1. A cruise on the wild side

Summer 2020 sees the inaugural expedition to the Russian Arctic National Park and the far-flung islands of Franz Josef Land for Arctic specialist Aurora Expeditions. Departing from Murmansk, the new ship Greg Mortimer will voyage across the Barents Sea for sightings of polar bears, whales, walruses and seals. Tundra walks to view the rich variety of birdlife including fulmars, kittiwakes and little auks are also possible.

Franz Josef Land Explorer from about Dh40,000 for 14 nights including transfers and all meals on board. Excludes flights. Departs July 12, 2020. Aurora Expeditions auroraexpeditions.co.uk.

2. Battlefields of Borodino

Napoleon on the battlefield Bonopart at Borodino. Illustration by artist A.P. Apsit

Napoleon’s Russian campaign and his retreat from Moscow after the 1812 Battle of Borodino is the focus for an autumn tour offered by escorted specialist The Cultural Experience. As well as Borodino, a couple of hours outside Moscow, the itinerary takes in several other sites from Napoleon’s eventually disastrous campaign including Smolensk and the nearby battlefield of Valutino. theculturalexperience.com.

3. Flavours of a nation

Explore the diversity and seasonality of Russia’s traditional dishes on a rail journey departing from St Petersburg. Learn the secrets of making borscht in Suzdal and taste Tartar dishes including laghman (noodles with meat and vegetables) in Kazan.

Russia Real Food Adventure from about Dh5,900 for nine nights including some meals. Excludes flights and transfers. Departs April, June, August and September. intrepidtravel.com

4. Culture in St Petersburg


Few cities rival St Petersburg when it comes to outstanding artistic treasures. Check out its extensive art museums and contrasting architectural styles. martinrandall.co.uk

5. Life among the nomads

Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula, above the Arctic Circle, is home to the Nenet, a nomadic tribe of reindeer herders. Go on a trip to this frozen tundra, a 45-hour journey from Moscow on the Trans-Polar railway, spend time with the Nenet in basic yurts in the Langot Yugan valley. Activities include sledding, net fishing and traditional crafts.

Russian Expedition – Footsteps of the Reindeer Herders from about Dh11,800 for 14 nights including some meals. Excludes flights and transfers. Departs July 30 and Aug 20 2020. imaginative-traveller.com

6. On track in Siberia


Travelling the 6,152 miles between Moscow and the eastern outpost of Vladivostock on the Trans-Siberian railway takes seven days. Go on a longer itinerary taking in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg for ice-fishing and rafting and an overnight stay in the historic city of Ulan Ude, formerly a Cossack garrison. regent-holidays.co.uk

7. High living in the Caucasus

The highest peak in the Caucasus range is Mount Elbrus at 15,554ft and an ascent takes eight to 10 hours by the easier southern route. The itinerary offered by Adventure Alternative includes three days in a two-star village hotel for acclimatisation before moving on to the higher mountain huts with experienced guides.

Mount Elbrus South Route from about Dh7,20 for 10 nights including food and transfers but not flights. May to August. adventurealternative.com

8. Tigers in the taiga

Notoriously elusive, the endangered Siberian tiger roams the remote taiga forests of eastern Russia. There is also a chance of spotting wild boar and Siberian roe deer. naturetrek.co.uk

9. An Orthodox Christmas

Russia’s Christmas season – svyatki – runs from Christmas Day (which falls on Jan 7) until Jan 19, and is one of the most atmospheric times to visit. aceculturaltours.co.uk

10. Discover Lake Baikal

Close to the Mongolian border in Eastern Siberia, 400-mile long Lake Baikal is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the world’s deepest lakes. Take a tour on the Circumbaikal railway, a visit to Selenginsk St Trinity Monastery and an encounter with the Semeiskiye people in their village of Tarbagatay. steppestravel.com

The Sunday Telegraph