7 Best Places to Stay in Moscow

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7 Best Places to Stay in Moscow

Tags :

Category : East Europe , Moscow

Moscow isn’t all soldiers marching in goose step or austere Stalinist buildings. It’s also not all covert agents lurking in dark alleys – Moscow is, after all, the setting for many spy novels. One of the great capitals of the world, Moscow boasts many outstanding attractions, from St. Basil’s Cathedral to the Kremlin and Red Square.

When you visit Moscow, you’ll want to have a few sips of Russia’s most popular spirit, vodka, and sample some traditional foods such as borscht and blini. Not only can you dine like a tsar, you can sleep like one, too. Some of the best places to stay in Moscow feature opulent, elegant furnishings from the imperialist era of the 19th century.

7. Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

 

Located across the street from the Moskva River, the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski offers good views of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Since it’s in the city center, it’s within walking distance of major sights, including Red Square and the Tretyakov Gallery. The 1898 building that houses the hotel has been restored; the Kempinski has been located there since 1992. While the exterior is traditional, the inside is modern, with the contemporary décor extending to its 227 rooms and suites.

 

6. Hotel The Ritz-Carlton Moscow

Hotel The Ritz-Carlton Moscow

 

The days of the tsars are long past but you can still get a feel for their era at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow. Hotel décor represents the best of 19th century imperialist Russia through lush fabrics and fine furniture. Staff greets you at check-in with a traditional Russian welcome of bread and salt. Hotel The Ritz-Carlton Moscow is really close to the Kremlin and Red Square, so close, as one reviewer put it, if you snore you could wake Lenin in his tomb. The rooftop lounge has an amazing view and tasty drinks.

5. AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow

AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow

The AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow may be a far from city center, but it’s only a five-minute walk to the Olimpivsky Stadium. It’s also within a mile of other attractions, including the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, a military museum and botanical garden. Plus, it’s a short walk to the metro station; the hotel offers free bus service to downtown. The hotel does not fit your traditional Russian design, rather it is curve-shaped, heavy on the glass windows.

4. National Hotel Moscow

National Hotel Moscow

 

You’ll be stepping into the late 19th and early 20th centuries when you stay at the National Hotel Moscow. Built in 1903, the building features traditional Russian architecture of the wealthy, with an ornate motif. Inside, the décor is pure 19th century with fine furniture and luxurious fabrics. It has a very elegant feel. The hotel offers 202 rooms, of which 55 “historical” suites furnished with Russian antiques. Considered an historic landmark, the hotel offers great views of the Kremlin and Red Square.

 

3. Hotel Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya

Hotel Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya

It’s pretty hard to miss seeing the Hotel Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya. That’s because it towers over all the buildings around it. One of the Stalinist skyscrapers, the hotel was the best luxury hotel in Moscow when it was built in 1954. Inside, the main light fixture was at one time the longest in the world. It’s been part of the Hilton chain since 2006. The décor throughout the hotel is nothing short of palatial, something that probably wasn’t the norm in Stalin’s days.

 

2. Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel

Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel

 

The exterior of the Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel certainly lives up to that name, and continues into the lobby with its glass dome and fountain. If you’ve come to Moscow to shop, this is the place to stay. The hotel is located on Tverskaya Street, with great shopping opportunities just outside the entrance. The neoclassical Yeliseev’s Food Hall is a 10-minute walk away, but Red Square and the Kremlin are 30 minutes away by foot. The rooms are somewhat bland, but contain the latest amenities.

 

1. Hotel Metropol Moscow

#1 of Best Places To Stay In Moscow

 

The Hotel Metropol is an historic landmark in Moscow. Under construction from 1899 to 1907, noted artists of the day help decorated the reinforced concrete dome. It was the first Moscow hotel to have in-room telephones and hot water. The Metropol is the only hotel built before the 1917 Russian Revolution that stands today. For a few years after the revolution, it housed Soviet bureaucrats, but reclaimed its hotel status in the 1930s. It’s located on Theatre Square close to the Bolshoi.

