Official language: Russian
Currency: Russian Ruble
Welcome to the largest country on earth!
Considering its vast surface area, you can bet your lucky stars; Russia has it all! Yes, there’s lots of ice, but there’s also the intriguing historic cities, the picture-perfect countryside and the artistic riches. The Russian people have boundless hospitality; much like their natural environment has seemingly limitless opportunities. We’ll say it again: Russia is MASSIVE, so therefor, it’s definitely not your average destination, you might be tackling this baby by regions instead of just “must see places”. Russia is also home to ancient walled fortresses, glittering palaces and spired churches in the European side of Russia, lined with national treasures and contemporary creativity like you’ve never seen it before. Don’t forget about the pristine Siberian wilderness with all its splendor and secrets… It’s a country that’s all at once breathtaking and baffling, and its biggest charm lies in the fact that its remains obscure and mysterious in all the right ways!
Must see places in Russia
When in Russia, experience life the Russia way, something Moscow offers you without even trying. Filled with wide streets and gigantic buildings like the Lenin Russian State Library and the skyscrapers of Stalin, it’s a big destination with massive possibilities. The Kremlin and Red Square (touristy as it might seem) should be your first stops, it’s the center of Moscow life that’s going to give you real insight into the city’s history in a flash. Moscow is also home to the Mausoleum, the Russian Historical Museum, and the Saint Basil’s Cathedral among the many great attractions. From the sacred Cathedral of Christ the Savior to the fashion-frenzied Tverskaya Streets with its wild nightlife and posh boutiques, Moscow will keep travelers from all walks of life entertained in all the right ways.
St Petersburg is the Northern Palmyra, or as many Russians would tell you, the European Russia. Here you’ll see the Peter and Paul Fortress, the baroque and rococo inspired Hermitage and Voltaire Library and Kunstcamera Museum among the many other historical buildings. When nightfall comes, head over to Palace Square to gaze upon the breathtaking scenery, or consider visiting the picturesque mosaic collections in the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The Mariinsky Theatre offers you some superb Russian ballet acts, which makes for a great activity before you take a stroll along Nevsky Prospect and into the backstreets that resemble the ambience of Venice.
Sochi is probably best known for its Olympic complex, but there’s also a magnificent destination to rejuvenate and restore your energy. From sanatoria to wellness activities and walks along the scenic waterfront, Sochi is anything but boring. You can also go for a refreshing dip in the sea, explore the arboretum, and breathe in the fresh mountain air if you feel like you need to move around. At the end of the day, Sochi is an experience, and you’re bound to be captivated by it while you’re enjoying the sight of fresh tropical flowers, the hummingbirds in the air and snacking in the world’s most delicious kcachapuris.
The Golden Ring
Famed for its onion domes churches, The Golden Ring is a Russian Orthodoxy lover’s haven. It is here that you’ll find serenity and profundity nestled within the unique monasteries and churches that date back to the 12th century. The cities in The Golden Ring might be a little hard to pronounce, but they’re definitely not hard to miss. There’s Sergiyev Posad, Alexandrov, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Uglich, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky, Suzdal and Vladimir, and they’re all worth popping into for their captivating religious buildings.
The Trans-Siberian Experience
If you’ve got the nerves to endure it, why not embark on a week-long train trip across Eurasia? They say that fortune favors the brave, and in this case, the reward is a journey that takes you across 80 cities with breathtaking views along the way. You’ll pass by the Volga River, the Ural Mountains, Baraba steppe with its ever-present clouds, the Yenisei River, the Barguzinsky Mountains, the Siberian Woods, the Khekhstir Range and Lake Baikal. All in all, the Trans-Siberian Experience takes you everywhere you really need to go, leaving you with lasting vivid memories that are sure to have you yearning for more.
Also known as the pearl of Siberia, Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake on earth, and comes with its unique, unhindered flora, fauna and fish that the locals catch and enjoy smoked. There are many eco-trails along the lake where you’ll be able to see locals that haven’t been influenced by the modern world, so it’s a deep cultural experience combined into a nature thrill.
Things to do in Russia
Try local food
Dine in one of the traditional Russian restaurants and enjoy local cuisine at affordable prices. There is a number of Russian food chain restaurants in all major Rusian cities. Pop into “Mu-Mu” or “Kazachok” to experience the Russian cuisine at its best!
Enjoy Russian theatre
Russia prides itself on having some of the best Theatre and Ballet performances in the world. Even if you are not a big fan, this is the experience that you can’t miss! Experience Russia at its best!
Visit Banya (Russian Sauna)
I’m sure you heard about famous Russian Sauna experience – called Banya. This is a great place to learn a thing or two about Russian traditions, try local food, drinks and meet locals. Simply look it up, you can find Banya in any town in Russia. Truly unique experience!
Check out Russian Metro
Public Transport is usually not classified as a tourist attraction, but this is Russia and you are in for surprise! Visit metro in Moscow or St Petersburg and you will be truly impressed by the beauty and luxury of art and décor of the train stations! Besides being one of the most efficient and busiest rapid transit systems in the world, Moscow metro also harbours astonishing museum like architecture. Not to mention it is also the best way to get around the city!
Try local spirits
We all know what Russia is famous for – Vodka of course! There are places where you can do Vodka degustation, but ensure you don’t drink responsibly!
Visit Russian museums
Russia is full of historical museums and cathedrals – all of them have their own story and individuality, pick out a few that you would love to know more about! You don’t regret the experience!
Pick the time right
Tourists travel to Russia from May to October
Weather in Russia fluctuates significantly depending on the season. July & August are the hottest months with average temperature stays at around 20°C and often surpasses 30°C. The coldest month in Russia is January with average temperature at -15°C -25°C. The high season for traveling to Russia is May through October.
Did you know?
Moscow's underground is the fatest and most beautiful in the world
- Traditional Russian soup -Borsh
- Vinegret - traditional beetroot salad
- "Seledka pod shuboy"
- Salad Olivie
- Russian sweets
- Russian BBQ - Shashlik
- Traditional Russian drink - Kvas. It is very refreshing in Summer
Most of the shops open til late and 7 days a week - Happy shopping!
Russia public transport and underground systems are very efficient. It will be much better to get around then renting a car. Moscow and other cities are well known for traffic jams and chaotic driving. Official taxi services are affordable and convenient way to travel too, they can be booked online!
Always carry photocopies of your passports and visa at all times. Random checks by police is a regular occurrence
- Always use official taxi services to be safe
- Don't drink tap water in Russia
Try to avoid political conversations, as it can be quite sensitive and emotional to most of Russian - especially these days
Check if you need visa before travelling to Russia - as most countries do. The process require to obtain additional paperwork and pre-booked itinerary. Please do your research first before booking flights and accommodation as it might require a weeks or months to get it.