Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/russia) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Way to Russia (www.waytorussia.net) Comprehensive online travel guide.

Afisha (www.afisha.ru) Extensive restaurant, bar, museum and event listings for all major cities; in Russian only.

Moscow Expat Site (www.expat.ru) Mine expat knowledge of Russia.

Meduza English (https://meduza.io/en) Best site to read up on current Russian politics.

Moscow Times (https://themoscowtimes.com) Country's main English-language publication.

Top Tips

  • Consider using a specialist travel agency to arrange visas.
  • Treat yourself to a stay at a business or luxury hotel on weekends when many drop their rates substantially. Big discounts can also be had on hotel rack rates when booked online.
  • Rail tickets can be booked online or at stations 45 days in advance. There are discounts for online and advance bookings.
  • Fixed-priced business lunches, common in cities, are a great deal and an ideal way to sample the cuisine at fancier restaurants.
  • Schedule some time out of the big cities at rural or off-the-beaten-track destinations to fully appreciate what's special about Russia.
  • Purchase a Russian SIM card with unlimited internet access upon arrival and consider using the Yandex Maps app (more accurate and detailed than Google or Apple), and any of the popular taxi apps (Uber, Gett, Yandex Taxi).

What to Take

  • Good walking shoes – Russian cities are best explored on foot.
  • Phrasebook, mini-dictionary or translation app.
  • Earplugs and eye mask for napping on trains, noisy hotels and during long White Nights.
  • A sense of humour and a bucketful of patience.

What to Wear

Informal dress is generally fine. However, Russians do make an effort when they go to the theatre or a posh restaurant – you should do likewise if you want to fit in. If you’re planning on exploring on foot, a comfortable pair of waterproof walking shoes will come in handy, as will an umbrella or rain jacket.

In winter, bundle up with several layers before going out and bring a long, windproof coat to stay nicely warm. Hats and coats are always removed on entering a museum or restaurant and left in the cloakroom.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the expiry date of your visa.
  • Arrange your visa.
  • Check airline baggage restrictions.
  • Check travel advisory websites.
  • Tell banks and credit card providers your travel dates.
  • Organise travel insurance.