It was 10 years ago when we first visited the town of Tutaev. Since that time it’s been my dream to stay there longer than a day.read more
You don’t need to have mastered much of the Russian language to know that the name "Ukraine" is derived from the word "Krai", edge.read more
When Russians bump into their fellow citizens abroad, their initial reaction is usually one of either surprise or embarrassment.read more
Newcomers to Russia struggle with the whole concept of giving flowers here.read more
Every country has the bits that make its people proud, and also the parts that they’d rather you didn’t see.read more
The Polenova Estate
With the busy life we lead we often get stuck in the city for many long weeks and weekends, surrounded by huge buildings, by noise and fumes from cars, with little greenery to mitigate the urban experience.read more
The Island of the Sleeping Volcanoes
It’s grey outside. Impenetrable clouds lie like lead over everything.read more
Glasgow, the Most Under-estimated City in Europe
I suppose every country needs a kind of civic scapegoat, a place that is considered to be so bad that the other Metropolises look good.read more
Just four hours flying time from Moscow on Air Malta, lies 7000 years of history with plenty to sample over a week‘s holiday.read more
Until the country went into financial meltdown in 2008, Iceland rarely made the international news—and why would it?read more
St. Petersburg, often called “the Northern capital of Russia”, has always attracted tourists from all over the world.read more
- Tula, August 2011
I am the kind of a person who rarely likes to travel within Russia.
- The Crimea, July 2011
If you need heat to chill, then I recommend the Crimea. I visited in early May and it was already warm, with the greenery sprouting vigorously.
- Ples, July 2011
The summer is here, and the most impatient travelers have already started making their plans!
- Happy Russians on Planet Goa, June 2011
I’ve finally lived to see it: a mass of happy Russians, smiling, friendly, relaxed and at ease. Of course, they weren’t in Russia.
- Ho Chi Minh City, June 2011
A day off work! An English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City with 184 “Persausive” essays to mark.
- Thailand, May 2011
In this overcrowded, superfast world of ours, one sometimes longs to take one’s foot off the accelerator and escape far away from everyday problems and routines.
- Mexico, April 2011
For many Russians, their first acquaintance with Mexico started back in the 1990s when Mexican telenovelas flooded our TV.
- Parched Pleasures in Namibia, March 2011
Drinking crisp Windhoek lager at a party in the Namibian Embassy in Moscow was the first real exposure we had to this country so far from Russia.
- Kyrgyzstan, February 2011
Apart from appearing in pub quizzes as one of four countries in the world to only contain one vowel, Kyrgyzstan rarely makes the international headlines.
- Dangerous Places Worth Visiting, January 2011
Is the world we live in really so dangerous, or are we just falling for western propaganda aimed at scaring you into watching more news and being petrified at leaving the comfort of your own home?
- From Russia to Afghanistan, November 2010
When leaving Moscow to start work in Afghanistan, I was surprised by the mixed reactions I received.
- Tallinn, October 2010
Tallinn used to feature on the ex-pat agenda as a convenient destination for the visa run.
- Turkmenistan, September 2010
Articles on Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, usually churn out the well-worn quote “Dubai meets the Soviet Union”.
- Endless bustle in Singapore’s Chinatown, September 2010
If you can sneak in a one-day stopover in Singapore on your way to South East Asia’s beach resorts, then spend it in Chinatown.
- Staritsa, August 2010
Until recently the small town of Staritsa was known mainly to well-informed travellers, and was almost a secret to the general public.
- Kuala Lumpur, August 2010
Surprizing Kuala Lumpur
- Abkhazia, July 2010
A region that’s trying hard to be a country!
- Torzhok, June 2010
Are you interested in architecture?
- St. Petersburg v. Moscow, June 2010
St. Petersburg is well worth a visit at any time of the year.
- Yemen, May 2010
If there’s one country in the world presently making the global headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s Yemen.
- Kolomna, April 2010
Yes, there is life beyond Moscow in Moscow oblast. Among the many gems scattered throughout the region, perhaps the brightest is Kolomna, located two hours south of the metropolis by ramshackle but generally reliable suburban train.
- Larissa Franczek Travels to Ostashkov, March 2010
People sometimes think that the most beautiful, interesting and charming places are somewhere far from where they live.
