A Road Trip in Russia is one of those rare experiences that is destined in the lives of a few travellers. Rugged, tough, challenging but absolutely rewarding, a Russia road trip is one of the best things that you can experience in your life. If you are up for a challenge and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, go on a road trip to Russia in the winter season. Most Russia tour packages will offer you standard experiences that will include the best places to visit in Russia such as Moscow and St Petersburg. But there is a lot more to see in Russia in addition to these 2 cities. After all, Russia is the largest country in the world spanning from Europe in the west to Japan in the East and Mongolia and China in the South. Even after the collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union, Russia continues to hold the title of the largest country in the world by the size of the land it occupies on our planet. The best time to travel to Russia depends upon what you want from the country. If you simply want to visit the cities of Moscow and St Petersburg on a summer holiday, go-between May-August but if you want to see the fairytale-like winter wonderland, then go in the famous or as some people may put it, the infamous winters of Russia. Trust us, it is going to be one of the most memorable experiences in your life. Even if you take a winter Russia tour package, it is going to be worth your time to just visit Moscow and St Petersburg if you have limited time at hand. The beauty of Russia is really to travel in the winter months when it looks breathtaking and mesmerizing.
To travel to Russia in the winter season, you must keep a few things in mind. The most important thing to remember if you plan a visit to Russia in winter is your clothing. You will be travelling in temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius which can go down to anywhere from -20 degrees to -40 degrees Celsius. For most tourists in Russia, such extreme temperatures are a first time experience so you must be well prepared. Wear your clothes in atleast 4 layers. For example, when you pack your bag for your winter Russia trip, make sure you carry enough undershirts, t-shirts, sweaters and jackets to wear everyday. You will always need to wear hand gloves, cover your ears and head and wear woollen socks. If you wear the right clothes, you will be able to travel within Russia comfortably.
Most of the Russia tour packages start from Moscow. Even if you go on a Russia road trip, it is best to start in Moscow where you will find a lot of options available to rent cars. Moscow is one of the best places to visit in Russia and is going to give a great start to your Russia travels. The capital and the most populous city of Russia, Moscow is located on the banks of the Moskva River. The best places to see in Moscow include The Kremlin, the Red Square and of course the world-famous St Basils cathedral with its iconic onion-shaped colourful domes. The cathedral was built by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his victory on the Mongols. Kremlin is the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation but access to other areas within the walls is accessible for tourists in Russia. You can visit several museums displaying Russian history’s cherished relics and can also visit the mausoleum of Lenin. The massive Red Square is surrounded by several marketplaces, museums, churches, festival ground and shopping malls. During the Soviet Era, the Red Square also served as a parade ground to display the might of the Russian Army. Also, visit the historical Gorky Park where you can go for a stroll, rent a bike, explore Russian history or indulge in many other activities available inside the park campus. One of the top things to do in Moscow also includes experiencing a Russian Ballet performance at the iconic Bolshoi Theatre.
Moscow to SergievPosad
Start your Russia road trip by hiring a rugged SUV and hit the road towards Sergiev Posad, also referred to as the “Russian Vatican”. The city is located 80 kilometres from Moscow and the short drive will give you a good introduction about how to drive on snow in Russia. Sergiev Posad has a collection of churches where you can listen to the wonderful choir singing, as it never stops from early morning to late evening. Go for a visit to Lavra, the largest monastery of the Russian Orthodox church. It is filled with objects (over 40 buildings) of art built-in XV-XIX centuries by leading Russian artisans and it also used to be a Russian fortress which is still surrounded by massive walls and towers. Sergiev Posad is considered one of the most religious and spiritual places in all of Russia and is visited by most Russian pilgrims.
SergievPosad to Koprino
Continue your Russia road trip on the famous Golden Ring of Russia as you head out from Sergiev Posad and drive towards Uglich which is also a part of the Golden Ring. It is one of the most beautiful places in Russia and what was once a fortress in the Kingdom of Muscovy is now a quiet retreat against the hectic city life. Also, take a tour of the Kremlin in Uglich, which is on the highland of the Volga River. Continue your Russia trip towards the town of Myshkin, which is also known as the Mouse City. A lot of places and museums in Myshkin are dedicated to a mouse. The Myshkin National Ethnographic Museum is known as the Mouse Museum for its collection of 2,000 mouse-related items from all over the globe. A regular Russian tourist package will not take you to such a unique place which is easily accessible if you are on a road trip in Russia. Today, if you are lucky, you will also get to drive on the frozen Volga river as you continue towards your beautiful resort in Koprino which is located on the banks of the Volga river. If you are doing the Russia trip in winters, the river will be completely frozen and you will be able to enjoy winter activities in Russia such as ice fishing, cross country skiing, riding a snowmobile and going on a hovercraft ride on the frozen Volga.
Koprino to Tikhvin
After enjoying winter activities in Koprino, continue your Russia tour by hitting the road for a long drive towards Tikhvin, an industrial town located 200 kilometres east of St Petersburg. As you continue your road trip in Russia, don’t forget to admire the beauty of the countryside full of snow as far as the eye can see and don’t miss the occasional tiny village with old wooden houses painted in different colours.
Tikhvin to Petrozavodsk
After a transit in Tikhvin for the night, continue towards Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia region. The city resembles any Finnish city and is located in a beautiful area on the banks of Lake Onega, the second largest lake of Europe. In Petrozavodsk, you can indulge in one of the most popular winter activities in Russia by visiting the famous Karjala Park located just 30 kilometres outside the city. In this park, you can experience dog sledding, understand about the lives of Siberian husky dogs, pet them and learn how to communicate with them. It is one of the best places to see in Russia and one of the most unique experiences in Russia. After riding on a dog sledge pulled by 8 Siberian Huskies, return to your hotel and warm yourself up.
Petrozavodsk to St Petersburg
Finally, you are on the last day of your Russia road trip as you drive for over 400 kilometres to reach St Petersburg, the best place to see in Russia. After taking a good rest in the night, the following morning, start exploring this beautiful city which is famously known as “Venice of the north”. The cultural centre of Russia, St Petersburg is home to various theatres, operas, ballet performances and also boasts of The Hermitage, the second largest museum in the world. It is littered with palaces and parks and the Neva river adds an old-world charm to this beautiful city which is the perfect place to conclude your Russia road trip. Spend a few days relaxing and exploring St Petersburg and remember that what you have seen and experienced on a Russia road trip may not have been possible on a regular Russia tour package. Experiencing Russia by road is a rare feat achieved by some travellers but those who are lucky enough to go on a road trip to Russia, always remember it as one of the best road trips in their lives.