The first dachas in Russia began to appear during the reign of Peter the Great as estates and homes in the country given to loyal vassals by the Tsars. By the end of the 19th century, the dacha had become a favourite summer retreat for the upper and middle classes of Russian society.
During the Soviet era, dachas were adapted for use in increasing food production and today, they have evolved into attractive weekend cottages and summer cabins on small plots of land brimming with fresh garden-grown vegetables. Today, Russia's dachas provide a peaceful retreat from the noisy polluted cities and offer a unique holiday experience featuring the best of swimming in rivers or lakes, sun bathing, biking, woodland walks and a wonderfully fascinating natural rural environment for children.
Modern Russia currently has the largest number of owners of second homes in the world with an estimated 50% of Russian families living in large cities also owning dachas. An improvement in living standards in recent years has allowed many dacha owners to spend more of their income on improvements, and many recently built dachas are fully equipped houses suitable for use as permanent residences.
Dachas are usually located in 40-50 km from the city (about 1 hour drive) and they are generally grouped into small villages overlooking a picturesque landscape with a lake or river nearby. The house sits on a plot of land (about 0,96 ha) surrounded by vegetable gardens and orchards. The house is usually small, but warm and cosy with a traditional Russian stove and a fireplace.
We"ll pick you up from your hotel at 8:30 am and drive you outside the city. Upon arrival to the dacha's village, you'll spend some time with the Dacha's owners, walking in the garden and familiarising yourself with the amenities. Your hosts may also take you for a walk in the nearby forest and show where the best berries and mushrooms are.
You'll be treated to a typical delicious dacha lunch including shashlyk (marinated pieces of meat on a skewer, roasted on open fire), fresh vegetables, seasonal fruit, traditional drinks and tea from a samovar with home-made deserts.
After lunch you can play outdoor games, sing songs or just relax. You'll discover that the air is so fresh outside of the city you can almost "taste" it and you will quickly begin to understand why the dacha remains an important and integral of Russian life and identity. You'll get back to the city in the evening around 6 pm.