Wordtravels

Wordtravels

 

 

 

Introducing Russia

#
Russian Ballet © Russian National Tourist Office

Russia Travel Guide

Simultaneously the land of Catherine the Great, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin, Russia has captivated the minds of travellers for decades with an iron-curtained mystery. The largest country in the world has only opened up to travellers from the western world in the last several decades, and now adventurous wanderers are discovering the wonders of a holiday in Russia.

Most travellers in Russia focus their holidays on the western end of the country, where cosmopolitan cities like Moscow and St Petersburg offer world-class symphonies and ballets, and famous tourist attractions like the Kremlin, St Basil's Cathedral, and the Winter Palace. Far from the stereotypical picture of drab Communist-era concrete buildings, the cities are attractive and bustling with culture in the form of museums, art galleries, and nightlife.

Unbeknownst to many, Russia extends as far south as the Black Sea, and tourists in this area can take advantage of idyllic summer weather to relax in resorts like Kaliningrad, Sochi, Dagomys, and Gelendzhik, or take a cruise down the Volga River. In winter, skiers flock to the Caucasus region, heading to the slopes of Russian ski resorts like Dombai and Kransaya Polyana.

The west is only a small part of Russia's vast landscape, however most tourists never venture into the Russian Far East, home to port cities like Vladivostok and Khabarovsk that are made up of an interesting jumble of tsarist-era buildings and cosmopolitan sensibilities. For those that do, a six-day ride on the famed Trans-Siberian Railway is the perfect way to experience the Russian landscape.

Best time to visit Russia

In winter, the weather in Russia is bitterly cold, especially in Siberia. Most travellers prefer to visit in the warmer summer months; while it tends to be rainy in July and August, the best time to visit Russia is considered to be May and June or October and September. Read more on Russia's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Russia

-Watch a performance of Swan Lake at the renowned Bolshoi Ballet and Opera Theatre.

-Spot the colourful onion-shaped towers of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square.

-Visit the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum, home to the great art collections of the tsars.

-Take a tour of the Golden Ring to see stunning traditional Russian Orthodox churches. Read more about Russia Attractions.

What to do in Russia

-Ride the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok.

-Go swimming on the beaches of Gelendzhik on Russia's Black Sea coast.

-Relax in the Matsesta Spa in Sochi.

-Ride the Moscow Metro, if only to see the beautifully ornate stations. Read more about Russia Activities.

Getting to Russia

Getting to Russia from the UK is fairly simple, as there are direct cheap flights to Moscow and St Petersburg from London operating daily that take about four hours. There are no direct flights to Russia from the US, however connections in Europe are available. Most flights to Russia land at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and St Petersburg's Pulkovo International Airport. Get more information on Russia Airports.

Read

Russka by Edward Rutherford, Anna Karenina, The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry, and The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodr Dostoyevsky.

Listen

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Sergei Prokofiev, and The Pyatnitsky Choir.

Watch

Dr Zhivago (1965), The Last Station (2009), and Enemy at the Gates (2001).

Drink

Vodka and Russian tea.

Eat

Pirozhki (baked or fried filled buns), blini (thin pancakes topped with sour cream, fruit, or caviar), and borshch (beet soup).

What to buy

Amber jewellery, mastreshkas (painted nesting dolls), and Lomonosov Porcelain.

What to pack

Bring all over-the-counter medications you'll need, as they are not always available in Russia. A pocket pack of tissues is also a good idea, as many toilet facilities lack paper.

What's on in Russia

The Maslenitsa Festival is a wild party of food, theatre and revelry in the week before Lent. The Stars of the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg is a great opportunity to see excellent Russian ballet and symphonic performances. More information on Events in Russia.

Did you know?

-The closest points of Russia and Alaska are only 2.5 miles (4km) apart.

-10 percent of the Russian government's income comes from the sale of vodka.

A final word

Far from a depressing Soviet wasteland, the iron curtain has lifted to reveal Russia as an increasingly popular holiday destination.

Become our Russia Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Russia travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Russia or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

Intrepid Travel

Get off the beaten track in Russia with small group adventure tour operator Intrepid Travel.

