All our Russia collections:
Russia's vast size, the enormous differences in living standards of its people and its tumultuous history make it a mystifying place for outsiders. However much you've read up on the country as a traveller you're still probably going to be surprised by what you find. And whilst most people imagine that the best places to stay in Russia to experience all of this are Moscow and St Petersburg, there is plenty to explore beyond these ever popular destinations.
Moscow is rife with the remnants of Communism, but it's also littered with wonderfully ornate churches and brightly coloured palaces - some of which are now the best places to stay in Russia.
St. Petersburg feels more European, and looks more elegant.
And beyond those two mythical and magical cities are the vast expanses of the interior, the famous steppes, the icy tundra, the impressive mountains, or unexpectedly beautiful beaches - Russia's national parks and reserves cover the same landmass as the whole of Germany. So this is a destination for wilderness explorers as well as cultural ones.
Linked by the wonderfully romantic Red Arrow train, Moscow and St. Petersburg house many of Russia's most famous sights, so if this is your first time in the country you won't want to miss Moscow's:
The treasures of St. Petersburg, Tsar Peter's 'window on the west', include:
Outside the cities most visitors are also interested in visiting vast and mysterious Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake and home almost one fifth of our planet's liquid fresh water. You need to understand that Baikal is vast by Russian standards - there's no road around the lake here, there's just a limited hydrofoil service, so you need to plan your visit carefully.
If you want to see something of Siberia transit in and out of Irkust, the largest Russian trading post before Mongolia and China.
If you fancy an active Russian adventure then explore the Urals Mountain Range - in which case Yekaterinburg might be the best place to stay in Russia. Yekaterinburg is also famous for being place where the Romanov family were executed.
If the idea of Russia having beautiful beaches has come as a pleasant surprise then the Curonian Spit is for you. This region is also where you'll find Kaliningrad, Russia's Prussian capital. Once a part of Germany this is arguable Russia's most western feeling city.
Moscow has accommodation to suit every pocket, from budget hostels to hotels worthy of a Tsar or an oligarch. But if you want to stay near the country's heart then some of the best places to stay in Russia are close to Red Square and the historic centre.
Romantic in both snow-white Winter and blue-skied Summer, the mansions lining St. Petersburg's meandering canals are some of the best places to stay in Russia. After the museums, palaces and galleries, hit the ballet, the theatre or the bars.
A glaringly colourful hotel in a very central location. Contemporary rooms awash with primary colour have all the mod cons. Good restaurant and lively bar. Excellent value for its location.
A fantastic Five Star hotel in a central location. Historical architecture and traditional opulence create an air of royalty. Palatial rooms and suites in pastels with lots of gilt. Excellent restaurants, bars, and spa. A time capsule for the luxury traveller.
St Petersburg (Nevsky Prospekt)
Warm and welcoming hotel with a 19th-century feel. This cosy spot is minutes from the cultural and historical monuments, theatres and museums of the Northern Capital. Simple clean rooms with antique style furniture on a quiet street, plus a charming contemporary art gallery. Ideal for a city break.
A riverside mansion with an elegant facade. Airy rooms with large windows and some featuring balconies. Fantastic family apartments. The cosy restaurant serves up local cuisine and has a bar for chilly evenings in. Ideally situated for local exploring.