So helpful and patient - sorted visas, sorted hotels, sorted flights. Thank you Dagmara.
Into Russia helped us create a smooth five-day programme that included experiencing the best of Moscow with the support of personal couriers, and meeting those different individuals and hearing their views was an important part of the visit. Thanks to everyone.
I booked a holiday to Moscow and Saint Petersburg with Dagamara. From start to finish the service was great. All tour guides were on time. Spoke great English and were great.
Just to say a very big thank you to IntoRussia for making Mr/s First’s recent holiday to Russia very special that they have rated to be in they top 5 holidays of all time.
Until the next one!! – Maybe the Trans Siberian Express/ River Cruise ?? – watch this space !
Just wanted to say we have just got back from our trip to Moscow and it was amazing - the transfers and pick ups went very smoothly, everything on time and very professional and the guide was great along with all our drivers
Many thanks for making the holiday go to plan – we loved Moscow !!!
Martin Williams and family
I have returned from a wonderful holiday on the Trans-Siberian railway and everything has gone very well. There were no problems and we were well looked after. I'm very happy.
Thank you for all your kindness and for all that you have done.
It is a little time after our visit, I know, but I hope it is not too late to say a huge 'Thank You' to you for making our trip so smooth and so enjoyable!
We had a terrific time in both cities, enjoying the culture, the sights and the sounds!
The whole visit could not have been better organised and we enjoyed every second of it!!
We have spent a lot of time telling family and friends all about it and showing them lots of photos!!
Thank you again!!
IntoRussia helped me with my visa invitation and application matters for three years in a row now in a very professional manner! Always responded quickly and effectively to my queries, even when there was a small mistake on the application (which I didn't notice) as soon as I informed about that issue it was resolved instantly without a problem! I highly recommend IntoRussia for everyone travelling into Russia (ba dum tss)! 10/10 service and friendly employees always willing to help, positive vibes every time for affordable prices
We wanted to thank you again for organising such a wonderful trip for us.
We had a spectacular time! Our two guides (Eugenia in Moscow and Olga in St Petersburg) were both outstanding. So knowledgeable, professional, friendly and open, full of interesting side-tales to everything we saw, delighted to answer all our questions, and such a pleasure to spend our time with. Their knowledge of the art-work, artifacts and historical buildings we saw (and passed in the car) and social history was spectacular. So much fascinating and insightful information.
Our drivers were excellent and treated us like royalty!
The hotels were excellent. The Budapest in particular was extremely friendly. An initial confusion re whether dinner was included was soon resolved and then the delicious food at dinner time just kept on coming 😉 Such a homely yet professional place. The Ambassador was quite different in style, perhaps a little more international in style. But again we were made to feel at home straight away - and Olga the Guest Relations Manager was particularly keen to make sure our visit was an enjoyable success - which it was! Again delicious food.
The itinerary was brilliant. We visited all the major sights and our guides pointed us in good directions for making the most of our free time. From blackcurrant Russian ice-cream at Gum to the Russian Museum in St Petersburg.
The trips to the ballet you organised were a brilliant success - helped also by the proximity of the hotels to the venues and the excellent seats you organised for us! We thoroughly enjoyed both performances, and were extremely fortunate at the Bolshoi to be there on on the 75th birthday of the original lead male dancer of Ivan the Terrible! Couldn't believe our luck in sharing the Bolshoi's celebration of his special day.
We can't speak too highly of the experience you gave us, and are telling all our friends that if they are thinking of Russia, they should get in contact with you.
Spectacular in every way!
We're already looking forward to browsing your other itineraries having got a real taste for Russia and are really keen to go back! So thank you so much again for opening up another part of the world to us in such a splendid way.
One last thing, just wanted to confirm you're based at the Holland Park address at the bottom of your emails.
With very best regards,
Mollie and Rory
I have found IntoRussia excellent, their staff were very helpful and I quickly received my colleague’s tourist voucher, I can’t rate them highly enough. One of their staff Alena was specifically very helpful with all aspects of the process and was quick to answer and help with any questions I had.