ADVERTISEMENT


 

  URI STRING  
/Travelguide/Countries/Russia/Overview
  CLASS/METHOD  
countries/index
  MEMORY USAGE  
1,969,704 bytes
  BENCHMARKS  
Loading Time Base Classes  0.0531
Controller Execution Time ( Countries / Index )  0.0913
Total Execution Time  0.1450
  GET DATA  
No GET data exists
  POST DATA  
No POST data exists
  DATABASE:  globe_media   QUERIES: 36   
0.0005   INSERT INTO `ci_sessions(`session_id`, `ip_address`, `user_agent`, `last_activity`) VALUES ('e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa''54.227.86.164''CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)'1416778234) 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0003   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = '' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = 'a:1:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0005   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = 'a:2:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Russia\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   UPDATE `ci_sessionsSET `last_activity` = 1416778234, `user_data` = 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Russia\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   SELECT *
FROM (`config_categories`)
WHERE `type` = 'left'
AND `parent_category_idIN (SELECT id FROM config_categories WHERE link "/countries")
AND `
display_order` != '0'
ORDER BY `display_order
0.0006   SELECT `province_code`, `province_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`provincesp)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `p`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Russia'
ORDER BY `p`.`province_name
0.0038   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Russia"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Russia"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0025   SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name  FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN countries c ON c.country_code rc.country_code LEFT JOIN provinces p ON rc.province_code p.province_code WHERE c.country_name "Russia"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != 1 UNION SELECT rc.id as regions_cities_idrc.region_namerc.major_cityrc.key_regionc.country_namep.province_name FROM regions_cities rc INNER JOIN provinces p ON p.province_code rc.province_code INNER JOIN countries c ON p.country_code c.country_code WHERE c.country_name "Russia"  AND rc.major_city AND rc.nfuwt != ORDER BY region_name  
0.0013   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
FROM 
(`resortsr)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Russia'
AND `attr_ski_chk` != "Yes"
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0011   SELECT `r`.`id` as resort_id, `r`.`name`, `r`.`major_resort`, `r`.`attr_ski_chk`, `r`.`attr_beach_chk`, `c`.`country_name`, (SELECT region_name FROM regions_cities WHERE country_code c.country_code AND id r.region_city_code) as region_name
FROM 
(`resortsr)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `r`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Russia'
AND `attr_ski_chk` = 'Yes'
ORDER BY `r`.`major_resortDESC, `r`.`name
0.0011   SELECT `iata_code`, `name`, `url_name`, `c`.`country_name`
FROM (`port_of_callpc)
LEFT JOIN `countriesON `c`.`country_code` = `pc`.`country_code`
WHERE `c`.`country_name` = 'Russia'
ORDER BY `pc`.`name
0.0004   SELECT *
FROM (`config_nodescn)
JOIN `config_nodes_categoriescnc ON `cnc`.`node_id` = `cn`.`id`
WHERE `cnc`.`category_idIN (select id from config_categories where link "/overview")
ORDER BY `cn`.`position`, `cnc`.`display_order
0.0029   SELECT `id`, `headline`, `via_title`, `via_link`, `body`, `event_date`, `end_date`, `anchor_link`
FROM (`news`)
WHERE `for_pro` = 1
AND `end_date` >  '2014-11-23'
AND `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Russia") 
0.0009   SELECT *
FROM (`tour_operators`)
WHERE `country_code` = (SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Russia")
AND `
show_in_column` = 1
ORDER BY 
`show_in_columnDESC, `name
0.0004   SELECT country_code FROM countries WHERE country_name "Russia" 
0.0012   SELECT from tourop_list WHERE destinations LIKE '%RU%' ORDER BY id DESC 
0.0004   SELECT `country_code`
FROM (`countries`)
WHERE `country_name` = 'Russia' 
0.0145   SELECT d.id AS destination_idd.overview AS destination_overviewd.extended_overview AS destination_extended_overviewd.photo as destination_photod.*, c.*, 'Russia' AS country_nameLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.timed.electricityd.languaged.healthd.tippingd.safetyd.businessd.communicationsd.duty_free)) AS basicsLENGTH(CONCAT_WS(d.embassy_consulate_usd.embassy_consulate_ukd.embassy_consulate_cad.embassy_consulate_aud.embassy_consulate_ird.embassy_consulate_nz)) AS contacts(SELECT money FROM destinations WHERE country_code "RU" ) AS money(SELECT LENGTH(CONCAT_WS(passport_visaentry_req_usentry_req_ukentry_req_caentry_req_auentry_req_irentry_req_nz))
 
