Russia is the largest country in the world, constitutes one-seventh of the world’s landmass and spans eight time zones. The extraordinary country is home to dynamic cities, majestic mountains, extreme climates and rich cultural traditions. This is the country that span two continents: Europe, and Asia. With majority Russia’s population lives in Europe, you can expect to find many ancient walled cities, tall churches, and stunning old-world architecture in destinations like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
For so long, Russia was out of bounds under the Soviet system and many people still think of it as difficult and inaccessible. However, Russia now has opened up tremendously, invited traveler around the world to visit this beautiful country.
Russian history reads like fiction, but it is reality. From the Romanovs to Rasputin to the revolution, visiting Russia brings her history alive, whichever period you may be interested in. Imagine meeting a retired KGB colonel, visiting the underground world of a secret cold war bunker, or learning about the space race from the Russian perspective at the museum of Cosmonautics. Go back over 1,000 years to the towns and villages near Moscow, lined with majestic churches dotting the virtually unchanged bucolic landscape, that make up the so called Golden-Ring. Should your interest be more Imperial, you can even stay in a former palace in St Petersburg, while visit some of the many palaces of the Romanov family.
Russian cuisine is famous for its festive dishes such as smoked sturgeon balyk, sturgeon with horseradish, slightly salted salmon, red, black and pink caviar, pickled and salted mushrooms. Other popular and traditional dishes include kasha, a mixture of cereals and porridge, soups such as borsch, pancakes, pirogi pies with different salty fillings, and many dough based dishes. Popular daily food are stews, meat and cabbage, as well as goulash, an old traditional meat dish. The country’s most famous alcoholic beverage was, in fact, first created in Poland, not in Russia. However, there’s no denying that the Russians took the formula and improved it to perfection, making it one of the most popular and widely consumed spirits in the world. Take a sip on Russian beer, it may perhaps pleasantly surprise you as well!
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest rail journey in the world with spanning 8 time zones and traveling 9,258km (6,152 miles) across the country to a point further east than North Korea. The weeklong journey technically begins in Moscow, but you could also start from St. Petersburg. There’s several different train types to travel on; from budgets open carriages, to high end. It’s the only way to experience the vast interior of the world’s largest country. Make sure you get off the train to explore the stops along the way. With a little work, make up your extraordinary travel itinerary as you go. It may sound overwhelming telling people you are going to Russia is to get on the train, however it is perfectly justifiable as it is one of the kind travel experience!