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RUSSIA

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Trip Itinerary

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15 DAYS FROM $7,995 • $ 533 / DAY
Small Ship Adventure

Grand Baltic Sea Voyage

88% Traveler Excellence Rating
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Days in Russia
2

Trip Details

Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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Watch this film to discover more about Russia

Trip Experience

Trip Experience

Join travelers as they learn about Latvia’s famous Singing Revolution and explore Riga’s Central Market.

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Russia: Month-by-Month

There are pros and cons to visiting a destination during any time of the year. Find out what you can expect during your ideal travel time, from weather and climate, to holidays, festivals, and more.

Russia in November-February

Russia is spectacular anytime of year with its whimsical buildings and vast landscapes, but it is particularly charming covered in a fresh coat of snow. The snow-covered cities, cozy winter apparel (most notably shapkas, the quintessential Russian fur hats), and warm and hearty food and drinks may be what draw small groups of tourists to the country, but for the most part, Russia is clear of large crowds in the winter.

November through February bring numbingly cold temperatures, which can plummet to as low as -15 degrees. The coldest temperatures are in January, signifying the peak of winter. Big western cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg typically remain above 0 degrees, but farther east, in cities like Irkutsk, you'll feel the bone-tingling cold.

The cold weather isn't all bad though. February is the best time to visit Lake Baikal where you can skate or walk on the frozen lake. Winter is also the best time to track tigers in Russia. Multiple wildlife reserves offer guided tiger tracking tours where you may see the elusive Siberian Tiger in its natural habitat. 

Holidays & Events

  • January 7: Because 75% of locals consider themselves Orthodox Christians, Russia celebrates Christmas in January based on the ancient Julian calendar. 
  • January: The International Festival Competition of Snow and Ice Sculpture in Krasnoyarsk brings together teams from around the world who prove their artistry and skill by sculpting ice and snow to create elaborate designs.

Must See

To get an authentic glimpse into how Russia celebrates the holidays, visit any local winter festival. Revel in the holiday cheer when you ice skate around an open-air rink, witness extremely elaborate ice sculptures, sample traditional holiday cuisine, and take a troika ride, a horse-drawn carriage ride, through the city. These festivals typically run from December to January. 

As you explore Moscow, you may find more than winter festivals. If you wander down Arabat Street, you'll be met by a large crowd of snowmen. The snowmen parade is a cute tradition where anybody can build a snowman, or a group of snowmen, and others will add their own snowmen, resulting in the creation of a parade of snowmen. While these "parades" happen all over the city, Arabat Street is the most popular spot. 

Watch this film to discover more about Russia

My City: St. Petersburg

Enjoy a local’s perspective of St. Petersburg, a city that is still establishing its identity.

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Russia in March-April

A slight warm up occurs in March and April, but spring weather doesn't quite arrive until May. Between night and day, the temperature varies greatly. Sometimes the day's high is 10-30 degrees warmer than the low. Expect cold weather to stick around in March—this includes a snow shower or two. While the weather is still cold in April, leftover snow on the ground begins to melt, specifically in cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow where it is slightly warmer than in more rural areas. The melted snow reveals lush grass and you may even see flowers start to bloom.

Holidays & Events

  • February or March: Maslenitsa is an Eastern Slavic folk festival that is one week before Russian Orthodox Lent (which sometimes falls in February). The festival marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated with blinis, Russian pancakes, and other buttery foods. 
  • April or May: Orthodox Easter is celebrated in April or May based on the Julian Calendar, which is used by the Russian Orthodox Church. 

Watch this film to discover more about Russia

My City: St. Petersburg

Enjoy a local’s perspective of St. Petersburg, a city that is still establishing its identity.

04:45 | 6846 views
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Russia in May-June

While spring awakens in parts of Russia, other parts of the country are still experiencing cooler temperaturesRussia spans eleven time zones after all. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how the weather is going to act in Russia because of the incredible size of the country. In May and June, temperatures remain in the 60s in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, while in eastern cities like Irkutsk, temperatures can still dip into the 30s. 

May is an ideal month to visit Russia as it is still relatively quiet before tourist season begins in June when you can expect larger crowds in Russia's major cities. Get a glimpse of the blooming landscape without the crowds. Moscow has some of the most magnificent floral displays—from the Alexandrovsky Garden outside of the Kremlin to the Hermitage Garden located in the federal district of Tverskoy. 

Holidays & Events

  • May 1: Labor Day
  • May 9: Victory Day commemorates the defeat of Hitler and honors Russia's fallen World War II soldiers.
  • June 12: Russia Day is a day of national pride that is celebrated with concerts and firework shows.

Must See

Turning on the fountains at Peterhof isn't just a quick flick of a switch, it's a full-day festival. Over 100 fountains accentuate the grandeur of Peterfhof and are on full display on the opening day as the fountains are celebrated with classical music and fireworks. 

The main event of the season is the arrival of the White Nights. White Nights occur when the sun doesn't completely set in the far northern and southern hemispheres for a period of two months. May marks the beginning of the White Nights. A notable event that occurs in June during the White Night's Festival is the Scarlet Sails Festival. The romantic story behind this festival begins when a young girl has a strange encounter with a psychic who predicts that a prince will whisk her away on a ship with scarlet sails. While she doesn't fall for a prince years later, she does fall in love with a wealthy man who happens to own a ship with scarlet sails, and the two sail away together.

