Russia is an enigma that just has to be sampled by any serious traveller. A land of immense horizons spanning over 17 million square kilometres and offering an overabundance of historical and cultural attractions - it might all seem a little daunting! That’s why the popular tourist areas around St. Petersburg and Moscow are the perfect places to start.
300 years ago, Peter the Great fashioned his namesake city out of a Finnish swamp. Today the whole city is a unique and beautiful blend of Western European and Russian styles, a city of broad avenues and winding canals, crammed with sumptuous baroque palaces, bejewelled theatres and world-class museums. No visit to Russia would be complete without standing in Moscow’s Red Square, surrounded by the Kremlin Walls and the onion domed St Basil’s Cathedral. The Golden Ring, a half-moon of ancient towns northeast of the capital, is among the most picturesque in the country, bulging with domes, rich in history.
Experience the grandeur of Russia, exploring the baroque architecture of St Petersburg and the palaces of Moscow. Marvel at the famous art collection of the Hermitage Museum and travel by hydrofoil and high-speed train in perfect style.
An all-embracing journey of Scandinavia, the Baltic, Russia, Lithuania and Poland, showcasing Baroque splendour, fine design and historic conflicts and resolutions.
From a resurgent Warsaw, head to the thriving Baltic capitals. Your journey reaches its zenith with seven nights in Russia's two imperial cities.
Two souvenirs found on many visitors wish list are the widely available Matryoshka nesting dolls and wooden Khokhloma cups, saucers and spoons - painted gold, red and black. Look out for Soviet era souvenirs, Gzhel porcelain, Vologda lace and Kholuy lacquer boxes.
Moscow is often described as the world’s circus capital and the Moscow State Circus is internationally renowned for the skill and inventiveness of its acrobats and clowns. Also, don’t miss the chance of an evening at the Bolshoi Ballet at one of the traditional theatres. In St Petersburg the White Nights Festival celebrates summer with a riot of music, theatre, fireworks and street performances.
It’s no great secret - there’s vodka in Russia, but don’t miss Russian champagne which is surprisingly good. Grab a glass and embark on a canal cruise under some of St Petersburg’s 365 bridges for unique views of the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Also, visit Yusupov Palace to learn the full story of the murder of Rasputin - Holy man, or Russia’s greatest love machine?