Puerto Backyarda in Russia Posted by on Jul 31, 2020 in Culture, Nature and the outdoors, when in Russia

Summer is the perfect time for a vacation. However, given the restrictive measures, it is difficult to count on a typical vacation trip. Travel plans have collapsed for most people. How do Russians rest in post-isolation time?

Many tour operators have started reopening since June as the global health crisis begins to stabilize. However, the pandemic is not over yet; and many people choose not to travel (путеше́ствовать) abroad (за грани́цу). From the end of the last month, all tourist (туристи́ческие) destinations (направле́ния) within the country are open. A negative COVID-19 or antibody test is no longer required. Those who arrive (прибыва́ть) in another city are only measured for their temperature at the airport (аэропо́рт) or the train station (железнодоро́жная ста́нция). There is no driving ban anymore, which means you can organize your own trip. But you shouldn’t plan your trip (путеше́ствие) several weeks in advance as the rules are constantly changing and can get stricter. National parks (национа́льные па́рки) are also open; only large excursion (экску́рсия) groups are not allowed, but families are not prohibited from hiking (пе́ший тури́зм). Russians love to go to the forest (лес) for picking mushrooms (собира́ть грибы́), hunting, and having picnics.

Despite the mitigation of the measures, the general self-isolation regime has not been ultimately canceled in most regions.

Puerto Backyarda

Russian citizens living in cities usually do not have their own backyard (за́дний двор), as they live in apartments. Those who live in villages have large courtyards (двор). But more often, rural residents are engaged in the agriculture sector. Summer for them is not a vacation (о́тпуск) time. They work hard all season. That’s why backyard pools are not popular in Russia. Instead, people go swimming (пла́вать) in a river (река́) or lake (о́зеро). Only those who are lucky to live by the sea (мо́ре) have considerably more options for summer water activities (во́дные развлече́ния). On urban city beaches (пля́жи), few have given thought to trying to avoid COVID-19 while keeping a safe distance.



Image by carlfbagge Flickr

The most popular destination is dacha (да́ча). It is a seasonal or year-round second home located in exurbs. Dachas are common in Russia. There are so-called “dacha villages” (да́чные посёлки) and “dacha cooperatives” (да́чные кооперати́вы) – a plot of land with inhabited buildings, outbuildings, large gardens (сады́), and forests. Some villages have been fully transformed into dacha settlements. Some dachas have pretty ordinary houses and small (not more than 6,500 sq ft) pieces of land, where dachniki (да́чники) 1the dacha owners grow large amounts of fruits and vegetables. Others are modern and luxurious. Russian elite has mansions and palaces in its dachas. Depending on the dacha type, different activities are available for citizens. Wealthy Russians have sports facilities such as an indoor pool, tennis courts, and racehorse stables. Others have banyas (ба́ни)2saunas, braziers (манга́лы), barbecue grills, and large outside tables.

Illegal tourism


Image by Israel_photo_gallery Flickr

Recently, when domestic tourism was banned, many illegal tourist clubs (туристи́ческие клу́бы) have sprung up. Since then, they have not stopped their activities. Tourists who choose the services of such firms risk their lives. Illegals don’t even register their travels in case of an emergency. “If something happens, the trips can be ruined,” explains the travel business and guide (гид), Igor.

For most Russians, there’s nothing like a summer getaway. But there’s never been a summer like 2020.


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