The city has a striking array of neoclassical and baroque architectural delights in the form of its many spectacularly designed palaces and…
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There is still a grittiness and unpredictability to Russia that makes every visit a new adventure. The sheer size and variety of locations ensure that one visit is not enough.
While Moscow and St Petersburg have become showcases of western opulence, move even a short distance outside of the cities and you enter a world which has, through force of circumstance, retained its traditional ways.
Russia is waiting. Here are some of our favourite experiences to help you explore.
Travel to incredibly remote Franz Josef Land, inhabited only by military personnel, to find Arctic foxes, walruses and bearded seals.
Spending a day in a Russian helicopter flying over volcanoes, calderas and into the Valley of the Geysers – a magical experience.
Visit indigenous groups in their remote villages to experience their culture first hand including Chukchi, Inuit, Yupik and Sami.
Visit the Church of the Transfiguration, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 1714.
Formally home to one of the cruellest Gulags, visit Sekirnaya Hill with its unique lighthouse church.
Travel by boat along the canals of Big Solovetsky Island and see the town from the water.
Visit the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius in Serigev Posad, 70km from Moscow.
Wander through the stone labyrinths of Big Zayatsky, considered rare and valuable archaeological monuments.
Stay at the Pokrov Convent Hotel in Suzdal, found in the grounds of the beautiful Pokrov Convent.
If you only have time to visit just one of the towns in the Golden Ring, visit the charming riverside town of Suzdal.
When it comes to things to see and do in Russia, you are truly spoilt for choice. Moscow is a beautiful contrast between old and new influences, St Petersburg is alive with dazzling colour, and then there is the idyllic countryside of the area.
Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.
Part of the Rocco Forte portfolio, the Hotel Astoria is a glorious five-star hotel. The hotel is an icon of stylish design and St Petersburg elegance. Located in the heart of the city overlooking St Isaac’s Cathedral, the main shopping street, Nevsky Prospekt is just a five-minute walk away. Facilities include a top-class spa and gym. Guests of the hotel can also use the facilities of the adjacent Angleterre hotel, which includes an indoor swimming pool. The signature restaurant, Davidoff is one of the finest places to dine in the city serving traditional Russian haute cuisine.
The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow sits on Tverskaya Street, a stone’s throw from Red Square. The rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable with all modern conveniences. This five-star hotel offers a rooftop terrace, spa facilities with a pool and 24-hour fitness studio. Within easy walking distance of all the main sites and offering super family facilities, this is an excellent choice for a Moscow city hotel.
With 157 rooms and 26 suites, a spa, three restaurants and a bar, this stylish hotel is the latest choice in the city. Set within a 19th-century Russian royal palace with its entrance guarded by two marble lions, the Four Seasons have restored a historical building in the Admiralty district, just two blocks from the Hermitage Museum.
Located opposite St Isaac’s Cathedral and next door to the Astoria, its sister hotel, the Angleterre has one of the best views in the city. The Angleterre has had the interior fully refurbished and offers a smart and good value option for a stay in St Petersburg. The hotel has a small swimming pool and leisure facility including a spa and fitness area, Borsellino restaurant serving Italian cuisine and an in-house art cinema.
The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe is arguably one of the most luxurious hotels in St. Petersburg. All rooms are exquisitely furnished and the hotel’s restaurants, from the authentic ‘Chopsticks’ to the lively ‘Sadko’s’, offer some of the best cuisines in the city. All the cities major attractions are only a short walk away. Positioned adjacent to the Arts Square, the hotel has strong associations with the worlds of theatre, music and ballet.
The Savoy is one of the oldest luxury hotels in Moscow. This Victorian-style hotel was built in 1913 and restored to its original appearance in 1989. Today, it blends the grandeur and elegance of the past with all the modern amenities of this vibrant capital. The hotel is in the city centre just a few minutes from Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre.
Russia experiences particularly cold winters, with minus temperatures not uncommon for many regions. The continuing cold winters will see many cities including St Petersburg and Moscow transformed into a winter wonderland as the snow settles on these cities.
Due to the predictability of Russia’s extreme winters, public transport systems are well prepared for snowy conditions meaning travelling through winter is not uncommon, particularly as temperatures slowly start to warm up in February.
Spring begins in Russia in March however not as you would typically expect, with snow still on the ground. We recommendation travelling during the winter months or from May, as you will be greeted with melting, dirtier snow in March and the beginning of April.
Throughout April, Russia will experience relatively cold temperatures and cloudy days, however, temperatures can range from -25°C in some regions and reach 25.C in others due to the sheer size of the country.
A perfect time to avoid the crowns prior to Russia’s peak season whilst still experiencing a pleasant climate.
Depending on your exact location, June can be the perfect time to travel to Russia, with temperatures starting to rise throughout the country ad summer begins.
As summer begins in Russia, many locals travel to the countryside and so cities will be much quieter with long, sunny days and very little humidity.
During the peak of summer, cities such as Moscow can experience high temperatures of up to 37°C with other regions generally still warm but with more comfortable conditions.
As summer draws to a close, temperatures will drop and due to this milder climate, sightseeing can become more comfortable yet not be as cold as visiting during winter.
Autumn and spring are typically short in Russia as the country experiences the two extremes – summer and winter. October can be an unpredictable month to travel to the country in terms of climate.
Prior to the beginning of winter, days can be unpredictable with temperatures averaging as low as 2°C, with November experiencing more rainfall depending on your exact destination.
Throughout Russia, December brings harsh winter conditions but can also be the ideal time to see Russia’s spectacular, iconic winter wonderlands.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way.
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