The Best Reasons to Travel to Russia


Russia’s breath-taking architecture – onion-shaped domes inspired by exotic Byzantine imperial palaces, towering cathedrals and ancient castles built to fend off the fear-inspiring Mongol Golden Horde – and its continent-spanning railroads offer endless travel possibilities. But Russia also has a deep, breathing history that has left its mark on both the country and human civilization as we know it.

As the world’s population grows, a large territory that can sustain life is of tremendous value and Russia certainly has that. Russia’s vast natural resources are another big draw. Despite its forbidding climate and harsh winters, the Russian land has always been a rich source of crops, raw materials and precious metals. These abundant resources helped the nation to rise as a global power.

While the stereotype of Russians is that they’re gruff and serious, it’s hard not to fall in love with their warmth and good humor. They are very family-oriented and tend to get straight to the point with their communication. While non-Russians are sometimes taken aback by their bluntness, most find it refreshing and honest.

Unlike Western nations that often enclose their borders with fences and walls, Russia embraces its diversity. With more than 100 languages spoken, 160 distinct ethnic groups call the nation home. Russia’s most numerous groups identify as Eastern Christian Orthodox but Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and ancient animistic religions all have strong followings here.

The Russian landscape is vast and varied with 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From the pristine Western Caucasus Mountains to Siberia’s Lake Baikal and Kamchatka’s Pacific coast, natural splendour is on display. Its wilderness areas boast an incredible diversity of wildlife, from tiger and brown bear to polar bear and lemming.

While Russia’s urban centres are vibrant and thriving, it is also possible to discover remote, traditional communities in the far reaches of its sprawling territory. In these untouched, wild regions, the rhythms of nature are stronger than in any city. It’s a chance to see a different side of Russia – one that is more rustic and authentic.

A well-planned trip to Russia is guaranteed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ahead of your journey, familiarize yourself with the country’s visa requirements and application process. They vary depending on your nationality and where you are traveling to in Russia, but it’s important to plan ahead. Be sure to contact your embassy or consulate to learn more.