Only 16 kilometres southeast from the city of Ekaterinburg, the 4th largest city in Russia, is Koltsovo Airport. Opened in 1928 as a military airport, it was converted for civilian use in 1943. To facilitate the ever-growing passengers transiting at Koltsovo Airport, new international and domestic terminals were opened in 2005 and 2007 respectively and a third runway added in 2009, which enabled the airport to accommodate larger airplanes including the Airbus A380. Currently, Koltsovo Airport flies to more than 30 Russian and international airlines to over 80 cities worldwide, and is still acquiring more foreign airlines to make the airport a place of choice for transit and business.
As part of its modernisation project, Koltsovo Airport boasts a good number of amenities to help passengers arrive at Ekaterinburg with comfort. Arriving in Russia may be daunting to first timers but the Tourist Information Service and Info Kiosks located all around the airport will help to make the experience one that is comfortable and memorable, with services ranging from the booking of rail tickets and city tours to translation services. Free maps and guidebooks are also available to help you figure things out along the way. Business lounges in both terminals provide free WiFi, food and telephone services and may be a good place to catch up on lost sleep.
Taking the train from Koltsovo Airport to Ekaterinburg allows travellers with little baggage to hop off at each station, exploring the areas near to the airport. The total time taken to reach Ekaterinburg from the airport is 40 minutes and passengers boarding at the airport station can buy the tickets on the train. Otherwise, hop onto a taxi that will take you to your hotel. Public buses and shuttle buses to the city centre are also available for a more leisurely sightseeing adventure. Interestingly, the shuttle bus takes only 30 minutes, 10 minutes faster than the train!
Located on the border of Europe and Asia, Ekaterinburg is the main industrial and cultural centre of the Ural Federal District. With a rich history going back into the 1700s, Ekaterinburg is a place you can spend a great amount of time in and still not be done with.
As a major junction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, visiting the old railway station could be the first stop of your journey. You will want to take photos of the iconic building as you admire its colonial architecture. The city also has various performing arts venues and museums, housing popular theatre and dance companies which you should not miss watching. The lattice steel dome of the iconic Yekaterinburg Circus and one of the tallest incomplete structures, the Yekaterinburg TV Tower need to be added to the list of places you should visit on top of the popular keyboard monument where each key weighs up to 1000 pounds.