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In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
For information, consult the Visatorussia website. But to be on the safe side, consult directly the services of the Russian Embassy in your country.
Diplomatic Representations
If you want to know where the Embassy and Consulates are in your country, click here.
 
IATA Travel Center
 

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
The big cities, in particular Moscow and St Petersburg, have an extensive, fast metro network. For travels between Moskow and St Petersburg, it is advisable to take the high-speed SAPSAN train (4 hour of travel).
The most convenient means of transport remains the taxi. It is best to use official taxis (they have a yellow sign on the roof) for security reasons. If you book the taxi in advance and agree on the fare, you can avoid unpleasant surprises. Take into account that the travel time between the city centre and airports could take long time.
A basic knowledge of Russian is useful for getting around.
Maps of Urban Networks
Map of the Moscow metro
Map of the St Petersburg metro

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Moscow - Domodedovo (DME) 37 km / 23 miles RUR 750-1000 / 40 min RUR 30 / 25-30 min RUR 120 / 40 min Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The rail network is relatively extensive and good quality. Trains keep to the timetable but they are slow. For security reasons it is better not to travel alone.
Domestic flights have greatly increased over the last few years; but the planes are old and comfort is Spartan for most companies. Accidents still happen quite frequently. Some airlines don't have advanced reservation systems and sell tickets for cash in the airport. Flights are often cancelled.
Rail Companies
Russian railways (in English)

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Aeroflot Major Yes Yes
Sibir Airlines (S7) Major Yes Yes
Transaero Major Yes Yes
KrasAir Major Yes Yes
Rossiya (Pulkovo) Major Yes Yes
DalAvia Major Yes Yes
KD Avia low cost Yes Yes
Sky Express Low cost Yes No

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

Recommendation
Because of climatic conditions and the road network's lack of maintenance, driving is often difficult and dangerous. The sometimes unpredictable behavior of local drivers, an often disconcerting traffic system, the presence of unexpected objects or vehicles on the public highway, all require very careful attention.
The highway police (GAI) frequently make checks; fines for speeding or crossing solid lines have to be paid on the spot. Emergency road services, medical or mechanical, are slow in coming.
There are often traffic jams near large built-up areas, especially Moscow.
On the main roads, the signs are also written in the Roman alphabet.
Road Maps
Find an Itinerary
ViaMichelin

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Old cities in the European part, and especially the cities of the Golden Ring.
Cultural
Museums and art galleries in the big cities. Theatre, ballet and opera.
Nature
Russia is crammed with natural resources: the Volga, Caucasus and the Urals, the forests of Carelia and Siberia, lake Baïkal, the Kamchatka peninsula.
Religious
There are numerous active monasteries across the country.
You should make a note of the monasteries of Suzdal and Sergueiev Possad near Moscow.
Thermal
Thermal tourism is concentrated mainly in the North Caucasus, around cities such as Mineralny Vody, Kislovodsk, Zheleznovodsk or Essentuki.
Most establishments are Soviet sanatoriums with Spartan comfort.
Beach
In summer, people bathe in many lakes and rivers, especially on the island of Serebrianny Bor in Moscow.
There are several resorts on the Black Sea starting with Anapa (sand beach) and Sotchi (pebble beach).
Winter Sports
Cross-country skiing and skating are practiced practically everywhere in the country.
Downhill skiing is booming. There are bigger resorts in the Caucasus, and also in the Urals and the Kouzbass.
Outdoor Activities
Fishing, rambling and white-water sports.
Shopping
Luxury shopping is generally concentrated in the GOUM or TSOUM in Moscow and in the Gostiny Dvor (in Russian) in St Petersburg.
The market in Izmailovsky park is renowned for souvenirs, furs, crafts and other Soviet antiques.
Tourism Organizations
Russian Tourism Board
Federal tourist agency

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
No vaccinations required.
Visitors staying more than 3 months must produce a certificate of HIV-negative status (see this with the Embassy).
Because counterfeiting of medicines has increased so much in Russia, travelers are advised to take with them the medicines they need for their state of health or for treatment.
International Hospitals
There are many private clinics, with Western standards. For example, the American Medical Center and the European Medical Center in Moscow, the American Medical Clinic and the Euromed Clinic in St Petersburg.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
The pages of the WHO website devoted to Russia (in English)
The website of the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development (in Russian)
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
The Current Travel Warnings of the US State Department
The recommendations of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 

Emergency Numbers

Firemen 01
Police 02
Ambulance 03
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Moscow, Kazan, Saint Petersburg (GMT+3 in winter, GMT+4 in summer)
It is %T:%M %A In Iekaterinbourg, Perm, Chelyabinsk (GMT+5 in winter, GMT+6 in summer)
It is %T:%M %A In Novosibirsk, Omsk (GMT+6 in winter, GMT+7 in summer)
It is %T:%M %A In Vladivostok, Khabarovsk (GMT+10 in winter, GMT+11 in summer)
Summer Time Period
Summer time from March to October
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Winter is long and very harsh (except around the Black Sea) while summer is hot and short.
The best time to visit the country is without doubt during the months of May and June; July and August can be stifling especially in the big cities.
For Further Information
Federal meteorological service
Russian meteorological institute
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Caviar has always been considered to be the luxury food par excellence.
The Russians eat a great variety of salads (the most famous of which is called 'the olive') and soups (borch, salinaka, yra,...). The ravioli ("pelmeni") from Siberia and the kebabs ("chachlik") from the Caucasus are also among the specialties.
Drinks
Also called "khlebnoe pivo" (bread beer), le Kvas (or kvass) is a drink much enjoyed in Russia. Mildly alcoholic and sparkling, it is made by fermenting bread in water.
Vodka or "little water" (diminutive of voda, water) is the traditional Russian drink. It is often drunk with canapés called "zakouski".
Russians also drink large quantities of beer ("pivo") and tea ("tchai") which often replaces water.
Dietary Restrictions

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Russian Rouble
ISO Code
RUB
To Obtain Domestic Currency
There are many bureaux de change. Foreign currency can also be changed in banks, certain hotels and department stores.
You can also withdraw roubles directly from the many ATMs which take European credit cards such as Visa or MasterCard.
Possible Means of Payment
Cash is generally preferred. But big hotels, stores or restaurants take credit cards.

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Speaking

Official Language
Russian
Other Languages Spoken
More than 150 languages are spoken in the Russian Federation and some of them are the official language in a part of the country.
Business Language
English is more and more widespread.
Managers often understand English better than they speak it. You must be prepared to conduct negotiations in Russian.
Getting Some Knowledge
Consult the travlang website.
Free Translation Tools
Multitran : On-line Dictionary including the most important European languages.
Rambler : English and German Dictionary

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
Select Russia
All Russia Hotels
Hostels
Hostelword
Russian Homestay
Only apartments
Apartments Moscow
Russian flats
Russian youth hostel association (in English)
Federal tourist agency (in Russian and in English)
Russian hotel association (in Russian)
To Find an Apartment
Intermark
Green and Green Realty
List of rental agencies

Moscow expat community advertisements
The Moscow Times
All-Russia advertisements
To Find a Job
Tip Top Job International
The Moscow Times Career Center
Expat.ru

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Last Updates: January 2015