Before you travel off to Russia, here are eight important things you should to know.
Russia is a huge country with a wide variety of interesting places to visit. The typical image of Russia is the snow covered Red Square, but there are warm sunny seasons too. Russia has a wealth of beautiful attractions and places of interest. That being said, it is a different country than anything you’ve seen thus far in Europe, and anyone planning a trip to Russia should be mindful of the following tips:
The Russian alphabet bears no resemblance to the English one. This can make it extremely difficult to navigate your way around the country. Even the major Russian cities do not have signs in English as well. Without any preparation you will struggle. If you do not have time to learn Russian, so it is advisable to learn some basic words and phrases – invest in an English – Russian dictionary.
Moscow experiences almost constant traffic jams although other cities are not as badly congested. It is advisable to avoid driving during rush hours. Public transport and even taxis can be difficult to use without any command of the language. It is better to explore the city on foot and discover the many delights that would have otherwise been missed.
While in Moscow, you cannot miss out the Red Square, the Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre, and St. Basil’s Cathedral which are iconic attractions.
The Russian currency is rubles; it is possible to change Euros or US dollars into rubles when in Russia. For safety purposes, money should be changed in banks and you should always carry some cash with you; credit cards are not accepted everywhere.
The weather is unpredictable in Russia. You can have snow in the spring and rain in the summer or winter. Not even those who live there know what to expect. It is essential to pack for all possible conditions. Even in summer there are cooler areas and the evenings can be fresh.
There is a huge variety of food available in major cities, including many of the larger American chains. It is recommended that you avoid fast food wherever possible and taste the authentic Russian cuisine. Russian drinks are also worth experiencing and there is a surprising variety – fit for any palette.
There are an abundance of places which are worth visiting. The Kremlin and the Tretyakov Gallery are two of the more famous ones, but there are many less well known sites that you should consider. The best approach is to purchase a guidebook before visiting Russia and pick the sights you would like to see. When in Russia, wherever possible walk to the sights and you will be surprised how many other delights you can discover which are not listed in most guidebooks.
In general, items are expensive in Russia, this is partly due to scarcity and partly due to many institutions charging more to foreigners than to locals. The best alternative to paying expensive entrance fees is to visit the smaller, less well known attractions. These are less likely to exploit a foreign visitor. The centre of Moscow tends to be very expensive. This is because the Red Square and the Old Arbat Street are the most popular places for tourists to pick up souvenirs and the prices are adjusted accordingly. You might want to consider purchasing a City Pass for the area you are visiting.
Crime is a fact of life in every country in the world. In Russia you may be at increased risk as you are a foreigner and unaware of the rules or dangerous parts of a city. It is essential to carry your documents with you as it is an offense not to have them on you if stopped by the police. A copy of your passport is safer than carrying the actual passport. As with any major tourist area, keep a watchful eye on those around you and leave all valuables in the hotel safe.
Are you ready for the ultimate adventure? Russia has something for every type of tourist. From museums and galleries, to parks and amazing nightlight, travelling to this beautiful country is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Make sure to take into considered the 8 tips we mentioned above in order to stay safe and spend a lovely vacation while wondering the Russia streets and places of interest.
By Peter Smith and BalticTravelCompany.com!