Russia may not be the first place you think of when you think of a holiday, but maybe it should be! Russia has so much to offer a traveller, from a very rich and interesting history, to stunning buildings in St Petersburg that look right out of Paris. There’s more wonderful art galleries and museums than you could hope to visit in a lifetime. Russia is also one of the world’s superpowers, so has quite a strong influence on the world, especially in terms of politics. The absolute best way to visit Russia would be on a Trans Siberian Tour, that way you can see how dramatically different Russia is from its neighbouring countries. Here are 5 reasons you need to visit Russia right now – or maybe when the weather is a little warmer:
- The Striking Amber Room
Chances are you’ll find yourself in the wonderful city of St Petersburg while visiting Russia, which means you’ll be poised to visit the stunning Amber room without too much trouble. Located just outside of St Petersburg in the former czar’s winter house, the Baroque Amber Room is likely to completely stun and dazzle visitors. Made of more than six tons of amber, gold leaf and strategically placed mirrors, the Amber room is like walking into a golden dream. It’s one of those places that can’t really accurately described in words. While the amber room is not the original room: it was covered during the world war and eventually stolen and much of the amber transferred to Germany, the new amber room at Catherine palace is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit in its own merit. It is the busiest room in the Catherine Palace and as such it is a good idea to arrive early, so you can marvel at it’s beauty without hoards of crowds. While in the Catherine Palace, be sure to take an extensive walk around the grounds, they’re some of the best I’ve ever seen.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral
This is probably one of the most famous icons in Russia and for good reason, how beautiful is St. Basil’s Cathedral? It looks like something out of a cartoon or a child’s memory, completely unreal. Located in the Red Square in Moscow, one of the most historical places in all of Russia, this church is the highlight of the square. You can go inside and view the mazes of rooms, but for me the best view is standing outside admiring the unique architecture and design. Be sure to cheu sure you don’t show up on a day that it’s closed. While any time of year is wonderful to view the cathedral, I prefer the warmer months so the snow isn’t scattered across the delicately decorated roofs.
- Rosa Khutor Ski Resort
You probably don’t think of heading to Russia to go skiing, but considering the harsh winters Russia endures coupled with the fact much of the country gets a good slathering in snow, it makes sense. You can rent everything you need and even if your entire travel party aren’t keen skiers, they’ll be sure to find something they love here. There’s a cable car that goes all the way up and you can get striking views of the mountains. It has a resort town feel, which makes it perfect for a weekend or slightly longer escape from the hustle and bustle of traveling around Russia. If you’re visiting Russia in winter, it would be a shame not to take advantage of their great snow and relatively competitive ski prices, especially when compared to elsewhere in Europe. Just be warned this place is very popular with locals, so it’s best to avoid it when Russians have holidays as it does get quite packed.
- Faberge Museum
Located in St Petersburg, the Faberge Museum is somewhere you can’t miss in Russia. If you’ve ever wanted to see the Faberge Eggs while in Russia, then this is a great place to do so. The eggs are world famous and while not all of the eggs that were made are accounted for these days, the opportunity to see a few in person is a real delight. The eggs were commissions by royals in Russia to give as gifts during easter. Each egg came with a ‘surprise’ inside. After the Russian Revolution where the royal family was executed, no more eggs were produced. Beyond the Faberge Eggs, there’s a lot of other works from Faberge on display in this museum as well. I would suggest opting either for a guided tour or an audio guide tour because the museum is in Russian and unless you speak it, a lot of the history will be lost on you.
Whether you love beautiful buildings, intricate art, skiing, or learning more about Russia’s history, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring this unique country. There’s nowhere quite like Russia.