Where to Go (and Where Not to Go) in Russia

25 March 2013

Visiting Russia

Your favourite international shipping company would like to have a word with you about Russia. As with most countries, the beating heart of Russia can be found in its capital city. Moscow guarantees an unforgettable experience whether you’re here to explore its rich history or succumb to its vibrant nightlife. Another good reason for choosing Moscow – as with other major cities – is the transport links. The metro system is a reliable and invaluable source of transport to Moscow’s many visitors and is home to an array of staggeringly ornate and beautiful stations.

The extravagant St Basil’s Cathedral must surely be on your itinerary (and if it’s not, your itinerary needs work), with its extraordinary colours, patterns and shapes, imposing itself on Red Square, though St Basil’s Cathedral is more a museum these days with only one service held at the cathedral every October on the Day of Intercession.

Vladimir – once the capital of Russia for 200 years before the mantle was handed to Moscow – is ideal for those looking to delve deeper into Russia’s fascinating history, dating back as far as the 12th century. The spectacular Assumption Cathedral, the Golden Gate and other important historical landmarks provide a gateway to Russia’s turbulent, medieval past.

Another essential city to visit is St Petersburg with its Tsar palaces, glorious cathedrals, captivating museums, sumptuous baroque architecture and adjective-heavy blog articles. The Hermitage Museum of art and culture is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, home to over 3 million items including the largest collection of paintings in the world. If you wish to take in other museums on your visit, St Petersburg has over two hundred to choose from, including the Zoological Museum, the Peter the Great Museum and the Museum of Water (which presumably is a suitable distance away from the Museum of Fire).

So where, what and whom should you avoid in Russia? Well, Russia is a big country. Huge. And as with other big countries, there are places that guarantee a safe and memorable holiday, and other places that do not. Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia, as well the districts of Kursky in Stavropol Krai, Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Stepnovsky and Neftekumsky.

It’s also worth noting the rise in organised demonstrations in major cities as a result of Vladimir Putin’s controversial return to the Presidency and Russian government policy in general. These demonstrations can turn ugly.

In St Petersburg, there are reports of tourists being targeted specifically by organised street gangs, so always be aware – some have even been known to dress as police officers. Though wherever you are, it’s sensible not to thumb through your bank notes as you stand in line for a coffee or something, so don’t give them the opportunity in the first place.

So there you go. Enjoy yourself. And don’t use too many adjectives.

For further information on overseas shipping and using an excess baggage service to get things from your house to your hotel (or another house, or wherever) in Russia (or not in Russia) don't forget to check out the rest of the site. It's super. Really.