5 Minute Guide to Ekaterinburg, Russia

Ekaterinburg, The Russian Federation

From the airport

Koltsovo International Airport (SVX) is about 16km SE of the city.  The most efficient way into the centre of Ekaterinburg is by bus.  There’s a bigger bus, the #1, and a smaller mini-bus which is #01.  #01 is more expensive, 100 roubles, plus 20 roubles for a suitcase, but it gets you to the centre about 20 minutes faster (in 45 minutes) than the #1 (65 minutes).  #1 tickets are only 28 roubles (it seems baggage is included, but I haven’t taken it so can’t be sure).  We took the #01, it’s right outside the terminal, you can’t miss it.

bus at airport ekaterinburg
The #01 bus gets you right into the centre of the city from the airport

There is a train from the airport, but it goes only twice a day.  Or take the bus for 5 minutes, get off at Koltsovo Railway Station and take the suburban train from there.

Hotels

There’s plenty of choice of hotel/accommodation options in Ekaterinburg.  It’s a big city and an important cultural and industrial centre of the region.  Hotel rooms start at around $25 USD a night, although you might find something cheaper if you look for hostels.  We stayed in an Air BnB (a flat which was not far from the centre and accessible by tram), which was perfectly located, and really convenient if you’re staying for more than a few days.  If you decide to stay in an Air BnB or some other kind of guest house, your host may not speak English, so be prepared to use Google or another type of translating app to communicate.

Getting around

Like most Russian cities I’ve been to, there’s very good, efficient, public transport available to get to most parts of the town.  There are trams, buses, trolley-buses, a metro and of course taxis.  Walking around town is also possible as Yekaterinburg is quite flat.

Ekaterinburg metro station
Ekaterinburg metro station
train station
Central Train Station

Food

There are a variety of eating options in Ekaterinburg, as in any big Russian city.  They range from the street vendor selling the traditional ‘chebureki’ – here’s a recipe if you want to make some yourself, to the inevitable CCCP café, European style restaurants and more.

Some to try:

Fabrika Kukhnya (in Russian ФАБРИКА-КУХНЯ) – Traditional Russian cuisine

BarBoris (in Russian БАРБОРИС) – A restaurant which uses the recipes of Boris Yeltsin’s wife

Restaurant Panorama A.S.P. (in Russian Панорама АСП) – The highest restaurant in the Urals.  Located on the 50th floor of the Vysotskiy Tower

And one we personally tried and loved – My Friend Olivier (in Russian Мой Друг ОЛИВЬЕ) – a place we found randomly while walking in the town one day.  Russian and European cuisine, very good!    

My Friend Olivier

Shopping

There’s shopping for everyone in Ekaterinburg, for all tastes and budgets.  You can start at MEGA – a huge shopping centre where you can find just about everything you could possibly need. 

Or if you want something even bigger, try Grinvich, the biggest and most popular shopping centre in Ekaterinburg.

Of course, there are also other shopping malls, and many, many smaller shops for souvenirs, clothes, household goods, supermarkets and more. Everywhere.

Sightseeing

As in most Russian cities, the architecture is amazing.  Many different eras of architecture and design makes for an interesting walk through different areas of the city. 

city hall ekaterinburg
City Hall, Ekaterinburg

Church Upon the Blood – a beautiful Russian church which stands on the site where the last tsar of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II, and his family were executed.   

Church upon the blood
Church Upon the Blood

Ekaterinburg History Museum  – focussing on Ekaterinburg in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre – features a museum, a conference centre, an art gallery and a bookshop. The museum depicts the former Russian prime minister’s life through seven interactive zones.

Michael Jackson Statue – Yes, there’s a Michael Jackson statue in the Vainer Street pedestrian mall. 

michael jackson
Michael Jackson statue

The Beatles Monument – Another interesting attraction in Ekaterinburg – a monument to the Beatles.  Of course we had to take a look, it’s not far from the Keyboard monument (see below). 

beatles monument
beatles monument
Beatles monument up close

And you can’t miss a trip out the the monument which marks the border of Asia and Europe.  Actually, there are two monuments in two different places.  The newer one is quicker and cheaper to get to, only 17km from the city centre and 600 roubles by taxi (2019).  It’s the one we visited.  The original one is 40km from the city, so a little more expensive in a taxi to get there (1000 roubles – 2019), but being the original monument, it has a bit more history to it than the new one. 

Asia on the left, Europe on the right
One foot in Asia, one foot in Europe – it has to be done!

This is the tourist centre office we used for the trip to the Asia/Europe border.  They called us a taxi, fixed the price, and waited with us until the taxi came, and greeted us when we returned.  They can help you with all your tourist needs.

Quirky

Ekaterinburg is generally a pretty quirky city for a place that’s in the middle of the largest country in the world.  Here are a couple of quirky places, and they’re within walking distance from each other.

The Keyboard Monument – It was covered in snow when we were there (more photos in the link), but it’s a giant, to scale, QWERTY keyboard on the bank of the Iset River.  Apparently you type in your wish by stepping on the letters, then press ‘enter’ to make it come true.  We were there in May, 2019, and it was covered in snow. 

