Friday, January 21, 2022

How To Travel To Russia

EuropeRussian FederationHow To Travel To Russia

Read next

By plane

Moscow and St Petersburg are served by direct flights from most European capitals, and Moscow also has direct flights from many cities in East Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America. Non-stop flights from the USA to Russia are offered by Singapore (Houston to Moscow, Domodedovo), Delta (New York and Atlanta to Moscow, Sheremeriyevo), United Airlines (Washington to Moscow, Domodedovo) and Aeroflot (New York, Washington and Los Angeles to Moscow, Sheremeriyevo).

There are three international airports in Moscow: IATA Sheremetyevo: SVO in the northwest, IATA Domodedovo: DME in the south and IATA Vnukovo: VKO in the southwest. Each of them has an express train connection (RUB470) to a central railway station in the city, but the stations are quite far apart, which makes travelling between the airports quite difficult. It is therefore necessary to allow several hours between flights from different airports. A taxi between airports should cost around 1,500 roubles (be prepared to negotiate). The cost of public transport ranges from about 200 roubles for buses to just under 700 roubles for air express trains. The system is not very user-friendly, so don’t expect easy, convenient or fast transfers.

Sheremetyevo Airport, which grew significantly in 2010, has five terminals divided into two groups. Terminals B (the former Sheremetyevo-1) and C form the northern group and mainly offer domestic and charter services. The new Terminals D and E, together with the former Terminal F (the former Sheremetyevo-2, built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics), form the southern group and serve international flights, mainly for the SkyTeam Alliance, and Terminal D also serves Aeroflot’s domestic flights .

Domodedovo is a modern, high-quality airport with a single spacious terminal. It serves both domestic and international flights of most Russian and international airlines. It is therefore advisable to choose flights to this airport.

Vnukovo is a smaller airport and is usually served by low-cost airlines. Since March 2012, it has been undergoing a major renovation with the construction of a spacious new terminal.

There are airports in all major cities in Russia. Some international services can be found in: Novosibirsk, Sochi, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg. International connections to other destinations are much more limited.

Low-cost airlines from Europe :

From Austria:

  • NIKI flies to Moscow (Domodedovo International Airport [www]) from Vienna (Vienna International Airport). Approximate price for a single ticket – €99.

From Germany:

  • Air Berlin flies to Moscow (Domodedovo International Airport) from Berlin (Berlin Tegel), Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf International), Munich (Franz Josef Strauß Airport) and Stuttgart (Stuttgart Airport). There is also a connection between Berlin (Berlin Tegel) and St. Petersburg (Pulkovo Airport). Approximate price for a single ticket: 110
  • Germanwings flies to Moscow (Vnukovo International Airport) from Berlin (Berlin Schönefeld), Cologne (Cologne Bonn Airport), Hamburg (Hamburg Airport) and Stuttgart (Stuttgart Airport). There are also connections between Berlin (Berlin Schönefeld) and Cologne (Köln Bonn Airport) and St. Petersburg (Pulkovo Airport). Approximate price for an outbound ticket: USD 100.

From Greece:

From Italy:

  • Evolavia flies from Ancona (Raffaello Sanzio Airport) to Moscow (Domodedovo International Airport) on Wednesday. Approximate price for a single ticket – €140.
  • Meridiana flies to Moscow (Domodedovo International Airport) from Catania, Milan, Naples, Olbia and Verona.

From Norway:

From Spain:

  • vueling also flies to Moscow (Domodedovo International Airport) from Barcelona (Barcelona Airport). One-way fare €110-180 when booked in advance.

From the United Kingdom:

Cheaper ways to get to Moscow from the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia and Australia:

From/via United Arab Emirates

  • Emirates flies from Dubai to Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow and Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg (from 1 November 2011). New, high-quality, somewhat expensive, but sometimes very cheap jets. A good connection option if you are coming from India, Southeast Asia or Australia.
  • Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi to Domodedovo International Airport. Relatively new entrant in the highly competitive market for routes between Europe and Asia/Australia. Offers one-way fares that are only slightly more than half the return fare (and the return fare does not usually get higher for longer stays of up to a year), a strategy also used almost exclusively by low-cost airlines. It also offers very competitive fares, especially for connecting flights.

From/via Qatar

  • Qatar Airways, another player in the Middle East intercontinental route market, has a presence at Doha’s [Domodedovo International] airport. It is one of only five airlines in the world to be rated 5 stars by Skytrax. Nevertheless, connecting fares from Asia are often quite modest.

By train

The Russian Railways RZhD (РЖД) provides reliable services over dizzying distances. Central and Eastern Europe is well connected to Moscow and, to a lesser extent, St Petersburg. Moscow is also connected to surprising destinations in Western Europe and Asia.

