Russia is the largest country in the world and is so vast that it has eleven time zones and a coastline of more than 23,000 miles. Known mostly for its natural resources, Russia has more than 100,000 rivers, and the world’s largest forest, and largest lake (Lake Baikal). Russian is the predominant language, but more than 100 languages are spoken throughout the country. Russia is famous for the Bolshoi Ballet, dancers such Rudolf Nureyev and Anna Pavlova, classical music composers Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, and literary masers such as Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky. Russia is also known for its fine vodka and caviar. Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia, followed by St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk.
Arriving in Russia
Russia attracts international visitors who most often enter the country at Moscow International Airport (Domodedovo Airport), which is connected to the capital by a modern highway. Public transportation as well as taxis are also available from the airport. Regularly scheduled passenger trains arrive and depart from the Paveletsky Railway Station in Moscow and take passengers directly to the airport. Most international airlines have direct daily flights to Moscow. Aeroflot is Russia’s largest international airline carrier. Some international carriers offer service within Russia. There are more than a dozen domestic Russian airlines from which to choose, such as Saratov Airlines, Transaero, and Orenburg Airlines. Because Moscow International is the country’s largest airport, travelers can easily board domestic flights with daily service to Russia’s 394 airports. Another popular way to travel is by way of Russian railways. The railway system in Russia is divided into some seventeen territorial branches such as the Kaliningrad Railways, The Sakhalin Railways, and the West Siberian Railways. The railway system in Russia is modern in the major metropolitan centers but can be an adventure in the rural areas. One the most famous of all railway lines is the Trans-Siberian railway. Travelers must bear in mind that a visa is required for entry into Russia and that the Russian visitation and immigration policies are complicated and restrictive.
When planning a visit, travelers may take comfort in knowing that accommodation providers generally follow the “star” rating system of one to five stars. However, the rating system is not necessarily applied uniformly. Nevertheless, throughout Russia, travelers can find a wide selection of accommodations from such five-star luxury hotels in Moscow as the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski, the Hotel Sheraton Palace, and Hotel Metropol to more modest hotels, apartments and extended-stay establishments through the metropolitan areas. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, there is a wide selection of excellent hotels offered by such global franchises as Holiday Inn, Marriott Courtyard, Crowne Plaza, and Sheraton. Budget-minded student or casual travelers may wish to consult with the Russian Youth Hostile Association (RYH), keeping in mind that there are only seven hostels certified by that organization.
City Touring: Palaces and Museums
Russia has many historical and cultural attractions that can be seen in organized tours that are available in the two of its largest cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. Some of the most popular tours in Moscow include visits to famous palaces, such as Catherine Palace, the Alexander Palace, or the imperial estate of Peterhof. Tours around the city centre may include visits to Moscow City, the summer residence of the Russian Czars, the Kremlin and Red Square, The Tsar Bell, and Cathedral Square. In St. Petersburg there are some of the world’s finest museums and gardens such as the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Summer Gardens, and the Admiralty. Museums abound in Russia. In some of the most impressive displays of art and history can be seen at the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Outdoor Activities and Attractions
Throughout Russia, there are a number of Heritage Sites like the Volcanoes of Kamchatka, the Virgin Komi Forests, and Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands. With the goal of encouraging the protection of cultural and natural heritage around the world, the UNESCO certification is an important move towards further preserving the national treasures of Russia. For travelers, Russia offers exceptional outdoor activities such as hiking, winter sports, and ecotourism from the Caucasus to Siberia. Trekking is a popular sport for adventure travelers who wish to climb such famous peaks as Mt. Elbrus where the Garabashi station is situated at 3400 meters.
Our travel finder offers comparison flight information from all major airlines to more than two dozen airports in Russia as well as an accommodation locator service that has access to almost 500 hotels throughout Russia, and a car rental comparison guide that are available on this site.
We look forward to seeing you in Russia and serving all of your travel needs.