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Russia Travel Answers

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 05, 2017
Which month Transib railway?  (7 Answers)

Hello, i am planning to travel on the Transiberia railway this summer. I am looking for a month this summer that has not much rain and lots of sun and warm weather. I am thinking of july or august. Which is the best month?

Thanks in advance!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 24, 2016
From St Petersberg to Vladivostok?  (13 Answers)

I want to travel diagonally across Russia using public transport. I'm planning to start in St Petersberg and traveling across the northern regions of Siberia then across to Vladivostok . I know it's a long way and will take some time.

I was wondering if any Russians out there could tell me if it is possible to travel like this across some of the more isolated regions along the northern end of Siberia and the eastern parts of Russia? For example, is it too mountainous, is it too cold, is the frequency of transport allot less in that part of the world?

I've travelled across countries like Mongolia, Kazakastan and other Central Asian countries so I'm somewhat familiar with some of the modes of transport. I'm just not sure what to expect in the regions I want to travel.

I'm hoping to go in Russia's summer months.

Any tips at all would be helpful as it will provide a great starting point for further research into this trip I will be doing in the next few years.
Thanks so much.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 22, 2016
S7 airlines  (12 Answers)

I am about to book flight to Moscow for next month, and I found cheap light with S7 Airlines to Domodedevo .
The same flight with Airberlin is €100 more expensive and they both go nearly at same time.
Now I would like to know is S7 Airlines legit and how good it is.. I have been looking on the net for more info but is bit sporadic.. So can you please enlighten me, if you have used it?
Many thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 01, 2016 accommodation booking site  (5 Answers)

I have found accommodation in Saint Petersburg and Moscow affordably listed on the Russian hotel booking site, but was hoping for some feedback as to its reliability.
Has anyone else used Can I confidently book through them?
I notice that some of the prices are listed with free cancellation but pay now, where they undertake to reimburse the paid amount if cancelled within guidelines. Has anyone done this before? Was the money repaid promptly and in full?
Appreciate any feedback.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 19, 2016
How much money to take  (2 Answers)

I am going on a cruise to Russia so everything is made for. Just need 'pocket' money for possibly a few inexpensive gifts how much should I take?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 18, 2016
Obtaining a VIsa  (4 Answers)

I want to fly to Russia in a few months from Israel. The thing is, I am not an Israeli citizen, I am a British citizen. Will I be able to obtain a visa for Russia from a country where I am not a citizen?


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 02, 2016
Trance-Siberian Train: food, drinks, all kind of tips, etc.  (4 Answers)


As my trip on the Trance-Siberian is approaching, I would appreciate if you share your own experience. I will be spending 2 days/each way on the route Moscow-Novosibirsk. What is the best strategy, especially regarding food? I've read that food in the restaurant on the train is a bit overpriced. But then how about buying from the babushkas on the stations and is there enough time for it?
Any other tips are very welcome!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 02, 2016
Good offline map application for Android  (9 Answers)


As I am planning to visit Russia in few weeks and do part of the Trance-Siberian Railway, I need good mapping app's for the cities of Moscow, SP and Novosibirsk/Akademogorsk. Perfectly, they should work offline.

Any experience, especially by locals? I do read Russian.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 28, 2016
Travel Itinerary  (4 Answers)

We are a couple looking to travel to Russia, Poland, Prague, and Austria. We haven't decided the time frame for this trip. Any suggestions for an easy route of travel? We were thinking flying into Russia first then out of another area. How many days should we give ourselves in Russia for sightseeing and are there tour guides we could hire?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 29, 2016
Artillery Museum  (4 Answers)

Our trip to St Petersburg is fast approaching! I have my lovely Russian Visa in my passport, (That was a job and a half!)
I have booked a couple of tours and made notes on what we would like to do on the 3 full days we have leaving the fourth half day free at this time. Thank you to those who helped.
My husband is very interested in the Artillery Museum but its closed Monday and Tuesday ( We are in St Petersburg Mon Aug 29th, Tues Aug 30th , Wed Aug 31st,) and we can only go to Catherine's Palace on Wednesday because it is closed on Tuesdays and the last Monday of the month!
We could go on Thursday on our half day but it doesn't open until 11am and we need to leave for the airport around 12:30pm.
So, on the Wednesday we have booked a 6 hour tour to St Catherine's Palace and Peterhof. Instead of returning to St Petersburg by road with the tour we thought we would take the hydrofoil back which is something we wanted to experience and it would be quicker. Then walk to Artillery Museum.
If we are going well we hope to be there by 4pm. Its only open until 6pm. :/
We know that's probably not enough time to do it justice but that's what we have. My husband is mostly interested in the tanks etc and weapons.
Is the outside area with the tanks etc accessible when the museum is closed? From photos it looks like the main display is behind a gate and wall. If it is open we would go on a day its closed and look at the outside display and have the two hours to look inside.
If not would it be best to look inside first and look at outside display last or is all locked up 6pm?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 28, 2016
Tourist visa question  (2 Answers)