With the exception of the new carriages connecting Moscow with Nice and Paris, the international trains generally offer the same compartment quality as the national trains.

The Russian word for railway station (Vokzal, Вокзал) is derived from Vauxhall Railway Station in London. In the early days of the railway, a group of visiting Russian entrepreneurs were shown the new London railways and were constantly going in and out of Vauxhall station. A misunderstanding led them to think that Vauxhall was the word for station. The toilets at Voczal are free if you have a ticket for the next train (unlike Vauxhall).


Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are very well connected to Russia, with many daily trains from cities in each country. Helsinki (Finland) has four daily high-speed trains to St. Petersburg and one night train to Moscow. Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Tallinn (Estonia) each have at least one daily or overnight train to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Kaliningrad has a short rail connection with Gdynia and Gdańsk in Poland only in summer. Trains from Kaliningrad to Moscow and St. Petersburg pass through Vilnius in the afternoon.

In addition to Russia’s immediate neighbours and the former Soviet dominions, direct trains connect Moscow with Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Switzerland. If you are travelling by train from Central Europe to Moscow, you should know that most train routes pass through Belarus and that citizens of most countries (including some who can enter Russia without a visa) require a Belarus visa.

Western Europe has a different gauge than Russia, Finland and the CIS, so the bogies have to be changed when the train passes through the countries of the former Soviet Union (usually Ukraine or Belarus). This adds a few hours to the already long waiting time at immigration. You can stay on the train while the wheels are being changed so as not to disturb your sleep too much.


Moscow is connected with all the countries of the former Soviet Central Asia: (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) at least 2-3 times a week. The trips are long (3.5 to 5 days). For the Caucasus, there is a connection from Moscow to Baku, Azerbaijan (3 days); however, the Azerbaijani-Russian border is only open to CIS passport holders. There is also a connection from Moscow to Sukhumi in the disputed territory of Abkhazia. The Trans-Siberian Railway runs throughout the country, connecting Chinese cities such as Beijing and Harbin, as well as the Mongolian city of Ulaanbaatar. There is also a bi-weekly connection between Moscow and Pyongyang, North Korea (mainly with the Trans-Siberian Railway and a short connection between Vladivostok and Pyongyang), but this line is not accessible to Western tourists.

By car

Travelling in Russia by car can be difficult. Roads can be poorly marked or not marked at all and poorly maintained, especially outside cities and towns. Road numbers are not well marked and signposts are usually only in Russian. Car rental services are only emerging and expensive in large cities such as Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Crossing the border by car is a special kind of entertainment.

There is no doubt that the car is the best way to see the country, but it is a risky venture that is only recommended to brave and capable people.

Most federal roads (M-1, M-2, etc.) are monitored by automated systems, but secondary roads are patrolled by the State Motor Inspection (SMI). GAI roadblocks are located within each federal district boundary (approximately every 200 km). It is very useful to have a radar detector and a video recorder. A video recorder is your ultimate defence in case of GAI problems. According to a cliché, GAI inspectors can be bribed with US$10 or US$20; in 2005, corrupt inspectors charged about US$90 per hit.

Not all motorways in Russia are free: on some of them toll booths block the passage, so the traveller needs 20-60 roubles per toll (it is better to have 10 rouble coins).

In some areas, petrol can be extremely poor; it is always best to find a branded petrol station.

The service is poor or expensive, but high prices are not always synonymous with quality. Without experience and mastery of the Russian language, the campaign can be very dangerous.

If you are a driver involved in a collision, the main rule is that you must not move your car or leave the scene of an accident until a GAI investigator has drawn up an accident plan and you have signed it. Breaking this rule can cost you 15 days of freedom. Any other questions should be directed to your insurance company.

It is possible to travel safely by car in Russia with a licensed private guide. Independent travel is not recommended, especially for people who do not speak Russian. Guides usually provide their own car or van and are familiar with the roads, customs and landscape so you can see small towns and historic sites.

By bus

Some bus companies, especially Eurolines, offer international bus connections from various destinations to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Tallinn, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw and Berlin all have regular connections to Russia.

By boat

In summer, ferries run between Sochi and Trabzon in Turkey. In Vladivostok there is a regular RoRo ferry to Busan and many lines to various Japanese ports, but these are mainly focused on importing Japanese used cars rather than on tourism. There is also a weekly summer service between Korsakow on Sakhalin and Wakkanai on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Cruise ships also call frequently at Russian ports. There is a ship connection between Lappeenranta in Finland and Vyborg. There is now a daily (night) connection between Helsinki and St. Petersburg on the St. Petersburg route, which does not require a visa for stays of less than 3 days.

By bike

There are two international Eurovelo routes that pass through Russia, namely the EV2 Capital City Route (Ireland to Moscow) and the EV10 Baltic Sea Cycle Route (Hansa Circuit), which connects St. Petersburg with Estonia and Finland.