- Seeing Volcanoes in Kamchatka, March 2010
Eruptions take place in Kamchatka constantly from one of the 600 active volcanoes in the area. No less than three volcanoes at any one time are spewing out ash, pebbles, and plumes of smoke.
- Dog Sleigh Rides in Moscow Oblast, February 2010
About fifty kilometres north-east from Moscow there is a farmstead-cum-dog breeding centre, specialising in Siberian Huskies, called ‘Akulova Gora’.
- Two trips to Karelia, January 2010
Last winter I went to Karelia twice. The first time was on a business trip.
- Bird Paradise in the Moscow Region, January 2010
Within 80 kilometres of Moscow, you can find yourself in an exotic forest filled with tropic parrots, flamingos, monkeys, ostriches, kangaroos and many other rare animals.
- Chukotka Diaries, December 2009
Chukotka has been in my dreams for two weeks now, and I keep checking the Chukotka daily weather forecast.
- The Blue Eye of Siberia (Baikal), November 2009
The Chinese called it the “North Sea” in ancient times.
- Yakutia, October 2009
An ancient Yakut legend has it that God was once flying over Yakutia and his hands got frozen (as well they might) so he dropped all his treasures.
- Art Courses in Edinburgh, September 2009
If you are a frustrated artist, you might try going on an art summer school next year organized by art colleges all over the world.
- Moscow’s Sea, August 2009
The capital’s flotilla of pleasure cruisers connects the city, via the Moscow Canal and the mighty Volga River, north to St. Petersburg, south to Volgograd and beyond.
- Tourism in Russia, July 2009
Last month I was invited to give a talk at the 9th Annual Moscow International Tourist Exposition.
- The “Ruler of the East”: Vladivostok, July 2009
After 9 hours, seven time zones, two airline meals and no sleep I found myself still in the same country standing on the tarmac of Vladivostok airport.
- The Nanai People of the Amur River, June 2009
Like many indigenous cultures around the world, the Nanai’s way of life has been under constant threat from the modern, industrial world that has grown up around it.
- Kamchatka, May 2009
After an ungodly predawn start and seven leg-numbing hours of climbing, we scrambled up to the Avachinsky volcanic crater to be greeted by a view of – nothing.
- Mongolia, May 2009
It was a popular saying in Soviet times, referring to the fact that Mongolia may lie outside of the Soviet Union’s borders, but there wasn’t a great deal of difference from what lay inside.
- Kargopolye (The Russian North), May 2009
The Russian North has always held an attraction for those who harbor a desire to get away from it all, and discover the Real Russia.
- Vilnius. The Old and the New, February 2009
Moscow is proud of its 20th century, having become a capital then and with appropriate buildings to mark its new significance.
- Weekend Getaway, January 2009
Since the 18th century, Russians have been travelling to Mineralnye Vody (The Mineral Towns) in the Russian Caucasus Mountains in search of curative spring waters and rest.
- Washington, D.C., January 2009
All eyes will soon be on Washington, as the new POTUS (President of the United States) is sworn in, taking the reigns of the world’s foremost superpower.
- Yerevan, January 2009
Closing my eyes as I inhaled the rich fragrance of the cognac I held in my hand, I listened to the voice of our guide.
- Tallinn, December 2008
Tallinn Old Town is everything that central Moscow is not.
- Black Sea Coast, December 2008
The Caucasus Mountains looming over the sub-tropical resort of Sochi are framed in a sky of blue and bathed in the glorious golden sunshine of a winter’s late afternoon.
- Goa by Motorcycle, November 2008
Since the 1960s, Goa has attracted global hedonists and escapists in ever-increasing numbers to its shores.
- Postcard from Beirut, November 2008
Beirut may not seem an ideal holiday destination; on January 25, 2008, a bomb blast in the city left four dead and 38 injured.
- Scuba Diving in Palau, November 2008
At first there was nothing, just a calm cobalt expanse stretching into the deep blue beyond.
- Viva Las Vegas!, November 2008
It’s often said that Vegas isn’t so much a city as a state of mind.
- Down Mexico Way, November 2008
When selecting a holiday destination, have you ever struggled to decide exactly what it is you want from your vacation?
