Home

5 Must Visit Places in Russia

As the largest country in the world by land mass, Russia has no shortage of attractions. Plenty of both natural and historic sites await the adventurous tourist. Though you are likely to enjoy any number of Russia’s attractions, these five top our list.

1. Valley of Geysers

Located in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia is the Valley of Geysers, the only geyser field in Eurasia. This collection of geysers also happens to be the second largest concentration of geysers in the world. In the 2.7 square-mile area, 20 large jets and 200 smaller thermal springs blast through the crust of the earth. Discovered in 1941 by a local scientist by the name of Tatyana Ustinova, it has since become a well-known tourist attraction in Kamchatka. The Valley of Geysers was elected as one of the seven wonders of Russia in 2008, making it well worth a visit.

2. State Hermitage Museum

In St. Petersburg, you will find the State Hermitage Museum. It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and has been open to the public since 1852. It is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. You’ll catch the highlights of over 3 million pieces of art and culture from all over the globe. The collections are spread across six historic buildings including the Winter Palace, once called home by several Russian emperors.

3. The Kremlin in Moscow

No trip to Russia is complete without a stop at the iconic Kremlin. This walled enclosure is home to the nation’s top governmental offices and also houses a number of notable museums and historic cathedrals. The walls and towers themselves are full of history and are a visual marvel. One of the notable museums is The Armory. The space was built to house the treasures of the Tsars and is filled with clothing, jewelry, weapons, armor and many other artifacts.

4. Trans-Siberian Railway

Though technically not a place, the Trans-Siberian Railway should be experienced by all of Russia’s visitors. Construction began in 1891 and was completed in 1916. Today, you can hop on it to travel to the destinations on your itinerary. The train can even accommodate you for overnight travel. There are three classes of sleepers with some featuring private bathrooms and showers. It is the longest railway system in the world. You can ride from Moscow all the way to Vladivostok, near the borders of China and North Korea.

5. St. Basil’s Cathedral

Built in the 1500s, St. Basil’s cathedral has long been one of the top tourist attractions in Russia. The cathedral was built to mark the capture of Kazan from the Mongol forces in 1552 and was named after Basil the Blessed, who was buried at the site at another cathedral that once stood there. It is the distinct architecture that most draws visitors to the attraction. In the 1970s, a wooden spiral staircase was discovered during some restoration work and visitors can now take this route to the central church. Only one service a year is held in the cathedral on the day of intercession in October.

That wraps up our top five picks for Russia’s tourist attractions. Get going and enjoy Russia’s cultural, historical and natural beauty. As a reminder, don’t forget to take care of your travel documentation well ahead of time. You can get your passports and visas processed quickly and professionally with Fast Passports and Visas.

Best Time to Travel to Russia?

You have decided that you want to travel to Russia, and you have already taken care of important preparations like obtaining your Russia visa. The question you are most likely asking now is, “What is the best time to travel to Russia?”

The best time to travel to Russia largely depends on what your plans are. If, for example, you are visiting Russia to attend a specific event, then you are limited on the timeframe you have to travel. On the other hand, if you are more flexible with your traveling schedule a trip during the off season to avoid the crowds and possibly get cheaper rates. In any case, you will need to be sure to secure documentation including a Russia visa well ahead of time.

Weather Considerations

One of the factors that could influence the time of year that you travel is weather. July and August are the hot months in Russia, and they are also the peak months for tourists. Despite the temperature and crowds, there are still good reasons to visit Russia during this time. For example, you can catch “White Nights” in St. Petersburg during the early parts of July. During this period, the sun is still shining as late as midnight thanks to long days of daylight. Lots of festivities are going in the city during this time of year.

Winter is long in Russia. During the early part, lots of snow falls around Russia so it can great for those who want to enjoy snowscapes and winter sports. The rates are also lower during this time of year. It might be a good idea to avoid travel to Russia during March and April as the melting snow makes the roads muddy and potentially dangerous. Spring and fall are excellent times to visit Russia as you’ll avoid the peak tourist seasons. It’s a good idea to plan your trip out and determine your travel time, hotel, transportation, as well as take care as documentation such as your passport and Russia visa.

Special Event Considerations

If you aren’t concerned about traveling to Russia during a particular time of year, you might consider traveling to attend a special event. For example, New Year’s Day is perhaps the most important event on the Russian calendar. Russians treat New Year’s much like Westerners treat Christmas. Families enjoy feasts and exchange gifts. New Year’s Day is great time to be in Moscow as the celebrations culminate with fireworks in the famed Red Square.

Computer game enthusiasts might consider looking up the IgroMir exhibition. This annual event was the first of its kind in Russia and is the largest exhibition of interactive entertainment, computer games and consoles. The event takes place in Moscow and attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Industry giants such as Sony and Microsoft often unveil some of their latest offerings at IgroMir.

