Russia is the world's ninth most populous country with over 144 million people at the end of 2015. Extending across the entirety of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms.
1. St Petersburg - The cultural Northern Palmyra
Many of Petersburgers do not consider themselves Russians, but rather as Europeans. They go to Finland every weekend, they give their cafes and hotels Finnish names and distinguish 100 shades of grey in clothes.
As well as the Hermitage with its baroque and rococo styles, and Voltaire's library which was bought out by the educated Catherine, the Kunstcamera museum is a must for visitors to St Petersburg.
After looking at two-headed dogs and embryos preserved in alcohol, visit the monument of Peter the Great which is surrounded by a fence of champagne bottles. No matter how many times the place is cleared, newlyweds still hang their "trophies" on the fence.
Palace Square is at its best at night, whereas the interiors of Saint Isaac's and Kazan Cathedrals look better in daylight when rays of light play on the mosaics and paintings. However, the best mosaic collection is in the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
For a true feeling of the city, make sure you go and see a ballet in Mariinsky Theatre, watch the bridges raise, take a stroll along Nevsky Prospect, and don't forget to go into backstreets, as in Venice. There is a reason why the city is called the "Venice of the North".
2. Moscow - magnificence and poverty the Russian way
Moscow is a city of wide avenues and massive Soviet buildings from the Lenin Russian State Library which has 275 km of shelves, to Stalin skyscrapers representing Stalin's Empire style.
All tourists, go to see the Kremlin and Red Square first. Having originally been a market and an execution yard, Red Square is now the first port of call for foreign and local tourists alike. Even today, it is the centre of Moscow life, allowing you to plunge into the history of the city quickly and easily.
Here you can visit the Mausoleum, the Russian Historical Museum (which formerly housed the Lomonosov State University), and multicoloured Saint Basil's Cathedral, whose architect is said to have had his eyes poked out so that he could not recreate it! TsUM (Central Universal Department Store) is also located here where prices start with three-digit figures.
When you go to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, don't forget that this is a Cathedral, so please dress accordingly.
You will not be allowed in with bare stomachs and backs. However, if you forget, you can visit Tverskaya Street which is famous for its fashionistas, boutiques and night life.
3. Kazan - the oldest capital city
Kazan is officially called "the third capital of Russia".
The city turned 1000 years old. Despite its impressive age, the oldest Annunciation Cathedral, Kazan Kremlin, and the core of the old city, the Old Tatar Settlement and iconic buildings of the century before last, are still preserved in the centre of the city.
Interestingly, there are also many modern architectural monuments alongside the history. These include the "Frisbee" of the circus as the symbols of Kazan, and the modern Qolsharif Mosque.
Architecture lovers can also see how Christianity and Islam coexist in Kazan. The decoration of Orthodox churches contains elements of Asian pomp.
Raifsky Bogoroditsky Cathedral has a miracle-working icon of the Mother of God of Georgia, which is kept with special reverence.
4. The Golden Ring - onion domed churches
Fans of Russian Orthodoxy who wish to experience the calm of the Russian faith often go on tours around cities which are famous for their unique monasteries and churches of the 12th to 17th centuries.
These cities have rather poetic names: Sergiyev Posad, Alexandrov, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Uglich, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky, Suzdal and Vladimir.
Our Golden Ring tour includes visits to Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Vladimir as well as Moscow, St Petersburg and Novgorod.
5. Lake Baikal - the pearl of Siberia
The oldest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet with unique, untouched flora, fauna and tasty omuls which the locals catch and then cure by smoking.
Walking along the area's ecological routes and communicating with the locals who are untouched by civilisation will help you immerse yourself in nature. Tourists can also visit an inhabitable Buryat yurt.
6. Trans-Siberian Railway
Tourists need strong nerves to go on a train journey around Eurasia. Not everyone can spend almost a week in an enclosed space on wheels.
Those brave souls who do make the journey are rewarded by seeing 80 cities, the Volga River, Ural Mountains, Baraba steppe with its ominous clouds, Yenisei River, Barguzinsky Mountains, the woods of Siberia, Khekhtsir Range and Lake Baikal.
Your journey will leave you with vivid memories, while the constant motion of the train will stay with you for days after.