Russia, the largest country in the world, extends across northern Asia, eastern Europe and spans 11 different time zones. More than 120 ethnic groups call Russia home. All deliver a variety of regional food, entertainment, and historical sites to savour throughout this captivating country.
There are impressive train rides to take, blissful countryside to investigate, and vodka's to be drunk. Vodka and Russia go hand in hand, often leading to late nights.
Moscow is the capital. It's a city that's filled with a powerful blend of history and culture developed over 800 years, so it's worth allowing at least a couple of days to explore. There's the cobblestoned Red Square, most probably Moscow's most visited attraction, surrounded by the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral with its onion-shaped domes and Lenin's Mausoleum. Did you know the Kremlin remains the biggest active fortress in Europe? Once behind the 2,235-metre-long walls, there are five squares to wander, numerous buildings to explore, 20 towers, and the world's largest bell and cannon to see.
Visitors are steeped in history, architecture, and rich culture in St. Petersburg, the imperial city. Often one of the first arrival ports other than Moscow to start a journey throughout this substantial and exciting country. The City Pass is a brilliant cheap ticket to most attractions, but check out what you want to see as not everything is open every day. Luckily most of St. Petersburg's main attractions are all within walking distance of each other.
Folk holidays, accompanied by traditional foods, have gained popularity, and Maslyanitsa, the oldest Russian folk holiday, marks the end of winter. During this festival, sample a Maslyanitsa (butter), pancake, it symbolises the sun, often served with caviar, various fish, nuts, honey pies, and other garnishes as its variations are local on what is fresh and available, and it's something very different.
Russia's climate is extreme. The winters are frigid, and tourists are at their lowest numbers. Russians are acclimatised to this seasonal cycle, and they rug up for any outdoor activities. Indoor bars and food outlets thrive in winter, and the vodka warms all hearts. No matter what activity you wish to enjoy, or attraction to see, its best to plan well before you arrive.
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