The Best Travel Guide To The Majestic Russia
Russia is place which is not on an avid traveler’s bucket list and they don’t actively dream about it. But once visited, with its fascinating history and cities, Russia will remain etched long in one’s memory. A lot of people have preconceived notions about Russia but one will definitely be intimidated by the beauty it has to offer.
With world class art museums and gorgeous royal residences, it is the most beautiful and romantic city in Russia. Starting off with one of the top art museums in the world, the Winter Palace/The Hermitage Museum, it’s a place where even with one second of stop at every painting, sculpture or artifact, it will take years to finish. It has paintings of some of the world class painters; Da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt. Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is next in line. It’s a breathtaking building crowned with a gigantic golden dome. It’s even more impressive from the inside. The view from its colonnade at night time is not something to miss. The most photographed building in the city, Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, is a traditional Russian style building. Richly decorated with gold with numerous paintings, it’s not to disappoint anyone as one catches the impressive interior. Arguably Russia’s finest opera and ballet companies, the Mariinsky Theatre is a neoclassical building well known for its sheer bulk and amazing decoration. A palace with hundreds of golden fountains, big and small, Peterhof is a beautiful park to roam around. Another main highlight is the Catherine Palace and Park. It’s probably the most beautiful palace in the city. The Amber Room and the Grand Hall are a spectacle of their own. One of the most fascinating things are the White Nights which basically means daylight for 24 hours. During night all the bridges are closed for traffic and the show of opening bridges begin with music and lights timed between 1 – 2 A.M. Thousands of tourists and locals flock around to watch it everyday. A ride in St. Petersburg Metro, one of the most beautiful metro systems in the world, deserves at least a few hours of explore.
A train travel of approximately 2 hours 50 minutes by train from St. Petersburg, Veliky Novgorod is definitely worth a day of stop, especially if one is into history. Billed as the ‘Birthplace of Russia’, it is the most popular town in Western region of Russia. A must-see museum is the Novgorod State United Museum. It has a huge collection of icons with 260 pieces placed in chronological order, allowing oneself to soak in the skills and techniques used through centuries. Veliky Novgorod Kremlin is Russia’s oldest and the most pleasant wooded park. It is worth seeing with a walk around the kremlin walls for views of the majestic city. Another tourist attraction is the Vitoslavlitsy, an open air museum of 22 wooden peasant houses and churches. The highlight of this place is the Church of the Nativity of Our Lady. The most remarkable thing about these buildings is that they were all constructed without nails. A 15 minutes bus-ride south of the main town of Veliky Novgorod is the picturesque St. George’s Monastery, a relaxing excursion. One of Russia’s oldest stone buildings and the focal point of kremlin, the glowing golden dome of Cathedral of St Sophia is not to be missed. It holds the icons of Novgorod’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Sign, who, as the legends say, saved the city from destruction after being stuck by an arrow in 1170. Housing the frescoes by painter Theophanes the Greek, the compact Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior on Ilyina Street, is a history marvel. It explains a lot about the Russian culture and history. The gargantuan Millennium of Russia Monument is heralded as start of the Russian history. Captured in bronze, it depicts 127 figures – rulers, statesmen, scholars.
Located at a distance of 537 kilometres, approximately 8 hours in night train, is the crazy and bustling Russian capital – Moscow. It’s a strange mix of everything. The most iconic building in Russia is the Moscow Kremlin. It’s big and complex with a lot to see – the Armoury museum, Diamond Fund, Grand Kremlin Palace, Bell Tower, Assumption Cathedral and many more. Red Square is yet another place to catch the city sights. Going there during early morning hours will get one some quiet time alone before the city starts to move again. An all-time favourite of tourists is St. Basil’s Cathedral. It has colourful domes, incredible decoration with traditional Russian work. Legends say that the workers of this cathedral were blinded so that they would not be able to build anything similar to this again. Located 12 kilometres outside Russia is Kolomenskoye, a building representing different eras of Russian architecture. It takes almost half a day to complete touring it. Being the sixth longest metro system in the world and with palace-like metro stations, Moscow Metro should definitely be part of the explore.
Taking approximately 11 hours to get by train, Kazan will provide a very different picture of Russia. With FIFA World Cup games held here, it quickly escalated as a major tourist attraction in Russia. Although Kazan Kremlin is very young for its other counterparts, it is definitely one of the most popular. Kul Sharif Mosque is another stunning place to visit and spend time at.
A subtropical sea city might be the last image that comes to mind when picturing Russia. Locals come here to get a dose of sea and sun. With winter comes winter activities like ski and snowboarding. Some of the main highlights are Sochi Botanical Garden, Olympic Sochi Park, Krasnaya Polyana, Aquapark Amphibius and Caucasian Biosphere Reserve. The city is busy all year round but it is a wonderful way to end the trip to Russia.
How to get to Russia :-
- Scheduled flights to and from Moscow.
- Well connected train system.
Best time to visit Russia :-
The best time to visit is late spring, that is, early June. The weather is most convenient for long hours of touring and exploring around the beautiful country.
Russia is not its history, but it’s quickly breaking stereotypes and emerging as one of the most stunning destinations in Europe.