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Visit Russia

Russia is the world’s largest country, spanning 11 different time zones from end to end. Here, some of the best travel experiences come from the journey rather than the destination – whether that’s a train trip on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway or a lavish commute on Moscow’s chandelier-strung Metro line. 

That said, the destinations are worthwhile and numerous. Russia is filled with bustling cities, snow-capped mountain ranges and the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake. There are endless forests to explore, delicate ballets and operas to witness, bowls of borscht to sample, and some vodka-soaked nightlife to help beat the winter’s frigid temperatures.

If you’re a first time visitor, St. Petersburg, with its broad avenues, elegant palaces and the multi-domed Orthodox Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (featuring 7,500 square-metres of mosaics!), is an easy entry point to this vast land. Over the years, it’s been called St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad and St Petersburg again – a sign of its turbulent history. It was the capital of the tsarist Empire, the birthplace of the 1917 Communist Revolution and a symbol of Russia’s resistance against Nazi Germany.

The current capital of Moscow, on the other hand, is a city akin to New York – faster-paced with modern skyscrapers, gold-topped churches and the ultra-rich and ultra-poor living side by side. Most tourists will head to Red Square, the home of some of Russia's most important landmarks – the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral, State Historical Museum and the mausoleum of Revolution hero Vladimir Lenin. The Kremlin, Moscow's historic fortress and the centre of the Russian government, stands directly east of the Red Square. It is the president’s official residence. 

Once you’ve ticked off the major cities, there are plenty of remote wildernesses to explore – in any direction. One of the highlights of a trip to Siberia is the stunning Lake Baikal. It’s not easy to get to on your own but tours do visit. This Unesco World Heritage Site is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. Fed by hundreds of streams and rivers, it’s home to dozens of species of fish as well as Baikal seals. Meanwhile, at the Permafrost Kingdom in Yakutsk, explore underground frozen tunnes, ice sculptures and ancient woolly mammoth tusks. This is one of the world’s coldest places, with temperatures averaging -34 degrees Celsius.

In the Far East, Kamchatka Peninsula is a prime destination for nature lovers – complete with river rafting, hot springs, helicopter journeys and landscapes dotted with more than 1,000 volcanoes. 

Best for:  

Active Travellers; Arts + Culture Lovers; History Buffs; Nature Lovers

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