Things to Do

Top 10 Things to Do When Visiting Russia

Russia brings various emotions in people, but one thing is certain – you cannot remain indifferent toward it. Some say Russia is not a country – it’s a state of mind. No documentaries, books or movies about or even from Russia, can prepare you for the reality of this place. You must experience the mind-blowing extremes on your own. Coming to Russia, you have to make a choice about which part of this largest country in the world you would like to see, because the journey from one end of it to the other alone, would take weeks.

Moscow seems like the most obvious starting point for your Russia vacation. The mandatory plan includes visiting the Kremlin – the impressive symbol of Russian culture. The name used to refer to the fortified buildings of this hilltop stronghold or meant the highest authorities. Another place you cannot miss in Moscow is the Red Square with Lenin Mausoleum and breathtaking Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Interestingly, the Russian word for “Red” is very similar to the word “Beautiful”.

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To truly celebrate the mystery and decadence of Russia’s most recognizable city, stay for your visit to Moscow at The Ritz-Carlton, located two hundred meters from the Red Square. The five-star luxury of the hotel honors its breathtaking location with every detail of the neoclassical design. The rooftop terrace offers views of the Kremlin from the fashionable restaurant. In its stylish setting, you’ll indulge your senses with the best cocktails and seafood, including Russian specialty – caviar.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, many Russia hotels and hostels in Moscow will provide you with excellent services, while remaining low on the price. Kremlin Lights Rent Rooms is a place where you’ll find air-conditioned rooms and free wi-fi, and lodgings depending on your preferences – in a comfortable double or twin rooms, or a bed in a few-person dormitory. The hostel is only a couple hundred meters away from Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, while The Borovitskaya Tower of the Kremlin is literally on the other side of the street.

St. Petersburg is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Some call it the Venice of the North and there’s a lot of truth in that statement. A cruise on the Neva and the canals is a popular attraction and rightfully so. Stunning views of the city during the day or at night, open the views on the well-known sights of St. Petersburg from a completely new angle. Some cruises include stops to admire the most famous attractions such as Faberge Museum, The Hermitage or palaces, and castles of St. Petersburg.

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In the center of the city many luxury and affordable Russia hotels offer their services. However, none is more imbued with the spirit of St. Petersburg than the residence once owned by the family of Pushchins, which was associated with the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. This over-water XIXth century dwelling now houses The Pushka Inn and offers comfortable accommodation and traditional Russian dining to its visitors. The hotel has, in walking distance, access to the main Saint-Petersburg symbols – the Hermitage, St. Isaac and Kazan Cathedral, Church of the Savoir on the blood, and Admiralty. You can book a short comprehensive city tour, with the hotel staff, that will allow you the leisure and comfort of a chauffeured drive takin in the sights across the city, with personalized commentary from an experienced and informed tour guide.

International tourists value the locations near the center of the city, such as Dashkova Residence, where princess Catherine Dashkova dwelled in the XIXth century. The hotel is right next to Alexandrovsky Garden, with easy access to St. Isaak’s Cathedral and Mariinsky Theatre. Are you in St. Petersburg to see some of the most exquisite ballet performances in the world? You couldn’t choose better, because right here, since 1783, the history of art and dance is created and celebrated every day.

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Although Moscow and St. Petersburg are destinations of nearly 90% of tourist excursions to Russia, you shouldn’t forget that there is so much more to see in this vast and gorgeous country. One of the ways to really see all of Russia is a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The longest railway in the world was built at the turn of the XIXth and XXth century and crosses eight time zones. The railway begins in Yaroslavsky Vokzal in the center of Moscow, runs through southern Siberia and the cities such as Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, and Ulan-Ude and ends in Vladivostok.

While traveling the Trans-Siberian Railway you sleep on the train, of course, but you don’t have to return right away. Instead, stay in Vladivostok and see more of this Far East city. Hotel Seaman, located in the heart of Vladivostok, just seven minutes’ walk from the railway station, allows you to see all the historical places just by walking out the door. If history doesn’t fascinate you, you can visit Aquaworld or the Primorsky Aquarium of Russkiy Island, where you can meet over 500 different marine creatures from all over the world.

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Region of the Black Sea is one of the most often visited Russia vacation destinations, in summer and wintertime alike. Some of the famous Russia ski resorts are located between Sochi and Anapa. If you’re interested in skiing in the Caucasus Mountains, Krasnaya Polyana is one of the best places to enjoy winter sports. You’ll find lodgings in all the price ranges here, from comfortable, but not expensive hostels and inns, to five-star Radisson Rosa Khutor, with all the amenities you can desire. Sophisticated design, breathtaking views and most importantly, ski lifts right outside the door of the hotel, will make for an excellent winter vacation in Russia.

North Caucasus also has an array of Russia ski resorts. The mountains here are higher and around Mount Elbrus skiing is possible even in summertime, on the glaciers. In the lower parts, such as Arkhuz resort, you may find activities for winter times as well as for the summer. Hotel Korona invites their guests to enjoy river rafting in the mountains around Arkhuz, horseback riding, quads, biking, and jeeping. The thermal springs of “The Pearl of the Caucasus” as a true gift of nature, will help you attain health and beauty.

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The deeper you go into the land of Russia, the more exotic, strange and wild it becomes. Nothing can quite compare to seeing the beauty of the deepest lake in the world – Baykal. While traveling the shore of the lake you’ll come across many small towns and fishermen villages and everywhere you turn you’ll see the wild forest, tall mountains, velvet sandy beaches, and rare plants and animals. Impeccable natural beauty, fresh water, and clean air will charge you with amazingly positive energy.

Barguzinsky Bay district lies on the eastern shore, about half the length of the lake. Here, in the Ust-Barguzin village, Hotel Sindbad welcomes you with a promise of comfort and excitement, as well as an opportunity for true spiritual rest in contact with the best nature has to offer. Among the many activities, you can find here are swimming, walking or jogging along the shore, and climbing nearby mountain peaks. There is plenty more of wild Russia you can see if you feel the need for adventure. The jagged tops of Altay Mountains near the border with Mongolia and China are covered in eternal snow. Forests and lakes of the Republic of Altai provide some of the most picturesque views in the world. The famous Senssky Route can be traveled by bus, or a rented car and will allow you to find the last bastions of traditional cultures, wild valleys, and mysterious stone sculptures. On the Kamchatka Peninsula, you may encounter active volcanos. Out of 200 volcanos, some are grassy now, with aquamarine lakes in their craters, but others may be surrounded by lava fields, bubbling, gushing and exploding. Siberia takes up most of northern Russia and includes various republics, oblasts, and krais, the largest of which is Yakutia.

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In Russia, everything is far away. This might be true when you look on a map, but maybe it doesn’t matter? Because in time, you may reach any place you want. Patience is very important in Russia. It really does break most barriers. Sometimes you have to use your wit to get to a place you want. Sometimes you should play nice. Keep your hopes up and be persistent. Plan your Russia vacation well for the best and most fulfilling experience.

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