The Volga River, Europe's longest river, is by far Russia's most important waterway. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with your cruise from Moscow to Astrakhan because Vodohod company includes visits to wonderful cities along the Volga into your excursion program. Taking a cruise with Vodohod is a unique opportunity to see the most popular cities in Russia and to get acquainted with their inimitable charm, history and lifestyle.
The Volga has always been a major route connecting north and south. It is navigable from the town of Rzhev downstream. In the town of Tver it is 200 meters wide. Forty cities and towns, and 1,000 smaller settlements, lie along it, most of them on the high right bank, including Tver, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Ulianovsk, Samara, Saratov, Volgograd (Stalingrad, Tsaritsyn before 1917) and Astrakhan.
The river forms a wide delta, receiving water from some 200 tributaries (long rivers, small streams and brooks). Draining two thirds of European Russia and nearly a third of Europe and known to Russians as "Mother Volga," it is of great importance and economic value to Russia. Navigable nearly its entire length, it is the country's main commercial waterway, providing connections between the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. The waterway includes dams, locks, canals, reservoirs, it makes the river easy to navigate and generate some electricity.
The Volga basin supplies 25% of all of Russia’s crops and one-fifth of its industrial fishing and contains 70 species of fish. The Volga Delta (south of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea) is home to over 200 different kinds of bird and wild boar, foxes, beavers, muskrats and 30 other animals. In summer, the area comes alive with color and carpets of pink and white lotus flowers bloom.
To journey along the Volga with Vodohod, floating at night under star-spangled skies and cutting through autumn morning mists is to taste the splendid spirit of Russia.