- Postcard from Pyongyang, November 2008
The North Korean government is fervently proud of its roads, and rightly so. They’re expansive and spotlessly clean, with not a pothole in sight.
- Astana, October 2008
Kazakhstan’s capital city is 10 years old!
- “Lord” Novgorod-the-Great: King of the Castles, September 2008
For Russians, “Novgorod” means Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s fourth-largest city, situated on the Volga.
- Sochi, August 2008
Established in 1896, Sochi is one of Russia’s largest cities on the Black Sea, with a population of more than 300,000.
- Beijing, August 2008
You would need to have been living as a nomad for the last four years not to know that Beijing will be hosting the Olympic Games this year.
- Mongolia: The Festival of Naadam, July 2008
The history of the Mongolian Buddhist festival of Naadam is as ancient as Chinggiskhan himself.
- On the way to Beijing: Buryatia, June 2008
Hidden behind the Soviet-style excesses of Ulan-Ude are living communities with unbroken traditions of spiritual and moral values that stretch back to the 17th century.
- Neil McGowan goes to Lake Baikal, May 2008
Where in Russia can you find seals, seagulls, fishing fleets, and fish smokeries at a location hundreds of kilometers from the sea? The answer, of course, is Lake Baikal.
- A Nice Burg With a Heart of Gold, April 2008
If the most famous girl of the American gold rush is Clementine, then her Russian equivalent is Katya, or Empress Ekaterina I.
- Kazan: Phoenix in the Snow, April 2008
Cobblestoned Kremlyovskaya Ulitsa in Kazan’s upper town, looks like the well-preserved and lovingly restored center of any Russian provincial city.
- Chernobyl: A Visit to a City Preserved in Radiation, March 2008
The name Chernobyl was first recorded in a charter that described a hunting lodge owned by a Kievan Rus prince in 1193.
- How far to Ufa?, February 2008
Ufa greeted me at 5 AM in the morning with darkness, a cold autumnal air and a thin but constant drizzle.
- The Warmth of Thailand, February 2008
Sunshine is the best cure for winter. Thailand’s sunshine is guaranteed and even better.
- Among the Svan, January 2008
Our first real taste of Svan hospitality comes halfway along the lonely road to Svaneti from the hardscrabble Georgian city of Zugdidi.
- Tajikistan Surprises, January 2008
Ask most Russians what they associate with Tajikistan, and they will probably tell you, “manual laborer ‘gastarbeiters’ on building sites across the country.”
- Astrakhan: Russian Silk Road City, December 2007
Inside the walls of the Astrakhan Kremlin, brides wander the main square with their grooms.
- Rising to the Victoria Falls, December 2007
In 1855, British explorer David Livingstone described the Victoria Falls as having “scenes so lovely (they) must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
- The Lost Tribe, November 2007
In Kalmykia Ray Nayler explores Europe’s only Buddhist Nation.
- A Day Out in Moscow: Tsaritsyno, November 2007
When I visited the place recently, I found a massive crowd with a few pseudo-Gothic towers in the distance.
- Brussels the City to Come to Again, October 2007
Brussels was at best, a city low down on my list of ‘must visit before I die’ places.
- Samara’s Central Attraction, October 2007
Standing beside the Zhigulevski brewery on the banks of the bend in the Volga River you look across to the Zhiguli Mountains, which is one of the most beautiful views in Russia.
- Discover the Heritage Hotels of India, September 2007
“The palace (of Oodipur) is a most imposing pile,… nor is there in the East a more striking or majestic structure…”
- Retro-chic Excels for Service, September 2007
Two weeks at the Hillside Su, and we were still overwhelmed by the fantastic service of the hotel.
- Charmed by Simplicity in Vladimir and Suzdal, September 2007
Surprising myself, I chose Vladimir and Suzdal.
- London Through Russian Eyes, August 2007
I take a step. Just one. Because I don’t know what my next step is going to be.
- Bicester Village, August 2007
Visiting Britain, it’s hard not to indulge in some retail therapy.
- Into Siberia, August 2007
I’d spent at least five years dithering about taking the Trans-Siberian express, worrying about safety on board, levels of comfort and boredom, and how to keep clean.
