“Russia has twelve different time zones just to weave its immense tapestry” - Sylvain Tesson
It’s difficult to envisage a trip to Russia where you get to see everything. It’s the biggest country in the world, there’s a lot to do. Whether you’re going to Saint Petersburg, visiting Lake Baikal, reliving history on Red Square, or travelling through the Caucasus, you need to plan before you travel through Russia.
Did you know that the average tourist spends around 8 days in Russia?
Here’s some advice on travelling to Russia, accommodations, the sites to visit, how much money you’ll spend, and how to get visas. The first thing to do is outline whereabouts in Russia you’re going to travel to.
What Are the Most Famous Russian Cities?
When you travel to Russia, it’s probably a good idea to decide which cities you want to go to. This is hugely important given that it’s the biggest country in the world and you don’t want to buy any train or plane tickets at the last minute. Here are some of the most popular cities in Russia:
- Moscow, the Russian capital city.
- Saint Petersburg, one of the most westernised Russian cities.
- Kazan, a Tartar city.
- Vladivostok, an eastern city.
- Sochi, a beach and winter resort.
- Irkutsk, the gateway to Lake Baikal.
- Murmansk, an arctic city.
- Vladimir and Suzdal, tsarist icons.
There are tonnes of things to see in Moscow! You’ll need several days to enjoy the UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Novodevichy Convent and Saint Basil's Cathedral. Some of the most popular attractions include:
- Red Square
- The Kremlin
- Lenin’s Mausoleum
- The Ostankino Tower
- The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics
Saint Petersburg has a more relaxed and European atmosphere. You’ll be able to find people who speak English slightly more easily than you would in Moscow, for example. If you go to Saint Petersburg in June, you can enjoy the White Nights Festival. Some of the most popular attractions include:
- The Admiralty Building
- The Saint Petersburg Canals
- Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
- The Russian Cruiser Aurora
- The State Hermitage Museum
- Kazan Cathedral
- The Church of the Saviour on Blood
- Mariinsky Theatre
Of course, it’s really difficult to list absolutely everything you can enjoy in Russian cities.
For example, if you take the Trans-Siberian Railway, you could ice skate on Lake Baikal, for example. If you speak Russian, go to Murmansk and take a dog sledge through the tundra!
So which city would you like to visit?
The Best Monuments to Visit in Russia
The number of visitors to Russia has increased by around 20% since 2000. The fact that there are so many wonderful things to visit definitely hasn’t hurt.
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The first thing you should do is think about what you can do in Russia. When you travel through Russia, you can enjoy travelling from the past to the present. There are plenty of different monuments that you have to visit and there are others that are worthwhile going out of your way to see. Here’s our list of some of the most interesting attractions in Russia:
- Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow.
- Lenin’s Mausoleum and the Ostaniko Tower, Moscow.
- The Monument to the Conquerors of Space, Moscow.
- The Saint Isaac Cathedral, the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.
- Kul Sharif Mosque, Kazan.
- The Golden Gate, Vladimir.
- Immanuel Kant's Grave, Kaliningrad.
- Livadia Palace, Crimea.
- The Shisselburg Fortress, Leningrad.
- The Keyboard Monument, Yekaterinburg.
Each of these monuments represents part of Russian history or modern Russian culture.
Red Square is a symbol of Russian power. This is where military parades take place, especially on 9th May to celebrate the end of World War II.
The most surprising monument is probably is Immanuel Kant’s Tomb, which is hidden behind an Orthodox monastery.
The Monument to the Conquerors of Space and the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics can be visited with children.
The most impressive is the State Hermitage Museum. You can easily spend over six hours visiting this place. With so much to see, you might want an English guide to make sure that you don’t miss anything.
You should opt for limitless transport cards when you’re in the big cities like Moscow, Saint Petersburg, or Kazan. A lot of these also allow you to travel on rivers.
So are you looking to have a historical, cultural, or relaxing trip?
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Russia?
Unlike most European countries where you can quite clearly budget your costs, Russia sometimes will have unexpected additional costs. For example, you need to pay for your tourist visa, which you can do by contacting the Russian Embassy or via certain places that work with the Russian consulate, for example.
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Flights can cost several hundred pounds and there are trains that cost between £15 and £40 per person if you’re travelling between Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Then there’s insurance...
You’ll also need to consider the exchange rate, which can quickly change the entire budget for your holiday.
If you’re wondering how much travelling to Russia costs, here’s some advice. Your budget should include:
- The essential costs we mentioned above.
- Accommodation and booking fees.
- Food and dining out.
- Leisure activities.
- Additional costs.
When it comes to food, you can find lots of good restaurants at a reasonable price. There are a number of chain restaurants that offer typical Russian food:
- Teremok, a fast food place that does traditional Russian dishes.
- Lepim y Varim, specialists in pelmenis.
- Pelmenya, another place that does pelmenis.
- Varenychna N°1, for reasonably-priced specialities.
Think about the activities you want to do and budget accordingly. You can easily spend £30 per person per day on leisure activities.
Similarly, depending on your destination, you might want to add around £300 per trip to Russia for registration fees, transportation within cities, etc. You might want insurance that covers repatriation in the event of death, etc. Shop around for different insurance policies.
How are you going to calculate your budget for Russia?
Where Should You Stay in Russia?
Before you even get your flights, you’ll probably look for reasonably-priced accommodation in Russia. You should prioritise places that offer free cancellation so that you make planning easier. You’ll need a reservation before you can get your visa for Russia since you can’t just land in Russia with nowhere to stay.
Accommodation in Russia can be a bit of a nightmare, especially if you don’t know where to look. There are several criteria that you should take into account:
- Dates of stay
- How long you’ll spend travelling in Russia
- Where you’re staying in the Russian Federation
- Your budget
- Your taste
You can choose between:
- Hotels (independent hotels, Russian hotel chains, international hotel chains)
- Youth hostels
- Unusual accommodation
If you like adventure, you could book a dacha country house complete with a typical Russian banya.
So are you ready to go to Russia?
Russia welcomes plenty of tourists every year, so make sure you've planned which regions you want to visit, got your Russian visa, made sure your passport is still valid, and you've bought your rubles.
Before you travel to Russia, you might want to learn more about the basics of the language. On Superprof, you can find private tutors offering Russian lessons. There are three types of tutorials available on the platform: private tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Private tutorials are usually the most expensive option but they also offer the highest level of teaching and tutorials that are tailored to the individual. Online tutorials are generally cheaper as the tutor has fewer expenditures and can schedule more tutorials per day since they don't have to travel. Finally, group tutorials are even cheaper because the cost is divided among the students but you won't get the lessons tailored to each individual student.
If you're thinking about becoming a tutor, you can create a profile on Superprof. Tutors who offer quality tutorials and tailored lessons won't tend to have any problems finding students as your profile will quickly fill up with glowing reviews. If you're looking to entice students, we recommend offering the first hour of tutorials for free so that potential students can see what you're capable of and you can talk about the different types of tutoring you offer.
Don't worry if your students end up going to Russia, either! You can continue tutoring them as long as you both have decent internet connections through online private tutorials.