I have a friend in Kaliningrad who wants to host me for a trip there in October - she is applying for a homestay visa for me. The problem is, she's a huge procrastinator and dragging her feet like crazy. I'm hoping I can just get the invitation from her, and then expedite my visa with the Washington DC consulate so I can fly as planned in October. But just in case she takes too long and drags her feet more, I was going to try and obtain a tourist visa as a backup. So my confusion lies in lodging and registration. I am OK with booking a hotel for say a couple of nights so I can be registered, etc., but I'm hoping that I'd have some freedom of movement after that and be able to just stay with my friend since it would be more convenient and cheaper. I'll only be there for 2 weeks, but booking a hotel for 2 weeks that I'm not going to stay at seems like a huge waste of money. I read that after my time at the hotel is up, I'll have to be registered again wherever I'm staying, and that having a private person register me may cause some problems. I'm combing the internet and finding no answers. So what I'm wanting to know, in a nutshell, is how do people travel independently in Russia without having to book a hotel the entire stay, and how does one go about registering themselves again after their stay at the hotel is over?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 28, 2016  (1 Answer)

Hello folks
Any experience, feedback about
Recommended trails?
Thanks in advance,

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 13, 2016
Russia for 2wks in early September2016  (20 Answers)

My friend and I planning a 2wks trip to Russia beginning of September 2016. 2 ladies would like to see as much as we can . Not too rushing though. Will be arriving into Moscow from Singapore. Appreciate members who are staying in Russia or who hve visited Russia, share with us itinenaries that we can consider. Would love to cover Moscow, St Petersburg and..pls suggest . Hear from you travellers and thank you in advance.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 07, 2016
How much russian do you have to know to visit Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia?  (8 Answers)

Me and my sister are thinking to visit Mocow and St Petersburg at the end of May. We're just concerned about learning the language to get around both cities, i.e. metro, etc. Is it mandatory that you have to know Russian or at least learn the alphabet to visit the places? Are we better of learning some of the language and go some other time? I would be very grateful if anyone who knows about Russia or who lives there could answer this. Thanks in advance.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 09, 2016
Sightseeing stops on Trnas Siberian Route  (36 Answers)

Hello peeps,

I am planning trip from Moscow to Kamchatka , and I plan part of it, to do it with the Trans Siberian railway..

My plan so far is:
Flight to Moscow early morning spend 3 nights in the city, than take:
Moskva- Nizhni Novgorod train at 20:05 arriving 02:07
Spend one night in the city , next evening train

Nizhni Novgorod-Kazan train at 21:25 arriving at 05:56
Spend night in the city, next evening train

Kazan -Yekaterinburg train 20:08 arriving 12:25
Spend night in the city, next evening train

Yekaterinburg-Novosibirsk train at 21:55 arriving 19:13
Spend night in the city, next evening train

Novosibirsk -Irkutsk train at 22:49 arriving 08:16 day after (31 hrs on the train)
Spend 3 nights in the city

Than catch flight to Petropavlovsk Kamchatka

After 2 weeks in Kamchatka flight home via Moscow..

Is this doable with those timetables?

And do I need to add extra days in some cities or omit some of them?

Plan is to leave end of July for 4 weeks.

Many thanks for your advice..

