So, if you are reading this article right now, you probably found it on Google by searching something like “Travel North Caucasus” or “Tourism North Caucasus”. So, you at least know something about the region, and were actively seeking information about travel here. But, let’s be honest, how many people actually know where the North Caucasus is or even what it is?
With all the different events going on in the world today, an obvious thing to consider before you travel is the safety of the country you will be in.
HOW SAFE IS THE RUSSIAN CAUCASUS RIGHT NOW?
From our years of experience, we have found that it is highly unlikely that you will be put in any danger in the North Caucasus region of Russia. Our two American representatives on the ground have lived a combined 9 years in the region with their wives and young children, and are happy to call it home. It is one of Russia’s most beautiful regions with a growing tourism infrastructure and is definitely worth visiting!
Here are some aspects of traveling in Russia’s Caucasus region that you may want to be aware of, both giving reasons why the North Caucasus is stable and presenting travel advice from our expertise and other travel advisories.
“Everything you need to know”
“Trusted tips from an experienced mountain guide”
HAVE YOU HEARD THE CALL OF THE MOUNTAINS?
So, you have heard the call of the mountains and want to climb Mount Elbrus? The allure of this mountain, standing at 5642 meters (18,510 feet), draws thousands every year, seeking to ascend to its snowy heights. It is the highest mountain in Europe, making it one of the famed “7 Summits” (the name used to refer to the highest mountain on each of the 7 continents). Whether you are still considering this climb or are committed to your adventure, here are a few things you should know before you hop on a plane to Russia.
What do I need to know?
APPLY FOR YOUR VISA
Every visitor to Russia needs a visa. The visa application process takes time and money, but is worth it in the end! We highly recommend going through a trusted processing company who will make sure that your application is filled out correctly and everything is done right. There are many companies that process Russian visas, but Beyond Red Square has its own private visa processing partner: LetsRussia. We even have a customized application page on our website for our travelers. Get started on your application process (at the latest) three months before your trip.
When is the best time of year to come to Russia?
Russia has four seasons and each of them have their pros and cons for travel. When most people imagine Russia, they think of fur hats and coats and year-round snow drifts. While there are some regions of Russia that are like that, many parts are not. Russia is the largest country in the world, and so specific weather forecasts will depend on where exactly you are traveling to in Russia.
WHAT IF I’M GLUTEN-FREE?
More and more often we meet travelers who are on a restricted diet: no sugar, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, keto or vegan….and the list goes on!
For the most part, a restricted eating lifestyle is foreign to Russians. The response tends to be “why on earth would you want to limit what you can eat??” On the other hand, restricting one’s diet for a defined period of time is quite familiar. Every year the Russian Orthodox Church does a 50-day vegan diet (similar to Lent, called “The Great Fast”) leading up to Easter. That being said, Russians are extremely hospitable and go above and beyond to make their guests comfortable, including catering to dietary restrictions.
DRESSY OR CASUAL?
What you wear in Russia really depends on the season you’ll be coming in, and what part of Russia you’ll be visiting. Here are some general tips:
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SHOES
Russians walk a lot, and you will do a lot of walking on your trip to Russia. So, make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes. If you’re coming in a rainy part of the year, waterproof shoes are a definite plus. If you’re coming in winter, make sure that the bottom of your boots have good traction. Slipping and sliding on ice is no fun!
Whether or not people want to admit it, the cuisine they often associate with Russia is quite bland and laced with stereotypes: potatoes, beets, bread, and a shot of vodka.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! The Russian “kitchen” is quite rich and draws influence from many of its neighboring countries from Soviet Union times, from Central Asia to the Caucasus.
ONCE I GOT THERE, HOW DO I GET AROUND?
Russia is the largest country in the world, and as a result, inter-city travel can eat up a lot of your time while there. Here’s some advice for how to make the most of your trip to Russia:
WHY NOT FLY?
If you’re traveling to multiple cities that are far apart and you have limited time, flying is probably your best bet. In-country flights in Russia tend to be pretty cheap, and we recommend Aeroflot as a safe and reliable airline, one of Europe’s top 10 airlines, according to a 2017 report.