We had a fantastic time, loved all of the sightseeing, had masses of excellent food and on the whole it worked pretty smoothly. The Peter hotel in Moscow was superb, Suzdal was comfortable but limited (as expected), the Kemplinski was very nice. That a twin meant two small beds was a shame as we both had a double in the Peter. All were superbly located though and that was key given that we wanted to explore a bit after the tours and go out for dinner. The guides were very good. The Moscow one was exceptionally helpful and friendly. Her English was okay but taking her off topic or asking questions could be tricky. The St Petersburg one spoke very good English.
I downloaded my c.900 photos yesterday so I think I’ll be busy for another week going through and sorting those out! Lots of great memories though.
In general, the feedback was that the programme worked very well, we really enjoyed it and were very happy (aside from Alice’s battles with hotel receptions!). I would not have wanted to do it without the drivers and guides because the signage on roads and metros is limited for English speakers and the people are not immediately hugely friendly. It would have been a much more stressful trip and given that we were fitting a lot in, wouldn’t have worked anything like as well if we had tried to move ourselves around.
Dear Into-Russia team,
I want to report back on our fabulous and unforgettable 5* Luxury Russian holiday in Moscow and St Petersburg last month.
It was a fantastic three days of excursions with Irina in Moscow and with Dasha in St Petersburg for four days of architectural amazement; both guides were informative and made each tour a very personal experience as they were so knowledgable, organised and friendlytowards us. The drivers, too, were reliable and all connections/transfers went smoothly.
Irina even accompanied us to the station and matched us to our seats on the Sapsan train to make sure that nothing went wrong and we were most appreciative of her attentiveness.
Our two hotels were excellent and breakfasts a true feast for the eye and stomach. We were given an upgrade at The Astoria and felt extra lucky once again. You must be proud to offer such wonderful accommodation and quality service which make this particular holiday an unforgettable experience.
I would recommend your travel company without the slightest hesitation.
Mrs PA Douglas, Norfolk, England
This visa support services is really great. I use it for a couple of years and found it very professional, sufficient, punctual and friendly. Without any disappointments!
Our trip was excellent. You and your team was excellent and I will continue to use your expertise in future
You are a star and I am so happy and know I can thank you for having got a visa.
Thank you so much for all the help, we could not have got this without that excellent service from you.
Now I am going to have a holiday of a lifetime , visiting your country . I have dreamt about this for many years, since my parents came back all excited and impressed from visiting the Soviet Union and later Russia.
Thank you.. You deserve a big hug.
All the best from Lis
Thank you Alena for your efficiency and problem solving skill sets.
If it had been a British travel agents, this would have been my problem to solve.
So well done.
Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan, and is still its largest city. Being a financial and cultural center of Central Asia, Almaty offers plenty of entertainment and cultural opportunities and is a wonderful gateway to this distinctive and hospitable country.
This is a part of the world few visitors get to see. Over the past few years, Anadyr has witnessed many improvements, and now residents and guests alike can enjoy comfortable restaurants, hotels, and modern supermarkets. Anadyr Bay is normally the first or last stop of Chukotka cruises and offers an excellent chance of seeing Beluga Whales.
A world-wide known treasure house displaying an exquisite collection of more than 4000 unique Russian artefacts including the world famous Faberge egg collection and royal carriages which once transported the great tsars and their families.
The grandiose desert city of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, is a dreamscape in white marble, an oasis of opulence on a terrain. Situated between the Kara Kum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range, Ashgabat has a population of about 400,000.
Astrakhan is an atmospheric provincial capital. Built in 1558 after Ivan the Terrible defeated the local Tatar khanate, Astrakhan is the successor of two imperial capitals, Saray and Itil, key stops for the Silk Route and sea trade. With the completion of the impressive Moscow-Volga Canal in 1937, the capital was finally linked to the great system of waterways that runs from St Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland all the way to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. As a result, it is possible today to follow the entire trade route along the Volga, from Moscow all the way to Astrakhan, the ancient capital of the Tatars.
The Russian cruise port of Atlasov Island is part of the Sakhalin Oblast. As the northernmost island within the Kuril Islands, it has the highest volcano, named Vulkan Alaid, it stands about 7,674 feet. Atlasov Island is uninhabited by humans and is a place of unique beauty.
