If you are planning to visit Russia, then understand that Russia is a vast country which has a rich cultural and historical past. There are many things to see and experience in that country. Without doubt, Russia is a great place for travel and tourism purpose. Here, we will give you complete information about what to do in the country, how and when to visit there, and what things you should keep in mind.
Most Sought After Places in Russia
Most importantly, you need to know which places you must visit while in the country. There are a number of tourist attractions in Russia. Russia is popular for its beautiful places, rich culture, gourmet restaurants, informative museums and many others. Following are some of the most sought-after places in Russia:
- Red Square – Red Square is a popular place in Moscow. It is at the center of Russia, and is one of the most frequented tourist places in the country.
- St. Basil’s Cathedral – St. Basil’s Cathedral is situated on the southern side of Red Square. This is a 6th-century structure and is one of the popular tourist attractions in Russia.
- The Kremlin – Kremlin is the official residence of the President of Russia. It is located at the center of Red Square. If you have sufficient time for touring, then you can visit places like Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery, Bolshoi Theatre and Kuskovo Estate too.
- St. Petersburg-Yet another place of tourist interest in Russia is St. Petersburg. It has a distinctive European flavor. Across Russia, the official language is Russian. Though there are hotels in the city where English is spoken. There are numerous cultural classics that the tourist can enjoy in this Russian city.
- Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace – The museum was established in the 18th century, and is one of the most acclaimed museums in Russia.
- Nevsky Prospect – The Nevsky Prospect is an important street in the city of St. Petersburg. This place has a number of attractive structures like the Dom Kingie, Kazan Cathedral. It is regarded as the commercial as well as entertainment center in Russia.
- Sochi – Sochi is considered as a popular city in Europe. It has a beautiful sea-shore, and is lined with a number of attractive snow-capped peaks of popular mountains. The 2014 Olympics was held in Sochi.
If you visit Russia, then other places of tourist interest include the Lake Baikal, Kamchatka hot springs, Kamchatka peninsula, Kizhi islands and others. You will find a number of historical monuments in the Kizhi islands.
The Vacation Season
Russia is a big country and is located very close to the Arctic, which is why the climate of the country varies from one place to the other. Therefore, while visiting the country, it is important to consider the time when you plan your travel to Russia. Most tourists visit the country during the summer season, as winters can be really harsh because of the chill. Let’s find out the best season to visit Russia.
In Russia, July and August are warmer months of the year. During these months, more and more tourists visit the country. There are places in Russia where one can enjoy round the clock daylight for some part of the year. The temperatures of the summer can reach 30 degrees celsius or even more than that. Before traveling to Russia, it is highly recommended that you check the weather of the destination in order to make your travel comfortable.
Tourists usually don’t visit Russia during the Winters as winters are very cold. However, if you visit the country during the winters, then you can ski on the slopes, or ride on a horse-drawn skate on outdoor lakes. There are well-furnished hotels in Russia that provide high-quality accommodation to the tourists visiting the place. During the winters, the roads in Russia often become muddy and slushy, because of which extra care should be taken while traveling.
Spring and Fall
The spring season is considered the ideal season to visit Russia. In this season, the tourists visiting Russia can find some of the great festivals as well as concerts in important places of Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are a number of entertainment options that the tourists visiting Russia can enjoy during the Russia tour. These entertainment options include Ballet dancing, Theatres, Music festivals and others.
If you want to avoid rainy summers or cold winters, then you should visit the country during the months of May to June and from the months of September to October.
If you plan to visit Russia, then apply for the Russian visa well ahead of time. It takes some time and money to fill up the forms, complete the formalities and procure a Russian visa, and the entire procedure takes around 14-15 days. Therefore, you as a prospective traveler, require to plan accordingly. If you fail to do so then you need to cancel your Russia trip. For more information on this, visit relevant resources available online. There are more than one companies which offer visa processing services online. You may use their services to get a Russian visa. It is to be understood that you cannot enter the country until or unless you have a valid passport or visa. Therefore, it is absolutely important to comply with the visa requirements while visiting Russia. As far as customs clearance is concerned, you will need to declare your good while entering as well as while leaving the country. These goods include everything from electronics and jewelry items to eatables and others.
Things to Consider While Visiting Russia
If you are planning your trip to Russia, there there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Some of them are:
- Book in advance: If you want to go to Russia, then you should book your flight tickets for late August. It is because in other months, the climate and weather in Russia tend to be unpredictable. Therefore, if you are traveling to Russia in off season, you require to bring with you items like boots, comfortable shoes, scarfs, sweaters, jackets, sunglasses, umbrellas etc. to stay safe and prepared.
