all of whom are experts in everything in and around Siberia, offer tailor-made tours of Novosibirsk, its surroundings and the nearby cities and towns like Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Omsk and Biysk, in English, German, Spanish, Italian and French. At your request tours to Altai Mountains are also possible.

The idea of blogging came to me in 2010 when I realized that people from the other countries know practically nothing about Novosibirsk and Siberia, that the information about my region in English is scarce, and that planning travels around Siberia was close to impossible. At the same time I started my tourguiding career, first working for travel agencies only. However, lots of travelers were not really happy traveling in big groups. According to them, organized travels in big groups only allowed them to see basics but not grasp the idea of the place, but they would rather experience something more customized to their unique needs to be able to understand the place, the country, the people and the whole spirit of it. Many travelers initially want to travel alone or with their partner, but they have to join a group just because of the lack of helpful information about my region. I felt a push to help people discover Siberia, Novosibirsk and other destinations in my region. This is how it all started.

Now my and my team’s mission is to help you plan and arrange your travel to Siberia, to provide necessary information, to make your stay in Novosibirsk and everywhere in Siberia comfortable, enjoyable and memorable. Together with my team I offer you hand-picked tours designed according to your wishes and preferences.

In the «About Me» page you can learn more about me and my professional career.

And contact me to ask your questions about Novosibirsk or book a tour with me.

I Dolci. A sweet piece of Italy in Novosibirsk.

Cold Siberian winter is the time when everyone wants to feel warm, nice and comfortable. It’s the time when you are looking for something sweet, spicy and delicious. Not necessarily healthy for the body, but definitely relaxing and calming for the soul. Well, you find all this in I Dolci cafe, a piece of Italy in the heart of Siberia.

Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, or NOVAT

‘Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, of NOVAT, its brand name, is the largest one in Russia’. This is how I typically start the downtown tour. When I say ‘the largest’ I really mean it, as it is the biggest theatre building in Russia. Of course, everyone has heard of the Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow or the Maryinsky Theatre in St.Petersburg at least once, but it is worth mentioning here that the whole building of either of them will easily fit inside the great hall of NOVAT.

Not to mention the quality and grandeur of ballets and operas. Russian ballet is famous all over the world for its premium performance and skills of dancers. Russian opera has been gaining popularity recently. In Novosibirsk you can enjoy both opera and ballet of the highest performance quality, but at prices considerably lower than in both capital cities.

Tours in Novosibirsk are now available in multiple languages!

Dear guests from non-English speaking countries! Good news for you!

All tours of Novosibirsk and its surroundings listed and presented in this blog are now available not only in English and German, which are my working languages. If your native languages are Spanish, Italian or French, or if you prefer these languages to English, I work with a team of dedicated colleagues, who are professionals in those languages. All of them are great guides with lots of experience.

When contacting me, please indicate the language you would like to have your tour in.

Our team is constantly expanding, so in summer 2019 I will be able to offer you tours in languages, which are not in the list yet.

Puppenhaus. More than just a restaurant!

Puppenhaus restaurant is mentioned in lots of guide books, travel forums, blogs and websites.

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MIRA SPA

The first MIRA SPA at the Ob promenade opened its doors in 2013 and since then it has been the best place in the city to relax and restore peace of body and soul. Now all SPA and banya fans are welcome to two SPAs under MIRA brand. The new MIRA is the largest SPA in Siberia. Here you indulge yourself to all sorts of banyas and saunas, a huge warm swimming pool, invigorating whirlpools, salt rooms or just relax overlooking the tranquil lake and pine forest.

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Tomsk. Day or two-day trips from Novosibirsk

IMG_1914Have a longer stay in Novosibirsk?  Don’t hesitate, go on a one or two-days trip to Tomsk. Located approximately 250 km to the north of Novosibirsk, this cozy city will be a cherry on your cake. It is filled with carved wooden houses looking like they come from Russian fairy tales. Its world-recognized universities opened long before Novosibirsk was first mentioned. Old but youthfully vibrant, it won’t leave you untouched.

A spare day in Novosibirsk. Possible day trips.

You are coming to Novosibirsk for several days and have a spare one? There are many options. You can visit a museum or two and go to the Opera in the evening or you can just wander along the broad streets of the Siberian capital. But what if you have already done all that? There are many variants of day trips. If you choose one of them, you will have an idea of life an remote Russian village or in a small town, or you will enjoy natural landscapes typical for the Western Siberia. Some of these day trips may include an easy hiking tour.

Novosibirsk Zoo

bg-bear-low  The Zoo in Novosibirsk is one of the largest in Russia and one of the main city sights. It history started in 1933, when a small activity center for children was organized, where kids were suppose to learn about animals and to take care of them. In 1950 it was turned to the zoo. It was home to 82 species of animals and was well visited, though its general condition was rather poor. The cages were small and uncomfortable and visitors had difficulties moving around. Everyone understood that the new premises was urgently required, but the construction did not start until 1983. The huge territory is located amidst the pine forest ensuring nature-similar conditions for the residents. In 2005 all the animals and the administrative staff relocated and overnight the zoo became one of the most visited places in the city where everyone can easily spend the whole day under green trees looking at animals and birds.

Delicatessen Store. New Way of Eating Out

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The concept of delicatessen stores is not completely new for Russia. They existed during the Soviet Era, too, however, it was not common to eat out there and the food was rather plain, mostly represented by a few  types pirozhkis (buns or patty cakes). For eating out there were canteens, the Soviet kind of fast food, offering very typical set of dishes, including mashed potatoes, chops, borsch and a salad or two. Of course, it was not common to ‘spend time’ there, and the quality of food left much to be desired. The modern delicatessen stores resemble their ancestors only in terms of plain interior, though of course it’s lots more comfortable and welcoming. Otherwise they are a fast, convenient, cheap and healthy variant of eating out suitable for all sorts of visitors. Fans of traditional food, vegetarians, vegans, followers of gluten-free diet and even raw-food enthusiasts won’t stay hungry here. Everything is always fresh, the choice is abundant, the staff is helpful and ready to explain what is what, and the service is quick, and the prices are very affordable. Exactly what you need, if you are in a rush, or if you are a traveler who want to eat healthy local food but don’t want to spend hours waiting for your dish. In the early hours you can be offered a traditional Russian or continental breakfast, and around lunchtime you will always choose one of 2 or 3 soup varieties. All food and drinks can be packed, so that you can enjoy them at home or in your hotel room.

Kolyada Cafe. Traditionally Russian and Great Food for Everyone

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Kolyada is perhaps the best place to eat in Novosibirsk. Traditional Russian cuisine, traditional Russian interior, nice music, prompt service, great location close to the major attractions and business quarters. It’s affordable for everyone: families with kids, office workers, students, budget travelers, but it’s not surprising to see wealthy business owners and public figures here.