Voronezh is a city in Russia located 500km south of Moscow. It is divided by a huge river turned into a water storage reservoir, so be sure to visit at least one of the bridges. The two main areas of the city are 'the Right shore' (правый берег), where the old city center is located, and the more or less newly build and industrial 'the Left shore' (левый берег). Mind that the Right shore is actually left (i.e. west) on the maps, and the Left shore is, respectively, on the right. M4 motorway, one of the biggest trading routes in Western Russia, flows into the city ringroad; hitching both north and south of Voronezh you can find a lot of trucks which are likely to bring you either to the Capital or to the Black Sea in one run.
North towards Moscow
Find the Moscow lane (Moskovskyj Prospekt, Московский проспект) and take any bus or minibus which goes till the end of the city (ask people which buses go to Olympic (Олимпик, a park on the outskirts of the city) or watch for words like Воен.Городок, 9й километр, ВПИ. If you have problems with reading russian, just take any vehicle on the Moscow lane that goes north, soon it will bring you to a red glass pyramid (a war memorial) situated inside a roundabout; the bus will either turn left or move onward. If it turnes left go off and walk a little on north, just to the next bus stop. There, almost any transport will bring you to Olympic. After Olympic, all the buses turn back so you ll know when to get off for sure. Walk a little on and you will see the crossed sign 'Voronezh'. Its a nice hitching spot in day time, but its pitch dark there at night so be sure to have some light clothes and a torch, and get any car to bring you several kilometers forth, to the nearest bright spot. You can also take a bus heading to city park Grad (64, 34,84) (Сити-Парк Град), get off on last station and you will be on the road to Moscow.
South towards Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Novorossijsk and the Black Sea
There are two options to hitch out south. If you are on the left shore (located right, i.e. east on the maps!) and it is daytime, you can take any bus going to Novaya Usman' (Новая Усмань). Most the marshrutkas already start on the right shore, so you can also go to stop at the big church, just before they cross the bridge. Get off right after it turnes off the main road and walk a little on – you will find a decent hitching spot which is already past the ringroad and the suburbia. Option two is to go north (see above) and hitch 17 km till the ringroad junction. Leave the car at the junction and walk on to the ringroad. There, you have very high chances to get a lift for a long distance, because most of the cars which take the ringroad travel from Moscow to at least Rostov-on-Don. Also, that is the only option to easily hitch out at night, since there are buses traversing Moscow lane till almost 0:30am and city hitching is pretty easy on this street.
From the North
The ringroad is 17 km away from the city; you can either take it or go straight in.
- If you need to get to the Left (eastern shore) at night time, take the ring road
- If you need to get to the Left shore at day time just go where the car goes; straight (Right shore) is also ok for you since there are numerous buses going across the river.
- If you need to get to the Right shore and the car is following the ringroad then get off, walk over the junction and hitch straight on.
From the South-East
The M4 motorway runs through the Novaya Usman town before flowing into Voronezh ringroad; there are buses from Novaya Usman to the city center. You can take those but i would suggest moving on and getting off at the second ringroad junction (you will probably notice the METRO sign) then walking about 1km in the cash-and-carry direction till you reach the city itself. There, just take any bus to where you need to go.
If you want to get to the Right shore while its night time, you will have to walk/city-hitch around 7 km of streets, so it is sometimes more reasonable to get off at the northern end of the ringroad and then hitch 17 km south to enter the western part of the city (see above).
Buses and minibuses
There are numerous buses and minibuses crawling around the city; they are pretty cheap (7/8 RUR for a bus/minibus in a day-time, 11/12 RUR after 10pm; 31 RUR ~ $1) but most of them do not operate between midnight and 6 am. The major route points are written on small white plate at the side of each vehicle; and they are not easy to read unless you are fluent in Russian. You will probably have to ask locals for complicated directions. Some key routes are:
- bus #90, it goes from far north on the right shore to the far north on the left shore via city center;
- minibus #125, big white minibuses going from far north to far south of the right (western) shore;
- minibus #366B, that awesome means of transport can bring you to M4 interstate no matter where you go, North or South. Its lower end-point is Novaya Usman', a hitching spot for going towards Rostov-on-Don and upper one is some 10km away from Voronezh towards Moscow.
key places to navigate:
- the Pyramidа (пирамида), a war memorial and a roundabout in the northern part (Severnyj area);
- the Tank (танк), a tank memorial in the southern part of the city;
- Metro cash-n-carry, located near one of the ring-road junctions on the Left (eastern) shore.
There is public transport to the airport (some 20 km towards Moscow), but getting there by hitching is also awesomely easy.
There is no public trasportation after 1am for sure. Instead of taking a taxi, try to get a lift for free from locals – even a taxi car can sometimes drive you for free late night if it is already off duty. Just tell "Autostop! No money!!" to any car driver that stops to pick you, and smile. Even those who do not speak english will get you right. Do not hesitate to try city-hitching at daytime too if you can not find your way around; we have done it many times and can verify that it is quite possible.
Places to Visit
- The bridges, especially Chernavsky most, the central one starting from Petrovsky Square (Right shore) and the double-level Severnyj (northern) bridge. There are awesome spiders on the upper level, where the now not operational tram tracks are located.
- The city center, especially the Revolution lane (Prospekt Revolutsii, проспект Революции). Try to come there in summer time at night to listen to some good street music and watch the fire joggling etc.
- Dinamo park, located not far the Severniy bridge; a somewhat abandoned stadium with awesome urban ruins.
- Various monuments (the Bubble Gum monument; the Hairy Wall; the Owl, the Hanging girl, etc), cafes and other cute places scattered around the city center.
- Some of the roofs. A lot of 5 storey houses have fire ladders still hanging down; its very easy to climb one and spend some time on the steep roof of the 70 yrs old building. Some taller roofs are also available but you will have to ask knowledgeble locals for the spots.
Places to Avoid
City outskirts might be fairly dangerous at night; try to avoid areas like Otrozhka, VAI and other remote parts of Voronezh at dark time. You will not gamble your life going there after 0:00 but you are very likely to come back missing your cell phone and wallet and having a black eye. You may encounter some issues even in the city center (rare but possible) but this should be easier to handle; just talk so they see you are not Russian, smile, tell them to get lost or anything else that comes to your mind – this should work ok to send away all the rabble.
Accommodation and Sleep
Other Useful Info
You can get a good city map for around $1 in any of the Press outlets as well as bookstores and petrol stations. Just ask for 'Karta' (map) and have your copy ;) Also, a small book containing the bus routes has been recently published, but I have no idea where to get one. Try to ask around!