Ulyanovsk (Russian: Улья́новск ool-YAHN-uhfsk) is the capital and principal city of Ulyanovsk Oblast. Originally known as Simbirsk (Симби́рск), in 1924 the city was renamed after Vladimir Lenin (born Ulyanov), who was born here.
Ulyanovsk has two airports. Ulyanovsk-Tsentral'niy or Barataevka (Ульяновск-Центральный/Баратаевка) is a regular domestic airport that serves UTAir and RusLine flights to Moscow. Ulyanovsk-Vostochniy has been constructed as an experimental airfield for testing new aircraft (its runway is more than 5 km long!) Now it is converted into another passenger airport and may also cater to international flights (that do not exist, though). Flight Airlines (Russian: Полёт) operates flights to Moscow.
Ulyanovsk has an extensive public transportation network that includes buses, trolleys, and trams. It is very affordable, but congested and may be quite confusing. You won't find any route maps or schedules, neither at bus stops nor in buses. Fee collectors usually don't speak English. Express buses and semi-private van routes are more comfortable and more expensive. Taxis are not expensive, and that's your best bet if you want to get somewhere (relatively) quickly, in (relative) comfort (almost all cars are old Russian ladas or over 10 year old non-Russian cars), and without much hassle. They are also most likely to have English speaking drivers (one in 1000) and superloud Russian pop music.
Getting between the banks of the Volga is a problem. There is a two lane bridge connecting the banks and it's nearly always congested, so if you're unlucky, it can take a couple of hours. Most locals avoid going over the bridge if they can. A four-lane bridge was planned to relieve these problems.
As the home town of Lenin, it's worth visiting the Lenin Memorial Centre and Gardens and museums based in his former houses. There is also a museum dedicated to the poet 'Goncharov' and the war memorial at the end of the main street 'Ulitsa Goncharova' offers breathtaking views over the Volga.
In winter, try cross-country skiing along the Sviaga river, in summer take a boat ride over the reservoir.
The city's main shopping centre 'Tsum' is basic to say the least but does offer some basic shopping.
- Shpinat, Ulitsa Kirova, 79 (in Rakurs Hotel), ☏ . An upscale restaurant with small portions but big on presentation if that appeals to you.
- Gonzo, Ulitsa Goncharova, 48+7 842 244-44-22 (across from Hilton Garden Inn), ☏ . Lots of tasty Russian dishes, particularly heavy on meat.
- Veprevo Koleno, Ulitsa Federatsii, 11, ☏ . featuring Czech food and beer.
- Gallery Restaurant, Ulitsa Goncharova, 25 (inside Radisson Hotel), ☏ . 09:30-02:00. Buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring Russian and international items.
- Lobby Bar, ul. Goncharova 25, ground floor (inside Radisson Hotel). 09:30-02:00. Quick bites.
- Hotel Europe, Moskovskoye Shosse, 100 А, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel in European style. 1695 руб.
- Hotel Oktyabrskaya, Ulitsa Plekhanova, д. 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. — This 3-star hotel (54 rooms) is in the city center, close to the Kuybyshev reservoir (river Volga). 1253 руб.
- Gostinitsa "Venets", ul. Spasskaya 19/9, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12:00. — This 3-star hotel (263 rooms) is opposite the Lenin Memorial Centre and is more lively than hotel Oktyabrskaya. 1474 руб.
- Imperial Club Deluxe, ul. Alexandrovskaya 60, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Sits on its own lake and has indoor pool and rich creamy soup at the restaurant for when you get hungry. 3242 руб.