Fairy tale-like cathedrals, glistening palaces and ancient walled fortresses are just some of the sights on offer to those who dare attempt to process a Russian invitation letter (Google it). Here are 7 sights in Russia that will leave you second-guessing why you ever had second thoughts about coming to this ‘Grammers heaven.

1. St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

Though it may lack that wow-factor on the inside, St Basil’s a.k.a one of the most iconic buildings in all of Russia, will stun you with its radiant colour and beauty from outside in the Red Square. Built to recognise the victory over the Mongols, this building deserves a Snapchat (or 10) when you first see it.

2. The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Because one opulent, extravagant, cant-believe-what-I’m-looking-at building is never enough. This ‘block’ of multiple historic buildings, linked via bridges and passage ways, will leave you wondering how the Tsar and Romanovs lived such a lavish lifestyle.

The Hermitage Theatre, Old Hermitage, Small Hermitage and the Winter Palace combined create The State Hermitage Museum, and you can expect some of the best examples of historic artwork, classical antiquities, decorative art, jewellery and more from all around the globe. Just thank Catherine the Great and her reputation as a patron of education, literature and the arts for such an amazing collection (otherwise you’d probably be strolling through vacant rooms with other tourists pushing and elbowing you for nothing)

State Hermitage Museum Russia St Petersburg

3. Moscow State University, Moscow

Talk about reaching new heights. This mammoth university sits at the end of a long promenade, atop one of the highest points in Moscow. At 240-metres tall, this hulking university towers over the city, with the main building being the highest of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers in Moscow. Each as impressive and jaw-droppingly beautiful as the last, but just as stunning as its “sisters”, the view of Moscow State University is unmissable wherever you are in the city.

Moscow University

4. The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg

Get ready for it. We’re talking one of, if not THE most beautiful mosaics you will ever see. Seriously. Crane your neck towards the highest point in the church, and discover just what 24 years of construction results in (hint: one of Russia’s most eye-catching buildings). Multihued and fairy floss-like from the outside, the vibrancy of the church is only accentuated by the millions tiles, meticulously placed on its walls. Advice? Get yourself a fish eye lens, make your way to the centre of the church, look up and ‘Gram one of the most insanely-beautiful photos you’ll ever take. Your followers will love you for it.

5. Metro stations, Moscow

Anywhere else in the world, you would simply board and depart a train without batting an eyelid at your surroundings – but then again, you haven’t seen the masterpieces that lie beneath the Moscow city streets. Mosaics, stain glass windows, bronze statues, beautiful facades and extravagant chandeliers are just some of the artworks that make up the incredible Moscow Metro (read: not your average train station). Take your time to enjoy the history that is on display at each station – and don’t forget to touch the dog’s nose when you get to Ploshchad Revolyutsii. Trust us.

6. Moscow Krelim, Moscow

Sounds like a childhood nightmare creature; looks like one of the most picturesque fortresses in the world. The Kremlin has survived wars, invaders and history itself, however it’s the buildings that lie outside its gigantic red walls that really add to its superiority = The Red Square, St Basil’s, Lenin’s Mausoleum and the State Memorial, to name a few.

7. Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral, St Petersburg

How’s this for cool? Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral is the oldest landmark in St Petersburg. And is situated in the middle of a fortress. On an island. No joke. Atop the 123-metre spire sits an angel (one of the most important symbols of St Petersburg) but as Mum always says, it’s what’s inside that counts; the remains of Russian emperors and empresses, including Catherine the Great, have their elaborate tombs housed here. Think: white marble, gold plate, and chandeliers glowing with elegance. But of course, would the most famous of Russian royalty settle for anything less?

Peter and Pauls Cathedral Russia

So there you have it – Russia and SO much more. What have we missed? Tell us in the comments.

Ready for an EPIC adventure? Find your next trip to Russia here.

James Gottschalk
James “Jimmy” Gottschalk is an ex-full-time Topdecker, self-proclaimed AFL pro and total travel enthusiast. While gallivanting the world, Jimmy is working on his social media celebrity status and mastering the art of living.

You can follow his adventures on Instagram @plenty_of_chalk