Onion-domed basilicas, gold-gilded palaces and museums to compete with the Louvre, Russia’s imperial beauty is quite a sight to behold.

It’s said that Ivan the Terrible forbade any building more beautiful than St Basil’s Cathedral. Though he has his architect’s eyes gauged out, Russia’s magnificence only grew and grew. With their obscene opulence, the Summer and Winter Palaces of the tsars stand as testament to the pivotal peasant revolt. The ruby stars of Red Square glow as gems remaining from of the soviet era. And the mosaicked Moscow Metro has to be once of the grandest subways in the world. 

Russia travel highlights

Our Russia trips

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Articles on Russia

Russia holiday information

Russia facts

Local culture of Russia

Geography & environment

Shopping guide to Russia

Russia festival calendar

Food & drink in Russia

Further reading

Russia travel FAQs

Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance

Most nationalities require a visa for Russia. You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter in order to apply for your visa. 

You can obtain your LOI online through our local partners in Russia. Instructions and a link to the website will be sent to you at the time of booking. Read the instructions carefully and fill in the online application form. You will then be able to download your LOI instantly. Please note that we will add 3 days to the LOI duration before and after your trip dates for your convenience. If you are planning to stay longer than these dates please let us know as we will need to manually request a LOI to fit your specific travel plans. 

The LOI included in the cost of your tour is for a Single Entry Tourist Visa. LOIs for other types of visas may be organised at your own expense and paid directly to our local partners, Parallel 60 (www.parallelsixty.com) 

You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. Once you have received your LOI it is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly at an embassy or by using a visa agent. We do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of residence as your application may be refused.

Use ONLY the information and dates on your LOI when filling in your visa application. There is no need to reference Intrepid Travel or include a copy of your itinerary as Parallel 60 is the official inviting organisation, not Intrepid. Do not be concerned if the destinations and accommodation listed do not match your Intrepid trip exactly. This information is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel and stay in Russia.

* Letter of Invitation (LOI)
* Photocopy of your passport
* Passport size photo (up to 4)
* Flight or other transport details - if required
* Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements 

Please be aware that visa extensions are NOT possible in Russia.

Train tickets in Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip. If we receive changes to passport numbers less than 30 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets.

We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at Immigration.

All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card. The entry portion of the card will be retained by Immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to Immigration upon departure. If you are not given a migration card at Immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure.

Tipping isn’t common in Russia. Some restaurants may include a surcharge with the bill but there’s no need to tip where this isn’t present. 

You’ll have good internet access in major cities but not in rural and remote places.

You’ll be able to use your mobile in Russia’s big cities  Remember to activate global roaming with your provider if you wish to use your mobile while traveling. 

Western-style toilets are the norm in major cities but squat toilets are sometimes present in rural areas. In St Petersburg and Moscow, prepare to pay a small fee to use public toilets. 

  • Trip on the metro = 25 RUB
  • Internet access = 100 RUB per hour
  • Bottle of beer = 35-50 RUB
  • Snack at a cafe = 200 RUB
  • Dinner at a restaurant = 800-1,500 RUB

Drinking tap water is not considered safe in Russia. For environmental reasons, avoid buying bottled water and bring a bottle or canteen with you. Ask your leader where you can access filters to refill your supply, or carry your own purification tablets with you. 

You’ll be able to use your credit card in places like large hotels, restaurants and department stores, however prepare to pay cash when making purchases from local businesses, markets and the like. 

You’ll find plenty of ATMs in major cities, however they tend to be rare in rural and remote areas.

Yes. All peregrine passengers are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their trip. Your insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day.

For a current list of public holidays in the Russia go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/russia/public-holidays