Russian Federation or Russia is one of the largest states in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The capital of the country is Moscow. It is washed by the waters of the Baltic Sea, the Azov and the Black Sea in the Atlantic Ocean basin. The large area of the Arctic Ocean includes the White Sea, the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea, the East Siberian Sea, the Chukchi Sea, and the Laptev Sea. Aquatic areas of the Bering Sea, Japan Sea and Okhotsk Sea belong to the Pacific Ocean. On the territory of Russia, there is the Caspian Sea which is known as the largest lake without the outlets. The total coastline is 37.653 km. Russia borders 14 other states: Finland, Norway, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, China, Azerbaijan, Mongolia and North Korea. It also shares its border with the states with limited recognition such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It has a common maritime border with Japan and the USA.
In the country there are different climates from arctic to subtropical. The touristic season lasts all the year round.
The official language is Russia. The majority of the population are the Christians (Orthodox) but people in certain regions of the country have other religions such as Islam and Buddhism.
For beach holidays, the tourists come to the resorts of the Black Sea: Sochi, Gelendzhik, Anapa, and Yalta. Those who prefer ski resorts and winter sports, will enjoy their holidays in Krasnaya Polyana and Abzakovo.
You will find all you need for a good country holiday in the mountains of Karachay-Cherkessia and Dombae. You will discover the beauty of natural parks on the Curonian Spit, Kenozersky National Park, in the Republic of Buryatia and on the Baikal Lake.
Astrakhan and Tver with the Seliger lake are the perfect places for good fishing.
Moscow and St. Petersburg offer many city entertainments and good shopping. The tourists will also see hundreds of unique historical and architectural monuments.
In Pyatigorsk and Essentuki, there are wellness resorts with their mineral and thermal sources.
One of the most famous and popular tourist destination is the 'Golden Ring of Russia' which includes trips to the old Russian cities and towns.
For the tourists from CIS and EU countries, travel to Russia will not be any problem.
There are regular flights from CIS and large European cities to Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities.
The tourists should plan their travel to the Asian part of the country as the flights include stops in other Russian cities.
You can travel to Russia by trains running from CIS and EU capitals.
Russia has land crossing with all the neighboring states. If you are not afraid of long distances, you can come to Russia by car.
The citizens of CIS countries except Georgia and Turkmenistan do not need a visa to travel to Russia. The period when the tourists can stay in Russia without a visa is restricted to 90 days.
The tourists from the European countries must obtain a visa first before their travel to Russia. The easiest way to get a visa is to apply to an accredited travel agency.
According to the customs legislation of the Russian Federation, the tourists can import and export any amount of national or foreign currency. If the sum exceeds 10.000 US dollars or its equivalent, the money must be declared.
Travelers can import duty-free alcohol, tobacco and perfume for personal use. The total cost of imported goods must not exceed 10.000 Euros (if you cross the border in a car). If you travel by train, the total cost of imported goods must not exceed 1.500 Euros or its equivalent.
It is prohibited to import materials and products with fascist and nationalistic content.
The tourists are not allowed to import rare plants and animals.
It is prohibited to export art objects and items with high cultural value (this does not apply to commemorative coins).
The export of black caviar is limited by 0.25 kg and requires submitting the documents confining that the purchase is legal.
Russian cuisine is world-famous. Russian meals are very substantial. Typically, a meal includes a soup, salads and appetizers, second-course dishes and side-dishes, drinks and sweets. Russian people respect traditions of the Orthodox Church and during the fasting days, many restaurants and eateries offer fasting menu.
Do not leave Russia without trying pelmeni traditionally served with sour cream or butter, greens and sauces. The tourists will surely enjoy golubtsy (stuffed cabbage rolls) and a famous Russian appetizer a beef tongue with horse radish. Do not miss a chance to try Tsar Fish Soup with four types of fishes, red and black caviar, the meat of the Russian Far east crab, grilled trout, stuffed pike and sturgeon shashlik.
The Russian just love blinis which are the main dish for Maslenitsa. There are dozens of fillings for blinis such as meat, red and black caviar, honey, sour cream and mushrooms.
The most popular refreshing drink in Russia is kvas and berry drinks (cranberry and red bilberry).
Adult tourists can drink a traditional Russian vodka and its local versions (kumishka, chacha) in restaurants or buy in the stores. The Crimean peninsula can boast of its red and white wines.
The national currency is the Russian ruble (RUB). The Central Bank of the Russian Federation issues coins from 5 kopecks to 10 rubles and bank notes from 10 to 5.000 rubles. All the payments in Russia are made only in the national currency.
We recommend exchanging the currency at banks or in the exchange offices. The tourists will not face any problems exchanging US dollars, Euro or any other foreign currency.
Credit cards are accepted in the hotels, restaurants and eateries and stores.
In large cities, the tourists can cash traveler's checks.
If you are planning to travel to small Russian cities, make sure you have enough cash with you. Not in every small Russian town they accept credit cards.
Details of interest
Russia is a multinational state. The Federation includes the regions which were formed on the ethnic principle, so learn beforehand what region you are going to.
In Russia, each year starts with the major celebration of the New Year and almost all the people have their days off. During these New Year holidays (the beginning of January) in Russia, there are a lot of events, people slide down the hills and visit New Year fairs.
People also have fun on Maslenitsa, this holiday precedes the Eastern Lent. On Maslenitsa, people traditionally make and eat pancakes and have fun. The Shrove Sunday is the last Sunday before the Great Lent when people apologize before each other.
White Nights in St. Petersburg is an unforgettable experience. You can enjoy the White Nights at the beginning of summer.
The largest annual musical festival Nashestvije takes place near the city of Tver.
Sightseeing in Russia
On the territory of the Russian Federation, there are 26 UNESCO sites.
- The Moscow Kremlin and the Red square are the most famous touristic sites in Russia. They are not only the symbol of the state but also a unique historical and architectural complex.
- The Historic Center of St. Petersburg and the Related Groups of Monuments are also very important for the Russians and valued by the tourists.
- In Karelia, on one of the Onega lake islands, there is a Kizhi Pogost where the tourists can see the monuments of old wooden architecture.
- Among the natural monuments, the Lake Baikal has a significant role. This is not only the deepest lake in the world but also a unique ecological system which became home for many birds, animals and plants.
- Your discovery of Citadel will reveal the Russian history. Visit the Old Town of Derbent and Fortress Buildings of Derbent. This city was a significant trading place along the coastline of the Caspian Sea for many centuries. The Caucasian Reserve is a unique natural zone which preserved the flora and the fauna of this region. In the reserve, there are bears, deers, lynx, roes and otters, West Caucasian Tur and Caucasian mink. Tissot-box Grove is the only one in the whole world.
Traditional souvenirs the tourists bring from Russia are bright painted dolls Matryoshkas, wooden spoons, handmade crafts, crystal glass and pottery.
In each region, the tourists can buy souvenirs with local sights.
Fashion lover will surely enjoy shopping in Moscow and St. Petersburg.