Vast and varied, Russia lends itself to being explored by rail, with a number of great rail journeys crossing the country and connecting it’s leading sights. See itinerary ideas
When most people think of Russia, they think first of the grand cities and heritage museums of Moscow and St Petersburg, then perhaps the Golden Ring of picturesque cities and towns outside Moscow, or the stunning landscapes around Lakes Ladoga and Onega and the medieval forts of Pskov, both a short hop from the 'northern capital' of St Petersburg.
It's difficult to grasp such a vast country in a single visit, but intrepid travellers are endlessly rewarded for diverting from the more trodden track. Southern Russia is the warmest region in the country, with beautiful resort cities including subtropical Sochi offering a pathway to the mountainous North Caucasus.
The Volga Region is heavily industrialised, but also known for its rich culture and history, while Siberia and the Russian Far East boast vast lakes, national parks, beautiful scenery and mountains including the spectacular volcanoes of Kamchatka.
Then there are the sombre southern memorials of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), the scene of one of the decisive battles of World War II, and the Solovetsky Islands in the far north, home to a delightful monastery that has seen service as both a military fortress and a gulag in recent history.
For the first of your visits, of course Moscow's Red Square and St Petersburg's Hermitage are a must-see, but for added variety you'll certainly want to consider basking on the Black Sea, staying up late under the midnight sun in Murmansk, gazing on Lake Baikal, or taking the Trans-Siberian Express for the railway journey of a lifetime.