At the beautiful Avachinskaya Bay you can view the nesting place of many of Petropavlovsk sea birds at Grandmother’s Rock Island and Starichkov Island in the open Pacific Ocean. Nearby is the majestic Mutnovsky volcano.
The charming town of Azov is a former Turkish fortress rich in history. Here you can see beautiful old buildings, including an impressive and well maintained building of the former city council.
Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, lies on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and the southern side of the Apsheron Peninsula, around the wide, curving sweep of the Bay of Baku. The bay, sheltered by the islands of the Baku Archipelago, provides the best harbour of the Caspian Sea, while the Apsheron Peninsula gives protection from violent northerly winds. Baku derives its international importance from its huge oil industry. The walled old town is highly picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings, such as the Palace of the Shirvan-Shahs and the Synyk-Kala Minaret and Mosque.
Beijing guarantees its visitors an unforgettable adventure. Being the nation's political, economic and cultural center, and having its history stretching back 3 millennia, Beijing offers a myriad of cultural hot spots. It is truly a place where you can stand right on the crossroads of time.
Bogolubovo was the first stone town of the Northern Russia and is a UNESCO Heritage Sight. Being a beautiful gem of the Golden Ring, it's Church of Intercession is a pearl of Russian architecture on the banks of the Nerl River.
Situated in the middle of the Kyzyl Kum desert, Bukhara features about one thousand monuments, which recall the halcyon days of the Great Silk Road. Foreign spices, furs and especially silk fabrics were stored and handled in the caravansaries. The old city is an UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site which features stunning Kaljan Minaret and the Labi-Hauz Ensemble.
Along the Koryak Coast there are many beautiful fiords (bukhtas or bays) and none are more beautiful than Bukhta Natalii. This fiord has two smaller fiords that drain into it from the south. Hike from one bay to another whilst surrounded by the magnificent mountain landscapes and tundra vegetation.
Bukhta Russkaya is a bay in Kamchatka and is nearby to Mys Vkhodnoy and Mys Kekurnyy. Along with stunning nature and numerous species of wildlife there are the remains of a Gulag to explore.
The north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent, it is sometimes possible to see the coast of America from this remote and lonely settlement. A few nautical miles to the west of Cape Dezhnev you can visit Uelen Village, the most north-eastern village in Russia. The population is predominantly Chukchi and the village is one of the largest centres for traditional Chukchi and Inuit art in the world.
In the quaint village of Pushkin, on the outskirts of St Petersburg, lies one of the most impressive and iconic buildings in Russia; Catherine’s Palace. The pastel exterior is flamboyantly embellished with gold accents and the interior is far from modestly decorated! The palace is home to the famous Amber Room with its mysterious past which our guides will tell you all about. The residence was destroyed in World War II and has been under construction ever since.
Museums exposition is devoted to a history of domestic aircraft and astronautics from the moment of origin to nowadays.
Known as the Pearl on the Volga, Cheboksary is the capital of the Chuvash Republic. The city offers some beautiful board walks and beaches along the river as well as a man-made bay. The city's cultural life is diverse: there is an Opera-Ballet Theatre, a Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous other theatres along with several museums, most importantly the only Russian Beer Museum. In Cheboksary there are 2 beer manufacturers which is very unique in Russia.
Darvaza's famous gas burning crater is a spectacular sight best seen at night. Located in the middle of the Kara Kum desert where the area is rich in natural gas, the 70 metre wide crater is known by the locals as the 'Door to Hell' and has been burning for over 40 years.
Discover Crescent Lake, hidden amongst the towering sand dunes and it has sustained life in this region for millennia. In the small oasis city of Dunhuang visit the fascinating Magao Thousand Buddha Cave Complex. This impressive site contains almost 500 grottoes, carved between 700 and 1,700 years ago. Inside there is an amazing collection of beautiful sculptures and murals depicting the evolution of Buddhist religious art over 1,000 years.
