Russia Travel, Backpacking & Gap Year Guide
Russia is a vast country offering so many different landscapes and experiences. Russia has a fascinating history and there are lots of places to visit. Get information, advice and inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in Russia.
Activities & Things to Do in Russia
Travel to Russia
By travelling, backpacking or taking a gap year in Russia you will get to enjoy one of the most incredible experiences of your life.
Our Russia destination guide aims to give you all the information you need to have an incredible experience in this country. Find affordable travel and backpacking ideas with advice for amazing things to do and how you can be more than just your average traveller. You can also get recommendations for budget travel tips and advice on places to stay.
Get inspired to visit Russia today!
- 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
- Experience a unique culture and meet friendly people
- Historic cities with incredible architecture
- So many different things to see and do - something for all interests
- See spectacular sights and world famous places like beautiful St Petersburg
- Russia is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018 - this wil be an incredibly exciting event
- Get off the beaten track
- See a different side to Russia which isn't often portrayed in the media
- Sample the tasty local cuisine
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
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. 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.
Best Places to Visit in Russia
- St Petersburg
- Pskov and Pechory
- Trans Siberian Railroad
- Ulanbattar / Beijing (some tours travel overland through Europe and into Mongolia / China)
Gap Year in Russia
Looking for a unique experience? Take a gap year in Russia and visit places like Moscow and St Petersberg! There are lots of different programs and opportunities available all year round for students, graduates and anyone just looking to do something exciting. There’s much to be said about taking some time out, travelling the world and experiencing new cultures regardless of your age. Consider Russia as your next destination. If you are looking for the best things to do on a gap year in Russia then our directory will help you book the ultimate experience.
Russia Travel Tips
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.
Somewhere to stay is likely to be your biggest cost but there are cheap hotels and hostels located throughout the country.
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 travel guide if you would like to see more of the region.
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.