Useful information : When to go, Getting around...
When to go
The hot, quite humid summers are the favourite season for many travellers. Cruises take place up and down the Volga and the Neva and the tourist sites are taken by storm. St Petersburg is magnificent during the white nights in June, all the more so thanks to the host of festivities. The snowbound Russian winter, when the temperatures drop below freezing, which lasts for 5-6 months and covers some two-thirds of this territory, is not necessarily to be avoided. Providing you dress up warmly to withstand the dry cold air, you will be able to visit Moscow’s and St Petersburg’s splendid museums without the summer crowds and admire stunning snowbound landscapes. Don’t miss the fantastic Russian winter festival at this time, which takes place in the squares and parks of the Golden Ring and St Petersburg.
Short and rainy, spring and autumn are relatively uninteresting from a tourist’s point of view, although the hotels offer discounts and the Orthodox Easter in April-May is characterised by magnificent religious ceremonies.
Formalities and useful addresses
A visa is required to enter Russia. Contact the Russian Embassy of your country to enquire about what type of visa you need (during periods of high demand, you should apply for your visa well in advance).
Your passport must be valid for six months beyond intended stay.
British Embassy – Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya 10 - 121099 Moscow - [TEL] (495) 956 7200 - www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-moscow
U.S. Embassy – Bolshoy Devyatinskiy Pereulok 8 - Moscow 121099 - [TEL] (495) 728 5000 - http://moscow.usembassy.gov
In St Petersburg
British Consulate-General – Pl. Proletarskoy Diktatury, 5 - 191124 St Petersburg - [TEL] (812) 320 3200 - www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-consulate-general-st-p...
Consulat General of the U.S. – 5 Furshtatskaya St. - St. Petersburg 191028 - [TEL] (812) 331 2600 - http://stpetersburg.usconsulate.gov
Money and budget
Banks are generally open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.
Rubles can be found in Russia exclusively. You can exchange your currency in airports, hotels and in the many exchange offices and banks in the tourist districts.
Most hotels, restaurants, shops and rental agencies accept the major credit cards. There are many ATMs and those with an "English" option accept foreign credit cards.
In Moscow or St-Petersburg, you should expect to pay around £65 to 115 for a double room in a mid-range hotel, and about £12 to 20 for a meal in a restaurant.
Health and safety
Standard European plugs. (220 V, 50 Hz). British and American visitors will probably need an adaptor of some sort.
This list is non-exhaustive as the government decides which days are public holidays each year.
January 1 - New Year
January 7 - Orthodox Christmas DayFebruary 23 - Defender of the Fatherland DayMarch 8 - International Women's DayMay 1 - Spring and Labour DayMay 9 - Victory DayJune 12 - Russia DayNovember 4 - Unity Day.
Post offices are generally open from 9am until 6pm, with a short break for lunch.