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 23, 2016
St Petersburg in Sept/October  (10 Answers)

What area/street in St Petersburg is best for getting a hotel where there are inexpensive restaurants/deli/grocery store? I can easily walk 5 - 15 kilometers a day and would like to stay within walking distance to many museums. Also, I read that river cruises stop after sept 7. I want to do a day trip to the folk, outdoor museum. Is it open then and how can I get there? Any suggestions are welcome. I will be there for about 10 days.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 01, 2016
How do I get visa invitation for a 5 day visit to Moscow?  (8 Answers)

My question is whether I can a visa invitation from a hotel for a tourist visit in Moscow or do I need to get the visa invitation from one of these third-party websites? Thanks for your help.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 28, 2016
Buying tickets ahead of visit.  (13 Answers)

Thank you for the responses so far to my questions about which attractions to visit with or without a guide. I have a tentative plan put together taking into account opening days which I'm pretty happy with. I think we have a nice combination of guided and indepenant tours and using audio guides when available.
For Church of the Splilled Blood, St Issacs and the Fortress do we need to purchase entrance tickets ahead of time or on the day? Information is not clear when researching.
If we don't want to walk to the fortress and are not confident enough to use the metro could we use a taxi?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 22, 2016
Backpacking/hosteling in Moscow: minimum daily expenses?  (4 Answers)

I plan to spend a couple of weeks in Moscow in the near future. I'll be backpacking and operating on a very limited budget. I expect to stay in hostels and eat cheap meals. Can anyone confirm what, realistically, the minimum I can get by on daily?

I'm planning on $35 USD per day ($2300 rubles or so). If that's unrealistic, I'd like to know early. Thanks.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 20, 2016
Guided tours versus Independant tours  (10 Answers)

I have been researching how best to visit the attractions and sites in St Petersburg. There are quite a few companies that give great 1-3 day comprehensive tours and seem to be aimed at cruise boats which have limited time. We will be staying in central St Petersburg and will have 3 full days plus a half day on the day we leave. One quite highly recommended company offers the Faberge Museum as an extra for $50 US ($70 Aussie) while my research shows we can walk there and pay around $12 Aussie dollars with an audio set or even with an English guide if we go before 6pm. I know the tour has to include transport, guide and admission and probably suits cruise visitors.
So, from my research it seems we could quite easily visit the Faberge museum, Church of Spilled Blood, St Isaacs and do a canal cruise on our own. Also it seems fairly easy to catch a return hydrofoil to peterhof to visit the two gardens. Someone suggested to get there around 2pm as most tours have left.
I think we need a guide/ tour for the a Hermitage and Catherine's Palace. I found a very good small group tour of the Hermitage with Viator which included early entry and we could stay after the tour if we wanted. Also there is a meeting place near the Hermitage so no waiting for buses or picking up visitors from a few hotels.
Still looking for Catherinrs Palace. I was thinking we may use a private guide and combine with a visit to somewhere else. Any suggestions? Maybe Peter and Paul fortress? Not sure yet if that is easier/better with a guide.
We would also like to join Peters original walk to experience metro and generally a more local perspective. We like the Leningrad tour also but time might be against us. Maybe this is something we could do with the guide after Catherine's Palace.
I know I'm asking a lot of things but would really like any suggestions/opinions/advice on my plans. Especially on which attractions we could do ourselves. I know guides are very knowledgable but we use audio sets where available and if needed and we still plan to gave some guides/ tours where we could get that historical perspective. We like some history but don't need to overdo it! Brain can only hold so much!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 19, 2016
No visa needed st. Pete Line from helsinki  (19 Answers)

Hi, Im a Canadian citizen, I was born in russia and when i moved in 1998 i was in my mothers passport. Now im 25 and have never made myself a russian passport. We are traveling to helsinki with a group in June and want to take the St. PETE LINE ferry for 72 hours in st. Pete with out a visa..... Will i have any issues at immigration control just because i was born in russia and at one point was a citizen? Will i be let to st. Pete with out any problems with my canadian passport?
Reallyyyy need help with this!
Thank you!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 17, 2016
Private/ small group tours  (4 Answers)

We will be visiting St Petersburg in the last few days of August 2016. We have 3 full days and a half day on the day we leave. From our research it seems guided tours are the best way to visit the main sites due to the crowds and language barrier. We would like either private or small group tour. Private may be a bit too expensive for us but really don't want to be on a big coach tour. We will are travelling independently and are staying in central St Petersburg. Some sites we thought we could do ourselves as we can walk from our accomodation. St Isaac's, Church of Spilled Blood, faberge museum ( I think you have to book a tour?) and exploring the Nevsky prospect. Thoughts? Places I think we would definitely need a guide would be The Hermitage Museum, Hydrofoil ride to Peterhof, Catherine's palace and gardens, and Peter and Pauls fortress. We thought maybe on our first day we might hire a guide that walks us around and takes us on the metro etc and generally show us things we wouldn't see on our own and generally get our bearings. Half a day in the morning and afternoon on our own and Faberge Museum in the evening. Day 2 and 3 on a guided tour to cover the above. Maybe some of the others I thought we could do ourselves might also be visited. Morning day 4 canal ride? We don't want to be taken shopping or to non authentic lunches but i guess thats up to me to make sure with the tour company! I know I've asked a lot of questions but any advice on tour companies people found good would be appreciated. I can contact them then for further details. If anyone can see flaws in my reasoning I'm more than happy to listen and would appreciate the advice. Thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 17, 2016
transfers from train station and to airport  (9 Answers)

