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Stretching from the eastern edges of Europe to North Korea, Russia is by some distance the largest country in the world. It occupies one eighth of the total land mass of the planet and incorporates countless cultures and peoples. From the grand old cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow to the vast permafrost of Siberia and Kamchatka Peninsula, it would take a lifetime and more to fully explore. With an incredible artistic, literary and musical tradition, unique architecture and a fascinating history, if you want to book a hotel in Russia, it’s going to involve a certain amount of narrowing down. After all, this is the country that includes ancient walled fortresses, forests the size of Germany and thousands of miles of arctic coastline.
St. Petersburg - Russia’s former capital and still the centre of arts and culture, the city is more or less one big open air museum. Perhaps the country’s most beautiful single destination, it’s well worth booking a hotel in St. Petersburg.
Moscow - The colossal capital and one of the world’s powerhouses and great urban areas, book a hotel here to visit the iconic Kremlin and discover a city coming to terms with its Communist past.
Siberia - The largest province of Russia, bigger than most other countries in the world. Siberia is a vast and pristine wilderness home to stunning lakes, lengthy rivers and the gateway to Asia.
The Urals - This mountainous area is rich in natural resources, making it one of the wealthiest parts of the country.
Kaliningrad - An enclave of Russia not attached to the main landmass but sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. After the breakup of the USSR, this was Russia’s way of maintaining a foothold in the Baltic Sea.
Start with the great cities of St Petersburg and Moscow but don’t ignore the (relatively) smaller gems of Irkutsk and Vladivostok. The latter is the endpoint of Russia’s huge Trans-Siberian Railway and located much closer to Tokyo than it is Moscow. Volgograd and Sochi, Russia’s Black Sea holiday resort and Winter Olympic host city, are also worth exploring. Siberia’s Lake Baikal is both the world’s deepest and largest and a must for travellers who love the great outdoors. Learn more about Russia’s incredible history, not least the Revolution that happened here in the early 20th century that changed the course of world history.
Russia is home to a number of the world’s best and most famous museums. Take in the stunning works in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, with its collection amassed by the former royal family. Moscow’s museums are equally impressive, including the Tretyakov Gallery and Pushkin Museum. Take in a performance at the majestic Bolshoi Theatre or catch the Trans-Siberia Railway all the way across a continent to Vladivostok. If you’re really in the mood to explore, head to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a city of almost 200,000 people that is not accessible by any roads. Just knowing where to start in Russia can be tricky.