Cheap Flights to Moscow

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Naberevnye Chelny

18.11.2017

19.11.2017

Tickets from 25

Rostov

21.11.2017

28.11.2017

Tickets from 28

Chelyabinsk

31.01.2018

31.01.2018

Tickets from 29

Saint Petersburg

05.12.2017

07.12.2017

Tickets from 36

Kazan

28.11.2017

28.11.2017

Tickets from 36

Sochi

28.11.2017

28.11.2017

Tickets from 37

Nizhniy Novgorod

04.01.2018

14.01.2018

Tickets from 41

Krasnodar

21.11.2017

21.11.2017

Tickets from 42

Samara

16.12.2017

19.12.2017

Tickets from 42

Debrecen

29.12.2017

08.01.2018

Tickets from 42

Astrakhan

18.01.2018

30.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Cheboksary

20.11.2017

02.12.2017

Tickets from 43

Nalchik

24.12.2017

13.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Vladikavkaz

23.12.2017

17.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Perm

30.01.2018

08.02.2018

Tickets from 43

Ekaterinburg

26.01.2018

29.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Volgograd

08.12.2017

11.12.2017

Tickets from 43

Gyoumri

25.01.2018

08.02.2018

Tickets from 44

Lipetsk

07.12.2017

08.12.2017

Tickets from 45

Mineralnye Vody

23.11.2017

02.12.2017

Tickets from 48

Bourgas

01.06.2018

20.08.2018

Tickets from 48

Ufa

29.11.2017

29.11.2017

Tickets from 48

Nazran

23.11.2017

27.11.2017

Tickets from 50

Makhachkala

02.12.2017

04.12.2017

Tickets from 50

Surgut

06.12.2017

18.12.2017

Tickets from 50

Istanbul

01.12.2017

27.02.2018

Tickets from 52

Murmansk

23.11.2017

29.11.2017

Tickets from 56

Tyumen

13.10.2018

17.10.2018

Tickets from 56

Briansk

14.12.2017

15.12.2017

Tickets from 59

Yerevan

01.02.2018

12.02.2018

Tickets from 60

Belgorod

20.11.2017

29.11.2017

Tickets from 62

Minsk

19.11.2017

20.11.2017

Tickets from 64

Arkhangelsk

19.11.2017

24.11.2017

Tickets from 65

Tivat

12.12.2017

19.12.2017

Tickets from 70

Stavropol

19.12.2017

21.12.2017

Tickets from 70

Krasnojarsk

01.02.2018

11.02.2018

Tickets from 72

Simferopol

17.01.2018

21.01.2018

Tickets from 72

Voronezh

20.11.2017

27.11.2017

Tickets from 74

Larnaca

24.01.2018

31.01.2018

Tickets from 74

Cologne

28.01.2018

02.02.2018

Tickets from 77

Memmingen

24.11.2017

01.12.2017

Tickets from 77

Penza

22.01.2018

11.02.2018

Tickets from 77

Milan

30.01.2018

28.02.2018

Tickets from 77

Gazipasa

10.12.2017

17.12.2017

Tickets from 80

Tbilisi

12.12.2017

19.12.2017

Tickets from 82

Kaliningrad

21.11.2017

23.11.2017

Tickets from 84

Ulyanovsk

01.12.2017

02.12.2017

Tickets from 84

Tambov

27.11.2017

30.11.2017

Tickets from 85

Bratislava

25.11.2017

12.12.2017

Tickets from 87

Syktyvkar

19.01.2018

21.01.2018

Tickets from 87

Kirov

20.01.2018

21.01.2018

Tickets from 93

Novosibirsk

17.01.2018

30.01.2018

Tickets from 94

Ivanova

20.11.2017

22.11.2017

Tickets from 96

Orenburg

18.11.2017

30.11.2017

Tickets from 97

Thessaloniki

21.12.2017

11.01.2018

Tickets from 98

Groznyj

21.11.2017

23.11.2017

Tickets from 99

Kogalym

23.02.2018

02.03.2018

Tickets from 99

Izhevsk

25.01.2018

31.01.2018

Tickets from 100

Petrozavodsk

20.11.2017

23.11.2017

Tickets from 102

Kurgan

01.12.2017

10.12.2017

Tickets from 104

Saratov

20.11.2017

30.11.2017

Tickets from 106

Khanty-Mansiysk

20.11.2017

29.11.2017

Tickets from 107

Kiev

01.12.2017

09.12.2017

Tickets from 108

Omsk

12.12.2017

13.12.2017

Tickets from 111

Magnitogorsk

01.12.2017

05.12.2017

Tickets from 112

Berlin

30.11.2017

05.12.2017

Tickets from 113

Anapa

31.12.2017

03.01.2018

Tickets from 114

Budapest

08.12.2017

13.12.2017

Tickets from 115

Gerona

28.11.2017

30.11.2017

Tickets from 115

Athens

29.12.2017

10.01.2018

Tickets from 116

Chisinau

08.12.2017

10.12.2017

Tickets from 117

Antalya

26.12.2017

15.01.2018

Tickets from 117

Almaty

09.12.2017

11.12.2017

Tickets from 118

Belgrade

08.03.2018

11.03.2018

Tickets from 119

Salekhard

21.11.2017

23.11.2017

Tickets from 119

Brussels

07.03.2018

18.03.2018

Tickets from 120

Warsaw

20.12.2017

11.01.2018

Tickets from 121

Kursk

23.11.2017

23.11.2017

Tickets from 121

Sofia

19.01.2018

21.02.2018

Tickets from 121

Bishkek

27.02.2018

08.03.2018

Tickets from 122

Stockholm

31.01.2018

05.02.2018

Tickets from 122

Prague

07.12.2017

12.12.2017

Tickets from 123

Dusseldorf

23.03.2018

06.04.2018

Tickets from 124

Riga

11.02.2018

15.02.2018

Tickets from 125

Novy Urengoy

19.11.2017

24.11.2017

Tickets from 127

Karlsruhe

02.01.2018

11.01.2018

Tickets from 127

Pisa

23.11.2017

30.11.2017

Tickets from 127

Helsinki

05.02.2018

09.02.2018

Tickets from 129

Skopje

25.01.2018

10.02.2018

Tickets from 129

Amsterdam

16.01.2018

23.01.2018

Tickets from 129

Bologna

13.12.2017

20.12.2017

Tickets from 130

Gyandzha

16.03.2018

30.03.2018

Tickets from 130

London

05.12.2017

12.12.2017

Tickets from 130

Zurich

26.01.2018

07.02.2018

Tickets from 131

Vologda

05.12.2017

12.12.2017

Tickets from 131

Vienna

24.11.2017

26.11.2017

Tickets from 133

Tel Aviv-Yafo

02.02.2018

07.02.2018

Tickets from 134

Bucharest

14.10.2018

24.10.2018

Tickets from 137

Frankfurt

05.12.2017

19.12.2017

Tickets from 137

Geneva

02.03.2018

11.03.2018

Tickets from 140


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10 Best Places to Visit in Russia

Tags :

Category : East Europe , Russia

Russia, once the largest and most powerful member of the former USSR, nonetheless remains a fascinating country to visit. It is a country of contrasts, from great subtropical beaches to bitterly cold winter regions in the north. The east may have fewer people, but its lovely cities are among the most popular places to visit in Russia and can hold their own against the west. Russia is steeped in history everywhere a traveler goes, from vicious battles to great classical music and literature. And almost everywhere visitors can see examples of magnificent art, not only in museums but also in its churches.

10. Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

 

Yekaterinburg is an industrial city in the Ural Mountains that has many things going for it. It is, however, largely remembered as the place where Tsar Nicholas, the last tsar of Russia, and his family were executed in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. Today’s Yekaterinburg has a vibrant cultural scene, home to many libraries, theaters and playwrights, and dance companies as well as popular Russian rock bands. Russia’s fourth largest city also has more than 30 museums, including the oldest wood sculpture in the world at the Shigir Collection; another museum houses more than 300 Nevyansk icons.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg

★★★★★

-6%

241227

View Hotel

Ramada Ekaterinburg Hotel & Spa

★★★★★

-13%

10692

View Hotel

Visotsky Hotel

★★★★★

-8%

114105

View Hotel

Atrium Palace Hotel

★★★★★

-13%

8070

View Hotel

9. Sochi

Sochi

 

