Everything you need to know for Russian Travel 101. Where to go, how to get there, what to do, where to find more information to plan you trip!
Most outsiders have a hazy idea of the country that Winston Churchill called "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma".
Often regarded as a poor, overstretched nation, at the turn of the millennium, Russia's capital city boasted more billionaire residents than any other in the world except New York. In the last decade, Russia also became the world's largest exporter of oil outside of OPEC, brightening her national economic climate considerably.
A new era of prosperity and prominence has come to Russia and the people who "love to suffer" (according to a Russian proverb) are showing the lighter side to their personalities, amides the magnificent remnants of old Russia, and the perplexing mysteries of the Soviet era.
To see Beautiful Russian Brides? Not only. Russia travel is an invaluable experience. Whether it's a ballet at the Bolshoi (one of Moscow's leading theaters) or a tour of St Petersburg's Winter Palace, Russia overwhelms the senses with her array of beauty. One of the richest and most overlooked cultures in the world, Russia was the home of Tolstoy and Pasternak, Anna Karenina and Doctor Zhivago. It houses some of the world's most beautiful artworks, is home to some of the world's most talented performers, and boasts a rich and vibrant population of generous and educated people.
Moscow and St Petersburg, by far the most popular tourist destinations in Russia, rank amongst the most beautiful cities in the world, with stunning architecture and beautiful amenities in the most accessible locations. St Petersburg, founded in 1703 by Czar Peter the Great, is often called "the Venice of the North", perched on the Neva River, and Moscow is home to such remarkable sites as Red Square and the Kremlin.
A fabulous tourist destination, Russia is very much a foreign country to English-speaking tourists. Here are a few things you may want to read up on before you travel.Getting to Russia
To get there, you'll need to go through the consulate to obtain a tourist visa, and once in the country, if you are staying longer than three business days, it's advisable to register your visa to avoid potential problems when leaving the country. To find out more about how to obtain a visa and register once you are in the country, click here. Russian customs officials are as thorough as their US counterparts are. If you follow the recommended steps, you'll have a smooth trip.Air Travel
Most major cities in Europe and the US offer flights directly to Moscow or St Petersburg. Kiev and Odessa are the two other major cities. From these four cities, you can fly to most local destinations in Russia, by transfer, if this fits with your plans.
Aeroflot is the leading Russian airline and ranked as one of the cheapest and best carriers to, from, and in Russia.
Whilst there are many myths about the difficulty of traveling by air to and around Russia, the vast majority of the horror stories are false. Entering Russia is no more difficult than entering the United States; border and customs officials are no more likely to hassle you or any other traveler. Chances are you will enjoy a safe and relaxing trip.The Russian Language
Russian, the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Expect to find reading signs, etc, a little difficult at first; the Russian letters derive the Greek alphabet not the Roman. The good news is that in a couple of days, you'll probably be about to transcribe the signs and improve your knowledge of the language dramatically.
They say luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Travelers are certainly more likely to be lucky when they are well prepared for their trip. In Russia, it could be as simple as stumbling across a magnificent market by jumping on a bus but the possibilities are endless. In most of Russia's major cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev, and Odessa, there are cultural and historical hotspots a-plenty, and a mass of restaurants and cafes to back up the thriving tourist industry. Wherever you go, if you do a bit of homework before you arrive, you're sure to learn of, and thus be able to find, plenty of things to do with your time!