Mother Russia welcomes you!
The world’s largest country spans 11 time zones and has progressed from centuries of Romanov Czarist rule, through Revolution in 1917, decades of Communism and the USSR, through perestroika to the current-day Russian Federation. The main attractions are the magnificent opulence of the former capital, St Petersburg (Northwest Region) and of the present capital, Moscow (Central Region). South of Moscow lies the region of Chernozemye, an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ destination for the more determined Russia explorers. In South Russia, turbulence makes the northern Caucasus (Chechnya and Ingushetia) out of bounds to tourists. Moving eastwards, you can take a river cruise from Moscow up the Volga River past Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. Continuing eastwards, via the Urals, we come to Siberia, where temperatures can drop as low as -68°C in the winter. In Russia’s Far East, Yakutsk is a contender for the coldest city on the planet!
Visit a country with 160 ethnic groups, from Georgians to Uzbeks to Tajiks, and more than 100 languages. Learn about a country with a compelling history of serfs, opulent Czars, passionate revolutionaries, dictators and horrendous war suffering. Discover Russian hospitality over a cup of tea from an antique samovar.
When to Go?
In general, there is a cold winter (January is the coldest month) and a warm summer, peaking in July. Moscow and St Petersburg will present you with a Winter Wonderland that will not disappoint. New Year, rather than Christmas, is the big celebration: watch fireworks illuminating Red Square. Why not go for the ‘White Nights’ in June and July, when the sun barely goes down and St Petersburgers, in particular, take full advantage.
How to get there?
Please arrange your Russian visa well in advance. Moscow has three airports: Vnukovo (VKO), Sheremetyevo (SVO) and Domodedovo (DME). Flights are welcomed from all over Europe and from Washington, Houston, New York, Atlanta and the Middle and Far East. St Petersburg’s airport is called Pulkovo (LED). The country is peppered with airports, from Yekaterinburg Koltovo (SVX) in the Urals all the way to the Far East, where Vladivostock (VVO) lies on the Sea of Japan.
How about taking the world’s longest railway journey on the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow to Peking? In Moscow, visit Red Square and the Kremlin and enjoy the Bolshoi Ballet. In St Petersburg, the vast Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace are must-sees. In Yekaterinburg, visit the Church On The Blood, built on the site of the execution of Czar Nicholas and his family. Perspire your way to better health in a Banya, a Russian steambath. Go mountaineering or river-rafting in Siberia: it’s much more than just a frozen wasteland. Visit Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave geographically separate from Mother Russia herself.