Russia is a land of historical, grand, photogenic cities with their majestic monuments and engrossing art and culture. It is a fantasy land of fairy-tale-like monuments, forts and fortresses, romantic cruises, and exciting canal boats. It is also a country of remote natural reserves, magnificent lakes, and active volcanoes. A fascinating place to visit.
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Tourism in Russia is more often a choice between the Golden Ring of ancient cities, or a cruise over a large river like the Volga river; a long journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, or the most popular cultural-historical-scenic-circuit of Moscow-Saint Petersburg.
The choice among travelers to Russia is predominantly found to be in favor of Moscow and St. Petersburg. And there is a reason why. The answer lies in the vastness of the country and the concentration of its population.
Russia is the largest country in the world and its boundaries span over two continents, Europe and Asia. The vastness of the country becomes evident from the fact that Russia occupies 40% of Europe’s area which is just 23% of entire Russia’s area.
At the same time, the population of Russia is concentrated in one part. 77% of Russia’s population resides in the European part of Russia which incidentally explains its proximity to European culture.
What fascinates the world about Russia is its history and culture, art and architecture, museums and churches, forts and fortresses, and city avenues and squares. And these facets of Russia are most noticeable in the two European cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow.
St. Petersburg had been the capital city of the Tsars for over two hundred years and it shows everywhere. The classy extravagance of the Tsarist period is on display all over the city. Pompous and elaborate in their design, the classical sculpts, the monumental cathedrals, the awe-striking palaces, and the fanciful gardens are staggering sights.
Moscow, The capital city of modern Russia, is the largest and most populous city in Europe. An old city that traces its history eight centuries back, it is also home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in Europe that are also its largest financial centers. The imposing public buildings of the city are fascinating witnesses to the might of the old Russian empire and its current world status.
Between them, the two cities take away a chunk of international tourists in Russia. No wonder, the Palace Square of St. Petersburg and the Red Square of Moscow and their surrounding monuments of beauty and grandeur, are teeming with international tourists.
Others. Beyond the popularity of the two cities, there is a large number of places of interest in this vast country. There are 29 UNESCO-listed Heritage Sites in Russia, 18 of the cultural and 11 are natural. While the cultural sites are almost all located around the European region, the natural sites are all spread over the central and eastern parts. While culture lovers flock to the big cities in the west, more adventurists turn to the east for exploring nature. The cruises on the Volga river take you to the ancient cities, the Trans-Siberian Railway takes you through the breadth of the country terminating at the easternmost city of Vladivostok.
The popular ones among the far offs are the biggest freshwater lake, the Lake Baikal, and the Kamchatka peninsula of photo-worthy sceneries and active volcanoes.
While Lake Baikal is 4,342 km from Moscow, the Kamchatka is further over 3,479 km away. Vladivostok, a port city, is 6,423 km away from Moscow. It’s a huge country. Visiting some of the places is a challenge. Planning an itinerary is a nightmare.
Some enterprising ones do beat them all. They take a detour from their Moscow-St. Petersburg beat and head off to the more accessible Kizhi Island to take a peek into the ways of the ancient cities and a ferry ride as well.
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Palaces and museums, churches and cathedrals, art galleries and theatres; the city is one of the top cultural centres of the world. The grandeur of the buildings that houses them are architectural wonders and the intricacies of the inside are just stunning and brings out the rich cultural heritage of the city.
The regal avenues and the expansive squares where these imposing buildings are all lined up are a loud declaration of the might and majesty of the imperial powers that build them. It takes the visitors to another time of kings and emperors seeking pompous glory in wondrous monuments.
The natural phenomenon of white nights and the romantic boats in the city canals are an enticement too.
An iconic global city, Moscow has been playing the most prominent role in the development of the country through the imperial days to the Soviet era and continues to do so in the current world. The biggest and the most populous in Europe and the centre of political and financial clout, the city is third on the Forbe’s list of having the highest number of billionaires.
To the visitors, the clout is visible in the form of the top-end fashion labels at the Tverskaya Street, the wealthy neighbourhood of Rublevka, the exotic dining places of Presnensky and the mighty Kremlin.
Take a look at our Russia holiday packages for your visit to St. Petersburg and Moscow. If you are interested in visiting Moscow alone, then we have Moscow Tour Package ready for you. All our tour packages can be customised for you.
An enclosure of wooden buildings and a wooden church with 22 domes that are original to the island, is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Soviets have converted the entire island into an open-air museum.
Think of it. Just one lake provides the world with one-fifth of its freshwater. Located in the south-eastern Siberia, it is the planet’s oldest and deepest lake and a part of the UNESCO heritage.
To the far east of Russia, lies the peninsula of Kamchatka. The peninsula has the highest density of volcanoes of which many of them are active. 90 geysers and a large number of hot springs are concentrated in a basin just six kms long and is therefore called the Valley of Geysers.
