Russia is high up on my bucket list! I have been desperate to visit with the architecture, palaces and different culture really grabbing me. The sheer size of Russia means there is so much to see and experience. Russia’s 17 million square kilometres possesses the largest river in Europe, the world’s largest lake, the world’s deepest freshwater lake and Europe’s highest peak. Furthermore, Russia boasts phenomenal cultural sights with the Bolshoi ballet, opera and White Nights Festival.
Russia is an extremely complex country but as long as you go prepared and read up on what the procedures are then you should be able to enjoy what Russia offers without stress. A prime example of this is ensuring you obtain a visa. Make sure you have the correct visa and apply for it well in advance of your departure date as this will reduce problems when you arrive. There are also migration cards which will need to be signed and both the visa and migration cards require registration if staying in Russia for longer than 3 years.
Moreover, bear in mind that cash is the most widely used currency. There are ATMs available yet sometimes they are empty so make sure you bring sufficient cash for your stay as travellers cheques are not recommended.
In terms of health, buy bottled water when in Russia. If you do fall ill and require medical attention, it’s good to know that British citizens are granted fast and cost free medical service in cases of emergency.
Yet some people have been put off by the political tensions between Russia and other countries. This has resulted in warnings against travelling to Chechnya and the North Caucasus, as well as areas near the border of Ukraine. The government recommends vigilance in these areas with crimes such as armed clashes, kidnappings, and building seizures known to have occurred. Other advice towards crime remains similar-avoid of political rallies and remain aware at all times of petty crime. If at all nervous when in Russia checking media for updates is recommended but it is important to note that most visits by tourists are trouble free and if you are victim of crime it tends to be typical of other risks when in any foreign country.
Written by Lisa Earnshaw