As one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world, Russia has plenty to offer tourists including dazzling architecture, immersive arts and culture, and breath-taking scenery that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Despite this, the country has been quite a late arrival in the tourism sector marred by internal politics and outside perceptions. In recent years, however, the country’s tourist numbers have grown exponentially with a staggering 20.5% increase in tourists in 2019 over the previous year, a trend set to continue in 2020 and beyond.
So, what is it that that keeps bringing people to Russia? Intrigue? Art? Sightseeing? This article will explore some of the many reasons why you should visit Russia in 2020.
St Petersburg Krestovsky Stadium
Less than a year after hosting the World Cup tournament, Russia is set to host four football matches from the 16th UEFA European Championship including three matches from Group B and one leg of the quarter-finals. The matches will take place in one of Russia’s most prolific tourist destinations, St Petersburg.
Don’t miss out on your chance to get tickets to this Quadrennial event, and while you are there, why not explore one of Russia’s most exciting, culture-rich destinations? Please see our blog post: ‘Booking your trip to St Petersburg for UEFA Euro 2020’ for more information on where to book your hotels, visas and getting around the city.
White Nights Festival and Scarlet Sails
Courtesy of Spbkinoforum CC BY 3.0
Russia’s White Nights Festival is held annually in St Petersburg to mark a near-midnight sun phenomena where the skies only ever reach twilight and do not go completely dark. To celebrate this, St Petersburg holds various festivities starting from the ‘Stars of the White Nights’ ballet and opera performance and the famous ‘scarlet sails’.
The festival gets bigger and better each year attracting carnivals and international music performances from some of the biggest names in music from the Rolling Stones to Paul McCartney. The festival is set to begin around 22nd May and last until 21st July 2020 and is set to continue the trend!
Moscow Sergiev Posad Trinity Sergey Lavra Monastery
The Golden ring is a series of Medieval towns and cities located northeast of Moscow in an area formerly known as the Zalesye region. The towns and cities that make up this region stem from old roots and consist of 8 principal cities: Vladimir, Suzdal, Ivanovo, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov, Pereslavl-Zalessky and Sergiyev Posad. Each of these cities features spectacular examples of architecture and sublime landscapes from splendid golden domes of Orthodox Churches to quaint gingerbread cottages.
The Golden Ring is a must for anyone interested in Russia’s ancient past.
Moscow Kremlin Cathedral
Russia is a huge country spanning over 17 million square kilometres, making it the largest country on the planet. It is of no surprise then that Russia has plenty for tourists to see and do and holds one of the largest concentrations of World Heritage Sites. From Moscow’s Red Square to the Volcanos of Kamchatka in the Far East of the country, Russia has plenty to offer avid travellers looking to tick these sites off their bucket list.
We offer a huge range of excursions and tours to almost anywhere in Russia and beyond. See our Destinations page to learn more about the destinations we cover or dive straight in and look at some of our pre-prepared excursions made by tourists for tourists.
St Petersburg Heritage Museum
Although largely understated on the world art scene, Russia boasts some of the most impressive museums and art galleries ranging from the classical paintings of the State Hermitage to contemporary works at the Erarta galley. Russia’s most famous museum, the State Hermitage in St Petersburg is second only to the Louvre in size and attracts over 4 million visitors each year, not only that, the museum houses over 3 million paintings which makes it the largest collection of paintings in the world, displaying works from Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt and other old masters.
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Railway
Completed in the 20th century, the Trans-Siberian Railway is considered the artery of Russia, connecting remote locations in far-flung Siberia and beyond with the heart of the country. The line expands over 9200 kilometres from Moscow to Vladivostok and takes in some of the most intriguing, hard-to-reach sites of Russia including the world-famous Lake Baikal, the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world, and home to the elusive freshwater Baikal Seal.
The relaxation of Russian visa rules and adoption of e-visa for major tourist countries such as China has resulted in tremendous growth in Russian tourism over the last few years and is a trend that the Russian government is keen to continue. As of October 2019, tourists from up to 53 countries (excluding the UK) may be granted e-visas to enter specified cities in Russia (St Petersburg and Kaliningrad) which eliminates the need for invitations, confirmations or to visit the Consulate as required when applying for a regular visa. It has been announced that in 2021 this rule will be expanded to include travel to all Russian cities for up 16 days.
Please see our Russian visa application page for more information about how to apply for your visa.