Russia is such a vast country, and there is much more to it than just jumping on the Trans-Siberian Railway and passing through it – there are festivals, traditions, delicious food and historic cities to explore all over the country.
Here are some things to do when visiting Russia…
Attend The Pancake Festival
This festival, also known as Maslenitsa, is held every year during the last week of the Great Lent, marking the end of winter and welcoming the coming spring.
It’s a time for celebrations, traditions and of course lots of indulging in food – especially Blini (Russian pancakes).
In fact, these pancakes are an essential part of the Maslenitsa festival. Symbolizing the sun, the people once believed that by eating a pancake, they absorbed a part of the sun’s energy.
During the festival they host all sorts of events, from the more usual things like theater, puppet shows and music performances, to traditional events like troika rides, “storming” a snow fort and even fist-fighting (a popular and traditional event, it might sound a bit absurd but it’s all in good fun).
This festival is not usually an event people attend on their Russia Tours, so if you’re traveling through the country when the festival is on you’re in luck!
Caviar & Vodka Tasting
Russians are known to happily drink vodka at any time of the day, and add a spoon on caviar on everything – they even use it as topping on their pancakes!
But the best way to pair caviar is to simply have it together with a shot of vodka – in Moscow and St Petersburg there are many places that offer vodka and caviar tasting.
Travel The Golden Ring
The Golden Ring are some beautiful historic cities that together form a circle on the map and are some of the most popular destinations on tours to Russia.
The towns have played a big part in Russian history, from its early periods to later when the country’s independence was at stake – along with its history, these towns have not only preserved the architecture but their local traditions as well, a life which is completely different from the cities.
Visit A Winter Festival
Winter in Russia can be absolutely beautiful, and are made even better by its many winter festivals held across the country - Moscow’s winter festival is one of the biggest, running from mid-december to mid-january, full of performances, traditional food and incredible ice sculptures.
Enjoy A Russian Tea Ceremony
While most people associate vodka as the typical drink for Russia, tea is also an old traditional drink in the country.
Even though tea was brought in from China (during the 16th century), Russia has developed its own unique traditions surrounding this drink.
Typical Russian tea is a combination of two or three types and flavors – these different teas are brewed dark and in separate pots. When mixed together in the cup, additional hot water is added to dilute the mixture.
What are your best tips of things to do when traveling through Russia?