Experience it all on a Russian holiday
Vast Russia fills its massive landmass with an activity, event or sight for everyone. The cities are decorated with ornate architecture that points to its past, while youthful travellers will be pleased to read about its buzzing nightlife. The contrast to late nights in the city is Russia’s serene countryside. Set off by road or rail to discover more aspects of this multi-faceted country and gain a glimpse of the reality of life in its various communities.
Russia’s weather depends entirely on where you choose to stay, as it is such a big country. The winters are long and particularly harsh in the north, with temperatures occasionally falling below -40 degrees Celsius. Travelling south brings warmer temperatures, and during the summer the central parts can even be described as hot. The seasons shift dramatically and quickly, so keep an eye on the forecasts before packing.
Russian holidays to St Petersburg are unlikely to confirm any preconceptions you had about the country before visiting. It has a distinctly European flavour with obvious influences from Finland. The café scene is thriving, yet it is also a cultural haven. The Mariinsky Theatre, Kazan Cathedral and monument of Peter the Great should be on your to-do list. Moscow paints a picture of the nation’s Soviet past with its dominating Red Square, Lenin Russian State Library and mausoleum. Sochi is the country’s busiest sea resort, with a striking, mountainous coastline and energetic social scene. Visit Kazan for iconic historical buildings that rub shoulders with modern creations. Religious structures from Christian and Islamic faiths are prominent in the city.
Russia’s rural localities are situated in areas of stunning natural beauty. Lake Baikal in southern Siberia is the world’s deepest lake and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Listvyanka to the south of the lake has seen significant investment in recent years, making it a comfortable hub from which to explore the surrounding areas. Kamchatka is virtually in Alaska and is a very special place to visit when the clouds don’t hang low. The landscape is peppered with snow-capped volcanoes and bubbling geysers, while bears also roam the area. A good way to see more of natural Russia is by rail, specifically the Trans-Siberian Railway. Moscow to Vladivostok is a common route which skirts the Chinese and Mongolian borders on its way to the Sea of Japan.
The association of Russians with vodka is more than a stereotype. Russian Standard vodka is a promise of the highest quality spirit and a beverage you will come across frequently during your visit. In terms of food, much of the nation’s diet is based on staples that can stand up to its harsh winters. This means grains and root vegetables that are hardy enough to survive when the temperature drops. Russian Salad is actually a French creation but still common in the country’s restaurants. Thin pancakes called bliny, sweet or savoury pies called piroghi (large pies) or pirozhi (small pies), and soups and stews are also commonplace.