- Save money: Russia is considered as one of the most attractive destinations for tourism purpose. However, in this context, it is to be understood that travel to Russia can be very costly at times. Therefore, it is always advisable to plan your trip well in advance so that you do not end up paying more for last-minute bookings. The rates of flights and hotels may increase if you do not book them in time and seek booking at the last minute. The bookings also tend to be cheaper during off seasons and weekends. So, plan your trip accordingly.
- Book hotel: There are many hotels in Russia for accommodation purposes. However, the Moscow hotels remain overbooked most of the times. Therefore, you require to research well before you book hotel rooms online. You can save yourself from last-minute hassle and extra bills by booking well in advance. Since airport transfers may cost a lot if you take a taxi from the airport to the hotel, you may request your hotel to arrange complimentary airport transfer for you.
- Know language: You would be at an advantage if you can speak Russian language, as most people in the country use that language only. But if you don’t know Russian, don’t worry. You will find many English speaking people also there. Staff members of most hotels are trained to speak in English language. However, it is a good practice for the tourists to bring a dictionary, and keep it in close proximity for referring now and then.
- Carry currency: The currency used in Russia is the Russian Ruble, short form RUB. It’s better to visit a local bank or currency exchange office in your home country and exchange your local currency with Russian Rubles. But if that’s not possible, exchanging currency in Russia is not a problem too. Apart from that, most shops, restaurant and hotels in Russia also accept debit cards, so it would be helpful if you bring along your debit card too. There are so many ATM machines in almost every nook and corner of Russia, where you can withdraw Russian Rubles easily. But everything cannot be paid with card and there will be no ATM while you are on a train or ship, you need to carry some cash too. However, your bank may charge you some fees for converting money in a foreign country. So, you need to check that from your bank.
- Move around: While in Russia, you have a whole lot of options to move around the country. There are ships, buses and trains which you can use to move from one Russian city to the other. You may even book a private cab to move around. While public transport is cheap and easily accessible, booking a taxi may be expensive, especially if the taxi driver finds out that you are an ignorant and uninformed tourist. Before visiting Russia, you need to know that the taxis that are used in Russia seldom use meters. So, try to negotiate and don’t just give away whatever amount the driver asks. It would be wise to hire cars with logos, which are reliable and have fixed rates. You can also use the metro for commuting purposes, or even the subway system. It is recommended that you research the routes and count the stops prior to boarding a public mode of transport.
- Food: Russian cuisine inculcates influences from a multitude of cooking traditions, including Caucasian, Siberian, East Asian, Central Asian, Eastern European and Northern European. Since Russia is a huge country, its cuisine is characterized with multi-ethnic cooking styles prevalent in different parts of the country. There are a number of food chains that are available in the country. Therefore, if you contemplate on having good food in the country, then there are plenty of options. However, if you miss food of your home country, you may find regional restaurants too that offer food from different parts of the world. Many Russian restaurants encourage tipping, and if you visit a Russian restaurant and if you are satisfied with their food and service, then you may consider tipping the restaurant staff.
- Dress properly: Russian winters are cold and summers are hot and humid. At times, weather of the country is hardly predictable. If you are visiting the country during winters, it’s important to dress yourself in such a way that you stay protected from rain rather than from the chill. Since snow melts quickly, you need to carry an extra pair of socks and appropriate footwear. You would need layers of clothes while traveling around, so dress appropriately to be ready for the weather.
- Respect their customs: Russia is a traditional society, and there are certain rules that you should follow while being there. Although it is getting a bit advanced these days, locales will love you if you respect their customs. For instance, if you are invited to visit someone, you should bring them a small gift when you arrive as a guest. Some restaurants and theaters also expect you to wear their dress code. Although you won’t be forbidden from entering, but you will yourself feel odd when you enter a theater wearing jeans when all others are dress formally. Similarly, when you visit a Russian Orthodox church, women should cover their head and wear a long skirt or trousers, and men should cover their legs and take off their headwear.
Russia is an attractive destination for tourists because of many reasons. It is one of the most enchanting places in the world. The place is spread across a wide area and has more than eleven time zones. Therefore, if you want to visit Russia, then you require meticulous planning. If you carefully plan your trip to Russia, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the country at its best.