The world’s largest country offers it all, from historic cities and idyllic countryside to artistic riches, epic train rides and vodka-fuelled nightlife.
Russia has a largely continental climate because of its sheer size with warm to hot dry summers and cold winters with temperatures of -30°C and lower and sometimes heavy snowfall. In Moscow and St. Petersburg the first snow usually falls in late November and stays till early April. The average winter temperature is about -10°C. Much of the country experiences only two main seasons: summer and winter.
Russia Travel Guide: Fast Facts
- The Russian currency is the Russian ruble and is around 69 RUB to 1 USD
- Get your visa well in advance. North Americans and most Europeans will need visas to enter Russia. The official invitation option has been dropped, however people still need to show certain documents, such as hotel confirmation letters, bank/income statements or a travel insurance policy.
- Upon arrival you will be handed a migration card that is either filled out or blank (which you will need to fill out yourself!) You will need this card to register at hotels and to leave the country so make sure you don’t lose it!
- Be extremely careful at zebra crossing / crosswalks. There are times when cars will not slow down and will fail to give way. Never assume that a driver will stop for you when you cross the street.
- When buying art you need the piece certified as being culturally insignificant to have it pass through customs. It can take time to get the proper documents, so it is advisable to avoid buying art if you are visiting Russia for a short time.
- Women should cover their heads with a scarf in Orthodox churches, if it is an active church.
- Travelers are advised against all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, as well as all but essential travel to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
- Avoid drinking water from the faucet, especially in St. Petersburg. The water leaving the purification plant is fine but the water pipe system is woefully outdated and the purified water is often contaminated with city ground water.
Top Things to Do in Russia
- The Magnificent Moscow Metro – the metro system is more of an art deco design project than a transport hub.
- The Astrakhan Kremlin – Located on the banks of the Volga River ever so close to the Caspian Sea, this pleasant waterfront city boasts a bustling boardwalk complete with jugglers, rollerbladers, performers and vendors.
In our next article you will find more about the 5 top attractions in Russia.