Discover hidden local gems as Russia prepares for further growth in tourism in 2017 and 2018
Discover hidden local gems as Russia prepares for further growth in tourism in 2017 and 2018

While Russia often hits the headlines for political reasons, the country that inspired Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky is being increasingly “rediscovered” by savvy travelers from all over the world. Russia’s inbound tourism is up by 7% in 2017 and currently accounts for 3.4% of the country’s GDP, with another increase of around 10% expected in the near future.*

This new wave of interest is no more than such a fascinating and historic country deserves when you look under the surface.

If you’re thinking of visiting Russia then now is a great time, with prestigious travel company Into Russia making this sometimes daunting destination an easy place to explore.

Celebrating 85 years in the business, Into Russia is one of Britain’s oldest and most trusted travel companies and the leaders in organizing travel to Russia and the CIS.

This year they’re launching a unique new service to the UK market - a facility to help tourists book train tickets and transfers online to make their whole Russian travel experience as seamless as possible. Visitors will be able to sort out everything in one go, with lots of exciting travel ideas on offer through their website, such as their best-selling visa-free tours of St Petersburg.  Other destinations available will include Armenia, Georgia and China.

So, if this has got your travel sensors tingling, why not take a second look at Mother Russia, as the country prepares itself for a big uplift in visitors in time for next year’s World Cup?

Here are a few authentic Russian under-the-radar suggestions to further whet your appetite…

Situated in the North, the Solovki Islands are home to one of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Russia.  Also known as the White Sea islands, this beautiful corner of the country is a haven of peace and tranquility that also offers plenty of adventure for intrepid travelers. The islands are so remote and and vast that you’ll need a few days to appreciate everything they have to offer. If you enjoy being close to nature and feeling small in our big old universe, it doesn’t get much better.

The Garazh (Garage) Art Centre in Moscow is one of the most fashionable and important art spaces in the world. Opened in 2008 by Dasha Zhukova, who is currently undergoing divorce with Russian billionaire businessman and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, the centre offers some astonishing works of contemporary art set across 8,500 sq.m and boasts its own library, bookshop and café. Much like the Tate Modern, this large and imposing building used to serve an entirely different purpose- in this case a bus station. If you’re into culture, it’s well worth a visit.

If nightlife’s more your thing, the Kamchatka Bar in Moscow is where it’s at. A cool canteen bar that’s becoming increasingly popular with artistic, hipster types and fans of retro chic, it’s a place to be seen. You’ll find some traditional Russian favourites here like mimoza and dressed herring, all washed down with their surprisingly affordable drinks. It’s also a perfect and convenient watering hole if you’re planning a visit to the 2018 World Cup. A great place to hang out with friends and make new ones.

It’s impossible to list everything that Russia has to offer in just a few lines. So If you’d like to broaden your horizons by visiting one of the most fascinating countries in the world, contact Into Russia on +44(0)20 7603 5045, email reservations@into-russia.co.uk or visit www.into-russia.co.uk for inspiration and ideas.

You’d be well-advised to act quickly while Russia offers outstanding value-for-money, with the pound-ruble exchange rate having moved hugely in favour of UK travellers recently. With a surge of visitors expected for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018, the current attractive deals are unlikely to be available for long!

*Tourism Review, March 2017 

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