A port city in the easternmost part of Russia just 130 km from Korea, is the terminating station of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
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Just walk. Go for a walk on the streets and squares of the city. Take the Nevsky Prospect, the main avenue. Stop at every corner of those grandiose historical monuments, museums, churches and cathedrals, theatres, parks and statues and let the euphoria of the experience soak in. Don’t forget to take pictures of those beautiful structures.
Take a canal ride. The ride is an indulgent fun and a soothing experience while at the same time you are still taking rounds of the city’s landmarks and bridges.
Admire the Museums. Not only the exterior architecture but do appreciate the collections there. The three million items in the Hermitage Museum are a never-ending labyrinth of six classy buildings. Keep some time for them.
Admire the churches and the cathedrals. Get into the intricacies. Though each of the churches has a reverential splendour about them, they are really made of different architectural styles. The Gothic style Chesme Church, the medieval Russian architecture style Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood and the most sacred Kazan Cathedral are some of the prominent ones that demand attention.
Take a cruise. Take a day cruise on the Neva river and watch all the regal structures pass by. Or take a night cruise and witness the bridges over the river getting drawn up to let the cargo ships sail through. The Palace Bridge is the best with music accompanying the opening. Be part of the revelry.
Wander in the Peter and Paul fortress. If you have the stomach for it, go take a look at the Museum of Wax and Punishment Tools, The Prison of the Trubetskoi Bastion and Museum of Torture. If you are shaken, go to the Peter and Paul Cathedral within the fortress and pacify yourself.
Take a day trip or a detour. Go to Peterhof Palace and be blown away by the grandeur of the row of palaces, gardens, fountains and intricate interiors. Take a detour from the regular Moscow-St. Petersburg circuit and go to the open-air museum of Kizhi Island.
Enjoy a ballet. Don’t miss the opportunity of watching a Russian ballet if you can. A very large number of tourists arrive in the city just to watch Russian ballet. There is so much more to do. Go underground and take a Metro for a day trip to the suburban Mikhailovsky garden and breathe in the calm.
Walk and loaf in and around the Red Square and soak in the marvellous architecture of St. Basil and all the buildings at the Red Square.
Explore the Kremlin. Go around the five squares and twenty towers and the Kremlin gardens within the precinct.
Shop at the Gum or just gawk at over 300 national and international brands. Idle at the number of world-famous restaurants and cafes or chat with the moviegoers at the three different movie halls in the precinct.
Trek up the Sparrow Hills to get a panoramic view of the city
Watch the Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera at Theatre Square.
Stroll through the tattoo salons souvenir shops, theatres and cafes on popular tourist place of Arbat street.
Ride the Moscow underground the deepest in the world, and also appreciate the statues and artwork at the stations.
Appreciate Art Galleries like Tretyakov.
Palace Square: It is the public square at the centre of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marked as a pedestrian-only area and spread over 5.4 hectares, it is surrounded by cultural and historical monuments. At the centre of the square is the Alexander Column, a monolith of pink-granite. One panoramic look at the mammoth expanse of imperial opulence at the square, and you are swept away by the sheer magnificence of the sight.
Winter Palace: At the Palace Square, Winter Palace is a museum converted from the official residence of the Emperors of the Tsarist age. The mint-green palace has a series of white columns with gold rings and rows of classical statues adorning its rooftop. A visual stunner.
Nevsky Prospect: It is the main avenue lined by important Russian historical buildings with enchanting architectures including the Winter Palace.
Hermitage Museum: Housed in the magnificent Winter Palace, it is the second-largest museum in the world and houses more than an astounding three million pieces; Michelangelo and Van Gogh included.
Churches and cathedrals: Church of the Saviour of the Spilled Blood, the Kazan Cathedral and the Naval Cathedral are just a few of the many churches and cathedrals that imposes its presence over the city.
The awe-inspiring architectural styles are varied in different churches. They spell an irresistible charm over the people making them just stare at the structures in trance and get awed by the intricacies of work inside.
Canals and bridges: Like Venice, the city has a network of canals passing through different parts of the city and a number of photo-op bridges over them. Canal cruises are a big attraction for the tourists who find it an indulgent way of touring the city and seeing the landmarks, most of which the cruise passes along the way. The city is appropriately called the ‘Venice of the North.’
River Cruise and Draw Bridges: Most of the historical monuments can be seen from the banks of the Neva river. Some like to sail and take in the sights. There are night cruises on the river too when the bridges over the river are drawn back to let the cargo ships sail through. Watching the drawing of the bridge is a popular tourist attraction.
Peter and Paul Fortress: is the fortress where the Tsars used to get buried. It has the Peter and Paul Cathedral, with the iconic gilded angel-topped cupola, surrounded by a cluster of other notable buildings like the city museum.