Sochi on the Black Sea is a great winter sports destination and, in fact, hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. Skis aside, Sochi also hosts the Russian Formula 1 Grand prix and will be a host city for the 2018 Fifa World Cup. Despite winter snow, Sochi offers a subtropical climate and great beaches, making it a key part of the Russian Riviera. The resort city makes a great summer (and winter) getaway for Russians. Strolling along the pedestrian-only sea embankment is a pleasant experience. Environmentally conscious travelers may want to visit the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve. Sochi also is home to the area’s northern most tea plantations.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Sberbank Corporate Center

★★★★★

-45%

15284

View Hotel

Pullman Sochi Centre

★★★★★

-33%

196131

View Hotel

Rodina Grand Hotel & SPA

★★★★★

-13%

390339

View Hotel

Swissotel Resort Sochi Kamelia

★★★★★

-17%

11999

View Hotel

Rixos Krasnaya Polyana Sochi

★★★★★

-22%

11993

View Hotel

Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Centre 5*

★★★★★

-9%

10999

View Hotel

Hyatt Regency Sochi

★★★★★

-18%

151124

View Hotel

Radisson Rosa Khutor Hotel

★★★★★

-58%

14662

View Hotel

Radisson Blu Paradise Resort & Spa 5*

★★★★★

-17%

11998

View Hotel

Grand Hotel Polyana

★★★★★

-13%

118103

View Hotel

Solis Sochi Hotel

★★★★★

-21%

4334

View Hotel

Soči Marriott Krasnaâ Polâna

★★★★★

-31%

8157

View Hotel

Solis Sochi Suites

★★★★★

-19%

4234

View Hotel

Arfa Park-Hotel

★★★★★

-33%

7651

View Hotel

Mercury Resort

★★★★★

-51%

412203

View Hotel

Green Hill Hotel

★★★★★

-8%

670619

View Hotel

8. Veliky Novgorod

Veliky Novgorod

 

Founded in the 10th century, Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest cities in Russia’s far north. Veliky Novgorod claims to be the birthplace of Russia since its early residents invited the Scandinavian Prince Rurik to rule Russia, creating a ruling dynasty that lasted 750 years. Top sights include the Saint Sophia Cathedral and Bell Tower, the oldest in Russia; the Hanseatic Fountain, said to return 1,000 rubles for every one thrown into it; and a host of museums, including ones on iron, porcelain and history. Located on Lake Ilmen, Veliky Novgorod is a good place to eat borscht and buy bio-honey.

 

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: Hotels in the center

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Volkhov

★★★★

-26%

7052

View Hotel

Hotel Novgorodskaya

★★★

-13%

3934

View Hotel

Roza Vetrov Hotel

★★

-23%

2520

View Hotel

Hotel Hanza

★★

-53%

5928

View Hotel

AMAKS Russia Hotel

★★

-36%

4126

View Hotel

Intourist Hotel

★★★

-17%

3529

View Hotel

Limousine

★★

-20%

1714

View Hotel

7. Vladivostok

Vladivostok

 

Mountains and bays surround Vladivostok, making it a stunning beautiful city in Russia’s east. The last stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Vladivostok is the country’s largest port on the Pacific Ocean; it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from North Korea and China. The city offers many cultural attractions from theaters to museums to concerts; actor Yul Brynner was born here in 1920. Travelers may want to stroll through some of the city’s lovely parks, including Minny Gorodok, which was once a military base. The city’s main square is Admiralsky Skver, with a museum devoted to a submarine nearby.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Hotel Hyundai

★★★★★

-11%

153137

View Hotel

6. Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod

 

Russia’s fifth largest city sits at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. The town began as a fortress in the 13th century; at one time it was known as Gorky, after Maxim Gorky who was born here. The old town is walled in, though the Archangel Cathedral was about the only thing standing after the city was devastated by Bolsheviks. Nizhny Novgorod is a good place to immerse oneself in Russian art and architecture, with more than 600 monuments and statues, and at least 200 art museums, concert halls and the like.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Kulibin Park Hotel

★★★★★

-9%

8275

View Hotel

5. Irkutsk

Irkutsk

 

The de facto capital of Eastern Siberia, Irkutsk is by far the most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and the east. With Lake Baikal only 45 km away, the city is the best base to explore the lake’s western shoreline. Travelers who visit historic Irkutsk may be pleasantly surprised by what they find. Decorated wooden houses stand beside standard Soviet block apartments, plus wide boulevards with not too much traffic for a city of more than 500,000 souls. Irkutsk was the site of many bloody clashes between Russian factions in various revolutions. It also served as a place of exile for intellectuals, artists and others, which may be why the city has five universities. Several churches, including Ascension Church, and geology and history museums call Irkutsk home.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 4 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

International Hotel Sayen

★★★★

-13%

174151

View Hotel

Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk City Center Hotel

★★★★

-21%

9676

View Hotel

Baikal Business Center Hotel

★★★★

-14%

8169

View Hotel

4. Kazan

Kazan

 

Kazan is sometimes referred to as the Istanbul of the Volga because it is a city where European and Asian cultures meet. The capital of Tatarstan is a lovely city where church tower and minarets fill the skyline. Also known as the third capital of Russia, after Moscow and St. Petersburg, Kazan residents enjoy one of the highest standards of living in Russia. Sights to see include the remains of the Kazan Kremlin that was destroyed by Ivan the Terrible; the Kul-Sharif Mosque, named after a man killed defending Kazan from Ivan; and Bauman Street, a pedestrian shopping street.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Spa Complex Premium Luciano

★★★★★

-18%

264218

View Hotel

Mirage Hotel

★★★★★

-53%

15573

View Hotel

LUCIANO Spa Complex

★★★★★

-11%

165148

View Hotel

Hotel Korston Royal Kazan

★★★★★

-6%

10094

View Hotel

3. Golden Ring

Golden Ring

 

The Golden Ring strings together several cities outside of Moscow that fill the senses with awe. Picturesque countrysides filled with cherry orchards, quaint cottages, onion-shaped domes and iconic churches that contain the country’s oldest art make this region a special place to visit. One of the oldest regions in Russia, today it is very popular with Russian tourists who want to experience a bygone era. The traditional way to view the cities and towns makes a counter clockwise loop beginning and ending in Moscow: Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy and Sergiev Posad. White stone churches, monasteries and fortresses are only some of the sights to see.

2. Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg

 

Russia’s second largest city may be known as Leningrad, but most people refer to it by its birth name, St. Petersburg. Founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, St. Petersburg was once the imperial capital of Russia; its name was changed to Leningrad in 1924. Because of its location on the Neva River, which feeds into the Gulf of Finland and then into the Baltic Sea, the city is a popular northern cruise destination and one of the most popular places to visit in Russia. Known as the cultural capital of Russia, the city boasts one of the finest art collections in the world at the Hermitage, with churches adding to the city’s magnificent art. Nevsky Prospekt is the city’s famous shopping and dining street.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Hotel Zamok BIP

★★★★★

-17%

202169

View Hotel

Trezzini Palace Boutique Hotel

★★★★★

-56%

415185

View Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg

★★★★★

-43%

490280

View Hotel

The State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel

★★★★★

-44%

313174

View Hotel

Domina St.Petersburg

★★★★★

-46%

18699

View Hotel

Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel

★★★★★

-29%

360257

View Hotel

Belmond Grand Hotel Europe

★★★★★

-10%

208187

View Hotel

Kempinski Hotel Moika 22

★★★★★

-46%

389208

View Hotel

Voda Aquaclub & Hotel

★★★★★

-33%

160107

View Hotel

Taleon Imperial Hotel

★★★★★

-26%

197145

View Hotel

W St.Petersburg

★★★★★

-34%

356234

View Hotel

Author Boutique Hotel (ex Golden Garden Boutique Hotel)

★★★★★

-52%

19795

View Hotel

Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg

★★★★★

-23%

158122

View Hotel

Staybridge Suites St. Petersburg

★★★★★

-29%

8762

View Hotel

Angleterre Hotel

★★★★★

-19%

171137

View Hotel

Petro Palace Hotel

★★★★★

-10%

9586

View Hotel

President Hotel

★★★★★

-45%

15082

View Hotel

Radisson Royal Hotel

★★★★★

-23%

224173

View Hotel

Skandinavia Country Club and SPA

★★★★★

-60%

24598

View Hotel

Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge

★★★★★

-47%

18096

View Hotel

1. Moscow

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Russia

 

As the capital of Russia, Moscow is the most important city in Russia, but not just for political reasons alone. This city of more than 12 million is also well known for its artistic endeavors, including ballet, symphonies and art. Onion-shaped domes of historic churches fill the skyline. The stately Kremlin and impressive Red Square, one of the largest squares in the world, are sights not to be missed, as are statues of Lenin and Stalin, controversial leaders in the 20th century. Further evidence that Moscow’s past wasn’t always squeaky clean can be seen in the Gulag and Cold War museums.

