In recent times, Kaliningrad has been featured in media reports quite a bit. Unfortunately, that's not because of its beauty but because of the fuss about the S-400 air defense systems deployed there. However, its touristic side deserves special attention.
TripAdvisor pointed out Kaliningrad for its splendor, awarding the city with the fifth place in the "Top Destinations on the Rise — Europe" ranking.
"A little extra chunk of Russia stuck between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad was known as Königsberg from its founding by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century until after World War II. It was renamed, repopulated with Russians and became part of the Soviet Union. Today, as it has been for centuries, it's known for amber products, with most of the world's harvestable amber still lying off its coast. The 14th century Königsberg Cathedral is a main city attraction," wrote the website's experts who compiled the top 10.
The leader of the list is the Spanish city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is located in the Canary Islands and attracts tourists for its beaches and stunning views. The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, gained the "silver," while another Spanish resort city, Malaga, took the third place and Ukraine's Kiev landed in fourth. The rating also includes Wroclaw (Poland), Bologna (Italy), Faro (Portugal), Bucharest (Romania) and Rotterdam (The Netherlands).
In September, St. Petersburg took top title at the ultimate travel accolade — World Travel Awards — for a second year in a row. Russia's "Northern Capital" was recognized as Europe's Leading Destination. In another ranking, published later same month by MasterCard, Moscow and St. Petersburg featured in the World's Top 100 Travel Destinations, taking the 59th and 85th respectively.