Visiting Russia at its peak season of summer is less challenging for those who like a thrilling experience. While some of the people prefer summer, as the days are long and the temperature are warm, so they can explore Russia as much as they want without being afraid of harsh and cold weather. On the other hand, people trigger to do something adventurous, yet something they rarely experience in their life, and that fits perfectly with Russian winter. Actually the feeling of visiting the same countries in different season is often like visiting two different countries.
Here is a brief description of winter in Russia. It is often associated as something magical, a fairy tale like feeling, great architecture covered by snow, frozen river and canals and great white scenery. As National Geographic summed it up perfectly “the beauty and culture of this Russian city are never more pronounced than when it is covered in a blanket of snow. A dusting of white ramps up the fairy-tale factor of architectural gems like the immense Winter Palace and ornate Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.”
So, are you ready to get well prepared and adventure the endless landscapes of the world’s biggest country which present the various range of cold weather activities? Here are 7 possible things you can do during winter in Russia.
1. Visit theatres and museums
Winter starts from November until March. During this season, theatres in Russia offered a special performance for visitors. As we all know that Russia is famous with the ballet and opera performances. For recommendation, you can visit the magical show at Bolshoy theatre in Moscow after 15 years of renovations and reconstructions. Or please don’t miss the epic ballet performance at Mariinsky Theatre while you are in St. Petersburg.
2. Do winter sport
Many types of winter sports are possible to do, and it is scattered around Russia. For instance around Lake Baikal, you can do dog sleighing, riding on snowmobiles, skiing and skating. While you have adventurous soul, try extreme winter sports in Yakutia, a city with extreme low temperatures. It is the coldest spot of the world which can reach -89,2 C. This is usually offered for those who want to feel how one can survive under these conditions.
3. Explore Lake Baikal
According to National Geographic, Lake Baikal which is located in the heart of Siberia is the deepest lake in the world and covers 7.8 million acres. Actually this destination is great to visit not only in winter but also in summer. The thing which differentiate is the beauty of a complete frozen lake with seeing through thick ice (a metre or more), and crystal clear air. The main activity to do here is travelling on the frozen lake, either on foot, on skates, by hovercraft or even by car. The thickness of the ice reaches between 1.5 and 2 metres, so it is quite safe to travel on. But if you want to visit this place, get prepared since the location is remote from the city center. You just have to go there via Irkutsk city or Ulan-Ude, a fascinating Buddhist city.
4. Prepare for festive celebration
Winter means time for Christmas and New Year celebration. As well as other European country do in this season. And since this is Russia, people in this country often associate winter with something magical and fairy-tale-like. For your reminder, Christmas Day in Russia is marked on Jan. 7, but from early December there is a festive bustle everywhere, especially in shops, where you have to be careful with the crowds which are busy with their gifts wrapping for Christmas. If you already finish with the shopping, come outside the street and you’ll find skating rinks and bazaars set up in the streets, and -a must be there- decorated Christmas trees and a holiday atmosphere everywhere. If you can afford, consider visiting on New Year’s Eve. It’s Russia’s biggest night of the year, you can enjoy giant fireworks, and trust me, you won’t feel regret of the mesmerizing and sparkling night there.
5. Ride traditional Russian Troika
Have you heard about Russian Troika? Not yet? so this will enlighten you. Troika is a traditional three hourse-sleigh. It can be found in many places across Russia, such as Central Moscow Hippodrome, St. Petersburg’s Pavlovskiy Park or some places on the outskirts of Ekaterinburg. This is such an experience for you who want calmly ride while enjoying the views of Russian countryside, find local people sleighing and skiing on frozen bank river and adore the snowy landscape as you travel.
6. Travel along Trans-Siberian railway
Trans-Siberian railway is the longest railway line in the world, with a length of 9,289 kilometres. It connects Moscow and Russian Far East. A full lengths route can be completed in seven to eight days. It such an amazing journey to do during winter season. Why I recommend you to get on board on this season? There are some reasons. First, the price is cheaper than summer season, second there won’t be many tourist and so you can gain more Russian experience, third don’t worry of freezing temperatures outside, because it’s so warm inside the train.
Besides, travelling on the Trans-Siberian in winter allows you to witness and experience the real Russian winter with frost, vast skies, and houses with smoke coming from the chimneys. Looking outside from the train window, you will immerse with the scenery of white snowy forest, an endless sea of snow everywhere and the most amazing is how gigantic the country is.
7. Visit Russian Banya
Banya means sauna. This place is available in all over Russia. The interesting thing about this Banya is that you will not only feel relaxed just like in common sauna, but you will feel amazed with the Russian culture. The banya ritual begin centuries ago, it includes staying in a hot dry steam room with wooden benches and flapping one another with besoms made of natural birch tree branches and leaves. After that, you will pour yourself with welcome buckets of ice-cold water. So, that’s all 7 Possible things you can do during winter in Russia