The Gobi Desert is a vast, arid region in northern China and southern Mongolia. While travelling on board of your train, sit back and enjoy its magnificent dunes, mountains and, if lucky, spot some of its rare inhabitants such as snow leopards and Bactrian camels.
Gori is one of the oldest cities in Georgia, founded in the 7th century AD as Tontio. Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, was born here in 1879 and he spent his childhood years in the city and later (1888-94) studied at its theological seminary. The small house where Stalin was born is preserved under a canopy outside the huge columned palace-like building that houses the Stalin Museum. To the side of the museum is Stalin’s private railway carriage.
The small village of Goritsy is home to Europe’s largest monastery, the 14th Century Kirillov-Belozersky Monastery. Founded in 1397 by Saint Cyril it was the holy place where tsars were seeking God's forgiveness. Many priceless relics remain in the monastery, including some of the earliest Russian religious manuscripts and 500 year old icons. The village of Goritsy is home to only 600 inhabitants who live in traditional log houses decorated with intricate wooden carvings and live through fishing and farming.
One of the world's seven wonders, the Great Wall of China runs like a 5000 miles ribbon through the country. China's first emperor, Qin, started the construction of the wall in the 3rd century BC and it took 1800 years to build. It is one of the oldest, largest, and most celebrated achievements of human ingenuity.
Lose yourself amongst the treasures of one of Russia’s best known sights and arguably the largest collection of fine art in the world. Masterpieces from artists such as Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Kandinsky make the Hermitage an unforgettable visit.
Irkutsk, capital of South Baikal, is one of the largest Siberian cities and was a key stop for caravans from Buchara and even China. Today Irkutsk became a center of gold-mining production and is developing fast. In the city you can discover unique examples of Irkutsk architectural heritage, such as “White house”, which was first a palace of the merchants Sibiryakovs, then a residence of East Siberia governor-general.
Isfahan is one of the most magnificent cities of the 17th century. Standing in the middle of the vast Imam Square, the second-largest public space on Earth and one of its most beautiful, it’s easy to understand how this UNESCO World Heritage site became known as image of the world by its many admirers. Explore the city, tempted by the charm and wares of the merchants and gold market. Be sure not to miss the Si-o-seh Pol at dusk, with this iconic bridge’s 33 arches glowing gold and spanning the Zayandeh River.
The Karakum desert is Central Asia’s hottest desert. Despite its temperatures and scarce vegetation its home to a few yurt villages. Desert's Darvaza Gas Craters, one of which is burning, is one of Turkmenistan’s most unusual sights.
Situated on the River Volga, Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan famous for its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of its highlights is the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel is a stunning mosque and onion-domed cathedral.
Located 15 miles (25 kilometres) from the border with China, Khabarovsk stretches along the banks of the Amur River. Khabarovsk was founded as a military post in 1858, but the region had been populated by several indigenous peoples of the Far East for many centuries. It is now a busy city with tree-lined streets.
Khiva, the pearl of eastern middle age architecture, lies 25 kilometers south of present-day Urgench. According to the legends Khiva was founded by a son of Noah, Shem when he dug a well in the middle of the desert. According to the archeologists Khiva was founded in the 5th or 4th centuries B.C. and was a key trading post on the Silk Road.
Khor Virap Church is the holy place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator accused by Armenian king of preaching Christianity. He stayed in the dungeon for 13 years. The church allows for the most spectacular view of the gorgeous biblical mountain Ararat.
This small town is located north east in Northern Norway, close to the Russian border and is the capital of the Barents Region. Among popular tourist activities are snow hotels under the northern lights, dog sledding or fishing for king crabs along the Russian border.
Kizhi Museum Reserve is one of Russia’s unmissable attractions and by far the most visited of Lake Onega’s 1600+ islands. It is home to dozens of the 18th- and 19th-century wooden buildings which were moved here from Karelian villages during Soviet times. The true marvel is the wooden Church of the Transfiguration (the church of twenty-two wooden domes) built in 1714 without the use of a single nail which has survived the challenges of Russian winters and revolution.
Discover the legacy of the 2013 volcanic eruption in Kluchevskaya where fresh lava flows. You can contemplate the majestic beauty of the volcano and see natural stone sculptures from where the lava has hardened.