Hotels in Ekaterinburg: 5 stars

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Lotte Hotel Moscow

★★★★★

-36%

595379

View Hotel

Ararat Park Hyatt

★★★★★

-28%

689498

View Hotel

The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya

★★★★★

-22%

371288

View Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Moscow

★★★★★

-23%

581449

View Hotel

StandArt Hotel Moscow. A Member of Design Hotels

★★★★★

-49%

476242

View Hotel

Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora

★★★★★

-8%

289265

View Hotel

Swissotel Krasnye Holmy

★★★★★

-40%

240144

View Hotel

Radisson Royal Hotel

★★★★★

-23%

347265

View Hotel

Russo-Balt Hotel

★★★★★

-28%

291211

View Hotel

Hotel Metropol Moscow

★★★★★

-58%

469199

View Hotel

Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

★★★★★

-15%

268228

View Hotel

National Hotel

★★★★★

-19%

269219

View Hotel

Savoy

★★★★★

-47%

370197

View Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow

★★★★★

-43%

874498

View Hotel

Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel

★★★★★

-35%

255166

View Hotel

Petroff Palace Hotel

★★★★★

-39%

203125

View Hotel

Sheraton Palace Hotel Moscow

★★★★★

-54%

287132

View Hotel

Radisson Blu Hotel Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport

★★★★★

-31%

191132

View Hotel

Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Centre

★★★★★

-44%

381212

View Hotel

Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka

★★★★★

-55%

20292

View Hotel

Cheap Flights to Moscow

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Naberevnye Chelny

18.11.2017

19.11.2017

Tickets from 25

Rostov

21.11.2017

28.11.2017

Tickets from 28

Chelyabinsk

31.01.2018

31.01.2018

Tickets from 29

Saint Petersburg

05.12.2017

07.12.2017

Tickets from 36

Kazan

28.11.2017

28.11.2017

Tickets from 36

Sochi

28.11.2017

28.11.2017

Tickets from 37

Nizhniy Novgorod

04.01.2018

14.01.2018

Tickets from 41

Krasnodar

21.11.2017

21.11.2017

Tickets from 42

Samara

16.12.2017

19.12.2017

Tickets from 42

Debrecen

29.12.2017

08.01.2018

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Astrakhan

18.01.2018

30.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Cheboksary

20.11.2017

02.12.2017

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Nalchik

24.12.2017

13.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Vladikavkaz

23.12.2017

17.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Perm

30.01.2018

08.02.2018

Tickets from 43

Ekaterinburg

26.01.2018

29.01.2018

Tickets from 43

Volgograd

08.12.2017

11.12.2017

Tickets from 43

Gyoumri

25.01.2018

08.02.2018

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Lipetsk

07.12.2017

08.12.2017

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Mineralnye Vody

23.11.2017

02.12.2017

Tickets from 48

Bourgas

01.06.2018

20.08.2018

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Ufa

29.11.2017

29.11.2017

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Nazran

23.11.2017

27.11.2017

Tickets from 50

Makhachkala

02.12.2017

04.12.2017

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Surgut

06.12.2017

18.12.2017

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Istanbul

01.12.2017

27.02.2018

Tickets from 52

Murmansk

23.11.2017

29.11.2017

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Tyumen

13.10.2018

17.10.2018

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Briansk

14.12.2017

15.12.2017

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Yerevan

01.02.2018

12.02.2018

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Belgorod

20.11.2017

29.11.2017

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Minsk

23.11.2017

30.11.2017

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Arkhangelsk

19.11.2017

24.11.2017

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Tivat

12.12.2017

19.12.2017

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Stavropol

19.12.2017

21.12.2017

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Krasnojarsk

01.02.2018

11.02.2018

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Simferopol

18.01.2018

31.01.2018

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Voronezh

20.11.2017

27.11.2017

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Larnaca

24.01.2018

31.01.2018

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Cologne

28.01.2018

02.02.2018

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Memmingen

24.11.2017

01.12.2017

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Penza

22.01.2018

11.02.2018

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Milan

30.01.2018

28.02.2018

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Gazipasa

10.12.2017

17.12.2017

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Tbilisi

12.12.2017

19.12.2017

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Kaliningrad

21.11.2017

23.11.2017

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Ulyanovsk

01.12.2017

02.12.2017

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Tambov

27.11.2017

30.11.2017

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Bratislava

25.11.2017

12.12.2017

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Syktyvkar

19.01.2018

21.01.2018

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Kirov

20.01.2018

21.01.2018

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Novosibirsk

17.01.2018

30.01.2018

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Ivanova

20.11.2017

22.11.2017

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Orenburg

18.11.2017

30.11.2017

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Thessaloniki

21.12.2017

11.01.2018

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Groznyj

21.11.2017

23.11.2017

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Kogalym

23.02.2018

02.03.2018

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Izhevsk

25.01.2018

31.01.2018

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Petrozavodsk

20.11.2017

23.11.2017

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Kurgan

01.12.2017

10.12.2017

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Saratov

20.11.2017

30.11.2017

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Khanty-Mansiysk

20.11.2017

29.11.2017

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Kiev

01.12.2017

09.12.2017

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Omsk

12.12.2017

13.12.2017

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Magnitogorsk

01.12.2017

05.12.2017

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Berlin

30.11.2017

05.12.2017

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Anapa

31.12.2017

03.01.2018

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Budapest

08.12.2017

13.12.2017

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Gerona

28.11.2017

30.11.2017

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Athens

29.12.2017

10.01.2018

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Chisinau

08.12.2017

10.12.2017

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Antalya

26.12.2017

15.01.2018

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Almaty

09.12.2017

11.12.2017

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Belgrade

08.03.2018

11.03.2018

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Salekhard

21.11.2017

23.11.2017

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Brussels

07.03.2018

18.03.2018

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Warsaw

20.12.2017

11.01.2018

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Kursk

23.11.2017

23.11.2017

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Sofia

19.01.2018

21.02.2018

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Bishkek

27.02.2018

08.03.2018

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Stockholm

31.01.2018

05.02.2018

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Prague

07.12.2017

12.12.2017

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Dusseldorf

23.03.2018

06.04.2018

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Riga

11.02.2018

15.02.2018

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Novy Urengoy

19.11.2017

24.11.2017

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Vienna

10.02.2018

11.02.2018

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Karlsruhe

02.01.2018

11.01.2018

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Pisa

23.11.2017

30.11.2017

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Helsinki

05.02.2018

09.02.2018

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Skopje

25.01.2018

10.02.2018

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Amsterdam

16.01.2018

23.01.2018

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Bologna

13.12.2017

20.12.2017

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Gyandzha

16.03.2018

30.03.2018

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London

05.12.2017

12.12.2017

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Zurich

26.01.2018

07.02.2018

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Vologda

05.12.2017

12.12.2017

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Tel Aviv-Yafo

02.02.2018

07.02.2018

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Bucharest

14.10.2018

24.10.2018

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Frankfurt

05.12.2017

19.12.2017

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Geneva

02.03.2018

11.03.2018

Tickets from 140


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8 Suprising things about Russia

Category : East Europe , Russia

To be perfectly honest, Russia was never high up on our travel bucket list. It’s one of those countries that we assumed we would visit eventually, but that we wasn’t actively dreaming about like some other places on my list.

But when we was presented with a chance to go to Russia this past autumn, we decided we really couldn’t pass it up. Russia is, after all, a fascinating country with iconic cities, a rich history, and cool UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We figured we would suck up the expensive visa fee and just go for it.

The Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

The Winter Palace in St. Petersburg

Kizhi Pogost on Lake Onega

A cool UNESCO site: Kizhi Pogost on Lake Onega

A lot of travellers have certain preconceptions about Russia. We associate the country with communism and the Cold War, and have visions in our heads of ugly Soviet-era buildings and dour locals. Many even assume that Americans are not welcome in Russia.

We admit that we wasn’t immune to these stereotypes. We was expecting fairly ugly cities and unfriendly locals. We was slightly worried that we would be given a hard time at immigration. And we wasn’t entirely sure that we was even going to *like* Russia. We was definitely intimidated.

But what I found surprised me.

Smolny Convent in St. Petersburg

Yes, Russia still has plenty of issues (the gap between the rich and poor, for example, is really staggering at times). And no, I’m not really in love with the country’s politics. But I liked the Russia I saw much more than I ever expected to.

Here are a few things that surprised me about visiting Russia for the first time:

It’s not all Soviet-era apartment blocks

Even though the standard picture most Americans have in their heads when it comes to Russia is of drab, gray buildings from the Soviet days, the reality in many cities is actually quite different. We mean, sure, you WILL find those Soviet apartment blocks. But you’ll also find some incredible architecture the far predates the Bolshevik Revolution.

State Historical Museum on Red Square in Moscow

Palace Square in St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, for example, the wide streets and Baroque buildings reminded me of Paris. And the canals there reminded me of Amsterdam (which isn’t actually surprising, since Peter the Great studied ship building in the Netherlands as a young man).

St. Petersburg, Russia

In St. Petersburg

The churches – all the churches!

Churches are not the first thing we think of when we think of Russia. But let me tell you that they are everywhere in the country. We’re not sure why this was so surprising (maybe from the knowledge that religion was banned during the Soviet years?), but we was absolutely blown away by all the beautiful churches, cathedrals, and monasteries that we saw in Russia.

Troitse-Sergiev Monastery in Sergiev Posad, Russia

Troitse-Sergiev Monastery in Sergiev Posad

Moscow Kremlin architecture

Golden domes inside the Kremlin in Moscow

There are the famous ones like St. Basil’s in Moscow and the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg. There are churches that survived the Soviet years, and others that were destroyed and have only been rebuilt in the last two decades. There are even a handful of churches inside the walls of the Kremlin.

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow

St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow

Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg

We’d never been inside a Russian Orthodox church before this trip, and didn’t realize how ornate and beautiful they could be.

St. Isaac's Cathedral dome

Inside St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Inside the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg

Inside the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

The Metro is incredibly affordable

When we visit a new city on our own, we almost always rely on public transportation to get around. And while we didn’t need to rely on it much on this trip since we was on a cruise, we still got a taste of the Metro on a couple walking tours.

