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Russia Travel Tips

Russia travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.

When to stay in Moscow
Submitted by M18057
Stay in Moscow hotels at the weekend. Most hotels are half price on their weekly day costs.
Winter Travel Tips in Russia
Submitted by M20072
Russia is famous for its ski resorts. And traveling with ski equipment can be pricey in Russia.

Limits: one set of ski equipment per passenger. Equipment must be packed into one case (container).

One equipment set includes:

Ski equipment 1 pair of skies + 1 pair of ski poles + 1 pair of ski boots
Snowboard equipment 1 snowboard + 1 pair of boots

Additional baggage item for transportation of one ski equipment is not taken into account while determining the excess baggage fee.
Winter tips for Moscow travelers
Submitted by M20599
We welcome snow, we welcome you!

If you ask random people around the world "What do you think of when I say Russia?" First answer – vodka! True. Continue...bears, perestroika, matroshka, Putin, snow..Oh, stop here! SNOW. The most beautiful, yet least comfortable time of the year in Russia. Ok, so you’re making a decision whether it’s a good idea to go to Russia in the winter. You probably begin thinking "Do I even own a pair of gloves? What the heck is 'black ice'? Will I end up ... view more paying fee of luggage overweight with all these cloths?" Don’t panic! Just read a list of the following tips and you’ll feel 'half-Russian' before you’re done with it!

1. It’s not about the brand or the number of shoes you take with you. It’s about the thickness of the soles of your shoes. It does not have to be bulky, up-to-you-knee shoes. They have to be water-resistant and keep your feet as far from the ground as possible.

2. Gloves sound like an 'accessory'? Well, it’s not! Grab a pair to save your skin and make your outdoor experience a pleasure. (you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll learn to dial your touch-screen phones with your nose!)

3. Don’t go out killing animals for a beautiful fur coat. Trust me, there are very affordable, simple, winter coats that will keep you warm. Hood would be a good attribute!

4. Use lots of lotion on your face and hands before and after going outdoors. Winters are quite windy in Moscow – it’ll dry your skin very quickly.

5. Ask your tour-guide or travel company to arrange your tours so that it alternates outdoor and indoor excursions. Hope this short list helps you during your travel to Russia and remember, if all fails, there’s always an invisible coat*!

*good Russian vodka;)

Language course and stay in St. Petersburg, Russia
Submitted by M17222
White Nights - the best time to travel to St. Petersburg. White Nights is the period of time when the centre of the Sun goes down beyond the horizon at midnight for about 7 degrees. St. Petersburg is the place where you can observe this phenomenon within more than 50 days. The White Nights of St. Petersburg are famous in all parts of the world and attract attention of not only tourists, but also the citizens of St. Petersburg.
Dress code when you tour St Petersburg
Submitted by M11270
Dress code of the country
Nothing special- keep European style, but when attending acting churches try to cover head (women) and naked parts of your body (so gentlmen, no shorts please). When in the theaters (ballet or opera performances) you can be dressed casually, but be sure there will be many (mostly foreigners) dressed up to the nines!
How to get Russian tourist visa
Submitted by M11270
In order to travel to Russia you have to obtain tourist visa (but we arrange visa free excursions for cruise passengers and those arriving to St Petersburg from Helsinki by ferry Princess Maria or Princess Anastasia) We provide you with visa support letter (visa invitation letter) for getting visa in Russian Embassy/ Consulate. For that you have to have the proof of pre-booked accommodation in Russia for entire period of your being there and know exact days you are in St Petersburg. Upon arriving to Russia you have ... view more to be registered within 7 working days at the Russian Visa and Passport service (if you stay at hotel they will do it for you but sometimes it is not free).
Money tips in St Petersburg , Russia
Submitted by M11270
Be ready that in many places they don’t accept credit cards, but fortunately we have plenty of ATMs which are available everywhere (you can find them for sure in vestibules of many metro stations), so you can get local currency, RUBLES (one ruble is 100 kopecks), Exchange rate is 1$=30 rubles, 1 euro =40 rubles (drop at www.xe.com). When bringing traveler’s cheques expect to pay up to 3% commission for getting cash (besides not every bank accept them; the happy place is Raiffeisen Bank- Moyka Embankment, 36, ... view more just in the downtown, working hours is 9am-6pm).
As for the tipping it is usually 5-10%

Food and restaurants
Submitted by M11270
Restaurants mushroom in St Petersburg every day. Of course we have "McDonald" and "Subway" restaurants not mentioning numerous Italian, Japanese and Chinese ones. But while walking in the downtown and get hungry try delicious pancakes with different stuffings at "Teremok" – or Russian pies at Stolle - fast, cheap and really tasty. Russian pickles, Borsch (traditional beetroot soup), Solyanka (made of meat over-lefts), beefstroganov are available at highly recommended "Na ... view more Zdorovie" and "Chekhov" restaurants. Be ready that in many restaurants it is allowed to smoke though they start arranging non smoking zones. We recommend to drink bottled water which is available everywhere ($2-3per bottle).
Stay Healthy & Safe
Submitted by M11270
As in any big city here, in St Petersburg (alas!) we have pickpockets. We have to admit that they are hard working people and know every business very well. So when you are in the down town or attending some great public events be careful: don’t keep your valuable private belongings in the back pockets of your trousers or in any other way they can be seen and reachable to everybody. Keep an eye on your expensive cameras and be attentive using metro and overcrowded (in high tourist season) public transportation. ... view more Actually it is enough to show your common sense and everything will be OK!! If having some health issues you can use the services of local "American Medical Clinic" (www.amclinic.ru) Or "Euromed" clinic (http://en.euromed.ru/).
They will charge you in full but if you have a medical insurance you will be provided with all necessary papers to be reimbursed later when return back home.