The beautiful Kostroma lies on the great Russian river, the Volga, and is one of gems of the Golden Ring. It's charm of the ancient trading city can still be enjoyed as well as its major historical and architectural complexes, monasteries and churches.
Kozyrevsk settlement, located on the shores of the Kamchatka River where you can take a walk to one of the oldest villages in Kamchatka and stock up on souvenirs in the local shop. A visit to the viewing platform will give you breathtaking panoramic views of the settlement, Kamchatka river and, of course, volcanoes. It's a treat to stay over in a log cabin and relax in a classic Russian banya.
Is this most beautiful city in Siberia? The writer Anton Chekhov thought so. Krasnoyarsk’s certainly wears winter well, with snow dusting its streets and blue-gold hues coloring the cityscape. See all the sights on a short tour and take in the stunning vista across the Yenisei River. Back on board, your Trans-Siberian tour continues on to Irkutsk.
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of the Pearl of Siberia. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20% of the world’s freshwater. It stretches for 636 km longwise and 80 km widthwise. The Baikal’s maximum depth is 1,637 m. It is known as a "laboratory of biodiversity" as it is home to nearly 3,000 species of animals and plants, many of which are found nowhere else, such as a unique breed of freshwater seal.
Set 1900m above sea level, the Lake Sevan is the largest lake in the Caucasus and one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world.
Lena Pillars Nature Park is marked by spectacular rock pillars that reach a height of approximately 100 m along the banks of the Lena River in the central part of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). They were produced by the region’s extreme continental climate with an annual temperature range of almost 100 degrees Celsius - from –60 °C in winter to +40 °C in summer.
The name Magadan is synonymous with Stalin’s oppressive Gulags or prisons but there is very little evidence now of this town’s tragic past. The local museum has an excellent display about the Gulags but the most poignant reminder is the ‘Mask of Sorrow’ a large monument on a hill overlooking the town. The infamous Kolyma Highway or the ‘Road of Bones’ connects Magadan with Irkutsk and ultimately greater Russia. Today Magadan is a town of about 100,000 people. Fishing is important and gold mining is experiencing a revival.
On the North shore of Lake Ladoga just beyond the archipelago monastery of Valaam, lies Mandrogi village. It was established in the 18th century and was hardly touched by time until being completely destroyed during the World War II. It was only in 1996 that it was decided to rebuild this Karelian village to the smallest detail. Today Mandrogi is a beautiful living museum featuring examples of Russia's stunning wooden architecture and traditional craftsmanship, as well as the head-spinning Vodka Museum with 2800 different types of Russia’s most notorious drink. Village visitors enjoy demonstrations of wood carving, lacework, pottery, horse-riding and archery.
The Mariinsky Theatre is a historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg. For more than two centuries the Mariinsky Theatre has been presenting the world with a plethora of great artistes, such as Fyodor Chaliapin, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and many more.
Please get in touch with our Destination Experts to order tickets for one of its illustrious ballet and opera performances.
Iran’s second city Mashhad is one of the seven holy sites of Shiite Islam. Tour the majestic shrine of Imam Reza, an important pilgrimage site. Decorated with the finest marbles and topped with a golden dome and minarets, this complex is a wonder to behold.
The magnificent Mausoleum of Khawaja Ahmed Yasawi is the vast, brightly tiled testament to power and beauty that UNESCO have made a World Heritage site and the Kazakhs revere as their national icon.
Museum exposition gives a retrospect on how Soviet space science evolved starting from first man-made satellites subsequently followed by the first manned space flight, first space walks, Moon exploration programs, Solar system exploration programs and international space research programs.
A truly iconic, global city, Moscow is the 860 year-old capital of Russia. There are dozens of reasons to come. Being one of the most breathtaking capitals in the world, Moscow has a wide range of cultural landmarks. We suggest exploring them all.
Discover the treasures that lie in wait for you behind the walls of Moscow’s most famous landmark: the almighty Kremlin! Home to a myriad of the city’s most exquisite cathedrals and monuments, as well as the official residence of President Putin himself, the Kremlin remains a political landmark in Russia and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Intricately decorated, the Moscow Metro is an immense museum in itself. Your guide will lead you on a tour of the most magnificent stations, adorned with marble, mosaics and chandeliers.