Once you’ve decided when the best time for your needs is, act quickly and get your passport and Russia visa taken care of. Fast Passports and Visas is highly recommended to handle this part of your trip. The knowledgeable staff will make sure you get your passport and Russia visa with plenty of time to spare.

Moscow: 3 More Must Sees

In our last Moscow guide we posted an article touting some of the must see places to see in Moscow. As we advised, there are many more places in Moscow to visit; so much so that we could write a dozen blogs on them. Here are three more must see places in Moscow.

Ride The Metro Orange Line To VDNKh

In our last guide, we touted the fun of taking the metro through Moscow sites. If you catch the orange line due north and jump out when you see the station named VDNKH you will be in for a treat. In the Russian alphabet, it will actually look like this – ВДНХ , and it is actually pronounced  “vee-dee-en-HA”  What awaits you is a beautiful cityscape of Soviet monuments celebrating Russia’s accomplishments in history. The Russian Museum of Cosmonautics is actually a building that is shaped like a rocket soaring off to space that has actual canine cosmonauts Strelka and Belka (taxidermied of course, yeah doggone creepy actually..see what we did there?) Then there is the Farm Girl Hammer and Sickle Monument celebrating collective farming. And of course, there is a family-friendly amusement park complex and entertainment area called the VVTs or All-Russia Exhibition Center.

Find Religion at Novodevichy

When you are ready to get out of the hustle and bustle of central Moscow, you need to take an excursion to the Novodevichy Convent.  This Convent established in 1524 is home to 16th and 17th-century cathedrals that have been very well preserved inside massive protective red and white fort walls. The cemetery that is attached has many graves of significant dignitaries like Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president. Many cultural luminaries also have taken their final resting place here among the grand monuments. Chekhov, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev just to name a few that you probably will have to Google later. To complete the picturesque are is a quaint duck pond and complemented by a statue of ducklings given as a gift to Raisa Gorbachev by Barbara Bush.

Be a Hipster, Russian Style In Gorky Park

Gorky Park has undergone a huge makeover and has become a mecca of sorts for the Moscow hipsters. Around the park, you will find people relaxing with a book on beanbags or napping in hammocks. Free wifi, an open air movie area, cafes and numerous bookstores round out the bustling commerce in the park district.  During the summer, rollerbladers come out en masse as well as ice skaters during winter months, as it transforms into one of the largest ice rinks in Europe.  If funky art is what you are after, then you need to visit the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, or across the street to Muzeon. You can round out your day with nightcaps or all night dancing and the numerous trendy bars or nightclubs with thumping EDM.

Moscow Calling You?

Then get your passports and visas, find a flight, book a hotel and get going with Fast Passports and Visas. We will have your passports in no time and get you on a plane bound for Moscow faster than you can say Vodka!

6 Russian Food Dishes That Will Make Your Mouth Water

Contrary to what you might be thinking, Russian cuisine is not just bland meat and mushy potatoes. Russian cuisine is much more savory that most realize. If you happen to be a vegetarian you are really in luck as there are endless vegetarian Russian dishes to choose from.  One would thing that only Russian dishes is what is being served here, but there are ethnic restaurants all over.  Russian cuisine, however, is notorious for its love of mayo ant Smetana, which is crème fraîche and sour cream hybrid. When all is said and done though you might return stateside finding that you add mayo to everything as well after trying some of these Russian dishes.

Salat Olivier—If you order this thinking  Salat is Russian for healthy, good luck! Salat usually refers to something along the lines of a pasta salad or potato salad only loaded down with mayo; typically more than American style varieties. Don’t let that keep you from experiencing unique Russian cuisine. After all, the diet is on vacation too. So enjoy this dish that is filled with potatoes, pickles, boiled eggs, chicken (or ham), onions and carrots; of course the binding ingredient, copious amounts of mayo. Das ve danya diet!

Salat Vinaigrette —   And now we come right back and contradict our previous statement as this salad is quite healthy. Made with cooked small diced vegetables such as beets, carrots, pickles, and potatoes, peas and onions; it is only tossed with sunflower oil and vinegar. Jenny Craig would be so proud.

BorschtBears, Beets  Battlestar Galactica. Guess which of those is in this dish. Yep, you guessed it, beets. Unofficially the Russian national dish, this soup is made with beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and a host of other vegetables and served with smetana and doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds.

Kholodets Chunks of meat floating inside globs of gelatin anyone? Yeah, we didn’t think so but one of you out there might be weird to like it. Enjoy!

Caviar (Ikra) —  What, the gelatinous cubes with floating chunks of meat wasn’t appetizing enough? Salty fish eggs you say? We got you covered. Yes, caviar, or unborn fish babies if you want to think of it that way, bottoms up! Russian caviar is usually served with toast points, and traditional toppings like chopped hard-boiled eggs, minced red onions, and sour cream. It’s all about the layout with this dish; the fancier the better.

