Russia

Part fantasy, part historical drama, Russia reads as though it were a work of seminal fiction. A storybook landscape of castles, palaces and cathedrals, this romantic place sets the scene for a famous narrative of valiant champions, incredible riches, celebrated royalty and great tyrants. Yet the real magic of this dramatic country is its wonderfully resilient people and distinctive culture, which are a constant source of warmth in Russia’s massive backyard.

Russia Tours & Travel

Top deals in Russia

Abreise Days Preis AUD
30 Sep 2014 Russia Highlights 8 $1402
6 Oct 2014 Trans-Mongolian Experience 21 $4500
7 Oct 2014 Trans-Siberian & Mongolia 16 $3485
29 Dec 2014 Russia Highlights - New Year 11 $2790

All our Russia trips

Lenin statue

Russia Highlights

8 days from
USD $1,466.25
CAD $1,559.75
AUD $1,445.00
EUR €1,126.25
GBP £969.00
NZD $1,746.75
ZAR R14,743.25
CHF FR1,389.75

Taste mystery and intrigue on a revealing tour of Russia - from the cultural city of Moscow, through ancient Novgorod,...

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Trans Mongolian Railway

Trans-Mongolian Experience

21 days from
USD $4,500.00
CAD $4,278.75
AUD $3,948.75
EUR €3,150.00
GBP £2,617.50
NZD $5,055.00
ZAR R34,263.75
CHF FR3,873.75

Travel on the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railways from Russia to China. This epic transcontinental adventure...

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Forbidden City, Beijing

Trans-Siberian & Mongolia

16 days from
USD $3,323.50
CAD $3,366.00
AUD $3,387.25
EUR €2,435.25
GBP £2,091.00
NZD $4,016.25
ZAR R31,836.75
CHF FR3,000.50

Travel to China, Mongolia and Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow. Visit China, tour Mongolia...

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Russian tea

Russia Experience

15 days from
USD $4,030.00
CAD $4,085.00
AUD $3,995.00
EUR €2,950.00
GBP £2,535.00
NZD $4,875.00
ZAR R33,120.00
CHF FR3,640.00

Experience cities of grandeur, the infamy of Siberia and amazing cultural sights on this revealing tour of Russian from...

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Amir Timur Square, Tashkent

Silk Road - Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan

18 days from
USD $3,795.00
CAD $3,845.00
AUD $3,995.00
EUR €2,780.00
GBP £2,390.00
NZD $4,735.00
ZAR R36,365.00
CHF FR3,425.00

Travel along the Silk Road from Uzbekistan to Russia via Kazakhstan. Visit the trading towns of yesteryear, including...

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Blue domes, Moscow

Classic Russia & Ukraine

12 days from

Delve into a world of majesty and intrigue, from the opulent former palaces of St Petersburg, on a journey through...

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Ger camp, Mongolia

Beijing to St Petersburg

22 days from
USD $4,980.00
CAD $5,035.00
AUD $5,245.00
EUR €3,475.00
GBP £3,140.00
NZD $6,215.00
ZAR R47,740.00
CHF FR4,285.00

Explore China, Mongolia and Russia on a journey from Beijing to St Petersburg via Ulaanbaatar, Lake Baikal and Moscow....

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Description Attribute Image Attachment

St Petersburg to Budapest

16 days from
USD $2,546.25
CAD $2,583.75
AUD $2,546.25
EUR €1,871.25
GBP £1,605.00
NZD $3,007.50
ZAR R24,435.00
CHF FR2,302.50

Jump aboard this amazing tour of Eastern Europe. Travel from St Petersburg to Budapest via Moscow, Novgorod, Kyiv, the...

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St Basils cathedral, Moscow

St Petersburg to Istanbul

33 days from
USD $5,340.00
CAD $5,395.00
AUD $5,620.00
EUR €3,895.00
GBP £3,365.00
NZD $6,665.00
ZAR R51,165.00
CHF FR4,820.00

Jump aboard this amazing tour of Eastern Europe. Travel from St Petersburg to Istanbul via Moscow, Budapest, Kyiv,...

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Architecture in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Silk Road - Beijing to Moscow

35 days from
USD $6,695.00
CAD $6,795.00
AUD $7,060.00
EUR €4,895.00
GBP £4,225.00
NZD $8,370.00
ZAR R64,275.00
CHF FR6,055.00

Travel the Silk Road from China to Russia. Visit important cities along this ancient trading route including Xi’an,...