We are an Australian couple in our 50's visiting St Petersburg for the first time. Im very excited to visit! I just love palaces! ha ha
We will be arriving in St Petersburg via the fast train from Helsinki. I believe it stops at Finlandski Station.
We depart St Petersburg by plane. We are staying in central St Petersburg.
I like to have my transfers organised in advance or at least know my options.
I came across a business called cabforce where you book and pay on line and a taxi will be waiting for you on arrival and I presume will come to your accomodation for the departure. The quoted cost from the train station to our accomodation is $20 US ( $27 aussie dollars) for a half hour trip and $28 US ( $40 Aussie dollars) to airport for a 30-40 min trip. Their site is very user friendly and you pay upfront.
My question is has anyone used this service? I would like to know how reliable they are. Would hate to arrive at the station early evening and not have taxi turn up. It seems a very reasonable price to me.We have used bus shuttles in the US and they were about $20 per person which we also found reasonable.
Any other help/advice or opinions on transfers would be very much appreciated.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 02, 2016
help identifying photos of churches, etc. in St. Petersburg Russia  (8 Answers)

I have seen a lot of matches searching to identify other photos, but I have been unable to match these with anything.  Two are obviously churches.  The bell tower appears to go with the church.  The other two are simply unknown.  Any help would be appreciated.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 29, 2016
Are Australians welcome?  (43 Answers)

My husband and i will be visiting St Petersburg and Moscow for the first time in August. We are extremely excited. Unfortunately when we told friends and family the response was that we would not be welcome or safe in Russia. I don't feel this is true but I guess I am looking for reassurance. I also am on a medication ordered by my Doctor called escitalopram. I need to know that this is a legal medication in Russia. I would like to dress in a manner that is respectful to the Russian people while we are there. Is there anything I need to know to do this. Any help with theses questions will be greatly appreciated, especially the medication question.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 17, 2016
Traveling in russia by train  (8 Answers)

We would like to go from Denmark to Skt Petersborg and from there by train to Moskva. There are a highspeed train.
4 persons

Flight from Denmark to Skt Petersborg and flight from Moskva to Denmark

It looks like it is not so easy to travel by yourselves in Russia. As a Dane er need visa, fingerprint, invitation and insurance. More??? Of course easier if you by a travel agency. Train from skt petersburg to Moskva. Is it possible to hope on and off. Visit historical, cultural places

Where to stay and what to visit

Do you have other suggestions for such a trip?

We are all 65 years. Do you get reduces prices in Russia? Train?

Have a nice sunday

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 14, 2015
How to extend visit visa in Russia  (7 Answers)

I want to ask how to extend visit visa in Russia for Pakistani Passport !!!
Regards ,Mr Khan

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 05, 2015
Do I need to show 1 lakh Indian Rupees in my bank account for Russian Visa?  (11 Answers)

I am planning to go to Russia soon. I am an Indian and live in India. I visited Singapore last year for a month. My travel agency told me that I need to show 1 lakh Indian Rupees in my bank, do you think she is lying or telling the truth? I think she is lying.
Please let me know, whosoever knows about it.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 03, 2015
Are the canals of St. Petersburg safe to walk on.  (4 Answers)

I have seen vehicles driving on the canals of St. Petersburg in old paintings (e_g ). My question is are they safe to walk on, & if so, is it safe to use lightweight vehicles (i.e. not a car but lighter than a small car)? Are there any legal restrictions?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 21, 2015
Former U. S. military linguist speaking Russian, now a tourist...suspicions raised?  (24 Answers)

I am planning a trip to Russia as a tourist. In my twenties I was a Russian linguist in U.S. military intelligence. I am now retired. However, I still know enough Russian that I will be able to communicate in basic form with the people there.

I don't want to raise suspicion or draw too much attention for obvious reason. If I am asked, should I avoid telling anyone how I really learned Russian?

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