While Russia often hits the headlines for political reasons, the country that inspired Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky is being increasingly “rediscovered” by savvy travellers from all over the world. Russia’s inbound tourism is up by 7% in 2017 and currently accounts for 3.4% of the country’s GDP, with another increase of around 10% expected in the near future.*
This new wave of interest is no more than such a fascinating and historic country deserves when one looks under the surface.
For anyone thinking of visiting Russia now is a great time, with prestigious travel company Into Russia making this sometimes daunting destination an easy place to explore.
Celebrating 85 years in the business, Into Russia is one of Britain’s oldest and most trusted travel companies and the leaders in organizing travel to Russia and the CIS.
This year they’re launching a unique new service to the UK market- a facility to help tourists book train tickets and transfers online to make their whole Russian travel experience as seamless as possible. Visitors will be able to sort out everything in one go, with lots of exciting travel ideas on offer through their website, such as their best-selling visa-free tours of St Petersburg. Other destinations available will include Armenia, Georgia and China.
Discerning travellers who feel their travel sensors are tingling might be wise to take a second look at Mother Russia, as the country prepares itself for a big uplift in visitors in time for next year’s World Cup.
Here are a few authentic Russian under-the-radar suggestions to further whet the appetite…
Situated in the North, the Solovki Islands are home to one of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Russia. Also known as the White Sea islands, this beautiful corner of the country is a haven of peace and tranquillity that also offers plenty of adventure for intrepid travellers. The islands are so remote and vast that several days are needed to appreciate everything on offer. This excursion is ideally suited to anyone who enjoys being close to nature.
The Garazh (Garage) Art Centre in Moscow is one of the most fashionable and important art spaces in the world. Opened in 2008 by Dasha Zhukova, who is currently undergoing divorce with Russian billionaire businessman and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, the centre offers some astonishing works of contemporary art set across 8,500 sq.m and boasts its own library, bookshop and café. Much like the Tate Modern, this large and imposing building used to serve an entirely different purpose- in this case a bus station. For culture vultures, it’s well worth a visit.
Visitors who wish to explore Russia’s famous nightlife might want to consider the Kamchatka Bar in Moscow. A cool canteen bar that’s becoming increasingly popular with artistic, hipster types and fans of retro chic, it’s certainly a place to be seen. Some traditional Russian dishes can be found here like mimoza and dressed herring, all washed down with their surprisingly affordable drinks. It’s also a perfect and convenient watering hole for those planning a visit to the 2018 World Cup. A great place to hang out with friends and to make new ones.
It’s impossible to list everything that Russia has to offer in just a few lines. So anyone interested in broadening their horizons by visiting one of the most fascinating countries in the world would be well-advised to contact Into Russia on +44(0)20 7603 5045 or via email [email protected] or alternatively to visit www.into-russia.co.uk for inspiration and ideas.
It is important to act quickly though while Russia offers outstanding value-for-money, with the pound-ruble exchange rate having moved hugely in favour of UK travellers recently. With a surge of visitors expected for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018, the current attractive deals are unlikely to be available for long!
Online version may be viewed here: https://into-russia.co.uk/component/zoo/discover-hidden-local-gems-as-russia-prepares-for-further-growth-in-tourism-in-2017-and-2018
*Tourism Review, March 2017