Russia is a federal country that stretches across the vast areas of Eastern Europe and northern Asia. With an area of 17,075,400 square kilometers, Russia represents the greatest country the world. It is a country rich in history, and therefore a tempting destination for tourists from all over. Russia is not just cold, it also has it’s warm areas all the way in the south of the country and really is diverse from area to area. If you are about to visit Russia, most likely you will start your way with either Moscow or St.Petersburg so we have some short guides that will maybe help you out in this adventure!
Getting around in Moscow
Moscow is the capital and largest city of Russia, located on the banks of the Moscow River, the Great Russian Plain. If you are looking for modern luxury, stay at Hotel Lotte Moscow. This hotel was named the best city hotel in Russia, and quickly became a popular destination among business travelers. Georgian wine and food are very popular in Moscow. Try the local food chain Cafe Khachapuri who specializes in the preparation of various types of Georgian bread with various fillings. If you are in Moscow for the first time certainly you will be fascinated by the appearance of their metro station. Be sure to visit the station Novoslobodskaya, Komsomolskaya, Mayakovskaya and Ploschad Revolutsii. Regardless of everything that can be read about Russia, the metro is very accurate and on most occasions you will wait a minute or two for the next train.
Getting around in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia after Moscow. Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has three million objects and it is among the largest in the world, and the first by the extent of the collection of paintings. This is one of the most beautiful cities in the world; the harmony of its architecture captivates and attracts tourists from all over the world. St. Petersburg is located at the mouth of the river Neva and on the islands of its delta; it also lies on the coast of the Gulf of Finland Baltic Sea. Summer in St.Petersburg is famous for its white nights, when the sun just doesn’t set; they begin in mid-June and last until mid-July. White Nights are not characteristic only for this city, but became its symbol. All prices are presented in rubles as the national currency of Russia. Currencies can be freely exchanged in banks, hotels or kiosks specialized for tourists. St. Petersburg is not an expensive city by western European standards, even when foreign visitors are forced to pay more for certain services (theater tickets, entrance to the museum, boat ride), the prices are not high. It is illegal to pay for goods and services in any other currency except ruble, even taxi drivers will no longer be pleased to accept your euros or dollars. The first factor that most passengers take into account when planning a trip to St. Petersburg, of course, is the weather.
The climate in St. Petersburg is quite badly under pressure, not only in the works of Russian literary greats. Those who live in town and like it believe that such weather only gives character to the town, but either way, it pays off to be prepared in advance. The good news is that, as a maritime city, St. Petersburg can never be really cold – at least according to Russian standards – because temperatures rarely fall far below -10 degrees, even in the depths of winter. And, despite the descriptions of Dostoevsky’s sweltering suburbs, summer temperatures over 30 degrees are almost impossible. Throughout the year there is high humidity, and the majority of visitors and residents find it difficult to deal with from time to time, and any winter or summer, waterproof clothing is essential.
Trans-Siberian railway connects Far East with the European part of Russia. The railway has a total length of over 10,000 kilometers, and the train journey from Moscow to Vladivostok is an amazing experience. The railway passes through Perm, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Chita and Khabarovsk. The train passes through eight time zones and the trip lasts seven days. Ever since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the opening of Russia to the world, the Trans-Siberian railway has become a sort of a tourist attraction, both for foreigners and for Russians themselves. Of course, there are also exclusive travel arrangements by private trains in which the return tickets range up to several thousand euros depending on the level of comfort and luxury. The train itself that runs along the Trans-Siberian railway is a unique story. You can travel first, second and third class, double, quadruple and double compartments. In the first case, the price is 7 times higher than in the last, which is not a big deal because it is considered that it is a real pleasure voyage, the cheapest, third class, which costs about 190 euros for the route Moscow-Vladivostok.
Money, Visa and other things you need
Foreigners must register their visa within seven working days of the entry into Russia not counting holidays and weekends, otherwise they may be fined or deported. The law changed in 2011, when the deadline was 72 hours. Hotels should automatically register its foreign guest. If you are staying in a private apartment, the landlord will have to go to the police station or post office to get you registered. If you have a work visa, this should be done by your employer. If you have a tourist visa, the agency that sent you the invitation letter is responsible. You need your passport wherever you go. Usually you may need it if you are buying a phone SIM card, if you come to the university or to a business center and even if you want to return goods bought in a store. Russians carry their passport wherever they go and so should you (or at least a copy of the same), just to avoid worries. Some foreigners are surprised by large bills for roaming between cities within Russia. Be sure to check the tariff and consider choosing a special tariff that will minimize the cost of your trip. Opening a bank account can be quite complicated for foreigners. Sometimes different outlets have different rules. Generally, Citibank (for US citizens) and Raiffeisen (European) are known as the easiest to do business with.