The keyboard on the river bank, covered in snow
F6 – I don’t know what this key does

And finally, this.  The entrance to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ sewer.  What more can I say? It’s in Ekaterinburg.

teenage mutant ninja turtles home

Recommended for

I would recommend Ekaterinburg as a place that all the family can enjoy.  There’s public transport for those who can’t do a lot of walking, and there’s so many things to see there that will be of interest to all age groups.  If you’re visiting Russia, don’t miss a trip to Ekaterinburg.

Top tip

Get yourself an official tourist map.  Ekaterinburg has a wonderful system for tourists – a red line, both on maps and physically painted onto the asphalt, for you to follow.  Following this red line, 5.5kms, will ensure that you don’t miss the most well-known and historically important sites in the centre of the city.  Here’s an example of a map showing the red line and the points of interests you’ll find along the way.  

For more information and links, here’s Ekaterinburg’s official site.  

Have you been to Ekaterinburg?  Got any top tips or interesting information for us about this wonderful city?  Let us know in the comments below!

~ Cheryl

If you like travelling, or just reading about exotic places, you’ll enjoy my other 5 Minute Guides – Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Moscow part 1, Moscow part 2, Hue, Hanoi, Paris, Vilnius and Kazan.

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

14 thoughts on “5 Minute Guide to Ekaterinburg, Russia”

  1. It looks like a great place to visit Cheryl and you can’t beat somewhere with good public transport, great restaurants, big shopping places…..and a giant keyboard and ninja turtle drain! I must say that some of that was a bit weird!
    How well do you speak and read Russian? I hadn’t thought about the fact that English wouldn’t be the first language spoken anywhere in your general vicinity (except in your ESL classes!)
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    1. Hi Leanne, I think all Russian towns and cities have great public transport. It’s a result of the Soviet Union when not everybody had cars, and so the state provided transport for the people. When I think how on a Sunday in Perth I can wait up to an hour (maybe more in some areas) for a bus into the city centre… Here I can wait less than 10 minutes. My regular bus I take almost every week day comes every 4-6 minutes! Yes, the keyboard is weird! I think that Ekaterinburg is one of the quirkiest places I’ve visited so far! My Russian language skills are functional – no problems in doing regular things, restaurants, travel, general information like weather, business stuff for school etc. But I can’t carry on any kind of conversation for more than a couple of minutes! But yes, we’re literally surrounded by Russian everyday, except as you say, in the classroom. Thanks for visiting, nice to see you. 🙂

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  2. Hi Cheryl, that was so interesting to read and see all the quirky things like the Beatles and the keyboard sculpture, the snow was a great addition 🙂 A fabulous tour thanks so much! #mlstl

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    1. Hi Debbie, oh, I loved Ekaterinburg for its quirkiness! And yes, the snow was a bonus. We were walking in a park there, and were interviewed by a TV station journalist who was filming there, as two foreigners out for a walk in the park in a snowstorm! It’s on Youtube somewhere! Thanks for visiting, hope to see you again. Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

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  3. Ekaterinburg, sounds like a unique and interesting city, that I’d love to visit someday. the photos of the buildings are lovely, especially the one of the Church of the Blood. I loved seeing the city through your eyes and I’m pinning this.

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    1. Hi Christina! 🙂 I haven’t been to a Russian town or city that I haven’t liked or enjoyed. There’s always so much history and culture, ancient and modern. It’s truly a lovely country to explore. I do hope you make it here one day to see for yourself. In the meantime I’ll continue to post here what I find. Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend! 🙂 x

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  4. Hi Cheryl, my husband wants to visit Moscow next year! Loved your photos of Ekaterinburg which I haven’t heard of before. Russian towns seem so clean and I love the church domes and the Beatles monument. Have a great week and thanks for sharing Russia with us at #MLSTL. x

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    1. Hi Sue, my advice would be to listen to your husband and visit Moscow next year! You’re right, Russian towns and cities are very, very clean, especially compared to European cities (I think Australian cities are quite clean in comparison, too). If you love church domes then you’ll love it here, there are so many beautiful churches here to see. Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re having a great weekend. 🙂 xx

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    1. Hi Christie! I get a lot of pleasure in sharing my stories of Russia with everybody! I know it’s a place where not many people go for holidays, or even think about going, so it’s nice for me to share what I know about it here on my blog. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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    1. Hi Max, thanks for the compliment, I’m glad you enjoy my blog. I’ve visited a lot of Russian towns and cities, including St Petersburg. Even though St Petersburg is beautiful, I have to say that Moscow is where my heart is. By the way, I had a look at your site, my daughter is also a 3D printer, in Australia, maybe you know her? She goes by the name of Sparkyface5. She doesn’t have a website or a blog, but she’s got Instagram and Facebook, and also a Youtube channel. Thanks for reading my travel guide, hope to see you here again soon! 🙂

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      1. Of course, I know her well and yes, she mentioned you to me 🙂 and I am encouraging her to blog more about 3D printing.

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      2. Yeah, I asked her after replying to you. I’d love to see her blogging about her 3D printing, that would be great! Thanks for coming by and checking out Born in a Car, I hope you’ll be back for more. 🙂

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