FROM destinations WHERE country_code "RU" ) AS visa(SELECT group_concat(id) FROM public_holiday p WHERE p.country_code "RU" order by p.weight desc) AS public_holiday(SELECT count(*) FROM tour_operators t where t.country_code d.country_code) AS num_tour_ops(SELECT count(id) AS total_rows FROM tourop_list tl WHERE tl.destinations LIKE ("%RU%")) AS num_tour_operators(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM port_of_call pc WHERE pc.country_code d.country_code) AS ports_of_call(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS cities(SELECT group_concat(region_name) FROM regions_cities WHERE major_city AND nfuwt != AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_city DESCregion_name ASC) AS regions(SELECT group_concat(name) FROM resorts WHERE major_resort AND country_code d.country_code ORDER BY major_resort DESCname ASC) AS resorts(SELECT count(*) FROM dmcs WHERE country_code d.country_code) AS num_dmcs(SELECT concat(caption" © "copyright) FROM images WHERE filename d.photo) AS photo_copyright(SELECT count(*) FROM airports ai where ai.nfuwt != AND ai.country_code d.country_code) AS num_airports(SELECT count(*) FROM events e where e.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country 1) AS num_events(SELECT count(*) FROM activities where region_city_code "0" AND country_code d.country_code) AS num_activities(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND excursion "No") AS num_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND show_on_country AND show_on_kids AND excursion "No") AS num_kids_attractions(SELECT count(*) FROM attractions a where a.country_code d.country_code AND excursion "Yes") AS num_excursions(SELECT phrases FROM phrase_book pb where pb.country_code c.country_code AND phrases != "") AS num_phrases(SELECT count(*) FROM image_bridge ib LEFT OUTER JOIN images i ON ib.image_id=i.id WHERE ib.destination_code c.country_code) AS num_photos(SELECT count(*) FROM hospitals h where h.country_code c.country_code) AS num_hospitals
FROM 
(destinations d)
LEFT JOIN countries c ON c.country_code d.country_code
LEFT JOIN provinces pr ON pr
.province_code d.province_code
WHERE 
`c`.`country_name` = 'Russia' 
0.0006   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1416778234user_data 'a:3:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Russia\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0004   UPDATE ci_sessions SET last_activity 1416778234user_data 'a:4:{s:16:\"destination_type\";s:9:\"Countries\";s:7:\"country\";s:6:\"Russia\";s:13:\"selected_node\";s:8:\"overview\";s:6:\"region\";s:0:\"\";}' WHERE `session_id` = 'e198914fc1da59c0e7c569d8db046cfa' 
0.0011   SELECT i.*, e.fullnamee.bioe.pic FROM interviews i INNER JOIN experts e ON i.expert_id e.id
INNER JOIN countries c ON i
.spatial_id c.country_code WHERE i.interview_type 'country' AND c.country_name 'Russia' 
0.0006   SELECT TagID FROM FORUM_DiscussionTags WHERE  Tag 'Russia'  
0.0006   SELECT DiscussionID FROM FORUM_DiscussionHasTags WHERE TagID IN (1091)
                
GROUP BY DiscussionID HAVING COUNT(DiscussionID) = 
0.0011   SELECT od.`Name`, od.`DiscussionIDFROM FORUM_Discussion od
                    WHERE od
.`DiscussionIDIN ( 1061,1084,1202,1855,2241,2302,3079,3287,3632,3821,4055,4451,5287,5492,5765,5766,5995,7204,7547,7740,7959,8100,8533,8621,8682,9931,10424 ) ORDER BY od.`DateLastActiveDESC LIMIT 0 15