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eurasia

Russia

A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Expect

Russia – For everyone, the country name evokes a different set of feelings or perceptions more polarizing than most travel destinations. Regardless of one's preconceived notions, it doesn't take long after doing a quick Google search to realize what a great country destination it is for adventurous travelers! Spanning over 11 time zones, Russia is the largest country in the world, and has so much to offer travelers. Whether you take an interest in art, dance, opera, religion, history, or nature – Russia is sure to wow you. See below for a comprehensive guide to Russia!

What can i 

from Russia?

Places to Visit

vii. plan your trip

vi. cuisine

v. climate & weather

iv. average costs

iii. know before you go

ii. places to visit

i. what to expect

a. budget travel

b. mid-range travel

c. luxury travel

Looking for something specific?

Table of contents

RUSSIA

Moscow

Russia

St. Petersburg

Russia

St. Petersburg

Burana Tower

KYRGYZSTAN

KYRGYZSTAN

Chon-Kemin Valley 

KYRGYZSTAN

Ala-Archa National Park

Russia

Moscow

Russia

Sochi

KYRGYZSTAN

Ala-Archa National Park

KYRGYZSTAN

Chon-Kemin Valley 

Burana Tower

KYRGYZSTAN

Know

you go

before

Official Language(s) – Russian
Currency – Rouble (RUB)
Capital City – Moscow
Credit Cards & ATMs – Credit cards, including Apple Pay, are widely accepted in large cities. It is incredibly convenient, but be sure to read up on common ATM scams.
Outlets – C & F
Popular SIM Card Providers – Beeline, MTS, MegaFone, Tele2Russia

details

st. petersburg

climate & weather

Due to the sheer size of the country, Russia's climate can be broken up by region. To the west of the Urals, also known as "European Russia," cities in the north experience freezing cold winters and rainy, mild summers, whereas cities in the south, such as Sochi, have a more Mediterranean climate. To the east of the Urals we have Siberia and the Far East, which can also be broken up by region. Northern Siberia is, of course, known for its frigid temperatures for the majority of the year. Cities in the southeast, such as Vladivostok, have cold, sunny winters, and wet, dark summers due to their proximity to the Sea of Japan and monsoon season. Finally, the southern plains of Siberia, which includes most cities along the Trans-Siberian Railway, have much more continental weather. 

To best represent the climate of Russia, I've organized the average temperatures & rainfall/sunshine data below by three major cities - St. Petersburg in the northwest, Vladivostok in the southeast, and Sochi in the southwest.

recommended 

WEATHER APPS

Yandex.Weather

Всемирный прогноз погоды

Weather 24

click a season above to see the average temperatures year-round!

weather forecast

spring

spring

summer

autumn

winter

*All data courtesy of Climates to Travel. Visit their website for more information on how this data was collected here.

