Probably Russia seems to you an exotic place to visit. 'What is there in Russia?' you say. 'What to do in Russia?' you ask. Well, there are 5 reasons it should be on top of your travel list. We warn you - you will start packing your winter clothes right after reading this post.
REASON 1 - UNIQUE CULTURE
In what other country can you see such a mind-blowing mixture of various styles, traditions and designs? In one street you will walk by a European-styled classical mansion and an alien greyish constructivist building. In a dull neighbourhood of high-storeyed houses all of a sudden you can see a magical Orthodox church with golden domes. Russian people claim to love Dostoevsky, Chekov and can't live without listening to Chaikovsky music (at least this is what they say). Still Communist cultural heritage is very strong, and it is everywhere in the country: archutecture, movies, theatre.
The reason for that is the complexity of Russian history. Can you imagine living under the opression of Mongol Empire, making a radical shift to European culture (including cutting off beards for men!), then becoming a communist Realism Mecca... And all this in less than 1000 years. That is why Russian often have hard times in defining their identity. Come and decide for yourself what they are.
REASON 2 - THE ENTERTAINMENT
As it was mentioned before, Russians claim to know much about culture. And this seems very true when you look into the event guide. There are plenty of options to spare your evening: see majectic Russian ballet, enjoy a theatre play after famous Russian writers, seat back and enjoy classical music composed by Russian legendary musicians. Besides, there is always something for any taste in Moscow and St.Petersburg: Jazz concerts, Hindi music, performances of world famous singers and DJs.
Of course, if you are more after night entertainment, Moscow provides the great version of it. Most of bars and night clubs are open every day of week, whilst the hardest partying happens on Friday and Saturday.
REASON 3 - RUSSIAN WINTER (AND FALL)
Russia is illustrious for being a very cold country, and if you crave for some snow, this is your perfect destination. Temperature in Moscow varies from 0° to -20°, with rare declines down to 30°. Best time to experience snow is from December to February, whilst December is most beautiful with all the New Year decorations, and most snow falls in January and February. Foreigners often have concerns that everything will be shut down due to cold weather. Nonsense! Russians are so used to winter that they can operate in any weather. Make sure you bring warm clothes or buy them on arrival.
The other Russian season which travellers from warm countries adore is fall. This is when all trees become yellow and red, and the colors are just amazing. But make sure you choose correct dates: "golden fall" lasts from mid-September to mid-October.
REASON 4 - THE FOOD
Let's get one thing straight - there is no such thing as Russian food. Because there are many kinds of food which can be defined as 'Russian' - Soviet cuisine, old Russian food of simple people, bourgois Russian food, Ukranian food, Georgian food, cuisine of Central Asia... But it's a good thing, right? As there is so much to taste. Start with some hits such as stuffed pancakes, borsch and schi (soups), dumplings (vareniki), salo (pork fat), stroganoff, vinegret and olivie salads, small pies. Two good things about Russian cuisine are that 1) it can be very healthy - opt for soups and salads and 2) there are plenty of vegetarian options.
Besides, you have to try traditional Russian drinks, and we are not talking about vodka here. Compliment your Russian lunch with mors (fruit drink), kompot (sweet beverage), or kvass (rye bread drink). Russian are big tea-fans and after heaving the meal they usually drink tea - black, green, or herbal.
REASON 5 - THE PRICE
After Russian ruble's fall in 2014, visiting the country became much cheaper for foreign travelers. This concerns accomodation, food, entertainment, Walk&Talk tours after all, as the price in local currency has not changed significantly. So this is a great moment to visit Moscow and indulge into some luxury if you had an intention to do that. This will be less expensive than in London, Paris or New York for sure. Still don't be under a delusion that everything is free in Russia (or for $1,83 as in Eurotrip movie :)