The Metro in Moscow especially is almost a tourist attraction in and of itself – the stations dating back to the 1930s are breathtaking, resembling underground palaces more than they do your average metro station. With marble walls and floors, bas-reliefs, chandeliers, and even mosaics and stained glass windows, we would recommend taking the Metro even if you don’t need to just to see some of these stations.

Mayakovskaya Metro station in Moscow, Russia

Mayakovskaya Metro station in Moscow

And the best news? The Metro is incredibly affordable. A single ride in Moscow and St. Petersburg costs between 30 and 35 rubles – which is right around 50 cents USD!

And this is a good thing because…

The traffic is insane

Just as we was blown away by all the churches in Russia, we was also baffled by the insane traffic in both Moscow and St. Petersburg (but especially in Moscow). We’ve never seen so many cars inching along on 6- or 8-lane highways. It’s not just rush “hour” here – more like rush HOURS.

The explosion of car ownership after the fall of the Soviet Union has led to Moscow’s traffic being rated the worst in the world. (And it doesn’t help that most locals choose not to use all those beautiful Metro stations…)

Kalyazin Bell Tower in the Volga River

Luckily there wasn’t much traffic on the Volga River…

More English than we expected

We didn’t expect to find wide-spread English in Russia, and it’s true that people outside the cities speak very little of it. But for those worried about not being able to communicate in bigger cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, we actually encountered much more English than we expected to – and especially within the tourism industry.

And, to be honest, the Cyrillic alphabet isn’t as difficult to learn and decipher as it first seems, either. I would brush up on your Cyrillic and learn a few key Russian phrases before you go, but you don’t need to be fluent to visit Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Russians do have a sense of humor

Russians are often depicted as being very severe and angry-looking. And this leads to them being characterized as unfriendly and lacking a sense of humor. But guess what? This is another one of those stereotypes.

Russian folk music in Moscow

This guy at a Russian folk music performance had me in stitches.

Sure, some Russians can be pretty dour. And they won’t smile at you on the Metro or on the street. But we actually met quite a few Russians with awesome senses of humor! we even had two separate tour guides tell Putin jokes.

We felt safe the entire time

We wasn’t sure what to expect in Russian. Would we be questioned heavily at immigration? Would people be rude to me? Would we feel unsafe?

Well, the short answer is no. We had no trouble at immigration, encountered no anti-American sentiments, and felt very safe the entire time in Russia. There definitely was a security presence at major tourist sites (and we even had to walk through a metal detector to get into the GUM department store), but it actually wasn’t much more than what you’d find in bigger cities around the World.

The Tsar Canon at the Kremlin in Moscow

The Tsar Canon is a good symbol for Russia: it LOOKS super intimidating, but it poses no threat to tourists.

The media paints a certain (intimidating) picture of Russia, and we definitely don’t think it’s an accurate one.

Peterhof Palace fountains in winter

Inside the Refectory Church at Troitse-Sergiev Monastery

Definitely worth it, though, to see things like this!

 

We totally understand the people who won’t visit Russia because they don’t agree with Putin and his politics – but, just like almost every other country in the world, the government in Russia does not always reflect the sentiment of the people who live there.

If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of traveling to Russia, we would say go for it.


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Russia for first-timers: dos and don’ts

Category : East Europe

The world’s largest country beguiles and fascinates with its world-class art, epic landscapes and multifaceted society. You may also find that perseverance and a sense of humour will go a long way in enriching your first-time Russian travel experience. Here are some author tips for avoiding common pitfalls when visiting Russia.

St Petersburg Day parade on Nevsky Prospekt. Image by Lou Jones / Getty Images

DO apply for a visa early and register on arrival

This is an absolute must for everybody. You can do it at the last moment, but it may cost you a fortune. Start the application process at least a month before your trip and consider using a specialist travel agency to arrange visas and make key transport bookings. Every visitor to Russia should have their visa registered within seven days of arrival, excluding weekends and public holidays. The obligation to register is with your hotel or hostel, or landlord, friend or family if you’re staying in a private residence.

DO check the events calendar

During major holidays – the first week in January (between New Year’s Day and Orthodox Christmas) and the first week or two of May (around Labour Day, or May Day, and Victory Day) – Moscow and St Petersburg empty out. Despite this, both cities are festive during these times, with parades, concerts and other events, but museums and other institutions may have shortened hours or be shut altogether. May to September is the best time to visit St Petersburg but mid-June is when the city is irresistible, with the White Nights revelling at its peak.

Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre at night. Image by Yevgen Timashov / Getty ImagesMoscow’s Bolshoi Theatre at night. 

DO dress up for a night on the town

We can’t guarantee you’ll make it past Moscow’s ‘face control’, but you can better your chances of getting in to the top clubs by making a sartorial effort – high heels and short skirts for women, all black for men. Russians also make an effort when they go to the theatre or a posh restaurant – you should do likewise to fit in.

DO learn the Cyrillic alphabet

Making an effort to familiarise yourself with the Cyrillic alphabet repays tenfold. Not only will you be able to understand more than you would otherwise, but a knowledge of the alphabet will also help you decode street and metro signs, maps, timetables and menus.

Interior of Moscow’s GUM shopping centre. Image by Huw Jones / Getty ImagesInterior of Moscow’s GUM shopping centre.

DO expect to spend

Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world and St Petersburg is not a cheap destination either; wallet-thinning shock is common at many restaurants and hotels. As a foreigner you’ll also find yourself paying more than a Russian for some museums – often as much as 10 times the price Russians pay. If you’re a student, flashing your ID can save you money at museums and other institutions. In restaurants, go for ‘business lunches’, which are great value and very filling. The latest fad in big cities are ‘anti-cafes’, where you pay by the minute and can enjoy coffee, snacks, wi-fi or even computer games. Taxi drivers and market sellers sometimes try to charge foreigners more, so you may want to learn a few phrases for bargaining in Russian.

DON’T ask for a mixer with your vodka

Few traditions in Russia are as sacrosanct as the drinking of vodka, and any foreign notions of drinking it with orange juice or tonic are anathema to your average Russian. If you need something to wash it down, you can chase it with a lemon, a pickle or, perhaps, a separate glass of water. Vodka is drunk in swift shots, not sipped. It’s traditional (and good sense) to eat a little something after each shot, so order some vodka snacks too.

