Russia is the largest country on earth in terms of surface area, and has a number of stunning cities located within its vast perimeters. It isn’t always high on traveller’s lists of dream destinations but it certainly isn’t short on wonderful architecture, iconic buildings and eye-catching landscapes and it is a great place to explore and absorb some of the culture.

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Moscow and St Petersburg are the two most visited cities in Russia and it’s easy to see why these two magnificent locations are heavily favoured by tourists. Moscow’s Red Square remains a hugely popular destination and whilst wrapping up is strongly advised due to the humid continental climate, it truly shines throughout the winter months with regular snowfall and extravagant Christmas decorations giving it the perfect festive feel. The iconic St.Basil’s Cathedral dates back to the 16th century and is regarded as one of the most famous pieces of architecture in the world. Described as an ‘icon of Russia’, it’s a must-visit for any traveller, with group photos and selfies outside the symbolic building an absolute essential. History buffs cannot afford to miss out on a visit to Lenin’s Mausoleum which is located in the centre of Red Square making it both figuratively and literally unmissable. It is the resting place of the former Soviet leader and is steeped in history. Queues can be quite lengthy, particularly during the summer months, so it is advised to set off early although it is undoubtedly worth the wait.

Away from Red Square, Moscow has a strong sporting tradition boasting no fewer than four football clubs in the Russia Premier League during the 2017-18 season, with CSKA Moscow regularly attracting large crowds in the Basketball Euroleague. In June 2018, Russia will host the FIFA World Cup and the opening game between the home nation and Saudi Arabia will be staged in the city at the Luzhniki Stadium. This contest will be preceded by the opening ceremony which will attract a worldwide audience whilst the final on July 15th is also set to take place here. Moscow already attracts an array of visitors of differing nationalities, but a huge number of countries will be represented during the month-long tournament in which expectant fans from the likes of Germany, France, Spain and England are set to descend on the city in the hope of watching their side lift the Jules Rimet Trophy. Whilst fewer South Americans are expected to make the substantial journey over to Russia, the latest tournament odds found on Oddschecker have Brazil priced up as the 5/1 favourites for the competition.

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St. Petersburg also has plenty offer visitors with potential incomers advised to visit between May and September in order to see the city at its breathtaking best. You won’t be short on places to eat and drink in the second largest city in Russia, with a mixture of luxurious restaurants and traditional cafes serving up top class cuisine every night of the week. There are also plenty of nightclubs and cocktail bars within walking distance to help wash down those hearty portions. History is once again at the epicentre of the city with the Church on Spilled Blood and Peter and Paul Fortress amongst the must-see attractions located in St.Petersburg.

Visiting Russia may not be on everybody’s bucket list and it does get perishingly chilly during the winter months but it truly offers something for every kind of tourist and is also reasonably affordable. There is so much history and stunning architecture within Moscow and St. Petersburg and a trip to both cities is highly recommended.

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