Russia, officially the Russian Federation is the largest country on Earth. Covering 17,125,200 square kilometres, more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area and transcending two continents. This land spans eleven time zones, encompassing a wide range of environments and landscapes from Eastern Europe to the far East of Asia.
From north to south the East European Plain, also known as the Russian Plain, is clad in Arctic tundra, coniferous forest, mixed and broad-leaf forests, grassland, and semi-desert. The huge expanse of land known as Siberia is largely a coniferous forest. Consequently, Russia lays claim to the world's largest forest reserves, known as 'the lungs of Europe'. These lungs are second only to the Amazon Rainforest in the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs.
I could fill-up the internet with the number of words needed for this paragraph. Many lifetimes could be spent trying to capture this immense landmass. From the historic city of St Petersburg to the far eastern Vladivostok over 9000 kilometres away. And the magical Olkon island on Lake Baikal to the bitter arctic north. There are enough options in Russia to keep you busier than a Jehova’s Witness at a Doors tribute concert.
Boring factual stuff about Russia
- Fourteen countries share a land border with Russia: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and North Korea.
- Russians are the world’s fourth-biggest drinkers behind Belarus, Moldova and Lithuania. Until 2011, anything with less than 10% alcohol wasn't classed as alcohol. Instead, rather a foodstuff.
- The Trans-Siberian railway almost spans the whole country. Departing from Moscow in arriving in Vladivostok in the east. The entire journey is 9,200km long (5,700mi) and would take 152 hours and 27 minutes to complete non-stop. Thus making it the world’s longest railway.
- Russia is home to Oymyakon, the coldest inhabited place on Earth. On 6th February 1933, its weather station recorded a temperature of -67.8 °C.
- Capital: Moscow.
- Population: 143.4 million.
- Area: 17 million sq km. (6.6 million sq miles)
- Major language: Russian.
- Major religions: Christianity, Islam.
- Currency: Ruble.
Have a wemooch elsewhere...
Fancy a wee mooch behind the old iron curtain?
After journeying through Europe, I entered Russia from Estonia in the Baltics at a land border at Narva/Ivangorod. However, being bordered by 14 countries it's safe to say there are more options on the land crossing front.
The locations of these land crossings can and do change. For up to date information on visa requirements, you should check with the Embassy or Consulate of Russia before you travel.
All foreign nationals are required to have entry visas to travel to the Russian Federation. Tourist visas allow stays of up to 30 days, and entry visas can be obtained at local Russian Embassy or Consulate, The Passport and Visa Department (UVIR) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or specially authorised travel agencies.
If you're a British citizen I can recommend a visa service called 'Real Russia'. It is particularly useful if you'll be needing a visa for a neighbouring country that you plan to go through. It will you save lots of time and hassle compared with obtaining them on the road.
You'll need a few other things to come together for it all to work out. There's some useful stuff to be clicked and pressed below.