TOP 9 Things to do Vladivostok, Russia
Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific Coast Line is known as the 'San Francisco' of Russia. At least that is the label the various Russian rulers wanted to apply to the city.
But indeed the scenery is hilly and sometimes breathtaking with the green islands near Vladivostok dotting the Amur Bay.
The city also got a major upgrade in infrastructure during the APEC conference in 2012. There are brand new freeways, the new airport, the airport train and major new bridges connecting the Russian island to Vladivostok that all stem form this major infrastructure effort.
Vladivostok is a well working/ modern city - however it's a surprisingly isolated community and it is hard to get anyone's attention - don't expect any service culture or fluent English!
Things to do Vladivostok - Sightseeing
As usual - here is my Foursquare list for Vladivostok to start it off.
Vladivostok Harbor View
The best way to get started with Vladivostok is to head up to the Harbor View Point and take in the scenery. On a sunny day this is breathtaking.
Vladivostok Harbor Walk
From the Harbor View Point you can take the tram down to the Harbor Walk. It comes complete with museum submarines and old navy ships.
It's a great place to take in the seafaring heart of Vladivostok.
The Russky Island underwent a major development during the 2012 APEC conference. It now houses an university and tons and incredible infrastructure. On your way there you will cross the East Bosporus and the Golden Bridge (I kid you not!).
There isn't much there besides more views but for this one the journey is the destination. Try to get a local to call a taxi for you both ways. The local taxis are just $5 for a 30 minute drive from downtown.
Primosrkyi Arbat/ Приморский Арбат
As with every good Soviet city - there needs to be a pedestrian/ Shopping zone. On the Sunday when I was in town not much was going on - but this might be different on other days!
Porkovski Park / Покровский парк
This pretty little park is about 10 minutes outside of downtown (on my way to the Hotel Astoria, Vladivostok).
It comes complete with a Russian-Orthodox Church - not to be missed (unless you have just been to Kiev!).
Things to do Vladivostok - Food
Unfortunately with the short time I had in Vladivostok it only allowed for a brief indulgence.
My biggest surprise in town was the authentic Indian food at Naan House. The eatery is at the top floor of a local mall - not a place you'd expect culinary delights - especially not in Russia. But it was one of the best Indian meals ever - fresh, wonderful strong flavors, spicy and reasonably priced! Amazing.
Bakery Five O'Clock
A Belgian bakery in Vladivostok - this will be my ideal breakfast location - at least that's what I thought. But Five O'Clock and me were not meant to be. I did not like the pastries or the atmosphere. Skip.
Kafema Coffee Kitchen Rules- Coffee Shop
This Coffee Shop must have had the most the most unfriendly attitude I ever encountered. They easily beat the SF Mission District baristas (who are not exactly providing customer service).
However the coffee is good and the WiFi works so I guess there isn't much we can do about it.
Миринэ - Korean Food
This Korean restaurant is highly recommended by Foursquare but I did not have time to try it out.
If you are on your way to Vladivostok and need a place to stay - check out my hotel surprise - the Hotel Astoria, Vladivostok.