Russia Travel Guide

Russia is a vast country offering so many different landscapes and with a fascinating history and lots of places to visit. By choosing to travel to Russia you will get to enjoy one of the most challenging but incredible experiences of your life. Russia is a country that will take your breath away, there are modern cities, spectacular mountains, snowcapped mountains, and also off the beaten track exotic destinations like Siberia. 


Things to Do in Russia

Want to travel to Russia? Need inspiration? Find activities, experiences, travel packages, backpacking ideas in Russia.

Russia Travel Guide

Russia Destination Guide

Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting Russia.

  • Capital - Moscow
  • Currency - Ruble (Pуб.) is the national currency of Russia
  • Population - 143,200,000 (approx)
  • Language - Russian
  • Dailing Code +7
  • Country Size - 17,098,242 km2


Top Reasons to Travel to Russia

  • A unique culture
  • Historic cities with incredible architecture
  • So many different things to see and do - something for all interests 
  • See world famous places like beautiful St Petersburg
  • Don't believe everything you hear in the media, Russian people are very friendly
  • Russia is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018 - this wil be an incredibly exciting event



The name Russia originated from the old Norse term, for "the men who row" (rods-) as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe. Russia became the medieval state of Rus after being ruled by the early Swedes and became independent, began to flourish in the 9th century. The Mongols invaded and split the country into small tributaries until it reunified itself to become the Kievan Russian empire in the 18th century.

The monarchy became established into the tsarist regime until the Russian Revolution overtook it and Russia became the USSR, which some saw as a failed socialist state. In 1991, the soviet state was dissolved and the Russian Federation was established. Today, much  of the Soviet Union is gone and a new democratic government has emerged into the 21st century to maintain Russia's dominance in the world stage.


Weather & Best Time to Visit Russia

Russia is a huge country that spans 11 time zones on two continents and its climate is as varied but the dominating humid continental climate persists except in the tundra and the southeast of the country. The rest either have a subarctic climate or polar climate. The majority of the country has only two distinct seasons winter and summer with spring and autumn just managing to act as change for the two seasons. January is the coldest when temperatures are in -10C while July is the warmest when temperatures can reach 25C but extremes happen.

July and August are the  summer months in Russia and many tourist prefer this months as it's a bit preferable to getting frozen in winter. This is also why the term “White Nights” was coined because at these time, the sun doesn't set in the first part of July. Temperatures can climb to 90 degrees F. it is also humid which make it a bit uncomfortable but there's almost always air-conditioning.


How to Get to Russia

Getting into Russia is not a problem with over a thousand airports. Almost all major airlines have flights to Moscow where the traveler can continue on to their next destination. 



Visitors to Russia need a visa if they are not citizens of countries listed for visa exemption. A tourist visa is not needed if the tourist comes with a tourist group with a travel agency. 


Travelling & Backpacking in Russia

Popular sightseeing destinations you must try to visit include St. Basil's Cathedral, St. Petersburg's, the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Imperial palaces and grand museums. Local people will meet you with smiles and interest, this will be the cultural experience like no other.


Russia Budget Travel Tips

  • General: Russia is quite an expensive destination compared to others in the region, you will need to budget accordingly. Summer is a popular time to visit Russia but this is when accommodation can be most expensive due to local/international tourist numbers. 
  • Accommodation: Somewhere to stay is likely to be your biggest cost but there are cheap hotels and hostels located throughout the country.
  • Transport: Local transportation consists of rail, plane, bus or car. Trolleys and trams also run in most cities but only in the daytime. The taxi is the only alternative at night. Bus, tram, trolley all cost the same at $1. Car rentals are also available and could be cheaper than taxis if you're renting to travel around the city which is more than 50% lower than hiring a taxi. Check out our Ukraine budget travel guide if you would like to see more of the region. 
  • Food: Russian cuisine is a mix of regional dishes mainly; bread, stews, fish, meat, mushrooms, berries and honey. Tipping is Russia is not required when a service charge is in the receipt but otherwise 10/15% is the norm. You can try to eat at locally run cafes to keep costs down. Learning Russia will come in handly if you are going to markets so you can barter for food.



Russia offers an exciting calendar of events every year and you will find the locals as excited as the visitors. Russians are well known for enjoying a tipple and there are plenty of entertaining events centred around drinking. Russia offers several outdoor and indoor music festivals throughout the year. Many exciting cultural, sporting and special events are part of the festivities in Russia and the traveler is always welcome to join.

1. January
Russian Orthodox Christmas: (7 Jan) Xmas only comes once a year...unless you’re Russian! Prior to 1918, Russia used the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Xmas celebrations last for 6 days and begin on Xmas Eve.

2. February
Maslenitsa Festival: St Petes & Moscow (28 Feb to 6 Mar) This colourful festival dates back to Pagan times. Join in the carnival style celebrations around StPetes and Moscow, with live music, dancing, sleigh rides, fireworks.

3. March
Russian Football Championship: St Petersburg & Moscow (Mar to Nov) See Russia’s largest cities battle it out on the football pitch at St Pete’s atmospheric Petrovsky Stadium or Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

4. April
International Ballet Festival Mariinsky: St Petersburg - (14 to 24 Apr) Watch leading ballet companies perform in St Petes during one of the most significant events in the ballet season.

5. May
Night at the Museums: St Petersburg - (21 May) and Moscow – (June) Spend a night at the museum! The most respectable museums and art galleries stay open until the earlyhours for this wonderful event which is accompanied by special exhibitions, street art and performances.

6. June
St Petersburg Beer Festival: St Petersburg – (Jun/Jul) St Petes best street festival. Watch the Nevsky prospekt parade and fireworks, whilst drinking lots of beer! On The Go will be offering an optional Beer Festival bolt-on, enabling you to attend this lively event at the start of your tour. Further details to follow, once the Beer Festival date has been confirmed.

7. July
Ballet Show “Summer Seasons”: Moscow - (5 Jul to 27 Aug) Watch the acclaimed Moscow City Ballet and Russian National Ballet perform in the capital. Performances usually take place in the old Russian National Theatre opposite Red Square.

8. August
Moscow International Folklore Festival: Moscow - (Aug to Dec) Based in Moscow’s Hermitage Gardens, this folklore festival attracts dancers and musicians from all over Europe.

9. September
Art Moscow: Moscow - (21 to 25 Sep) Visit the largest and most influential contemporary art fair in Russia, covering every aspect of modern art. 40 international galleries display pieces at the Central House of Artists.

10. October
St Petersburg Open Tennis: St Petersburg – (Oct) See the world’s best male tennis players battle it out for the title at this exciting sporting event.

11. November
Russian Wine Festival: Moscow – (Nov) Fancy a tipple? The Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre showcases wines from around the world. The event includes master classes, professional presentations and plenty of wine tasting!

12. December
Christmas at the Kremlin: Moscow - (Dec to Jan) Get in the festive spirit with Yuletide concerts at Moscow’s mighty Kremlin. Russian Winter Festival: Moscow & St Petersburg - (Mid Dec to Early Jan) Celebrate the Russian Winter Festival with troika rides (sleighs), folk music and games galore.


View our Europe budget travel guide for more countries.





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