While watching the Winter Olympics in 2014, travellers worldwide perked up and realized that there is a lot more to Russia than caviar, snow and vodka. Russia covers an enormous area and within its borders you find an amazing diversity of landscapes, terrains, and cultures.
From partying with the rich and famous in Moscow to walking around an Arctic island hoping to see a Polar bear, from touring the amazing churches to enjoying caviar and vodka, Russia is a truly spectacular destination for visitors. Get some warm clothes ready, ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for Russia, and visit one of the most stunning and diverse destinations in the world.
Moscow is the nation’s capital and absolute must see city for any visitors to Russia. This nearly 900 year old city is, like many European capitals, built around a center square with the rest of the city radiating outwards. The center square in Moscow is the world Red Square, consisting of:
a)Saint Basil's Cathedral,
c) State History Museums.
Close by is the Kremlin, which was first built in the 12th century and there are a couple of beautiful churches you can visit here. While in Moscow, make sure to visit the underground railway system as well. It’s one of Russia’s most extravagant architectural projects and features reflective marble walls, high ceilings, chandeliers, friezes and marble and bronze statues.
The other main city to visit in Russia is St Petersburg, and you will immediately notice how different St Petersburg is from Moscow when you get there. The site of a 900-day siege during World War II, St Petersburg is a stunning city and probably the only city to truly deserve the title 'Venice of the North’.
The Hermitage Museum complex alone is worth the trip to Russia! The Hermitage boasts a collection of over 3,000,000 pieces that come from all over the globe - here you will find masterpieces from Rembrandt, Leonardo, Rubens, and Michelangelo among many other artworks from famous artists. The best ways to explore St Petersburg is by taking a canal boat or walking tour.
But Russia is not all about its cities; there are some truly spectacular landscapes to see. Although hard to get to, Kamchatka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and simply known as the 'Valley of Geysers' which is nothing short of breathtaking. There is also the stunning lake of Baikal, which is the oldest and deepest lake in the world and offer some beautiful sceneries as well as nature hikes. Before going exploring though, make sure you have appropriate Russia travel insurance.
The rugged and freezing north of Russia offers access to the North Pole, as well as being the birthplace of the Gulag. Famous for how desolate this area is, it is now a major destination for wildlife tourism, with access to many unique habitats around the Arctic Circle. Another draw card of this area is the possibility to see the glorious spectacle of the Northern Lights.
While travelling around Russia is amazing, the size makes good planning very important. There are several iconic railway trips that are a great way to see large areas of the country, the most famous is probably the Trans-Siberian-Railway which goes from Moscow to Vladivostok, and the iconic Golden Circle Route, which consists of cities of religious importance around Moscow.
Russian Orthodox churches are absolutely spectacular from a design and architecture perspective, making this a very interesting trip.
For more information on Russia, visit the Russia Tourism Website.