Though much of what one might hear about Russia would mainly involve the cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the country is undeniably much bigger and much more than these two places. The largest country in the world, Russia is home to plenty—of resources and diversity.
Tyrants and great minds alike populate Russia’s colourful past, reason why the country serves as a great destination for singles travellers, especially history buffs. As well, those who prefer the present will still find plenty of other entertainment choices in Russia. The onion-domed architecture gracing its cities will place a twinkle in the eye of architecture fans while also serving as picturesque subjects for the camera-cradling crowd. Art aficionados will find themselves spoilt for choice when it comes to drama, ballet, and opera performances.
From Moscow to Irkutsk, or Sochi to Vladivostok, one thing’s for sure: travellers will have no chance of being disappointed—that is, unless they expect to be able to see everything within just one trip.
- Location: Russian Federation, Asia/Europe
- Size: 17,098,242 km2
- Capital: Moscow
- Largest Cities: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod
- Climate: Due to the country’s large size, climate can vary across regions, although as a general rule, one can expect warm summers and icy cold winters. Spring and autumn are very fleeting in the country and serve only as transitional periods, lasting for only a few short weeks from September to October and in April, respectively.
- Population: Around 143 million people
Religion: Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism
Literacy Rate: 99.6%
Government Type: Federal republic
Head of State: President
Land Borders: From northwest to southeast, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea
- Currency: Russian ruble
- Natural Resources: Oil deposits, natural gas, coal, timber
- Main Agriculture: Grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, vegetables
- Main Industry: Mining and extractive industries, machine building, manufacture of equipment
- Electricity: 220 V AC, 50 Hz
- Time Zone: GMT+3 to GMT+12 depending on area
Country Tel. Code: + 7
- Visa/Passport: Australian passport holders are required to obtain either a tourist or a visitor visa before entering the country.
- Airport: Domodedovo International Airport (DME), the country’s largest airport, serves Moscow and is 42 kilometres south-southeast of the capital’s centre. As well, located 29 kilometres from central Moscow is Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO). Pulkovo Airport (LED) has two terminals, one serving domestic flights and the other serving international flights. The latter is 17 kilometres south of the city centre of Saint Petersburg. Other international airports can also be found in plenty of other cities.
- Departure Tax: Passengers do not need to pay an embarkation tax upon departure.
- Getting Around: Russia’s fairly extensive rail network is arguably the best option for long-distance travel within the country. In fact, the Trans-Siberian Railway enjoys a seemingly legendary reputation out of all the railways in the world. Travellers pressed for time, however, may forgo this option and hop on a plane on one of the country’s many domestic flights. For shorter trips, travellers can take the bus.
- Credit Cards: Larger hotels and restaurants will accept credit cards, but train stations and museums will not. Though credit cards are becoming more commonly accepted, cash might still be the best way to pay for expenses.
- Drinking: The legal age of 18 years old is not strictly implemented.
- Shopping: Standard souvenirs travellers take home from Russia include vodka and nesting (or matryoshka) dolls. Fur is also a good buy when in Russia, as they are usually of particularly high quality there.
- Tipping: Tipping has become commonplace in the country. 10% to 15% of the bill is the normal rate.