Peterhof Palace: is a series of palaces and gardens and a number of fountains of unique water formations. The Grand Palace boasts of a huge ballroom of grandeur hard to believe, a Portrait Hall with 368 portraits of a single woman staring at you as you pass by and a hall with decorated by wallpaper made of silk.
Theatres: The Mariinsky Theatre, the Mikhailovsky Theatre and the Hermitage Theatre, are only the more famous ones among the multitude of others where international music festivals, orchestra, drama and the not-to-be-missed ballet performances take place.
Culinary delight & Nightlife: From steak-houses, to elegant French cuisines, to Japanese and Italian food to local cafes, there is no dearth of good eating places. During summer, the best are the summer terraces that give you different views of the city.
Red Square: Think of Moscow and the first image that comes to the mind is that of an expansive square with a scarlet-red building with onion-shaped domes in the background. The image is that of the Red Square.
The Red Square is the heart of the city with all the city’s main streets originating from there. Surrounding the Square are a number of iconic buildings.
St. Basil’s Cathedral: At the Red Square, the fairy-tale-like structure with onion-shaped domes, the picture of which you see along with the Red Square is St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is a unique feat of architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cathedral is a museum now.
The Kremlin: Overlooking the Red Square is a fortified complex of five palaces and four cathedrals. It is the official residence of Russia’s president and the central seat of the government.
GUM: It is a shopping mall at the Red Square with a long historical background behind it which makes it an institution rather than just a shopping mall.
State Historical Museum: The building at the square with a red colour and gold and white trimmings is the building of the State Historical Museum. The exhibits here trace the history of the Russian territory from the pre-historic ages to the end of Romanov dynasty.
Kazan Cathedral: The Russian orthodox church is a beautiful structure to look at and a landmark of the architecture of baroque style of contrasting colours of red, white and green.
Lenin’s Mausoleum: It is a tomb of Russian revolutionary leader Lenin where his body is kept preserved.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Located at the Kremlin Wall in the Alexander garden, the tomb is a tribute to the soldiers killed in the 1941 Battle of Moscow. It has great emotional significance for the people of Russia.
Bolshoi Theatre: It is a historic theatre that holds ballet and opera performances.
The Hermitage Garden, the Alexander Garden, the Sakolniki Park and Gorky Park are popular parks in the city. The Sparrow Hills is a popular trek in the city for a panoramic view.
Arbat Street: is another place tourists flock to for its tattoo salons, theatres, café and souvenir shops
We have various Tour Packages from India to different countries. We have a Russian Holiday Package too.
We customise. And we plan smart.
Here is a sample itinerary.
Day 1Arrival. Be escorted from the airport to the hotel at Moscow. Leisure time. Relax at the hotel or go enjoy the nightlife on your own.
Day 2Breakfast and then the escorted tour of the Moscow city. Visit the Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre and more. A quick ride on the Metro train. Later a stroll on the Arbat street and back to the hotel.
Day 3Breakfast and then the escorted tour of the Kremlin. Later you will be on your own to walk around the Red Square and the city at your own pace and return to the hotel.
Day 4Breakfast, check out and board the train to St. Petersburg. Be escorted from the station to the hotel. Leisure time. Relax at the hotel or go around the city on your own.
Day 5Breakfast and then the escorted tour of St. Petersburg city. Visit the Peter and Paul fortress, the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum. Later you will be free to wander in the city at your own leisurely pace and head back to the hotel.
Day 6Breakfast and then the escorted tour of Peterhof Palace. It is a day trip and back to the hotel.
Day 7Breakfast and leave for the airport to return home with pleasant memories.
OptionalYou can take a detour on the 7th and 8th day for our guided visit to Kizhi Island and leave for your home on the 9th day.
Please email me a copy of the sample itinerary
The exact cost depends on the time of travel and class of accommodation and travel. With years of experience, we know to work around the best accommodation and travel deals. Leave it to us at Flying Squirrel Holidays to work out the best holiday package for you.
Is Russia expensive for Indian tourists?
The Indian Rupee is almost at par with the Russian Ruble. There is no reason why Russia should be particularly expensive for Indians.
Is Moscow safe for Indians?
Russia is quite safe, especially in cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg though precaution is good in all places. No substantive racial issues with Indians have been reported.
Is food expensive in Russia?
There are all kinds of places to eat out especially in the big cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow. From the don’t-cum-hither very expensive restaurants to cafes and American brands fast food joints, there is no dearth of choice.
Is Russia cheap for shopping?
There are a wide variety of shopping places from the very expensive to the bargain ones. Generally, shops in the city center are costlier whereas shops in the residential areas are cheaper.
Let your children go to the fantasy land of grand monuments with onion-shaped domes. Let your beloved dream of boating in a canal. Let your family archive their photos in avenues they always want to go. Plan your holiday to Russia with us with our Russia Tour Packages from India
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