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Lenin statue

Russia Highlights - New Year

11 days from
USD $2,820.00
CAD $3,055.00
AUD $2,995.00
EUR €2,060.00
GBP £1,665.00
NZD $3,335.00
ZAR R29,980.00
CHF FR2,495.00

Taste mystery and intrigue on a revealing tour of Russia - from the cultural city of Moscow and to the historic sights...

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Russia trip reviews

Our Russia trips score an average of 4.76 out of 5 based on 42 reviews in the last year.

Russia Experience, May 2014

Russia Highlights, May 2014

Articles on Russia

Russia’s winter wonderland

Russia’s winter wonderland

Posted on Fri, 1 Aug 2014 by Sue Elliot

One of the stereotypes about winter in Russia is that it's cold and therefore somewhere travellers should avoid; but the truth is quite the opposite!

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Trans-Mongolian vs Trans-Siberian: how to decide

Trans-Mongolian vs Trans-Siberian: how to decide

Posted on Tue, 3 Jun 2014 by Verity Russo

What is the difference between the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Siberian railway? Here are some tips to help you decide which route to take.

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5 foods you really need to try in Russia

5 foods you really need to try in Russia

Posted on Mon, 26 May 2014 by Bob Golodets

The first Russian foods to come to mind are probably caviar and borscht, but in my homeland there are many more regional delicacies to discover. Here's five you really should try.

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Suzdal is frozen in time

Suzdal is frozen in time

Posted on Mon, 13 Jan 2014 by Bob Golodets

As Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February, we hear from Intrepid Group Leader Boris ‘Bob’ Golodets about why he loves this time of year in his homeland… [...]

Read more

About Russia

At a glance

Trips Available: 10
Capital city: Moscow
Population: 138.7 million
Language: Russian
Currency: RUB
Time zone: (GMT+03:00) Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code: +7

Best time to visit Russia

The open plains stretching across Siberia in the east through to the Arctic in the north determine the Russian climate. Moscow and its milder cousin St Petersburg are prone to temperatures below 0°C (30°F) from November through to March, with few daylight hours and snow. One of the best times to visit Russia is in June, July and August, which are the warmest months (these months are also the wettest so be prepared for a little rain). June is also one of the best times to head north and see the incredible 'White Nights'. Being such a large country, one of Russia’s great joys is its diversity of climatic conditions - poor weather in one location doesn’t necessarily mean poor weather for the entire country.

St.Petersburg weather chart

Geography and environment

Riverbank of Kremlin at night
As the world’s largest country, Russia’s gigantic landmass spans two continents and runs parallel to the Arctic Sea at the top of the globe. To the east are Russia’s two largest cities - the stately capital of Moscow lies inland, while mighty St Petersburg sits perched on the banks of the Neva River. From the central Ural Mountains, Russia’s 102,000 km of waterways flow into the Baltic, White, Caspian and Black Seas, ensuring a landscape that is rich in colour. Infamous Siberia forms Russia’s western land, with a century of prison camps, exiles and secret bases making this remote part of the country the stuff of legends. Siberia’s vastness makes it an emerging location for adventure tourism, yet its icy tundras are still some of the most remote spots on the planet. The best way to experience Siberia is undoubtedly by rail, with the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway offering scenic glimpses and memorable stops at humble villages.

Top Picks

Ancient Walls of Vladivostok Fortress

Top 5 Soviet Surprises of Russia

1. Sarov

Ever wonder where all those nasty Cold War nuclear leftovers ended up? At least some of them can be found in Sarov, a town converted into a nuclear facility and hidden from the world until the collapse of the USSR. Nowadays, the town is keen to show off its collection of 30 kiloton bombs, as well as a scale model of the ‘Tsar Bomba’, the largest bomb ever detonated.

2. Stalin’s Bunker

Almost too good to be true, Stalin’s elaborate bunker sits 60 metres below an athletic field in the middle of suburban Moscow. Only recently discovered and refurbished, the bunker is now open to visitors, and is complete with annotated war maps, a pool table and Stalin’s famous pipe.

3. Star City

Once the highly secret and closely guarded base of the Soviet space program, this fully functioning city northeast of Moscow now serves as a training centre for current and aspiring cosmonauts. You can even be a cosmonaut for a day yourself, if you're willing to pay a price that is out of this world.

4. Perm-36

Not for the fainthearted, Perm 36 is one of the best-preserved Soviet gulag camps, and a relic of Siberia’s tragic past. While difficult to reach, the site is a worthy memorial to the millions of people who were once forced to live there.

5. Vladivostok Fortress

The largest port city in the Pacific has a wealth of abandoned military bunkers, tunnels and even a fortress to explore, all with a colourful Soviet history. Vladivostok's wide array of dark tunnels, decommissioned guns, old battle stations and antiquated bombs will definitely get historians and army nuts excited.

