Touristic, cultural and natural potential
The Smolensk Region meets all the requirements for becoming a leading touristic centre in Russia in the following kinds of tourism:
- cultural, educational and event tourism;
- religious tourism and pilgrimige;
- rural and ecological;
The Smolensk Region has over 60 museums, 2703 monuments of cultural heritage (cultural and historical monuments), 1080 sites of archeological heritage, 495 historical buildings, obelisks, mass graves, 14 pieces of public art.
Cultural and educational tourism is the oldest and most popular kind of tourism in the Smolensk Region due to its rich and diverse historical and cultural heritage.
Cultural events attract a great number of visitors to the region which increases the tourists' attractiveness with the help of bright and spectacular events including annual international, interregional and regional festivals, forums, and competitions.:
- international touristic festival «Solovyeva pereprava», the Kardymovsky District;
- military and historical festival «Reconstruction of the Smolensk battle of 1812 in Lubnino», the Kardymovsky District;
- all Russia cross country car racing “The Slavonic Cup” the Kardymovsky District;
- international military and historical festival «There used to be fierce fights», devoted to the Krasninsky battle of November, 1812;
- touristic fair «Holiday of the Vyazemsky pryannik (spicy cake)», the Vayazemsky District;
- the regional festival «His Majesty, Cucumber!», the Demidovsky District;
- the folk art festival «Customs of the Russian past», the Demidovsky District;
- international festival of the historical reconstruction and Slavonic culture «Gnezdovo 2014» in Smolensk;
- international youth touristic festival «New Dawn» in Monastyrshchensky District.
Orthodox holy sites visited by many tourists help to develop religious tourism and pilgrimige in the religious centres of Smolensk, Vyazma, Boldino, among the most popular sites there are:
- The Assumption Cathedral in Smolensk;
- the 12th century Churches in Smolensk, Smyadyn area in Smolensk;
- the monastery of John the Forerunner in Vyazma;
- Gerasimovo-Boldinsky Monastery of Holy Trinity in Boldino, the Dorogobuzhsky District.
The Smolensk Region has a great touristic and recreational potential. The capitalisation of the touristic potential can become one of the priorities for regional development taking into account the increase in demand for recreation among citizens in megapolises and their mobility. The region has a number of suitable areas for the recreational and ecological tourism:
- Velizh in the east;
- Przhevalsky in the west and east of the National Park «Smolensk Lakeland»;
- Demidov in the south, and south-east;
- Rudnya – in the west;
- Sychevka – in the north, on the border with the Vazuza hydrosystem;
- Gagarin – in the Vazuza and Yauza basins.
The ecological tourism in the Smolensk region is developed in the national parks «Smolensk Lakeland» and «Gagarinsky».
The national park «Smolensk Lakeland», a unique complex lying in the north-west of the region, was established in 1992.
The recreational potential of the Smolensk Lakeland is based on fresh air, beautiful landscapes, wealth of flora and fauna, spas and sapropel, 35 unique glacial lands framed with thick woods. All these characteristics make this remote nook famous all over Russia with Lake Sapsho being called «Baikal in the miniature».
The developed network of walking, water, cycling touristic paths and ecological routes has been created in the park for the last two decades. The are well equipped camping sites for resting. Numerous camps and guest houses are located near the lakes Sapsho, Baklanovskoe and Rytoe.
The museum of Nikolay Przhevalsky, the native of the region, naturalist and explorer, is the most visited site in the park.
The national park «Gagarinsky», situated in the north-east of the region, is close to Moscow, the park was set up in 2006 in the basin of the rivers Vazuza and Yauza, the two largest rivers of the Smolensk Region. The park is a popular fishing centre, at present the large-scale investment project «Developing infrastructure of the touristic cluster Vazuza & Yauza Park» is being implemented in the Gagarinsky District of the Smolensk Region.
The Ugransky riverland is also worth visiting because of its unique beauty and pureness, this region lies in the south-east of the region and is becoming one of the most popular regions for water and recreational tourism.
The favourable ecological conditions attract tourists who would like to spend their holidays close to nature or on farms.
The rural tourism in the Smolensk Region looks promising, with Demidovsky, Vyazemsky and Krasninsky Districts being actively visited by tourists.
The following companies provide food, accommodation and health services in the Smolensk Region:
- guest house in the village Stary Dvor, near Lake Sapsho;
- the guest house in Przhevalskoe;
- the guest house in the village Nikitenki;
- the manor house of M.M. Sadovsky, the head of the «Shugailovo» farm;
- camp «Seagull» near Rytoe Lake.
The cultural and touristic complex in the house of Yuriy Nikulin was constructed in Demidov.
- «Krupenina's manor house»;
- the manor house «Podvorye»;
- «Troshino» farm specialising in horse breeding;
- the eco-village «Chepchugovo»;
- «Veresk» manor house which is famous for dog hunting;
- «Abdulaev» farm.
The rural tourism is a popular activity among Spanish, Italian and French tourists visiting the manor house «Miroedovo», which has hunting facilities in the Krasninsky District.
In 2013 the Smolensk Region had 77 accommodation facilities which included 56 hotels, 22 resorts for visitors having problems with digestion, blood circulation, respiratory or nervous systems.
210 thousand tourists visited the Smolensk Region in 2013, including 189 thousand Russian tourists and 21 thousand foreign visitors.
In 2014, 104 tour operators and travel agencies work on the touristic market of the Smolensk Region, with 20 tour operators being registered in the Unified Federal Register of Tour Operators. These companies offer good quality services of home tourism and excursions for Russian and foreign visitors:
- Llc Touristic and excursion centre «On 7 hills»;
- Llc «Smolensk Travel»;
- Llc Centre of youth and family holiday «Meridian»;
- Llc «Smolensktourist»;
- Llc «Smolensk bureau of international youth tourism «Sputnik»;
- Llc «Etual»;
- Llc «Smolensk kladovye»;
- Llc «Smolensk Travel bureau» etc.