Murmansk is located halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round and is the homeport to Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers.
Take a unique chance to get acquainted with the wonderful world of the Nenets people. Wear traditional clothing, learn about their beliefs and customs, visit their sacred places, and even discover how to ice fish and harness the reindeer team.
This city is a new capital of the Don Cossacks. Here you can find one of the biggest Orthodox cathedrals around the world – the Ascension Cathedral, memorial house of Mitrofan Grekov, a major Russian-Soviet battle painter, beautiful triumph arcs and the Museum of Wine.
Located on the banks of the Moskva River, Novodevichy Convent is one of Moscow’s most renowned historical sites. Built in the 16th century, the architecture of the convent is that of ‘Moscow Baroque’ style and offers a serene retreat from the lively city centre. The convent is home to several churches which are surrounded by a high wall with 12 watch towers. Our guides will bring the convent to life with stories of its past. The necropolis is a must see – many of the country’s famous public figures are buried here, including writer Anton Chekhov and ballerina Anna Pavlova.
Novosibirsk is situated in the south part of West Siberia, on the banks of Ob River. The city takes the third place by population in Russia after Moscow and St Petersburg. It's a center of Russian arts, science and literature. 14 most prestigiuos universities of the country are located here. In the heart of the city there is an architectural marvel -the largest opera house in the world.
This town has featured in Russian Far East history since the earliest Cossack explorers came from the west. Vitus Bering travelled overland from St Petersburg to Okhotsk in 1725 and again 1733 and travelled to Kamchatka and beyond. Today Okhotsk is the centre of fishing in the region. The port exports significant quantities of salmon and other fish. Visit the town, landing by Zodiac up the river near the town centre. The local people are generous and welcoming and will provide entertainment in the town centre and a cultural display.
An ancient city of the Persian kings. Go to Pasargadae, the capital created by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC. His simple tomb watches over the remnants of this long-gone civilization.
Persepolis, the ceremonial center eventually ransacked by Alexander the Great. Pass huge stone gates carved with mythical creatures, stand amid palatial ruins—Apadana Palace and the Naqsh-e-Rostam necropolis—or simply wander through the streets of antiquity, taking in the immensity of this cultural wonder.
The first structure to be built in St. Petersburg, and thus the birthplace of the city, it never served its intended defensive function. Instead it has had a rich, hugely varied, and sometimes sinister history as a military base, a home of government departments, the burial ground of the Russian Imperial family, the site of groundbreaking scientific experiments, and a forbidding jail that held some of Russia's most prominent political prisoners.
Known as the “Russian Versailles”, Peterhof Palace and Park is a must see at any time of the year. Famous for its myriad of fountains, the grounds of the palace become a haven for tourists in the peak summer months. Look out for the ‘Joke Fountains’ – if you step on the wrong paving stone, you will get wet! If you’re not travelling in the summer, never fear; the parks foliage is beautiful in the autumn and the grounds transform into a striking crystallised wonderland during winter months so there’s never a wrong time to visit.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is a main touristic base where adventure tours and expeditions to Kamchatka begin from. The city offers stunning views as it is located on the shores of Avacha bay among five volcanoes: two active ones, Avachinsky and Koryaksky, smoking Mutnovsky and Gorely, and Vilyuchinsky.
Petrozavodsk stretched along the western shore of Lake Onega – the second largest lake in Europe. It is one the major cultural and industrial centres of North-West Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia.
The Tolbachik massif is composed of two overlapping, but morphologically dissimilar volcanoes - Ostry Tolbachik and Plosky Tolbachik, two of the highest in Kamchatka. The awe-inspiring view of the formation is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Ples (Plyos) is a town and the administrative center of Privolzhsky District of Ivanovo Oblast, Russia, situated on the right bank of the Volga River some 70 kilometers (43 mi) north-east of Ivanovo. The town was founded in 1410 by Vasili I as a border post of Muscovy. Take a walk along the cobbled streets of this hospitable place; go up the Cathedral Hill, breathe the fresh air and take a look around. You will understand why famous artists have been coming here in search of inspiration that further led to masterpieces.
