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Expert local guides of famous attractions & sightseeing
Visit the center of Russian power at the Kremlin
Spend the day at the Red Square, where most of the popular attractions are
Enter the Mausoleum of the late ruler, Lenin
Shop until you drop at the GUM, Russia’s largest indoor shopping mall
Snap a photo of Russia’s most recognizable building, St Basil’s Cathedral
RUSSIA VACATION TIPS
Start working on your visa early – at least 2-3 months – before your trip
Most businesses will take credit cards so you won’t have to worry about carrying large amounts of cash on you
Many older Russians will not be able to speak English, so it’s a good idea to learn as many basic phrases in Russian as you can
Learning the local alphabet would be helpful as well, to help read street signs and metro signs if taking public transportation
If you order Vodka anywhere, don’t order any mixers to go with it, unless you want awkward looks
Be mindful of the things you take photos of and follow photography rules while in museums. For example, don’t take photos of government buildings or inside museums when explicitly stated.
It’s a good idea to have a copy of your passport while out around town
THINGS TO DO IN RUSSIA
1. THE KREMLIN
Translating directly to “strength” or “fortified city”, the Kremlin is synonymous with Russia’s government in the same way as the White House is to the USA. There are actually over 20 Kremlins in Russia, but the most famous is of the one in Moscow. The complex has an intricate system of palaces and cathedrals and is walled in. The Kremlin is where Russia’s president works out of, but is not his place of residence.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
When visiting the Kremlin, you’ll be able to visit the country’s main museum, the Kremlin Armory, and also the Cathedral Square, famous for coronations and funerals of all the Russian tsars.
2. KREMLIN ARMORY
Don’t be fooled by its name, the Kremlin Armory is the country’s main musume and does not house only weapons. It has a very large collection of art from Russia as well as from all over Europe from the 5th to 20th century. If you like Faberge eggs, well you’re in luck because this armory is equipped with the largest collection of Faberge eggs, as well as crowns, carriages, and tsars’ royal vestments.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
When visiting the museum, you’ll have the option of visiting another exhibit – one of the most important diamond exhibits in the world. You can say it’s comparable to the Crown Jewels of England.
3. CATHEDRAL SQUARE
The Cathedral square in the Kremlin is a plaze made up for 4 other cathedrals. This area is famous for the coronations and funerals of Russian Tsars. However, as these days they do not name Tsars in Russia, but Presidents, this square is mainly used for Presidential inaugurations now.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Also present here is the Tsar-Bell, a gigantic bronze bell that, has been called the largest bell in the world by some, weighing over 200 tons and measuring over 20ft diameter.
4. RED SQUARE
Located right in the heart of Moscow, the Red Square is the most famous square in the country. Not only is the square massive in size, but some of the country’s most famous attractions are also all right here. The Red Square has been a central hub for traders and merchants for centuries, mainly due to its close proximity to the Kremlin. This pedestrianized area was designated a UNESCO site in 1990.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
The Red Square is a central location for most of what you want to see in Russia. Just standing in the square you’ll be able to see, The Kremlin, the GUM department store, Kazan Cathedral, State of History Museum, Lenin’s Mausoleum, St Basil’s Cathedral, and more!
5. LENIN’S MAUSOLEUM
Just a couple of feet away from the Kremlin Wall, lies Vladimir Lenin, former Russian leader, embalmed in his Mausoleum. Around 2.5 million people visit every year. First opened to the public in August 1924, this iconic building and major tourist attraction is free for everyone to see.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Keep in mind photography of any kind is strictly forbidden when visiting the Mausoleum. If caught taking photos, security guards and/or workers will ask that you delete any images taken inside the Mausoleum.
6. ST BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
At the head of the Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral stands proudly as Russia’s most recognizable building. Along with the Kremlin, it was designated as a UNESCO site in 1990. Although the cathedral is the most iconic in the country, it isn’t the main cathedral. When visiting, it’s a must-do to take a tour inside as it is just as unique as the outside architecture.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
The cathedral was built in 1561 to celebrate the defeat of the Khan of Kazan at the hands of Ivan the Terrible. This defeat cemented Msocow’s hold of power as the most dominant city in the region.
7. STATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM
With exhibitions and collections dating back to the Stone Age and Medieval Russia, The State Historical Museum is the biggest historical museum in the country and as such has an impressive and enormous collection of work, with over 5 million total pieces.
8. THE GUM
The Glavny Universalny Magazin, or GUM, is the largest department store in Russia. Built in 1889 and reconstructed in 1953, this building is as famous as the high end boutique stores it houses. It now has 3 levels and functions more as a mall instead of a single department store.
9. GRAND PETERHOF PALACE
Originally planned to be the “Russian Versaille”, the Palace at Peterhof was going to be the centerpiece of the complex for Peter the Great. Construction of the palace began in 1714 and halted after Peter’s death in 1725. It wasn’t until 1740 when his daughter took the throne and completed the palace.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
The palace was partially destroyed after WWII but none of the reconstruction takes away from the elegance and beauty of this palace. This is a must-see while visiting Russia.
10. CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR
During the Napoleonic invasion, the idea of constructing the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was born. It wasn’t until 1883 when it was finally done and opened to the public. However, in 1931, Stalin blew it to pieces to make way for a proposed Palace of Soviets, which never got built. The grounds were then used for different things but eventually, $360 million later, the cathedral was rebuilt.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
The Cathedral was built as a national monument as a way to express the nation’s deepest gratitude for saving Russia.
RUSSIA BEST TIME TO VISIT
As you’re planning this once in a lifetime visit to Russia, keep in mind Russia is the largest country in the world and geographically it spans across multiple regions. The weather can vary greatly, depending on where you’re going. So you’ll want to know the best time to visit Russia and we can help with that!
January & February are the coldest months in the country
During the Summer months of June, July and August is the high season for Russia
September – November are the Autumn months and is considered low season
1. Summer – June to August – High Season
The average high in the Summer is 84F with average lows of 62F. Summertime is a fun, vibrant time to visit. The weather is warm and the crowds are buzzing. St. Petersburg will have fireworks and cultural events happening throughout the city. However, the best time to visit is also the wettest time as it rains the most during Summer.
2. Fall – September to November – Good Season
The average high in the Fall is 64F and 42F lows. Fall is a great time to visit. As the weather cools down, so do the crowd sizes. Touring the country will be very comfortable, but pack layers. Another benefit of visiting in the Fall is to witness the beautiful Fall foliage as the leaves turn a golden brown and deep dark reds.
3. Winter – December to February – Low Season
The average high during the Winter is 50F and 32F low. As you can imagine, the Winter is brutally cold with most of the country covered in snow. Aside from the cold, the days are also shorter, lasting just a few hours. The tourists here mainly here for winter sports.
4. Spring – March to May – Low Season
The average high in Spring is 60F with 38F lows. During Spring, there are still not too many visitors. However, it’s still cold and you’ll find walking around not as fun – and potentially dangerous – as the muddy snow is still melting. If visiting in the Springtime, May would be a better time to come as the weather warms up and the days start to get longer.
For all Ireland tours, the best option is CIE Tours. Just like their Ireland journeys, the other destinations CIE travels to are more than memorable.
What's a Russia Tour?
Russia tours are prepackaged trips with a set itinerary and dedicated tour manager. Many people who want to take a Russia vacation want to avoid all the planning and logistics involved in a big week or two week foreign trip abroad and are looking to save money by doing it all in a package instead of piecing things together at full price. The trip is led by a tour director who will take care of all the services from beginning to the end of your vacation. Your tour director connects you with local tour guides who will have a lot of knowledge on the specific cities you explore. Typically, hotels, transportation throughout your trip, some meals and sightseeing are arranged and included with the price of your Russia tour.
Russia tours typically focus on two very important cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russia's capital Moscow continues to adjust to the twenty-first century and the fall of the Soviet Union, but nods to its historic past are everywhere, especially in its architecture. The Kremlin is the heart of Moscow, and this massive fortified structure is the official residence of the President of Russia. On your Russia tour, you will likely snap dozens of photos of glorious St. Basil's Cathedral, which is ornately colorful and known for its onion-shaped domes. Both sights are on Red Square, one of the most famous plazas in all of Europe.
What's Included on a Russia Tour?
Generally, a Russia tour will include as many services as possible, giving you less to worry about. Usually included on your Russia tour are: transportation (getting from place to place while on tour), accommodations, most meals, and the services of a dedicated tour director. As per the itinerary, certain sightseeing opportunities are also included: tickets to special VIP access to the most famous landmarks, skip the lines, and when available, access to a personal local guide for expert commentary.
St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Also once known as both Petrograd and Leningrad, St. Petersburg is simultaneously called the Window to the West, because it is styled after European cities, and the Venice of the North, for its criss crossing city waterways and location on the Gulf of Finland. Perhaps one of the most important sightseeing visits here on any Russia tour is the Hermitage Museum, which houses one of the largest and most prestigious art collections in the world. Other key landmarks are the imposing Peter and Paul Fortress with its enclosed Cathedral, and the statue of Peter the Great.
What’s The Best Russia Tour?
The best Russia tour is the one that fits your budget and schedule! The most popular tour operators are Globus, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Cosmos, Costsaver, CIE Tours, Intrepid, Tauck and others. You can’t go wrong with any Russia tour. Please speak with one of our travel consultants to find the best tour for you!
How Much Do Russia Tours Cost?
You can book an affordable Russia tour starting from under $99 per day per person. Besides our award winning customer service, the best part about booking with AffordableTours.com is you will always receive a discount on your Russia tour. We are committed to providing you with the lowest prices on all top tour operators. No one beats our prices on all of our Russia tours!
Reviews for Russia Tours and Vacations
Great vacation. The days allotted to each country was enough to cover most of the must see.
When I booked it I asked for an upgrade and was told the ship was completely booked, and it was not. I asked for 2 beds and eventhough I accepted only one it was very unconfortable as one of the guests was close the the wall and was difficult lo get out of bed. The rest was OK
It was a wonderful trip, our first on Insight. The Travel Director and Local Agents were bright and extremely well prepared. We also enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers. Also, our hotel in Moscow was amazing!