FAQs on Russia

Tipping isn't mandatory in Russia, so is left up to the discretion of the individual. Some restaurants may already add a 10% surcharge to bills, otherwise feel free to leave spare change or round up the bill.
Travellers will be able to find internet cafes in Russia's large cities like Moscow and St Petersburg, but less so in rural and remote areas. Internet access is available on the Trans-Siberian Railway for certain legs of the journey. This requires purchase of a local connection (around US$40), which will work with some laptops and certain 3G devices.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in the cities and regional centres of Russia, although coverage may not be available in remote areas. Remember to activate global roaming before leaving home if you wish to use your phone while in Russia.
Travellers can expect to encounter both squat toilets and modern flushable toilets while travelling through Russia. Be prepared by carrying your own soap and toilet paper (as these aren't always provided). Additionally, some public toilets may require a small fee payment before access.
Trip on the metro = 25 RUB
Internet access = 100 RUB per hour
Bottle of beer = 35-50 RUB
Snack at a cafe = 200 RUB
Dinner at a restaurant = 800-1,500 RUB
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Russia. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Ask your leader or hotel where filtered water can be found and don't forget to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
Large hotels, restaurants and shops often accept international credit cards; however, smaller shops and vendors may only accept cash, so be sure to carry other modes of payment as credit cards aren't always an option in Russia.
Travellers will be able to find ATMs in Russia's large cities and regional centres. Remote and rural areas will have less ATM availability, so prepare accordingly before venturing out of metropolitan areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 7 Russian Orthodox Christmas Day
Feb 23 Day of the Defenders of the Fatherland
Mar 8 International Women's Day
May 1 Spring and Labour Day
May 9 Victory in Europe Day
Jun 12 Russia Day
Nov 4 National Unity Day
Dec 12 Constitution Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays in the Russia go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/russia/public-holidays
RUSSIA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

LETTERS OF INVITATION (LOI)
Most nationalities require a visa for Russia. You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter in order to apply for your visa.

You can obtain your LOI online through our local partners in Russia. Instructions and a link to the website will be sent to you at the time of booking. Read the instructions carefully and fill in the online application form. You will then be able to download your LOI instantly. Please note that we will add 3 days to the LOI duration before and after your trip dates for your convenience. If you are planning to stay longer than these dates please let us know as we will need to manually request a LOI to fit your specific travel plans.

The LOI included in the cost of your tour is for a Single Entry Tourist Visa. LOIs for other types of visas may be organised at your own expense and paid directly to our local partners, Parallel 60 (www.parallelsixty.com)

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. Once you have received your LOI it is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly at an embassy or by using a visa agent. We do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of residence as your application may be refused.

Use ONLY the information and dates on your LOI when filling in your visa application. There is no need to reference Intrepid Travel or include a copy of your itinerary as Parallel 60 is the official inviting organisation, not Intrepid. Do not be concerned if the destinations and accommodation listed do not match your Intrepid trip exactly. This information is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel and stay in Russia.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
* Letter of Invitation (LOI)
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4)
* Flight or other transport details - if required
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements

VISA EXTENSIONS
Please be aware that visa extensions are NOT possible in Russia.

INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS:
Train tickets in Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip. If we receive changes to passport numbers less than 30 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets.

We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at Immigration.

WARNING – MIGRATION CARDS
All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card. The entry portion of the card will be retained by Immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to Immigration upon departure. If you are not given a migration card at Immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure. RUSSIAN VISA
It is your responsibility to obtain a double entry Russian visa for this voyage.
We require a colour scanned copy of your passport to apply for the Russian visa letter of invitation. This will get you a double entry visa. Once you have departed Murmansk for Helsinki, no further entries into Russia are permitted on this visa.

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Russia Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Russia

1. Be considerate of Russia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

8. Please refrain from drinking alcohol in public or on trains.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Russia, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

Nochlezhka

This Russian NGO helps the homeless people of St Petersburg with a night bus service that provides mobile care to this disadvantaged and marginalised population group. Tea, coffee, food, blankets, health care, warm clothing and links to social services help to alleviate the social disconnection and poverty these people face daily.

Image supplied by Nochlezhka.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Letters from St PetersburgVictoria Hammond
Speak, MemoryVladimir Nabokov
Russian WinterDaphne Kalotay
Gorky ParkMartin Cruz Smith
Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of RussiaOrlando Figes
A People's Tragedy: The Russian RevolutionOrlando Figes
The Brothers KaramazovFyodor Dostoevsky