I am looking into the possibility of going to Russia for around 2 weeks at some point in time next year. I dont have any specific time in mind at present and some suggestions would be most appreciated. Also, im wondering where to visit other than Moscow and St Petersburg...I dont want to take the trans-siberian and will most likely to using trains and buses to get around the place. I have travelled quite a bit before and am really not looking to spend any more than 3 pr 4 days in any one place. Im after a snapshot of the cities im visiting for the time being rather than an in depth knowledge of them.
If anyone has any suggestions of how to spent 2 weeks in Russia it would be most appreciated.
Hi. You may find my advice crazy, but the first thing I'd tell you is to go there in winter. Russia is just so bautiful then, if you can stand the cold weather (bet on minus 20 easy). I've been travelling there mostly in the countryside, so I can't help much about cities, but I did see one that I loved: Volgograd. You should definitely go there. The markets are amazing , and the Volga is one of the most impressive thing I've seen. It is so wide, an when I passed it, it was all frozen.
This is something when you see a 2 km wide river all frozen, with tents and ice houses built on it by fiserhmen.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 29, 2008, at 12:25 AM by Odysseas ]
Definitely go to Volgograd and see the war memorial. It is spectacular beyond words!
i would recommend the golden ring of russia , beatiful and historical places (i have never been there but heard a lot)
for instance, this link http://www.zolotoe-koltso.ru/eng/index.php
there are plenty of cities to visit (but none of them may be interesting to stay there longer than a day i believe), and it mainly depends on what interests u most of all.
and i would not recommend to come in winter-it may be quite cold for sightseeing better to come in march-october.
You could easily spend week in each of St. P and Moscow. However, i'd be inclined to say that you should try and get outside them a bit, just because however great they are, they aren't really typically Russian.
You could end up spending a large chunk of time travelling a it's a big country, so I would say maybe spend 4 or 5 days in each St. P and then in Moscow with an overnight train between them, and then visit a couple of places reasonably "near" (eg within maybe 16hours by train). Kazan, for example, would be a good choice of somewhere reasonably near, but more - to my mind - Russian,a nd also with things to see. Also, as also suggested, you could visit a few golden ring towns. Some, such as Sergei Posad can easily be visited as day trips from Moscow. Others are a bit trickier to get to. But Sergei P, Vladimir, Suzdal and Yaroslavl, for example, are all good ideas. Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorki) is a larger alternative.
Alternativly, if you are a bit brave and don't mind travelling longer, go to Ekaterinburg. It's about 25hours by train from Moscow (depending on which train), but its worth doing one long trip for the experience [though choose a train which goes at useful times, such as lunchtme, so you don't loose an entire physical day]. You can fly the other direction, if you wished. But Ekaterinburg is interesting, has a lot of worthwhile history, and is also just past the Urals and thus in Asian Russia, so would be a bit different for you. Or you can do something like Moscow-Kazan-Ekaterinburg-Niz Nov/Yaroslavl-Moscow as a loop in a few days. And with good use of night trains, it's perfectly possible and whilst obviously a bit rushed, you would still get a good idea of what is what and a decent taster.
Hi! I would strongly recommend you to go to Lake Baikal. It is something you have to see with your own eyes! Unforgettable, huge, wonderful - it's all about Lake Baikal! You can take a plane from Moscow to Irkutsk, the closest city to the lake (about 1 hour by car). Enjoy!
You should definitely try if possible to visit sometime from Mid June to Late July. I went there in that period a couple of years ago and it was just a totally perfect time to go with very long daylight hours and nice weather for the most part.
I stayed 5 days in St Petersburg and 4 days in Moscow and found the time in Moscow only just enough to get a proper taster but coulud have happily spent another three days. The time in St Petersburg was rather rushed and I still missed quite a lot of stuff and I was out from about 6.00am until around 11.00pm each day I was there just seeing everything I possibly could squeeze in to my day. It is an amazing city to walk around, but when you go make sure you head out to Catherine's Palace and Peter hof. They are two of the most amazing properties you are ever likely to visit especially this one huge room in Catherine's Palace and the water features at Peterhof at the bit when you come off the hydrofoil. Those are only in operation at certain periods of the year so make sure you visit in that period because it would not be doing it justice to see when the fountains weren't in operation.
I too have travelled very extensively and travel with the same way it sounds like you tend to travel (spend a short amount of time in a place to get a taster and then if you like it come back on future trips). You are definitely treating Russia with the wrong view especially when you will most likely have to jump through all the hurdles most non former soviet union citizens have to. After I went through it all I was of the opinion "it better ..... be worth the hassels!" and lucky for me I really loved it and would love to visit again some day if they make it a lot less hassels for foreigners to travel there.
You do have to treat Russia different to those countries like you are used to travelling to where it is simple as to get a visa. It is best to allocate more time in Russia to make it a place you visit once so as not to have to go through the whole visa hassels multiple times when you find you love the country and didn't allocate anywhere near enough time for St Petersburg and Moscow. It's not so bad in most other places in Europe because you get in visa free and hassel free and you can get Ryanair flights or other budget airlines to the other countries very cheaply. Russia is a whole different story in that they make your life a nightmare to get the lovely sticker in your passport and even when you let them drag their feet for 4 weeks it is still a very costly visa to get.
When you are there they even charge you for the right to take photos at all tourist attractions which already have an overpriced entrance fee. If possible try and get hold of a student card because it will save you a fortune on entrance fees.
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 13, 2008, at 3:21 AM by aharrold45 ]