How To Travel Around Russia

By trainDue to the vastness of the country and poor road safety, the best way to move around the country quickly is by train. Russia has an extensive railway network connecting almost all cities and towns. For intercity travel, the train is usually the most comfortable solution for journeys...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Russia

VisaCitizens of the following countries do not need a visa:Citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (90 days, Belarus unlimited)Argentina (approved for 90 days)Bosnia and Herzegovina (30 days)Brazil (90 days)Chile (90 days)Colombia (90 days)Cuba (30 days)Ecuador (90 days)Fiji (90 days)Guatemala (90 days)French Guiana (90 days)Honduras (90 days)Hong Kong...

Destinations in Russia

Regions in RussiaCentral Russia (Moscow, Ivanovo Oblast, Kaluga Oblast, Kostroma Oblast, Moscow Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Smolensk Oblast, Tver Oblast, Tula Oblast, Vladimir Oblast, Yaroslavl Oblast).The richest side of the country, dominated by spectacular architecture and historic buildings. It is the country's gateway to Europe and is home to the...

Weather & Climate in Russia

The enormous size of Russia and the remoteness of many regions from the sea lead to the predominance of a humid continental climate, which prevails in all parts of the country except for the tundra and the extreme south-east. The mountains in the south hinder the influx of warm...

Accommodation & Hotels in Russia

In most cities, quality hotels are really rare: most were built in Soviet times several decades ago and have been recently renovated in their facilities, but rarely in their service and attitude. Even for a local, it is quite difficult to find a good hotel without the recommendation of...

Things To See in Russia

Russia is huge, and the attractions for visitors are exceptionally long, although many of them are in hard-to-reach areas of the most remote countries on earth. The most famous sights are in and around the country's capitals, Moscow and St Petersburg.Historical attractionsRussia's history is the first reason tourists come...

Things To Do in Russia

Music - Russia has a long musical tradition and is known for its composers and performers. There is no doubt: the bigger the city, the more orchestral performances there are. Classical music is performed in various theatres, where national and guest concerts are planned in the coming weeks. In...

Food & Drinks in Russia

Food in RussiaThe foundations of Russian cuisine were laid by the peasant diet in an often harsh climate, with a combination of fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries and honey. The cultivation of rye, wheat, buckwheat, barley and millet provided the ingredients for an abundance of breads, pancakes, muesli, kvass,...

Money & Shopping in Russia

Money in RussiaThroughout its history, Russia has had different versions of the rouble (рубль), which is divided into 100 kopecks (копеек). The latest manifestation, the rouble (replacing the rouble), was introduced in 1998 (although all banknotes and the first coin issues bear the date 1997). All currencies before 1998...

Festivals & Holidays in Russia

Official holidaysNew Year holidaysIn addition to New Year's Day (Новый год Novy god), 1 January, 2 January and 5 January are also public holidays, called New Year's Day (Новогодние каникулы Novogodniye kanikuly). This holiday covers 6 and 8 January, with 7 January declared a public holiday by law. Until...

Language & Phrasebook in Russia

Russian is the main language in Russia. This language belongs to the East Slavic language family and is closely related to Ukrainian and Belarusian. Other Slavic languages such as Bulgarian, Croatian and Czech are not mutually intelligible, but still bear a slight resemblance. Russian is considered one of the...

Internet & Communications in Russia

TelephonesThe country code for Russia (and Kazakhstan as a former member of the Soviet Union) is 7.Russian telephone numbers have a three-, four- or five-digit area code (depending on the province) followed by an individual number with 7, 6 or 5 digits respectively, which always gives a total of...

Traditions & Customs in Russia

Russians are reserved and well-mannered people.GesturesIn Russia, smiling is traditionally reserved for friends, and smiling at a stranger can make them feel uncomfortable. If you smile at a Russian in the street, there is a good chance that they will not react in the same way. An automatic American...

Culture Of Russia

Folk culture and cuisineThere are more than 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in Russia. The country's great cultural diversity ranges from the ethnic Russians with their Slavic Orthodox traditions to the Tatars and Bashkirs with their Turkic Muslim culture to the nomadic Buddhist Buryats and Kalmyks, the...

History Of Russia

An imperial powerRussian identity dates back to the Middle Ages, with the first state known as Kievan Rus and its religion rooted in Byzantine Christianity (i.e. Greek Orthodox as opposed to Latin Catholic) adopted in Constantinople. However, it was not considered part of ordinary Europe until the reign of...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Russia

Stay safe in RussiaLargely as a result of the transition from state socialism to market capitalism, Russia experienced an increase in criminal activity in the 1990s. As those who controlled capital through the state had to transform their business activities towards the rationality of free enterprise, profits and fraud...



South America


North America

Most Popular