Tips for First Time Travellers to Russia

Russia holds intrigue for many travellers.  The fact that it was a closed country for many years makes it an exciting option.

Before visiting this country, here are a few tips to help you out.

Is a Visa Necessary?

Most citizens will require a visa in order to visit Russia.  It is an easy process, but travellers will need to provide an invitation from a tour operator or a Russian citizen.

For those who are getting to Russia by sea they will be allowed to enter and stay in the country for 72 hours without a visa, but arrangements do have to be made for this.


Russians do not really speak English, but this does vary depending on which part of Russia you are in.

Most restaurants will have English menus and those that work in the tourism industry will usually have a good command of the language.

It may be good to learn a few basic phrases or have a phrase book handy just in case of emergencies.


The public transport system works well in the cities and the bigger cities have a subway system. It can become very busy especially at peak times, so travellers must just be aware of this and be able to amuse themselves with a bit of the fantasy sports betting NZ has to offer on their mobile, or have  a magazine or book with them.

The underground is generally more tourist friendly with signs and maps in English.  Unfortunately, the staff do not really speak English and will probably not be able to help with directions.

Before travelling it is best to understand how the public transport system works and how to use their maps.


Most people think that Russia is always cold.  Although their winters are very cold, their summers can be extremely hot and humid, particularly in St Petersburg.  If visiting Russia in winter pack clothing that offers protection from rain.

The snow usually melts in the big cities and becomes slushy.  Packing the right type of footwear is important, and remember to take a change of socks if doing lots of walking.

Layering is the best option and a warm coat if going outdoors is recommended.  The coldest month is January and the wet months are October and November.  The best time to visit is between late spring and early in June.

Food and Water

Russian food has a variety of options, but there are some strange sounding names.  Best to find out what these are.  The bigger restaurants in the cities will usually have English-speaking staff who can help explain the different types of food.

Russia has a range of wonderful dishes to try.  It is advisable to drink bottled water.  Tap water is safe for things like brushing teeth, but not to drink.  Russians do not drink tap water either, rather opting for bottled or boiling the water first.


When visiting Russian orthodox churches women should cover their heads and wear long skirts and men should wear long trousers and remove any headwear.

When visiting a Russian home, it is good etiquette to bring a gift.  There may be a dress code at some restaurants and theatres so best to check this beforehand.