Russia is the largest country in the world covering more than one eigth of the total land mass of the planet! Located on the north of the Eurasian continent, the people and landscapes of Russia vary greatly from the eastern end of Europe with it’s western world influences, through the massive Siberian plateau and plains across the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean where the most westerly point of Russia almost touches Alaska across the Bering Straights. To the south of Russia are China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan and journeys through the middle of this region of Asia go way back in history as traders moved through the vast Asian continent on the Silk Road or more recently in Russia itself on the trans-siberian railway. These are just two experiences that take you through parts of Russia along the way. Russia spans nine time zones and has the largest reserves of mineral and energy resources in the world and it’s lakes hold about a quarter of all fresh water in the world! Over 100 languages are spoken by 160 different ethnic groups.
There are some great city break options in Russia which can be reached train as well as flying. Moscow and St Petersburg are the two most popular cultural cities, visit the Red Square in Moscow with the world famous Kremlin and the multi coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral. St Petersburg is full of canals, palaces and great architecture too. Take in a ballet performance or attend an evening of folk songs or Cossack dancing, probably with much Vodka drinking involved! Visit Kaliningrad which is squeezed between Lithuania and Poland where you can see the city of Volgograd, relax in Sochi on the Russian Riviera or join the locals in a steam bath. Another way to travel in Russia is by cruise boat such as on the Volga River.
Heading into the heart of Russia, probably on the trans-siberian trains, you can hop off at various places, head into the wilderness and stay in a yurt, meet shamans and throat singers! The Siberian Plateau is full of steppes and taiga. Hardy wildlife include bears, wolves and yaks. The area of Kamchatka is full of dramatic beauty and a place for adventure travel with active volcanoes and geysers where you can raft the rivers or relax in hot springs. One of the best natural history destinations is Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake in the world.
For a more authentic trip to Russia, away from the main touristy cities, visit The Golden Ring. This is a collection of ancient settlements to the north-east of Moscow, situated in a loop and displaying centuries old opulent architecture with lots of different towns and villages giving an insight to the fascinating history of Russia. Much of The Golden Ring was developed between 12th and 18th centuries and is a mix of monasteries, cathedrals, churches, museums and kremlin citadels. This area was once the capital of Russis and very much it’s cultural heart where the golden spires and colourful onion domes of other larger city developments was first established.
Music and dance has long been at the heart of Russian culture and there are plenty of opportunities to visit museums, opera houses, theatres and ballets in many cities. Russia has produced amazing atheletes over the years with Soviet sports men and women always featuring highly in the medal tables of both summer and winter olympics, particularly popular sports including gymnastics, weight lifting, cross country skiing, ice hockey and many other winter sports. Favourite tourist souvenirs from Russia include Vodka and cavier and of course the famous ‘Russian Dolls’ known as Matryoshka. Russia also produces fabulous winter warm clothing such as fur hats and gloves.
Contact me about city breaks, cultural tours, river cruises, train travel or wilderness hikes to Russia – however you want to travel and whatever you want to see I can tailor your holiday to Russia to suit your needs.
City breaks to Moscow or St Petersburg in Russia give you the chance to experience two of the world’s most exciting cities. Vist the Kremlin, Red Square, famous cathedrals and architecture, take in a theatre show or ballet and
This is a luxurious way to experience one of the classic train journeys of the world! Travel from London to Vladivostock throught the Russian Steppes to the Sea of Japan, taking 18 days to travel almost half way round the world by rail.