Interior of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg. Image by Sylvain Sonnet / Getty ImagesInterior of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg.

DON’T be disrespectful in a church

Working churches are open to everyone but as a visitor you should take care not to disturb any devotions or offend sensibilities.Women should cover their heads and bare shoulders when entering a church. In some monasteries and churches it’s also required for a woman to wear a skirt – wraps are usually available at the door. Men should remove their hats in church and not wear shorts.

DON’T take photos of government buildings

Be very careful about photographing stations, official-looking buildings and any type of military-security structure – if in doubt, don’t snap! Travellers, including a Lonely Planet author, have been arrested and fined for such innocent behaviour.

A station entrance along the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia. Image by Annapurna Mellor / Getty ImagesA station entrance along the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia. 

DON’T forget to check the train timetable

Right across Russia, timetables for long-distance trains are written according to Moscow time. The only exceptions are those for suburban services that run on local time – but not always, so double-check. Station clocks in most places are also set to Moscow time. Note that Moscow and St Petersburg share the same time zone.

DON’T be surprised if you’re stopped by the police

Carry a photocopy of your passport, visa and registration, and present them when an officer demands to see your documents. Russian authorities might expect an unofficial payment to expedite their service, so always ask for an official receipt.


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The Trans-Siberian Railway: the journey of a lifetime

Tags :

Category : Europe , Russia

If you’re ready to set aside creature comforts like hot showers and home-cooked meals, extraordinary landscapes and unforgettable experiences await on The Trans-Siberian Railway.

The Trans-Siberian Railway is a 5,772-mile railway line connecting Russia’s capital city Moscow with the port city of Vladivostok in the far east of the country. Spanning eight time-zones, it takes a full seven days to complete the train journey from Moscow to Vladivostok without stops. It remains today, the longest railway line in the world.

Once hailed “the fairest jewel in the crown of the Tsars”, people from all over the world have embarked on this famous train journey and continue to do so. Perhaps, it is a longing for times past, or perhaps it’s a curiosity towards a wonder of engineering, a staggering symbol of man’s triumph over nature. One thing remains certain – like no other, the Trans-Siberian merges a romantic notion of travel with extraordinary landscapes and experiences into the journey of a lifetime.

A symbol of hope and a common identity

Local couple in Inner Mongolia - the autonomous region in north of China where the train passes through
Local couple in Inner Mongolia – the autonomous region in north of China where the train passes through

While the Trans-Siberian was built for a practical reason – a means of transporting goods across Russia – it has become more than just a transport locomotive. Amidst the harsh winters, Siberia is often associated with incredible beauty. The Trans-Siberian offers those living in the small towns along the railway a connection to the rest of Russia, the largest country in the world. It is a symbol of hope, and, perhaps, a common identity.

There are two other lines which branch from the Trans-Siberian; the Trans-Manchurian and the Trans-Mongolian. Instead of passing through Russian territory for the entire journey, the Trans-Manchurian branches out to Chinese cities such as Harbin and Changchun, while the Trans-Mongolian passes through Mongolian border towns and Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

If you are into dramatic changes in scenery, from snow-covered hills to vast stretches of plains, take the Trans-Mongolian route, which starts from Moscow, passes through Ulaanbaatar, and then carries on to Beijing. The scenery from Russia to Mongolia and then on to China changes drastically, making the train ride very interesting.

When to go and how to plan an itinerary

Beautiful view of Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal
Beautiful view of Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal

Planning for a Trans-Siberian trip can be a mind-boggling exercise as there are many aspects to consider. One useful resource is website Seat 61, offering detailed information and advice with regards to purchasing tickets and itinerary planning.

Eastbound or westbound?

The suggested direction of the train would depend on whether you are planning to stay and visit Moscow or Beijing after the train ride. There is a sense of romanticism to traveling eastbound, as it is possible to get connecting trains from major European cities into Moscow. Being the more popular route, you might be able to meet like-minded travelers along the way.

Stops along the way

Statue of Vladimir Lenin's Head in Ulan Ude
Statue of Vladimir Lenin’s Head in Ulan Ude

A two-week trip is sufficient if you are looking to make just one stop midway through the journey, and spend some days in both Moscow and Beijing. A suggested stop midway would be the Russian city of Irkutsk. It is the nearest city to view Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. When you are there, be sure to try local fish (omul) on sale at the nearby market, freshly caught from the lake.

Travelers are also encouraged to stop by Ulaanbaatar, should they wish to experience nomadic life. From Ulaanbaatar, it is possible to get transportation to the suburbs, for overnight stays in a Mongolian ger (traditional portable home, which are round tents covered in animal skin or cloth for insulation). Bring lots of warm clothing as it can get very cold at night.

For another stop on the journey, Ulan-Ude is located 62 miles south-east of Lake Baikal and is the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. The most famous sight in the city is the bronze statue featuring the head of Vladimir Lenin. It is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. The architecture in Ulan-Ude is generally interesting due to both Russian and Mongolian influences.

The best time to visit

It depends on the type of landscape and scenery you are looking for – a popular time to go would be during the summer months between May and August. There will be a variety of landscapes to look out for, such as the rolling hills of Mongolia and the coniferous forests of Siberia. If you are into snow-covered winter landscapes, visit during the winter months between November and February.

Now, let’s get practical

Provodnitsas - train attendants in front of the Trans-Siberian train
Provodnitsas – train attendants in front of the Trans-Siberian train

Tickets

Booking tickets can be a bit tricky. There is not one specific Trans-Siberian Express but many domestic ones as well as a few international trains crossing the borders to Mongolia and China. If you are planning to make a lot of stopovers, it might be cheaper to book smaller but slower domestic trains on the route. If you, however, are planning to spend a few days on the train there is an option of taking the Rossiya from Moscow to Vladivostok – a more comfortable and quicker train that only stops at bigger stations.

Tickets are most affordable when purchased through the Russian Railways official site. It takes a fair bit of linguistic finesse, as most of the crucial information is in Russian, but, as always, Google is there to help you. From Moscow to Irkutsk, it will cost around $350 for a second-class berth – in a compartment of 4 sleeper berths. Third-class tickets cost about $160, which is very affordable given the three-day ride. Just note that the system only allows you to book seats 60 days in advance.

