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What to Do in Russia

Take a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway

Take a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the world’s greatest train adventures. The track covers 5,869 miles (9,446 kilometers) and goes through eight time zones, connecting Moscow in European Russia to Vladivostok on the coast of the Asia Pacific.

Taking the whole train ride takes six days, but these six days will nowhere be near boring. The train ride will expose you to scenes such as agricultural lands, churches, cabin settlements, and an assortment of natural beauty in the form of hills, steppes, forests, lakes, and rivers. The train also makes brief stopovers several times a day.

Probably the best part of the train ride is running along Lake Baikal’s shores. The magnificent Lake Baikal, which is as large as Belgium and the Netherlands combined, is also the deepest lake in the world. Its crystal-clear waters make for a very picturesque view.

If you want to explore the entirety of Russia, taking a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway should be on your list of things to do.

Go fishing

Winter fishing in Siberia - fisher's tents on ice of Ob reservoi
Winter fishing in Siberia – fisher’s tents on ice of Ob reservoir in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia

The special weather of Russia, along with its expansive and thinly inhabited lands, has resulted in a lot of abundant fishing spots all over the country.

Which region of the country to take your fishing gear to depends on what kind of fishing you wish to experience. For example, the Ponoi River, which runs through the Kola Peninsula at the northwestern end of Russia, is a popular destination for those wishing to fish for Atlantic salmon.

In Sakhalin Island, located in the Pacific side of Russia, you might hear of the Sakhalin taimen, which is considered a prize catch. Be aware, though, that this species of fish is critically endangered. Whatever you may hear, do not be tempted to go after it, as fishing for it is quite likely to be illegal.

It would do you good to ask local fishermen about the recommended fishing spots in the region you are in. With a different weather, a different environment, and different catches to add to your collection, fishing in Russia is much different than fishing back at home.

Participate in the Russian nightlife

Fireworks over the Moscow Kremlin and the Moscow river. Moscow, Russia.

Russian nightlife may not be what you expect, however. The traditional elements of Russian nightlife include theater, circus, and concert performance. And from that alone, you could already see the difference of Russia from home.

Russians love these performances, and it’s not unusual to see a long line of people buying tickets for these live performances instead of lining up at the movie house. You should be prepared to pay more than the locals do, though, because some of these performances charge extra for tourists.

Of course, clubs and bars are popular in Russia, especially in St. Petersburg and Moscow. You could find yourself drinking away merrily and dancing the night away at these clubs and bars, with glasses of beer or shots of vodka on your table.

However, you should be aware that not all clubs and bars are of the wholesome and family-friendly variety. It would be best to ask your hotel receptionist about the recommended places near your area.

Go on a shopping spree

Mix of traditional Russian Souvenirs and antique objects

Shopping in Russia is a truly unique experience, as there are so many things to buy that you would never see for sale at home. For example, street shops can offer you exclusively Russian items such as Matryoshka dolls, kholui and palekh lacquered boxes, ushanka caps, and samovar tea pots.

The shops in Moscow and St. Petersburg have so much variety that you will eventually see something that you really need or want. You would have to do some scouting for everything that you want to purchase, as prices may vary greatly among stores.

And because not all shops accept credit cards, be prepared to have your dollars converted to roubles beforehand.

You should also know that valuables such as antiques and artworks require an export license before you can fly them out of Russia. If something of that nature strikes your fancy, it would be wise to coordinate with the shop owner on how you can secure the export license.

Take a skiing trip

take a skiing trip russian
Friends on the ski slopes

During winter, there’s just so much snow in Russia. It would be a bad idea to let all that good snow go to waste now, wouldn’t it?

Skiing is a very popular winter sport in the country. There are more than 100 skiing spots in Russia because of its many hills and similar land forms. And in each ski resort, both amateurs and professionals get to enjoy fine Russian snow all around them as they speed down the slopes in their skis.

Popular skiing spots include the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort and Mount Elbrus, where locals and tourists alike flock to every winter. Sochi city is gaining popularity as a skiing destination as well, particularly because it has won the bid to stage the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Skiing is a mix of elegance and skill, a sport that is both enjoyable to amateurs and challenging for professionals. Russia takes the sport to new heights, literally and figuratively, so you should not pass up the chance to ski in this country.