Russia is the world’s largest country, and it’s easy to see why it’s become an increasingly popular travel destination, beguiling and fascinating with world-class art, amazing landscapes and massively rich and interesting culture and history.
With the two capitals of Moscow and St Petersburg, it’s easy to find several things to see and do during your trip to Russia – in fact, the hard part will be fitting it all in! So, we’ve put together some top tips to help you manage your time wisely.
Do: Get Your Documents in Order Early
The last thing that you want is to waste valuable travel time held up at the airport arrivals due to an issue with your visa or other travel documentation. If you are travelling from outside of Europe, then it’s an absolute must to get a visa – otherwise, you will need to do this at the airport, which can be a hassle, cut into your precious travel time, and end up costing you a fortune. Aim to begin your visa application process at least a month in advance; it can be a wise idea to use a travel agency to arrange documentation for you and ensure that all key transport bookings are in place.
Do: Check the Events Calendar
Certain times of the year are busier than others in Moscow and St Petersburg, so if you’re planning to visit as many attractions, sites and museums as possible then it pays off to check the events calendar for the month that you are planning to visit to ensure that you don’t end up double booking your trip with a huge event, which could slow you down as you explore. Major holidays include the first week in January and the first couple of weeks in May, where the streets are likely to be busier but attractions tend to have shorter opening times.
Do: Take Advantage of Speedy Travel Connections
Moscow and St Petersburg may be some distance from each other, but the good news is that there are plenty of options for getting around in no time at all. The best way to connect your journey between the two capitals is via a high-speed train; check out the award-winning Russian train tickets service here. The train is a high-speed, comfortable ride that you will enjoy just as much as exploring the cities themselves. Be sure to book your train tickets in advance if you can, to take advantage of the best prices.
Don’t: Take Photographs of Government Buildings
Taking a snap of a government building may seem innocent enough in countries like the US and UK, but over in Russia, it’s a sure way to get your trip held up or worse – cut short. You should be extra careful when it comes to photographing any official-looking buildings, stations, and particularly any type of military structure. Tourists have been known to have been arrested and fined for doing so.
Don’t: Forget to Check the Train Timetables
Whether you’re using the train to get around the city you’re currently exploring, or taking a train option between Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia) to get from one city to the next, be sure to plan ahead when it comes to travel times. Depending on where you are going, you may find that your train runs a few times per hour, or there could be a long wait in between trains so it’s worth planning your travel times in advance. Thankfully, you can access most major train timetables online, or pay a visit to the station to jot them down.
Moscow and St Petersburg make for an exciting and unforgettable trip, so you’ll want to make sure that you have as much time as possible.Enjoy more Rail Express reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.