- Scotland for Russians, August 2007
The best news this month is the appearance of the first-ever Russia-language book for travellers to Scotland.
- A Londoner’s Sunday, July 2007
Piers Gladstone abandons the tourist trails and the glitzy West End to take us off the beaten track in London.
- Istanbul Through Russian Eyes, March 2007
As I rode from Bulgaria to Turkey, the lush green countryside, a lazy relaxed paradise, turned into the Turkish plain that reminded me of nothing so much as the Crimean steppe.
- Beware of the Bison in Belarus, February 2007
Belarus has been much in the news lately.
- A Dacha in Dubai, January 2007
Dubai has become one of the most sought after destinations and places to buy property abroad for Russians.
- Veliky Novgorod, December 2006
A collection of promotional material from Veliky Novgorod caught my eye.
- Joining the Pilgrims on Solovetsky Islands, November 2006
The icy waters of the White Sea are glassy and still. Dawn breaks over the horizon as we arrive at the port of Kem.
- Special Section, November 2006
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore & Thailand
- Rostov-Veliky – Stepping Into Another Era, October 2006
As the Moscow-Yaroslavl train disappears into the distance I am left standing on the platform with a handful of other passengers.
- Nizhny Novgorod, September 2006
The challenge was simple, and set by the airline S7 (formerly Sibir) – an online special of a one day roundtrip for “business travellers” from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s third largest city.
- Anyone for a tank ride?, August 2006
Riding in a Russian World War II tank or coldwar era BTR personnel carrier is becoming more difficult, but still possible with a bit of preparation.
- Off to Chukotka – the Edge of the World, August 2006
A Chukcha hunter sits on the peak of a bare hill, elbow resting on his knee, he smokes a cigarette, and enjoys a rest.
- Baikal, July 2006
I do believe that there is nothing quite in the world which compares to travelling within Russia... by Jeremy Marsden
- Threat to Baikal Diverted, July 2006
In a dramatic televised action in April, Russian President V. V. Putin diverted a potential threat to Lake Baikal, a UN World Heritage site.
- Walk in Moscow Oblast, July 2006
While the snow was still lying on the ground back in March, I noticed a small piece in the Moscow Times about a hiking club that meets every Sunday to hike in the Moscow region.
- The Crimea, June 2006
When you hear about holidays on the shores of the Black Sea (Chernoye Morye), in Crimea (Krym), in Yalta, you soon realise that this is something out of the ordinary.
- Singapore, May 2006
‘Let’s Makan’! Singapore
- Syria, April 2006
The World’s Cultural Bazarre
- North Korea, March 2006
The Past in the Present
- Hotel Dafna, March 2006
Luxury On The Volga
- Beirut, February 2006
Lofty Past Ebbs Back
- Georgia, January 2006
The great Russian writers of the 19th century raved about the Caucasus, and little wonder they did. Georgia has something for everyone, in its own special way.
- Photo Album, January 2006
The Ultimate Travel Album by Sarah and Simon Roberts
- Murmansk-Vladivostok Expedition Trophy, December 2005
It’s billed as the ultimate challenge for man and machine.
- Hong Kong, December 2005
Modern day Hong Kong is a vibrant Asian city and one of
the world’s largest financial capitals. It’s part Chinese, part
Western, and wholly unique.
- Paramotoring, Fishing, and Bisons!, November 2005
Two Hours from Moscow
- Kiev - Borderland Between Europe and Central Asia, October 2005
With the dropping of visa requirements for all EU passport holders, Kiev has become an ideal weekend break destination.
- Altai – the Pearl of Siberia, September 2005
Ten-day expedition of Sarah and Simon Roberts through the Altai
- The People’s Paradise of Sochi, Summer 2005
Piers Gladstone goes to the playground of the Crimea
- Captivated by the Caucasus, June 2005
Simon and Sarah Roberts take the spa waters
- 48 Hours on the Run, May 2005
In Baku, Azerbaijan
- How Far Can You Go For $99 in Russia?, April 2005
All the way to Yerevan, Armenia
- 48 Hours in St Petersburg, March 2005
Our editor takes the express train from Moscow to St Petersburg,
and has some ideas about what to do on a weekend in the Second