Shashlik
 Ok now we are getting to some good stuff. BEEF! This is the Russian version of the kabob.If you’re invited to a shashlik party, by all means go. The Russian answer to the shish-kabob is grilled over a fire pit just like our bbq here in America;  only, it’s in a hole in the ground instead.

 

Ready To TRY THESE Popular Russian DISHES?

It’s as easy as contacting Fast Passports and Visas to get your passport so that you can try all the wonderful and sometimes different Russian dishes. Contact us today to get your passport paperwork moving!

4 Must See Attractions In Moscow

Moscow is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia. More and more passports are being stamped to Russia every year. The rich history, mystery and bravado of the Russian culture seems to draw in the crowds. Before you get your passports out and get lost in Moscow, make sure you at least take in these four amazing sights.

The Kremlin

Most famous as the quintessential symbol of the communist era U.S.S.R, this government complex is home to Russias president and has been around for generations. While over 60% of the Kremlin is off limits to the public, what is open for tourism is laden with Russias most iconic attractions. Here you can see grandiose palaces, cathedrals, extensive museums and more. It has even been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO

Red Square

The Red Square shares many characteristics with Moscow. It’s ancient, expansive and surrounded by a literal architectural timeline with styles from many periods gone by. The Kremlin sits just to the west of the Square while the Russian State History Museum caps its north end. The over the top extravagant GUM department store borders it on the east, and the famous St. Basils Cathedral sits across its south side with its picturesque, colorful cathedral domes. The Red Square is an iconic ID marker of Moscow and is a must see.

St. Basil’s Cathedral

This iconic Cathedral is officially called “The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat” but most tourists refer to it as St. Basil’s Cathedral. If you want to know the origin of the alternate name, visit and read the landmark that explains it. The unique thing about this Cathedral is that its true history is not known other than Ivan the Terrible had it constructed in to celebrate the capture of Kazan from the Mongols in 1552. Any history after that is a hodgepodge of often conflicting urban legends. The view is magnificent if not a beautiful mess as the original style has been covered by multiple renovations and color schemes over the years and is jumbled at best. Its gaudy nature is what makes it so iconic. If you plan on attending mass here, you better come in October on the Day of Intercession; that’s the only mass all year as the Cathedral is primarily a museum.

Moscow Metro

Get the thought of the NYC subway system out of your head for a minute. Instead of grimy underground tunnels; imagine giant vaulted ceilings, spectacular chandeliers, and world renown sculptures and mosaics. That is what you get when you commute Moscow style. It gathers nearly as many non-passenger tourists as it does passengers. Be ready to have your mind blown by the Metro and take a ride while you’re at it

Now Boarding

These are just four of the amazing things to see and do in Moscow, if the wanderlust is getting too strong, book a flight to Moscow today. Start by getting your passports now and get them fast with Fast Passports and Visas. The only company that gets your passports and visas fast, accurate, and conveniently.

What are the Best Places to Visit in Russia?

Russia is the largest country in the world. Of course with that amount of real estate, it’s hard to choose where to go when you are planning a trip. Here’s a list of the best places to visit in Russia so you don’t miss out.

1. Moscow

If you are going to Russia, it would be a tragedy if you didn’t stop in Moscow. Besides being the country’s capital, it’s a city rich in history, culture, and art. One of the hottest tourist attractions in Moscow is the Red Square, a place where one can experience both the past and present of Russia. In the Square, you’ll find Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Russian Historical Museum, the iconic Kremlin, and Russia’s most famous shopping center, GUM.

2. St. Petersburg

If you are looking to catch some beautiful historic sites during your visit to Russia, you must stop in St. Petersburg. Dubbed the “Venice of the North” for its numerous canals and bridges, the Historic Centre and its related sites are the result of an urban project begun in 1703 under Peter the Great. Be sure to catch the Hermitage Museum, a six-building complex that’s home to one of the greatest art collections in Russia. Also worth visiting is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood for the breath-taking mosaics housed within.

3. Yekaterinburg

Named after Peter the Great’s wife, Yekaterina, Yekaterinburg is a city worth scheduling into your trip. Architecture lovers will be able to enjoy traditional orthodox churches and more modern Soviet-era structures. There are a few attractions that are not so typical. The QWERTY Monument is a set of large white stones arranged to look like a keyboard; they even have the symbols engraved in each stone. There’s also the “Mafia Cemetery” where former mafia members are buried and life-size stone sculptures mark their graves.

4. Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the oldest (25 million years), largest, deepest, and one of the clearest freshwater lakes in the world. It contains more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. The lake is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which exist nowhere else in the world. For example, if you are in the mood for Omul, a fish in the salmon family, it can only be caught at Lake Baikal. In the wintertime, you can find dog sledding and ice skating and dog sledding in the area. Otherwise, you can hike the Great Baikal Trails and visit the Buryat tribes.

While you may be in a hurry to get out to the best places to visit in Russia, don’t forget that you need to take care of all important documentation. Fast Passports and Visas is highly recommended if you are in need of a quick and efficient passport service.