Russia is the largest country in Europe, covering more than 6.5 million square miles of land. The country also has extensive coastlines bordering the Arctic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Baltic, Caspian and Black Seas.
Russia’s long tumultuous history includes many periods of prosperity, conquest and oppressive rule. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has evolved and come into its own as a travel destination.
Visit Russia’s most popular cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and take in the grand architectural sights and cultural activities. Or take a trip to picturesque Novgorod, home to some of Russia’s oldest historical monuments.
Regardless of where you go in Russia, the country is a fascinating place to travel, offering visitors a little adventure and a unique travel experience.
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Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novogorod
Moscow, Russia’s capital, is the largest city in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is filled with must-see sights representing key periods of Russian history, including St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square and the Kremlin, the residence of past czars as well as the seat of power for the former Soviet Union.
While Moscow can be a little rough around the edges at times, St. Petersburg is the epitome of European elegance and high culture. Visit the Hermitage Museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of fine art. Admire the baroque and neoclassical architecture and scenic canals in the city. Take in an opera, visit one of many contemporary art galleries or just enjoy St. Peterburg’s vibrant nightlife.
For a change of pace, visit Novogorod, one of Russia’s oldest cities. Founded in the 9th or 10th century, Novogrod was plundered numerous times throughout its history—most recently during World War II, when the Nazis occupied the city and destroyed the majority of Novogorod’s historical monuments. Luckily, some of the monuments survived or were restored, including the Byzantine St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in Russia.
Arts and culture
In addition to the Hermitage Museum, Russia is home to numerous museums dedicated to Russian science, culture and history. The Memorial Museum of Astronautics highlights the history of the Russian space program. Moscow and St. Petersburg also have several museums dedicated to famous Russian authors including Tolstoy, Chekov and Dostoevsky.
Take the time to see a performance of Russian opera or ballet and when you’re ready for a break, join the locals at the banya, a traditional Russian bathhouse. Also not to be missed is Russia’s symbol of hospitality: the tradition of afternoon tea, where tea is served from an antique samovar and accompanied by a feast of small dishes, including caviar on toast.