A caveat is that booking tickets via the Russian Railways site can be a tad frustrating and certain credit cards are not accepted. Should you face issues, you could consider booking the tickets through a travel agency. If you’re pressed for time or are planning to make multiple stops along the way, an online travel agency could also help make all the necessary bookings for you. Do note that there will be a markup of about 15% – 20% on the price, should you choose this option. Apart from Real Russia, Seat 61 recommends a number of Russian online travel agencies – do check them out.

Budget

If you are on a really tight budget, it is possible to spend less than $610 on the train ride, if you go for third-class tickets and avoid dining at the restaurant car on the train. Doing so means that you have to stock up your own food before the trip, or hop off the train at major stops to purchase food before the train leaves. Hot water is provided on the train.

If you prefer more privacy and comfort, be prepared to spend slightly more than $1000 on the train ride. Such a budget gives you the option of visiting the restaurant cart from time to time, where one meal can set you back $25 per person. There is a plus when you travel in second-class, or the ‘compartment class’. The ticket is slightly more expensive, but you get a compartment to yourself if you travel in groups of four – great for privacy and security.

Note that the Russian ruble is a restricted currency, and it is not possible to get rubles outside of Russia. But there are several exchange offices and ATMs at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. It will be useful to bring some USD or EUR with you, as they are readily accepted by major exchange offices. Small-denomination notes in these currencies will be useful as contingencies.

Seat selection

Local passengers playing cards on the train
Local passengers playing cards on the train

For seat selection, it is suggested that you get both a lower and upper berth seat if you are travelling in pairs. The lower berth seats are for resting during the day, and you get a good view of the scenery outside. Should you get upper berth seats only, you might have to ask for permission to sit on someone else’s lower berth seat during the day. Most importantly, avoid selecting seats too close to the toilet. You know why.

One of the main reasons to go on this journey is the people you meet on your way. If you’re up for a local experience, travel on third-class. That’s where you’ll find most Russians, and, if you’re lucky, their children, who can be a breath of fresh air on a journey this long. On the Mongolia to Beijing leg, you may meet Chinese businessmen heading back to China from Ulaanbaatar. The train company typically groups travellers together, increasing the chances of you meeting like-minded folks.

Visas

Traditional wooden house in Irkutsk
Traditional wooden house in Irkutsk

Getting a Russian Tourist visa is probably the most tricky of the three countries. Before applying for one, you will need a visa support (tourist confirmation) letter. This is a letter from a Russian travel agency or a hotel which has the license to invite foreign tourists to Russia. Do note that this document is essential in the visa application process. It is not the same as a hotel booking confirmation. Note that some hotels may not be licensed to issue such documents. You can still stay at these hotels, by getting a visa support (tourist confirmation) letter from an online travel agency like Real Russia.

Chinese visas are required for citizens of most nationalities including the UK. You can refer to the Chinese visa guide for more information. For Mongolian visas, a visa is required for UK citizens. Visit the Real Russia site to find out more on the requirements by selecting your nationality.

Safety

It is generally safe to travel on the Trans-Siberian. However, it’s advisable to travel in pairs and to purchase a second-class ticket, which gets you a berth in a compartment of four with doors that can be locked from the inside, for added safety. Drinking does occur among passengers, but should you ever feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to inform the staff, who might be able to move you to another compartment based on availability. You’re a smart traveler, but just a reminder: always keep your valuable belongings right next to you when you sleep.

Essentials to bring on the train

Stock up on snacks on the platform on one of the stops
Stock up on snacks on the platform on one of the stops

The absolute essentials for you to bring on the train ride would be toilet paper and wet wipes. It is essential not just for hygiene purposes, but for wiping and keeping the area around you clean after meals. Earplugs and an eye mask are a must, should you happen to be sleeping near a crying baby (that happens), or just feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day (that also happens).

The toilets are basic and come with a sink. There is no soap available so you’ll have to bring your own. Note that there are no shower facilities for the second and third-class trains, in which case the wet wipes come in very handy. Also, bear in mind that the train’s toilets are best used after a stop at a major station, where they are cleaned. Remember, it’s all an adventure.

Second-class berths come with bedding but do bring a sleeping bag if you prefer. Should you plan to stock up on your own food on the train, remember to bring along a can opener and a pair of scissors for opening food packages. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and not able to open your food.

Of course, a good camera is always a good idea when traveling. Additionally, bring along a flashlight for the dark nights as well as an iPad and a good book for entertainment.

Food options

Experience Russian food in the second-class dining car
Experience Russian food in the second-class dining car

The restaurant car changes at various legs of the trip. For instance, the restaurant car at the Chinese leg serves simple Chinese food, such as steamed rice, cabbage, celery, and chicken. Some quality trains, such as the Rossiya, offer tickets with or without ‘services’. ‘With services’ just means that one or more cooked meals is included in the price, either served in your compartment or eaten in the restaurant car. Other meals you’ll need to pay for in the restaurant or bring your own supplies.

The Russian restaurant car serves a wider variety of food, such as fried potatoes, soup, and dumplings. You can get snacks such as chocolate, potato chips, and instant pasta, but that is sold at a premium. The bar sells beer and Russian vodka as well, but the prices are steep, hence it may be a good idea to stock up on some food of your own.

Some suggested food to bring on board include snacks, tea/coffee bags, instant noodles, a loaf of bread, and most importantly canned food. You may be surprised at how delicious canned food can taste on the train. It bears some resemblance to a proper meal and can be great spread on bread. Do remember to bring along disposable cutlery, and a mug for hot tea on a cold night.

The journey of a lifetime

Landscapes seen from the train between Irkutsk and Ulan Ude
Landscapes seen from the train between Irkutsk and Ulan Ude

From the rolling Mongolian plains to the icy snow-capped peaks of Siberia, the Trans-Siberian Railway offers a lot of promise. But the Trans-Siberian isn’t just about the scenery. A large part of the journey is about living on the train – sleeping, eating, reading, and, perhaps, dreaming of a hot shower and a home-cooked meal.

As the old saying goes, “Life is a journey, not a destination”. The Trans-Siberian is a way of slowing down, enjoying the moment, taking a chance on life and its unpredictability instead of rushing to the finish line. It is a good way of getting to know the world around you, and an even better way to learn about yourself. The Trans-Siberian is not for tourists or destination seekers. But if you have an urge to go on an adventure, coupled with a thirst for self-discovery, this is the trip for you.