What gift to buy in St Petersburg
Submitted by M11270
- A very good idea is to buy St Petersburg porcelain (factory was founded in 1744). Prices varies greatly from cheap up to very expensive ones but quality is invariably very high not speaking about beautiful design.
- Lacquer boxes made of papier-mache and belonging to different schools will struck your imagination with their beauty.
- Amber
- A set of Christmas toys
- Imitation of Faberge eggs (though not loved by everybody)
- Matryoshka or nesting dolls (there are so many of them that even a set with ... view more images of presidents of USA is available
Public transportation and taxi in St.Petersburg
Submitted by M11270
Public transportation is widely spread, cheap and doesn’t depend on the distance. You have to pay inside a bus, trolleybus or in metro station vestibule, the cost is less than $1. Stops are relatively few and far between so getting off at the wrong one can mean a lengthy walk. Please beware of pickpockets! Registered taxis are run by many different companies They are usually Volgas or Fords, painted bright yellow with a chequered logo on the doors. Most Russians eschew taxis in favor of hitching rides in private ... view more vehicles, which enables to earn extra money as chastniki (moonlighters). You simply stand on the kerb and flag down any likely looking vehicle heading in the right direction. When one stops show him a paper with your destination name and what you are willing to pay the driver may haggle a bit, but there is so much competition that it’s a buyer’s market.
Touring tips for visiting St Petesburg
Submitted by M11270
St Petersburg is one of the most beautiful and elegant cities in the world – but while serfing Internet for its numerous museums keep in mind:
- Museum opening hours (10-11am -5-6 pm, each has its own day off, but it is practically never Sunday or Saturday+ extra day off at the end of each month for cleanup day)
- No discounts for senior citizens, only for children and students upon showing ISIQ (international student’s identification card)
- Some museums has special opening hours only for the Russian ... view more speaking tourists and separate hours for foreigners, hours for individuals and hours for the organized groups
- St Petersburg downtown is very vast and if you are limited in time and wish to see as much as possible just hire a driver with a comfortable car, not only a guide as all sites of interest are situated rather far from each other (otherwise the city tour will take 6-8 hours and this is without getting inside museums)
- May - middle of September is a high tourist season in St Petersburg and there are long lines in many museums - plan your time in advance or try to buy tickets on line (though not all museums have their sites)
- The only Russian Museum, The Hermitage and St Isaac Cathedral offer special services for handicapped tourists
- The most famous theatre in St Petersburg (if not in Russia) is Mariinsky (former Kirov) theatre of Opera and Ballet- it is possible to book tickets (don’t forget to register first) on line but keep in mind that tickets for foreigners are more expensive (the idea is that cost is the same for everybody, but the locals have discounts).

Museum rules sometimes surprise foreigners: they ask you to leave your jackets, raincoats, umbrellas, big sacks and even bottles of water in a check-in room. If you didn’t pay for taking pictures leave your cameras in a check-in room as well (this is what they demand in the Hermitage).

Travelling by metro in St Petersburg
Submitted by M19511
When you want to go somewhere in St Petersburg usually the fastest way to get there is by metro or some call it subway. Because in St Petersburg traffic jams are usual thing especially from 8 to 10am and from 5 to 8pm. If you plan to travel once or twice in metro - you can buy metro coin for 22 rubles per coin which is about 0,7USD per coin. You can travel in metro as long as you wish from one side of the city to another using 1 metro coin. If you plan to travel more then 10 times you can buy ticket for 10 travels ... view more with discount - but you should remember that this ticket will expire in 2 weeks and different people can't use it simultaneously. So if you are with group of people you can't buy 1 ticket for 10 metro rides with discount - you will need to buy either 10 coins or ticket without discount.
Bridges in St Petersburg
Submitted by M05964
St. Petersburg is possibly one of the only cities in the world that finds itself split in two every night from May until late November. Yes we are taking about those bridges. There are 13 bridges that cross the river Neva and they open for at least four hours to let large ships pass, meaning that for land lovers there’s no way to cross the river.

Every night without fail crowds of happy tourists and locals gather on the banks of the river to drink champagne and watch the spectacle, whilst angry drivers and ... view more pedestrians shake their fists in frustration as they find themselves trapped on the wrong part of town. Pay attention to our timetable of bridge opening times and ensure that the tired- looking guy staring at an un-crossable river in the middle of the night isn’t you.

Bridges going up:
- Voladarsky: 02:00-03:45, 04:15-05:45
- Finlyandsky: 02:20-05:30
- Aleksandra Nevskogo: 02:20-05:10
- B. Okhtinsky: 02:00-05:00
- Liteiny: 01:40-04:45
- Troitsky: 01:35-04:50
- Dvortsovy (palace bridge): 01:25-04:55
- Blagoveshensky: 01:25-02:45, 03:10-05:00
- Birzhevoy: 02:00-04:55
- Tuchkov: 02:00-02:55, 03:35-04:55.

Public Transport in St Petersburg
Submitted by M05964
The "marshrutka" is a mini-bus taxi which follows a fixed route. The "marshrutka" concept emerged in the 90s as a reaction to overcrowded public transport. These days, they go just about everywhere within the city centre and out to the suburbs.

They have set departure points, but otherwise, when you see the number you want, just hail it down like a taxi. To pay, hand your fare (20 – 26Rbl) to the driver or to the person in front of you. When you want to get off, yell out loudly, ... view more ‘ostanavites pazhaluista,’ (stop, please) and the driver will come to a screeching halt.
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