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The tops of St. Basil

Russia

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.

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. View more trips to Russia.


Featured Tours

  • From the grand baroque of St Petersburg to Moscow's iconic treasures, Russia is an enigma that just has to be sampled by any serious traveller.

  • Discover how these countries have been shaped by conflict, from the Thirty Years' War to the end of the Cold War. Experience Baroque splendour and marvel Scandinavian design.

  • An intimate journey of discovery along vine-clad shores, through fortified towns and flower-filled meadows amidst stunning Alpine panoramas.

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?

Tour Director recommendation

Food for thought

Try to learn a few phrases to use on your vacation. It's amazing how far a 'hello' or 'thank you' will go with the locals - your Tour Director will be around to help if you get stuck.
Tour Director - Gigi Smith

Gigi Smith-Bromage

Tour Director, Western Europe

Factfile

Know before you go
  • Spring

    Mar-May

    Cloudy

    Av temp: 3˚C37˚F

  • Summer

    Jun-Aug

    Sun

    Av temp: 15˚C59˚F

  • Autumn

    Sept-Nov

    Cloudy

    Av temp: 2˚C36˚F

  • Winter

    Dec-Feb

    Snow

    Av temp: -6˚C21˚F

  • Time difference

    London GMT + 3hr

  • Currency

    Russian ruble (RUB)

When to go: June-August for the warmest climate to see for yourself the country which grew to become a world superpower.

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