Average Maximum: 2 °C // 36 °F

Average Minimum: -6 °C // 21 °F

Average Sunshine: 7 hours

Rainy days:  4 days

Average Maximum: 9 °C // 48 °F

Average Minimum: 1°C // 34 °F

Average Sunshine: 6 hours

Rainy days: 7 days

Average Maximum: 15 °C // 59 °F

Average Minimum: 6 °C // 43 °F

Average Sunshine: 6 hours

Rainy days:  8 days

march

april

may

Average Maximum: 2 °C // 36 °F

Average Minimum: -4 °C // 25 °F

Average Sunshine: 4 hours

Rainy days: 9 days

Average Maximum: 9 °C // 48 °F

Average Minimum: 2 °C // 36 °F

Average Sunshine: 6 hours

Rainy days: 8 days

Average Maximum: 16 °C // 61 °F

Average Minimum: 7 °C // 45 °F

Average Sunshine: 8 hours

Rainy days: 8 days

march

april

may

spring

st. petersburg

vladivostok

spring

summer

autumn

winter

Average Maximum: 12 °C // 54 °F

Average Minimum: 5 °C // 41 °F

Average Sunshine: 5 hours

Rainy days:  14 days

Average Maximum: 17 °C // 63 °F

Average Minimum: 9 °C // 48 °F

Average Sunshine: 5 hours

Rainy days: 16 days

Average Maximum: 21 °C // 70 °F

Average Minimum: 13 °C // 55 °F

Average Sunshine: 7 hours

Rainy days:  13 days

march

april

may

sochi

Average Maximum: 17 °C // 63 °F

Average Minimum: 11 °C // 52 °F

Average Sunshine: 4 hours

Rainy days: 11 days

Average Maximum: 21 °C // 70 °F

Average Minimum: 15 °C // 59 °F

Average Sunshine: 4 hours

Rainy days: 11 days

Average Maximum: 23 °C // 73 °F

Average Minimum: 17 °C // 63 °F

Average Sunshine: 5 hours

Rainy days: 10 days

june

july

august

Average Maximum: 20°C // 68 °F

Average Minimum: 12 °C // 54 °F

Average Sunshine: 11 hours

Rainy days: 8 days

Average Maximum: 23 °C // 73 °F

Average Minimum: 15°C // 59 °F

Average Sunshine: 11 hours

Rainy days: 8 days

Average Maximum: 21 °C // 70 °F

Average Minimum: 13 °C // 55 °F

Average Sunshine: 9 hours

Rainy days: 10 days

june

july

august

summer

spring

summer

autumn

winter

Average Maximum: 25 °C // 77 °F

Average Minimum: 17 °C // 63 °F

Average Sunshine: 9 hours

Rainy days: 10 days

Average Maximum: 27 °C // 81 °F

Average Minimum: 20 °C // 68 °F

Average Sunshine: 9 hours

Rainy days: 8 days

Average Maximum: 28 °C // 82 °F

Average Minimum: 20 °C // 68 °F

Average Sunshine: 9 hours

Rainy days: 8 days

june

july

august

sochi

st. petersburg

vladivostok

Average Maximum: 19 °C // 66 °F

Average Minimum: 13 °C // 55 °F

Average Sunshine: 7 hours

Rainy days:  7 days

Average Maximum: 12 °C // 54 °F

Average Minimum: 5 °C // 41 °F

Average Sunshine: 7 hours

Rainy days: 6 days

Average Maximum: 3 °C // 37 °F

Average Minimum: -4 °C // 25 °F

Average Sunshine: 6 hours

Rainy days:  4 days

september

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

Average Maximum: 15 °C // 59 °F

Average Minimum: 9 °C //48 °F

Average Sunshine: 4 hours

Rainy days:  11 days

Average Maximum: 9 °C // 48 °F

Average Minimum: 4 °C // 39 °F

Average Sunshine: 2 hours

Rainy days: 12 days

Average Maximum: 2 °C // 36 °F

Average Minimum: -2 °C // 28 °F

Average Sunshine: 1 hour

Rainy days:  12 days

september

october

November

autumn

spring

summer

autumn

winter

Average Maximum: 25 °C // 77 °F

Average Minimum: 16 °C // 61 °F

Average Sunshine: 8 hours

Rainy days:  9 days

Average Maximum: 20 °C // 68 °F

Average Minimum: 13 °C // 55 °F

Average Sunshine: 6 hours

Rainy days: 10 days

Average Maximum: 15 °C // 59 °F

Average Minimum: 8 °C // 46 °F

Average Sunshine: 4 hours

Rainy days:  14 days

september

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

sochi

st. petersburg

vladivostok

Average Maximum: -6 °C // 21 °F

Average Minimum: -13 °C // 9 °F

Average Sunshine: 5 hours

Rainy days: 3 days

Average Maximum: -9 °C // 16 °F

Average Minimum: -16 °C // 3 °F

Average Sunshine: 6 hours

Rainy days: 3 days

Average Maximum: -6 °C // 21 °F

Average Minimum: -14 °C // 7 °F

Average Sunshine: 7 hours

Rainy days: 3 days

DECEMBER

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

Average Maximum: -2 °C // 28 °F

Average Minimum: -6 °C // 21 °F

Average Sunshine: 0 hours

Rainy days: 14 days

Average Maximum: -3 °C // 27 °F

Average Minimum: -8 °C // 18 °F

Average Sunshine: 1 hour

Rainy days: 14 days

Average Maximum: -3 °C // 27 °F

Average Minimum: -8 °C // 18 °F

Average Sunshine: 2 hours

Rainy days: 12 days

december

January

February

winter

spring

summer

autumn

winter

Average Maximum: 12 °C // 54 °F

Average Minimum: 6 °C // 43 °F

Average Sunshine: 3 hours

Rainy days: 17 days

Average Maximum: 10 °C // 50 °F

Average Minimum: 4 °C // 39 °F

Average Sunshine: 3 hours

Rainy days: 17 days

Average Maximum: 10 °C // 50 °F

Average Minimum: 3 °C // 37 °F

Average Sunshine: 4 hours

Rainy days: 14 days

DECEMBER

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

sochi

st. petersburg

vladivostok

vladivostok

st. petersburg

sochi

what to 

wear in 

Pelmeni

blini

Shchi

Pirozhki

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

приятного аппетита!

Blini

PIROZHKI

Shchi

Shuba

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

PIROZHKI

shchi

Olivie

Shuba

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

KVASS

Olivie

Shuba

Shchi

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

Mors

KVASS

Olivie

shuba

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

Mors

KVASS

Pashka

Olivie

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

Kvass

Mors

Beef Stroganoff

Pashka

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

Mors

pashka

Pelmeni

BEEF STROGANOFF

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

pashka

BEEF STROGANOFF

blini

pelmeni

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

Beef Stroganoff

pelmeni

Pirozhki

blini

приятного аппетита!

browse the culinary scene - click a dish for more info

Pelmeni (Пельмени)

Pelmeni are little, Russian dumplings that are filled with meat, usually pork or beef, or fish. Pelmeni supposedly originated in the Ural mountains, but have since spread throughout the country, as well as to all former Soviet countries. Pelmeni is one of the most popular Russian dishes, and have even been described as the “heart of Russian cuisine and culture!” These tasty dumplings are usually paired with heaps of sour cream and a sprinkle of dill on top. 

