Whether you are just a beginner tourist or an experienced backpack traveler, when it comes to planning a visit to Russia it’s really easy to get lost. Where to start your journey – on the broad streets of famous, if not infamous Moscow, in the picturesque city of St. Petersburg with all its glorious architecture, or is it better to venture into the vast lands of Altai and get to know the ancient art of shamanism? Here are a few places that will help you choose spots on the Russia map.
Trans-Siberian Railway is considered to be one of the more “exotic” travel tours. Preferred by real train addicts, this route will take you from Moscow right to Vladivostok, situated near the border of North Korea and China. Being one of the longest routes in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway stretches across 7 times zones, covers a striking length of 9,289 km and takes about 8 days to complete. Better get comfortable because you are in for a really long ride!
Lake Baikal, being the deepest and oldest freshwater lake on the planet, stretches for hundreds of kilometers along the border of Mongolia. 1,637 meters deep, this lake presents an astounding view for nature-lovers from across the globe as its waters lay calmly in the cradle of snow-capped mountains, offering a tranquil and utterly peaceful atmosphere. Geologists estimate the birth of Lake Baikal around 25 million years ago.
St. Petersburg, the “Northern Palmyra”, is on a go-to list of thousands of travelers for a reason. It is a cultural center of the whole country, a place of profound architecture and weirdly striking places like the Kunstkamera museum with a collection of the most hideous creatures known to man. Don’t miss the splendid Hermitage and the Voltaire’s library, Palace Square is also a must-see, especially at night. Witness the separation of the bridge at night, but be careful not to get stuck on the wrong side!
Russian Orthodoxy is something that cannot be ignored. To fully enjoy the great variety of magnificent golden-domed churches scattered throughout the country, visit cities like Kostroma, Rostov Veliky, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Uglich, Vladimir and Suzdal. For a more unique experience go to the Valley of Geysers located on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It is the second largest field of geysers in the whole world and is attracting more and more tourist attention each year.
Mount Elbrus is yet another one-of-a-kind attraction that should be seen at all costs. Being one of the Seven Summits, it is the highest mountain peak in Europe, boasting a stunning height of 5,621 meters. It’s located in the Caucasus Mountains and is considered to be an easy climb compared to other mountains. But don’t be deceived, this mountain is as deadly as any other. In 2004 alone it took away the lives of 48 climbers.
Of course, Moscow is a city that should be seen at least once in a lifetime. With its famous Mausoleum, the stunning Saint Basil's Cathedral which can be found on most postcards depicting Moscow, and the Kremlin, it’s a place that is admired by millions of tourists as well as locals themselves.