Russia Holidays

There is still a grittiness and unpredictability to Russia that makes every visit a new adventure. The sheer size and variety of locations ensures that one visit is not enough. While Moscow and St Petersburg have become showcases of western opulence, move even a short distance outside of the cities and you enter a world which has, through force of circumstance, retained its traditional ways, where idyllic villages sit nestled in forests of silver birch.

Explore the highlights of Russia

St Petersburg
 

St Petersburg

  • Explore the formal gardens of Peterhof and the Amber room at Catherine Palace
  • Marvel at the Baroque architecture of the Hermitage and the hundreds of treasures within
  • Admire the frescoed ceilings and icon adorned walls of St Isaacs Cathedral
Moscow
 

Moscow

  • Visit The Kremlin and its cathedrals
  • Attend a ballet performance at the world famous Bolshoi Theatre
  • Understand Russian art with a visit to the Tretyakov galleries

 

Lady, Trans Siberian Railway
 

Trans-Siberian Railway

  • Board the Golden Eagle Train and pass through eight time zones covering over 6,000 miles across Russia’s wonderfully unexplored interior.
  • Travel along the shores of the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal.
  • Meet with Nomadic families in Mongolia.
Golden Ring, Russia
 

The Golden Ring

  • Explore ancient Russian towns where time stands still.
  • Visit the charming riverside town of Suzdal where traditional wooden cottages sit amidst flower-filled meadows.
  • The chance to glimpse some of Russia’s rural life and stay in a converted monastery

 

Our Russian specialists recommend

  • Take a short break to St Petersburg, arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
  • Moscow - a very modern city but look behind the façade to find the treasures of traditional Russian architecture which can still be found.
  • Lake Baikal and the surrounding areas - the cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude in particular are fascinating with the remnants of ethnic culture which escaped Sovietisation.
  • Embark on an epic rail journey from Moscow to Vladivostok on board the Trans-Siberian Railway.
  • Explore The Golden Ring, a collection of ancient towns lying to the north of Moscow which are neither circular nor golden but steeped in history nonetheless.
  • Along the Mongolian border, in the rich green valleys of the classically beautiful Altai region, 250 varieties of peony grow wild while, in the far east, you will find the last refuge of the Siberian tiger.
  • If you've seen the films Interstellar or The Martian, it may now be time to experience the real thing. Walk in the 'space boot' footsteps of Yuri Gagarin and rub shoulders with current cosmonauts. If, after lunch, your stomach is up to it try a spin in the centrifuge machine. All this is possible by travelling to Moscow with us and visiting Star City, home to the Soviet space programme. 

Our Russia holiday experts

Having explored the Golden Ring in 6ft of snow, the palaces of St Petersburg in spring and travelled the Trans-Siberian Railway in autumn, Sally and Paul are true Russian experts. With a passion and expertise for both the classic sites and those beyond the ordinary, they can help you get the most out of a holiday to Russia.

Nick, our chairman, also has close links with Russia. He visits regularly and even traversed the country by motorbike in 2005.

Advice from our Russia experts

“Just a four hour flight allows the visitor to Russia a complete culture change. Golden domes and frescoed churches rub shoulders with contemporary galleries and buzzing restaurants. In an ideal world combining both Moscow and St Petersburg gives further insight into the Russian psyche and a deeper understanding of this iconic country. Winter and summer alike offer something special and unique to a trip to Russia.”

Sally Walters | Steppes Travel Russia Specialist

Russia FAQs

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Is Russia safe?

Travelling around Russia is as safe now as it has always been. Like with any destination we always advise keeping an eye on your belongings, especially when out in busy, crowded areas and it is sensible to leave any valuables at home.

Are there any sensitive areas I should be aware of when taking photographs in Russia?
In any country you visit, we always advise obtaining permission before photographing the locals out of courtesy. Photography of the Metro, train stations, airports, government and Military buildings and instillations is prohibited so be aware.
Are there any Russian customs that I should know?

Russia has a rich heritage of traditions, so it can be hard to remember everything.

  • Russians love flowers, so if you are going to dinner in a private apartment flowers are a perfect present - always take an odd number as even numbers are for funerals!
  • Never give a gift of soap, it implies the person smells. Next best to flowers are chocolates.
  • Never show your back to someone, for example when entering a row of theatre seats, it is appropriate to enter facing the people already seated.
  • Always take your shoes off when you enter someone's apartment or house, there are usually slippers to wear.
  • Don't jay walk, the police will fine you.
Is there a dress code I should follow?

Russian women particularly take huge pride in their appearance and visitors should pack something clean and tidy if visiting the theatre, ballet or high end restaurants. When visiting churches, women must remember to cover their heads, so pack a scarf. Men should never put their hands in their pockets in church.