Blini (Блины)

Blini is love, blini is life. Blini (or blinchiki, as my host babushkas called them) are similar to French crêpes, but are a bit lighter and richer. The first time I had blini was at a small cafe in the middle of nowhere in central Kazakhstan, and when I tell you my life was forever changed, please know I’m dead serious. I devoured them, ordered three more, devoured those, and then got some more to go. The next summer I had my Kyrgyz host mother teach me how to make them, so that I can have blini for breakfast (or dinner?) anytime I want! I personally love to pair my blini with condensed milk (look it up… you’re welcome) but they can be paired with practically any topping/spread such as jam, honey, as well as savory toppings. Russians even have a holiday each year called “Maslenitsa” where they celebrate with blini festivals!

Pirozhki (Пирожок/ки)

Pirozhki are fabulous buns of goodness stuffed with meat, cabbage, or potatoes. Literally “little pies” in Russian, Pirozhki make for great snacks and are a popular choice for large gatherings and parties. Pirozhki are typically savory, but can also be filled with sweet ingredients like jam or fruit. 

Shchi (Щи)

First brought to Russia from the Byzantium empire, Shchi has a long history in Russian cuisine. This soup is considered a staple of the Russian diet, and is common to find on menus throughout the country. Since its introduction to the country, however, several variations of the relatively simple soup have emerged. In the past, the recipes used to differ depending on one’s social status and whatever ingredients were common in the region. Today, shchi has numerous variations that each reflect the culture and agricultural makeup of the region it developed from.

Shuba (Шуба)

Shuba is, well...a unique dish with a bit of an acquired taste. The full dish title, селёдка под шубой, which literally translates to "herring under a fur coat," is a very authentic, Russian salad. Under its “fur coat” of grated beetroot, the salad is made with herring, cooked beets, potatoes, carrots, boiled eggs, and mayonnaise. The ingredients are also a great representation of the past typical Russian diet - root vegetables that were able to survive Russia’s harsh climate. 

Olivie (Оливье)

Olivie is a type of Russian salad that was actually first prepared in a past restaurant once inside of the Hermitage museum! It quickly became a crowd favorite among museum patrons, and became the restaurant’s signature dish. The dish is named after the chef who first prepared the dish, but was actually popularized by a sous chef of his who stole the recipe! The ingredients have changed drastically over the years, but today, it is commonly made with potatoes, dill pickles, peas, hard-boiled eggs, carrots, and meat, all mixed with mayonnaise.

Kvass (Квас)

Kvass is a quintessential Russian drink that dates back all the way to the late 900s! This fizzy, grain-based drink actually translates to “leaven” or “fermented drink.” Despite the fact that the production process closely resembles that of brewing beer, its alcohol contents are minimal (0.05% - 1.50%) and it is considered a non-alcoholic soft beverage. Kvass was immensely popular among the entire population - from peasants to tsars, but was consumed in excess by Russian commoners. It was dranken so frequently that it's said to have been more popular than water, and it also became the key ingredient in several soup recipes. Consequently, kvass became considered as the commoner's drink throughout the Middle Ages.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent influx of western products, popular soda brands such as Coca Cola and Pepsi began to outperform kvass in sales. In an attempt to revive its once widespread popularity, recent marketing campaigns of kvass producers have sought to emphasize kvass’ role in Russian history and equate its patronage and consumption with patriotism. In fact, a major Russian kvass company, Nikola, recently ran a series of advertisements that promoted its mission of “anti cola-nization.” 

Mors (морс) 

Mors is a popular, non-carbonated Russian fruit drink. It is prepared by boiling berries and sugar water or by mixing fermented fruit juices with sugar water. Traditional mors uses cranberries or redcurrant as the prominent berry, but it can also be prepared with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, among others. The resulting taste is a bit mild in my opinion, but it is widely popular throughout the country. 

Pashka (Пашка)

Pashka is a sweet treat that is largely associated with eastern Orthodox Christianity. Pashka is a cake that is prepared mostly with ingredients that are forbidden during Lent, so it is prepared during Holy Week, and then blessed following the Paschal Vigil. After the fasting period is over, the cake is eaten in celebration. Traditionally, the cake is prepared in a pyramid-like mold that imposes religious symbols on the cake’s exterior.

Beef Stroganoff (Бефстроганов)

Beef Stroganoff is another Russian dish that has gained popularity worldwide. This dish consists of beef filet, onions, mushrooms, and noodles. These ingredients are then all sautéed in a sour cream and white wine sauce. Although the origins of this dish are less clear than others, most stories agree that it appeared sometime in the 19th century. 

Russian Cuisine

приятного аппетита!

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