The main city and seaport of the Russian Far East amazes visitors with its natural beauty, lighthouses and, of course, bridges. 1. Golden Bridge
Golden Bridge, a view from Orlinoye Gnezdo (Eagle Nest) hill
The best view of this engineering miracle is to be had from Orlinoye Gnezdo (Eagle's Nest) Hill, the highest point of the historical part of the city. This observation deck can be reached on foot or by cable car. Get your camera ready - it's simply impossible to resist taking a selfie against such a backdrop.
2. Ships in Golden Horn Bay
Sailboat and military vessels in Golden Horn Bay
When the city founders first arrived in these parts (mid-19th century), the landscape struck them as resembling the famous Golden Horn of Istanbul. Hence, the name. It is best to view the ships (including some on active military duty), sailboats and yachts from the water. Plus, you'll get a closer look at the stunning Golden Bridge.
3. "Tokarevskaya Cat" Lighthouse
"Tokarevskaya Cat" Lighthouse is also known as Egersheld Lighthouse
This view is undoubtedly Vladivostok's calling card. It is also one of the oldest lighthouses in Russia, located on an artificial island joined to a narrow dam that gets periodically flooded with water. But that doesn't stop die-hard Instagrammers from enduring wind and water to get to the lighthouse for the sake of a better shot. Even locals are in awe of the place, the symbolic end of the continent, where the Pacific Ocean begins.
4. Krestovaya Hill
View from Krestovskaya (Cross) Hill
The mountains in Vladivostok are small, often described as mounds. But despite their modest size, they are not easy to climb. But Krestovaya (Cross) Hill is worth the effort for more stunning views of Golden Horn Bay, the Golden Bridge and the city as a whole.
5. Basargin Lighthouse
Basargina Lighthouse is the sea gate to Vladivostok's bays
Another lighthouse that overlooks the "Bosphorus of the East" - located on a high cliff, separated by a thin isthmus from the rocky shore. It is partially cut off from the sea by reefs. A truly mesmerizing spectacle!
6. Russky Bridge
Russky Bridge in colors of the Russian national flag: white, blue, red
Alexey Bayakov (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Another piece of epic engineering, the sight of which will take your breath away. It is considered the longest cable-stayed bridge anywhere in the world. Opened relatively recently, in 2012, the structure connects the mainland to Russky Island.
2,000 banknote features Russky Bridge and Vostochny spaceport
At night it is illuminated with the colors of the Russian flag. Incidentally, the bridge is depicted on the newish 2,000-ruble note (see here for the other Russian banknote landmarks).
7. Rynda Bay
Shturval restaurant at Rynda Bay
This bay on the remote end of Russky Island is synonymous with tranquility: sea, pristine nature and riotous greenery all around. Plus there's a homely restaurant where even Russian President Vladimir Putin dined!
8. Ushi Island
Ushi (ears) island looks like a giant animal hiding in the water
This quaint island is part of the Empress Eugenie Archipelago, which includes Russky and several other islands south of Vladivostok. All are renowned for their nature and variety of flora, and Ushi (translated as 'ears') also for its shape: two rocks sticking out of the water, connected by an isthmus.
9. Artillery batteries
A battery under Russky Bridge
Vladivostok is primarily a military port, so dozens of obsolete military batteries are strung along the winding coastline. One of the most impressive is the Voroshilov battery on Russky Island, while some incredible views open up from the Novosiltsevskaya and Nazimovskaya batteries, located at either end of Russky Bridge.
10. Glass Beach
Steklyanny (glass) beach during the sunset
Dimasigida12 (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Photographs make this seem like a magical place, strewn with thousands of multicolored glass stones. This is almost the case. However, the history of its origin is slightly less romantic: for many years there was a landfill here, then all the garbage was taken away, but millions of fragments of bottles and ceramics got left behind. The sea has since polished them smooth, turning the area into a tourist attraction. Incidentally, locals worry that souvenir-hunting tourists will soon strip their glass beach bare.