Russian dolls (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 09 July

To Russia with love: 7 Russian adventures you’ll want to book now

Staging the World Cup has revealed a side of Russia that canny travellers have known about for years – a beautiful country full of fascinating history, stunning landscapes and hospitable people

1: Ride the rails on an epic Trans-Siberian Journey

The Trans Siberian following the southern shore of Lake Baikal (Dreamstime)

The Trans Siberian following the southern shore of Lake Baikal (Dreamstime)

Experience the vast beauty and variety of Russia on this epic 9,300km rail journey on the Trans-Siberian Express with G-Adventures.

It’s an odyssey that will take you from one side of the country to the other, crossing seven time zones and taking you through a variety of breathtaking landscapes. Starting in Moscow, you’ll travel across the Ural Mountains to Yekaterinburg and then on to Lake Baikal and Irkutsk in the heart of Siberia. After learning about Buryat culture in Ulan Ude, you’ll head to the coast in Vladivostok, finishing a journey that is epic in both summer and winter.

Trip: Epic Trans-Siberian Journey

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures Jan, May-Sep & Dec

How long: 17 days

How much: £2,085 (exc. flights)

2: Party (and feast) like a Russian

Hearty Russian food (Dreamstime)

Hearty Russian food (Dreamstime)

Discover the cultural and culinary secrets of Russia on this 10-day foodie adventure with Intrepid.

Largely misunderstood in the west, food culture in Russia is surprisingly diverse and fun. You’ll spend an evening eating, drinking and playing table games with a family in St Petersburg, tuck into steaming hot bowls of laghman (pulled noodles with meat and vegetables) inside a Soviet-style canteen, and enjoy a hearty home-cooked feast with a Tatar family. 

From foraging for ingredients and making borscht, to partying like a Russian on a vodka tasting tour in Moscow, you’ll experience the country at its authentic best.

Trip: Russia Real Food Adventure

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures May & Aug

How long: 10 days

How much: From £1,530 (exc. flights)

3: Explore Russia’s wild, wild east

Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia (Dreamstime)

Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia (Dreamstime)

If you’re looking for an adventure that’s big on dramatic landscapes and breathtaking wildlife encounters, look no further than this 13-day cruise around Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula with Wildlife Worldwide.

You’ll explore the stunning volcanic landscapes of Kamchatka and Chukotka on board the Spirit of Enderby, cruising through the remote wilderness of the Commander Islands along the coastlines of the Russian Far East. Zodiac outings will ensure memorable views of vast seabird colonies, particularly on the cliffs of Verkhoturova Island, as well as encounters with sea eagles on the Zhupanova River. You’ll see sea lions, Pacific walruses and Kamchatka brown bears – as well as orca, beluga, humpback and grey whales. An unforgettable wildlife experience.

Trip: Kamchatka’s Forgotten Coast

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: June

How long: 14 days

How much: £7,132 (exc.flights)

4: Lose yourself on the backroads of Russia

Ruskeala National Park (Dreamstime)

Ruskeala National Park (Dreamstime)

Discover a Russia where time has stood still and people live as they have done for centuries, as you travel the back roads between St Petersburg and Moscow with G Adventures.

You’ll explore little-visited island monasteries and be taught to cook traditional Karelian pie in the tiny village of Kinerma. You’ll trek through Ruskeala National Park’s marble canyon and wander in awe through the fairy-tale architecture of Gethsemane Skete, with plenty of swimming in lakes and feasting on BBQs. This is a side of Russia that very few people get to experience.

Trip: Backroads of Russia: Saint Petersburg - Moscow

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures May-Sep

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,549 (exc. flights)

5: Cruise the historic Volga River Delta

Church on the bank of the Volga River (Dreamstime)

Church on the bank of the Volga River (Dreamstime)

Sail from Moscow to Astrakhan on this 14-day river cruise along the Volga River Delta with Regent Holidays.

You’ll wind your way along this ancient waterway on board the well-equipped MS Fedin, passing iconic onion-domed churches and tiny villages, stopping along the way to stroll through medieval towns like Nizhny Novgorod and learn more about Russian traditions and history. It’s a thoroughly relaxing way to immerse yourself in Russia and make new friends along the way.

Trip: Moscow to Astrakhan River Cruise

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Sep

How long: 14 days

How much: £2,770 (inc. flights)

6: St Petersburg for the weekend

Sailing boat in St Petersburg (Dreamstime)

Sailing boat in St Petersburg (Dreamstime)

A potent blend of grandeur and history, fabulous restaurants and world-class art galleries, St Petersburg is the perfect city break destination. And on this four-day trip with Audley you’ll experience it all.

You’ll see the many treasures of the Hermitage (one of the world's best art galleries), and visit the Peter and Paul Fortress – the city's first permanent building. Drop by Catherine Palace and marvel at the phenomenal wealth of the Tsars, before exploring the beautiful canals and countless cafés in this magnificent city.

Trip: St Petersburg Weekend Break

Who: Audley

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 4 days

How much: £1,180 (inc. flights)

7: Explore Russia’s vibrant Autonomous Republics

Celebrating a national holiday in the Republic of Chuvashia (Dreamstime)

Celebrating a national holiday in the Republic of Chuvashia (Dreamstime)

Step firmly off the tourist trail and discover six of Russia’s most diverse autonomous republics on this small group tour with Regent Holidays.

Each republic is fiercely independent and boasts its own traditional dress, customs and dishes. In Cheboksary, you’ll discover over 25 churches and four monasteries. In Kazan, you’ll travel to the former closed city of Izhevsk, home of the red-bricked Saint Mikhailov Cathedral, and spend time in Mari El with its impressive square and pagan traditions. You’ll visit Perm, another closed city during the Soviet times, and Kudymkar, home of the Zyrian ethnic group. Finally, Solikamsk, one of the oldest cities in the Urals. You’ll be way off any tourist map of Russia, so bring your sense of adventure...

Trip: Pioneering Russia's Autonomous Republics Group Tour

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 10 days

How much: From £2,495 (exc. flights)