Can I hire a car in Russia?

Yes, but driving in Russia is not easy, particularly if you cannot read Cyrillic. Additionally Russian drivers do not always adhere to rules making driving quite problematic. It is easier to hire a car and driver.

Can I use credit cards?

In the main cities most shops, restaurants and hotels accept credit cards. Additionally there are ATM machines everywhere. Move out of the cities or main tourist centres and life is very different and you should ensure you have sufficient Roubles.

Can I pay using Euros?

Generally no. Market traders will probably accept foreign currency, but restaurants, shops etc. will only accept Roubles.

Will my mobile phone work?

Russia has an excellent mobile network, but be warned, it is very expensive to use a foreign mobile phone for calls and data. You will however find free Wifi available all over the place. 

Do I have to carry my passport with me when I am out and about?

All Russians are required to carry official identification at all times. The rules also apply to foreigners, so you should, technically, carry your passport when you are out and about.

Are taxis safe and okay to use in Russia?

Perfectly so but they tend not to bother with a meter and charge extortionate amounts. Better to get one of the smart phone apps such as  "Get Taxi" or "Uber", which work a treat in both Moscow and St Petersburg and are considerably cheaper.

Holidays

Russia - Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Railway

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Railway

This is undoubtedly one of the greatest railway journeys in the world and one of the best ways to...

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Russia - A Short Break to St Petersburg

A Short Break to St Petersburg

Over five days explore Russia’s beautiful imperial capital and some of the wonderful palaces and ...

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Russia - Lake Baikal Adventure

Lake Baikal Adventure

A seven day holiday based in Eastern Siberia on and around the shores of Lake Baikal, the oldest ...

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Russia - Jewels of St Petersburg

expert led group tour

Russia - Jewels of St Petersburg

Absorb the splendour of the Tsars in St Petersburg with a focus on some of the jewels and treasur...

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Russia: Arctic Explorer: Quest for the Northern Lights

Arctic Explorer - Quest for the Northern Lights

This 12 day compelling rail adventure takes in the beautiful cities of St Petersburg and Moscow&n...

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Russia - Moscow & St Petersburg Highlights

Moscow & St Petersburg Highlights

A visit to both Moscow and St Petersburg gives a greater insight into this fascinating country. W...

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Russia - The Golden Ring

Russia - The Golden Ring

Amid plains, lakes and marshes are scattered these old Russian towns. Known collectively as the&n...

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Inspiration

Train Exterior, The Golden Eagle Train, Moscow, Russia

100 years of the Trans-Siberian Railway

2016 marks the centenary of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The month of May also celebrates 20 years since the Golden Eagles very first Trans-Siberian Express Tour which covered over 13,000km's and was completed exclusively using steam. To commemorate this anniversary Golden Eagle are running two exclusive journeys in addition to their classic itineraries. Plan your trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway, one of the world's greatest railway journeys.

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Vostok Soviet Rocket, Star City, Moscow, Russia

Anniversary of the first human flight into space

On April 12, 2016 Russia celebrated 55 years since the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly into outer space. 
Lasting 1 hour and 48 minutes this first journey into space completing an orbit of the earth was a historical flight making space travel a reality and no longer just a fantasy. If the cosmic world interests you why not include a visit to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in a holiday to Moscow. During a fascinating day at this research and test centre it is possible to quiz a real life cosmonaut or even try out some cosmonaut training!
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St Petersburg View, Russia

News: A Night in the Museum

The Hermitage and Russian Museums now open until 9pm. 
Visit these stunning museums when the crowds have left for the day. Perfect to include on a short break to St Petersburg
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St Basils Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Russia and the Arts exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery will exhibit masterpieces from Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery between 17 March and 26 June 2016.

The Tretyakov gallery houses the greatest collection of Russian art in the world and this exhibition marks the 160 anniversary of the foundation of both galleries. A return exchange will see portraits from the National Portrait gallery exhibited in Moscow's Tretyakov gallery between 21 April to 24 July 2016. 
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Russian Dolls, Russia

Blog: Why now is the time to travel to Russia

"A country that was once considered one of the most expensive in the world, has become one of the most affordable."

Read Blog

Client Reviews

St Petersburg bridge, Russia Shuttersock 140653903.jpg
''Wonderful service. I must especially comment on the visa application information - invaluable. I dealt with Katie Benden and found her service incredibly efficient and charming. She really went the extra mile at all times.''

Carol Dunning

Russia
Traditional Wooden House, Russia
''Katie was always cheerful and helpful - in fact the "oldest carpet" exhibit was one of the highlights and also turned out to be Alexei's favourite item in the Hermitage!''

John Jones

Russia
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Holiday Ideas in Russia

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