Russia is the largest country in the world, and home to over a seventh of the entire landmass on earth. It’s therefore hardly surprising that this country is so visually, historically, and culturally diverse.
It’s precisely this element of the unexpected that often appeals to the most intrepid travellers. With eight time zones, and a climate that spans from Siberia’s freezing Arctic terrain Sochi’s subtropical heat, you’re guaranteed to be intrigued and amazed by this incredible country.
If you’re planning to visit, you may want to consider checking out tours to Russia. This will give you a chance to see a wide variety of sights, without getting lost amongst a massive tour group.
Here are just a few reasons why you should head to Russia:
Europe’s Largest City
Whether you consider taking Russia tours you’ll want to make sure you visit Moscow, which is home to around ten and a half million people. This city is an intoxicating blend of lively modernity and historic culture. Don’t miss the Red Square, and St Basil’s Cathedral.
Venice of the North
St Petersburg is another one of the more famous cities in Russia, and it was also once the country’s capital. Tsar Peter the Great founded the city, and St Petersburg’s architectural beauty makes it easy to see why it was once known as “the Venice of the North”. Inspired by the streets of Paris, there’s a distinctive feel to St Petersburg that feels both very European with a flare of Russian influence. It does actually feel like you’re in another world when you’re walking around this beautiful city. It’s a great place to take some photos, so consider doing a walking tour in order to really see all that this striking city has to offer.
Adventure and Art
Whether you’re looking for inspiration from great writers and artists, or you’re an adrenalin junky hoping to conquer more horizons, Russia delivers in spades. Visit the country estates of Pushkin and Tolstoy, climb or ski the Caucasus mountains, go white-water rafting or trekking in the Altai Republic, or head to Kamchatka and climb an active volcano.
For those who love art, the Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. With more than 3 million items on display, you can explore for hours and still not see everything this museum has to offer. Not to mention, the city also has a new museum dedicated entirely to the world famous Faberge Eggs.
Russia is known for a variety of delicacies, particularly the dumplings, soup, and stroganov. You’ll easily see that Russian food has a strong influence from the harsh weather that they endure during the cooler months. Food is hearty, homemade and economical. And if you like vodka, this is the country to drink it, so head to the Vodka Museum in St Petersburg and do a tasting session.
A Variety of Entertainment
When you think of entertainment in Russia, you probably think of ballet, with the Mikhailovski, Mariinsky, and Bolshoi theatres putting on shows every day. But there are also a number of places to see amazing opera performances, with plenty of bars and restaurants to explore and chat with the locals.
You’ve probably seen the Red Square in television shows, news reports or even movies. It’s a hub of many of the important Russian buidlings including the Kremlin, St Basils and Lenins tomb. Scattered around the giant square are numerous great restaurants and cafes, making it an excellent place to enjoy a meal and people watch. This is one of those places you just have to absolutely visit when in Moscow. My suggestion: visit more than once, the Red Square feels very different during the day when compared to how it looks at night, so it’s worth visiting at both times if only for the great photo opportunities! If you’re brave enough to visit in the depth of winter, there’s an ice skating rink that gets put up in the middle of Red Square, making for a fun day out.
Catherine Palace and Gardens
Located a little outside of St Petersburg, this is definitely worth a visit. The Catherine Palace is absolutely beautiful and you can view many of the rooms. It’s worth getting a tour guide if you’re not already on a tour, so they can explain some of the history behind this incredible and grand palace. The gardens are beautiful, particularly during the warmer months when the flowers are in bloom. The Amber room is a treasured room in the palace, and for good reason, it’s absolutely stuning. Just be warned it can get a little crowded in there, so it’s best to visit the palace as early in the day as possible.