Tips for travellers

Governance: Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic (the Russian Federation) with a two-chamber legislature.

Capital: Moscow is the capital of Russian Federation. It is a business, scientific, cultural, and tourist center of the country. Moscow is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations and provides unique attractions, together with the opportunity to get acquainted with traditions of Russian people, which is appealing to guests coming here from all over the world.

Location: The geographical area that makes up Russia spans 17 075 200 square kilometers, which is more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area and 11.5% of the world`s dry land, including a part of Eastern Europe and about one third of north Asia. Russia is the biggest country in the world.

Geography: Most typical landscapes are tundra, taiga, steppe plains and highlands. Plains occupy 75% of the Russian territory.

Climate is moderate. In Russia you may see all types of climates of the world except tropical.

The average temperature in January varies from 0 minus 5 °C (within the Caucasus and European part of the country) to minus 40-50 °C (Yakutiya); the temperature in July varies from plus 1 °C (in the north of Siberia) to plus 24 -25 °C (in the Pricaspian lowland).

General information

language

The state language is Russian, national languages and dialects, in the regions.

Time

Russia

11 time zones.

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Population: 145 million, more than 100 nations. Russians make up 81,5%, Tatars 3,8 %, Ukrainians 3%, Chuvashs 1,2%, Bashkirs 0.9%, Belorussians 0,8%, the Mordovians 0,7%, the Germans, the Chechen, 0,6 %, the Avars, the Armenians, the Jews 0,4 %, etc.

Security: According to the WTO data, Russia is a safe country for tourism. In Russia there has been recorded the least number of crimes committed against tourists in Moscow and St. Petersburg. About 80% of foreigners coming to Russia visit these two capitals (the current and the former).

Money:  The official monetary unit in Russia is the rouble.

There are no limits on the amount of currency taken into the country. In shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. you may pay only in roubles, despite that sometimes prices are shown in dollars. You can easily exchange currency. It`s easy to find an exchange point in large shops and hotels as well as on the streets.

In large cities you can pay with a credit card almost everywhere.

Tips are not required. However, if you want to express your high evaluation of service, 5-10 % of the bill will be received with understanding and gratitude.

Banks: Banks are open from 10.00 till 19.00 on weekdays, most are open on Saturday. The majority of exchange offices are open 24 hours.

Post: Most post offices have a so-called floating schedule: for example, they are open from 12.00 till 18.00 on even days and from 10.00 till 16.00 on odd days.

Communication: The quality of telecommunication service in Russia has recently become considerably better. The order of dialing is as follows: the international code 8 10, the code of a country, code of a town, phone number.

Shops: Shops are open from 9.00 (10.00) till 21.00 (22.00), most supermarkets - till 23.00 or 24 hours. There are many small shops and booths open 24 hours.

Health service: There is no medical limitation for entrants now. Emergency service is free. Many large western medical companies have their subsidiaries in Russia.

Transport

Railway

There is a dense network of railways in Russia, which connects distant points of the country. A railway journey is recommended if the distance is more than 200 km. City transport usually works from 6.00 till 24.00 (1.00)h. Tickets are available inside the bus. The underground is the main transport in cities with population more than 1 million people. Tickets are available on all the stations.

If you set off from Moscow in any direction, a kaleidoscope of unforgettable impressions is guaranteed to you. The example is the highway "Moscow - St. Petersburg" that goes through the ancient Russian towns, such as Tver, Torzhok, Vishniy Volochek, Novgorod and Klin. You can find there architectural heritage of the Russian Classicism epoch of the 17-19 centuries, picturesque peaceful landscapes and much more.

You can make a fascinating railway trip by a comfortable "Eastern Express" from Moscow to Vladivostok. Vladivostok is rapidly becoming a big international tourist center. The leading world cruise companies of Asia and the Pacific have already included this city into their routes.

Airports

International airports receive foreign guests in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Piatigorsk, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, Orenburg, Petropavlovsk - Kamchatskiy, Yuzno-Sakhalinsk, Yakutsk, and other cities.

The local time of departure and arrival is printed on air and railway tickets.

National cuisine: 

Russian cuisine is famous for its meat dishes, a variety os soups, such as uha (fish soup), schee (vegetable soup), okroshka (cold vegetable soup) and of cource borscht (beetroot soup), sweet or hearty pancakes, all kinds of pies and other delicious meals. In Siberia you will taste pelmieni (boiled meet in pastry). The traditional drinks that refresh you and quench your thirst are kvass and cranberry juice.

Main showplaces: The memorial estate Archangelskoye, Sergiev Posad and Troitse Sergieva Lavra, unique architectural ensembles of the Golden Ring towns, the monument of wooden architecture Kizhi, "Pushkinskie Gory" memorial estate in the Pskov region, the eastern slope of the Valday high land and Seliger lake, historical and cultural museum complex "Solovetskie Islands and many many more.

Art and folk festivals: "Russian Winter" - Moscow, St. Petersburg, Velikiy Novgorod, Irkutsk, Vladimir, Suzdal (December 25 - January 5 );

Maslennitza (winter send - off) - everywhere (except southern regions) - March;

"Moscow Stars" - Moscow (May);

"White Nights" - St. Peterburg (June);

Sabantui - Kazan (June).

Tourist accommodation facilities: Tourist accommodation facilities - a large network of hotels, hostels and campings: 4,2 thousand objects with 373 thousand beds. A lot of well-equipped health-resort facilities may serve not only domestic, but also foreign clients.

Russian province: In Russian province tourists have an opportunity to see hundreds of architectural masterpieces of various epochs, thousands of natural miracles. It is the only place on Earth where the guests will have a chance to come into contact with the real Russian lifestyle, culture and traditions. Here they can visit a house of a typical Russian family, ride the Russian troika or drive a snow-bike along a snow field, feel a wholesome effect of Russian baths, taste traditional meals, and lots of other amazing things.

Wildlife: Those who like wild nature and adventures will be pleased to get acquainted with the lands of Kamchatka, Altai, the Baikal, the Urals and the Russian North. Forests and lakes of Karelia, the "Siberian Pearl" Lake-sea Baikal are waiting for them, the same as mysterious underground kingdom of Cave Kungur in the Urals, unique and even fantastic nature and exciting history of the Kuril Islands.

River cruises: River cruises down the Volga, Lena, Yenisei, Kama are traditionally attractive for tourists from various countries.