The White Nights are the perfect time of year for reenactments of this fairy tale story as the striking scarlet sails of the ship contrast the soft hues of the sky. The festival includes musical and theatrical performances, and ends with a magnificent fireworks show.  

Watch this film to discover more about Russia

My City: St. Petersburg

Enjoy a local’s perspective of St. Petersburg, a city that is still establishing its identity.

04:45 | 6846 views
24

Russia in July-August

July and August are pleasantly warm throughout the country, with highs in the 70s. You can enjoy the summer with longer daytime hours. Witness the flowers in full bloom and with over four million miles of forest throughout the country, there are plenty of opportunities to hike and catch glimpses of Russia's diverse wildlife.

While Russia has finally emerged from its cold slumber, summer brings rainfall and unpredictable changes to the weather. Try to plan accordingly and pack clothes for warmer and cooler weather as temperatures can slip into the 50s in July and August. Summer is also a time of year when a slew of bugs arrive, so make sure to keep bug spray on hand. 

Must See

The White Nights continue into July, sometimes ending the first week and sometimes lasting through the end of the month. This natural phenomenon also happens in other countries like Finland, Canada, and even America (Alaska is far enough north that it experiences White Nights). Locals take advantage of the longer daylight hours by continuing their celebrations mainly in St. Petersburg where the White Night's Festival is held. During this annual festival, public concerts, nightly theater performances, and carnivals fill the air with an exciting energy. 

Watch this film to discover more about Russia

My City: St. Petersburg

Enjoy a local’s perspective of St. Petersburg, a city that is still establishing its identity.

04:45 | 6846 views
24

Russia in September-October

If you blink, you may miss autumn. The short season lasts a few weeks and is marked by bright foliage and few crowds. Take in views of red and orange during an exploration of the forested area surrounding Lake Baikal. Or, stroll through the streets of St. Petersburg where tree-lined streets come to life with colors of gold and red. Autumn is also when the Peterhof fountains close, and similar to when they open in May, a festival marks their closing.  

When autumn comes to an end, wintry cold weather arrives, and with it comes the chance of snow showers. In cities like Irkutsk, temperatures sometimes reach a low of 21 degrees in October, so you may want to pack winter essentials this season. 

Holidays & Events

  • September: Moscow City Day celebrates Moscow's origins in the twelfth century. The city celebrates with parades, free entry into select museums, and fireworks.
  • October: The Kremlin Cup is an international tennis tournament that is held in Moscow.

Watch this film to discover more about Russia

My City: St. Petersburg

Enjoy a local’s perspective of St. Petersburg, a city that is still establishing its identity.

04:45 | 6846 views
24

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St. Petersburg

Legend has it that when Tsar Peter the Great was galloping across the swampy marshlands that lie beneath present-day St. Petersburg in 1703, he suddenly jumped off his horse, stuck his saber into the ground, and proclaimed “Here shall be a city.” Built as a monument to the might of Imperial Russia, Peter’s vision resulted in a magnificent city of golden spires and pastel palaces. The countless treasures of this former Imperial capital include the golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress (whose notable “residents” included Peter’s son, Dostoyevsky, and Trotsky), and the magnificent Winter Palace. The completion of the Winter Palace was overseen by Catherine the Great and is now home to the iconic Hermitage art museum and its more than 3 million exhibits. Few places can claim greater artistic, architectural, and Russian cultural treasures than this city on the Neva River known in various eras as Petrograd, Leningrad, and St. Petersburg—and called Piter by the locals.

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Featured Reading

Immerse yourself in Russia with this selection of articles, recipes, and more

RECIPE

Venture off the beaten path of dumplings and try a new recipe for Russia’s pelmeni, or meat dumplings.

Savory Russian Dumplings

Beef & Pork Pelmeni

from Harriet's Corner

Every culture has its own version of dumplings. China claims pot stickers, pierogies can call Poland home, and Italy boasts its famous gnocchi. Russia’s are pelmeni, meat dumplings found easily across the country—although most Russians believe they originate from Siberia because they are most often purchased frozen. Lore has it that Siberians made them by the hundreds and froze and stored them outside throughout harsh winters, but they are tasty no matter what the season. Pelmeni can have any number of fillings. This recipe uses pork and beef, but you can make them with chicken or turkey if you’d like. Serve alone or with dipping sauces, such as sour cream or balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
Garlic to taste

Preparation:

  1. Combine the flour, eggs, water, and 1/2 tsp salt to make the dough.
  2. Knead them until well mixed, then leave aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix the ground beef, ground pork, onions, 1 tsp salt, pepper, and garlic to make the filling.
  4. Cut the dough into three equal portions. Roll each one into a cylinder the diameter of a finger.
  5. Cut the dough cylinders into pieces the size of a walnut, then roll until very flat and thin, a disc about 2 inches across.
  6. Put some of the filling into the center of each disc. Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges to seal them.
  7. Boil the pelmeni in salted water for seven minutes, or until they float to the surface.

Serves: 4

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