Rayen Castel is situated in Kerman Province south-west of the city of Rayen and is considered the biggest earthen structure of Kerman province after Bam Citadel. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be between 500 and 1,000 years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.
The capital of Latvia, Riga, is a wonderful place for a city break and is buzzing with life and cultural opportunities. With its 700,000 inhabitants, it's the largest city in the Baltic States. Throughout its history Riga was part of many empires and each of those has left its mark on the city. The cobbled streets of its charming Old Town will impress you with its stunning gothic, baroque, classic and art nouveau examples.
Rostov-on-Don is southern Russia’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. It is pleasant stopover on the way to Sochi and the Black Sea coast. Highlights of the city include Gorky Park, the Quay and the old open air market.
Sakhalin Island is located in the east of Russia, to the north of and quite near Japan. It is comparable in size to the European countries of Austria, Switzerland or Ireland. Nature reserves, protected by the state, comprise 11.8% of the region's area. Tourists will be enchanted by the solemn cliffs, descending steeply to the waves, the waterfalls and numerous bird colonies inhabiting the area around the island’s small rocky islets, the remnants of the Japanese paths that criss-cross the whole island, and the legends about the island’s history. Travelling along the island, visitors find themselves in different climatic zones, passing from the wilderness of the taiga to subtropical forests, from the mossy tundra to the jungles of giant plants. A considerable part of the territory is covered with mountains.
Salekhard is the closest city to the Polar Circle. Highlights include a visit to the Obdorsk Jail and the Church of St Peter and Paul.
The Samanid mausoleum is considered to be one of the most highly esteemed work of Central Asian architecture, and was built between 892 and 943 CE as the resting-place of Ismail Samani - a powerful and influential amir of the Samanid dynasty, one of the last native Persian dynasties that ruled in Central Asia in the 9th and 10th centuries. The mausoleum also houses the remains of his father Ahmed and nephew Nasr, as well as the remains of other members of the Samanid dynasty.
The city is large and very important port with deep historical background. Samara is located at the confluence of two rivers: here the Samara River flows into the Volga River. Well-developed cities of the past were often built where rivers merge, because it was easier to protect them and to trade successfully. Samara is a fusion of old trade town with well-preserved buildings, the features of Soviet period and the ones of present time. Historical center of Samara has remarkable architecture: Samara's Gorky Drama Theater is a unique teremok-building in Russian style; the House of merchant Kurlina is an example of Samara’s art nouveau; Lutheran Church of St. George and Roman Catholic Church are of gothic style.
The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulugh-Beg's Observatory (UNESCO)
The city was initially founded in the 16th century as a fortress to protect the southern districts of the Russian Empire. Saratov is the place where Yuri Gagarin the first man in space, has started his career, and has done his first air-flight. There is a museum dedicated to Gagarin and his life. Saratov has a rich cultural life. Among its most famous sites are: the Conservatoire designed in a Neo-Gothic style; the Drama Theatre that is one of the oldest theatres in Russia; the Radischev Art Museum with more than 20,000 exhibits.
Sergiev Posad, home to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia, is the historical and spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The historic centre of Shakhrisyabz contains a collection of exceptional monuments and ancient quarters which bear witness to the city's secular development, and particularly to the period of its apogee, under the rule of Amir Temur and the Temurids, in the 15th-16th century (UNESCO)
Head to Shiraz, the city of poets, and the lush greenery of a UNESCO World Heritage site: the Persian paradise gardens. Stroll past ornamental pools and date palms at the famous Eram Garden, or visit another of the several historic gardens, all offering their unique flavor of paradise.
The Pearl of the Black Sea, Sochi is the largest summer and winter resort of Russia. In 2014 it received a big investment injection to host Winter Olympic games which brought its infrastructure to top level. Sochi mountainous coastline, sand beaches, 33 waterfalls, beautiful sunny days, great skiing resort and vibrant nightlife offers great experiences all year round.
Find out why now is such an excellent time to visit this enchanting country: