When is the best time to visit Russia?
The land of the onion-shaped domes, Russia, has a rare mix of splendid architecture, delightful parks, cities that are open-air museums, a rich and varied cultural scene, and stunning lakes. Find out the best times to visit Russia and soak in everything this diverse country has to offer.
The months of June – August present ideal weather conditions and are the best times to visit Russia. During May, the parks are bursting with flowers while in September, a golden autumn glow descends upon the cities and countryside, making it good months to visit Russia. Winters are an excellent time to see some of the most surreal snowscapes for those willing to brave the country’s frigid temperatures.
It’s the coldest time of the year and the month that receives the most snowfall. It is, however, a festive time to visit the country as it celebrates New Years and Christmas. Day time temperatures in Moscow range between 21°F – 25°F.
- Visit Moscow as the entire city lights up for Christmas
- Spend endless hours admiring the art at The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg
Snow continues to blanket the entire country. St.Petersburg and Moscow continue to experience below-freezing temperatures. With day time readings as low as 7°F, a thick top layer of ice forms on Lake Baikal.
- Ice skate on frozen Lake Baikal that looks ethereal during winter
- Visit a husky farm in Karelia and take a husky sled-ride through the snowy landscape
Day time temperatures creep up just above freezing. There is still a good chance of snow, so don’t put away those winter jackets just yet.
- Savor the best of traditional Russian cuisine in Moscow
- Cozy up in a traditional Russian home with a typical home cooked meal at the Golden Ring region
The month marks the transition into spring. Day time temperatures climb into the upper 40s to low 50s, and the snow starts to melt. As a result, cities and parks are wet and slushy.
- Spend time at one of the most iconic symbols of the country, the Red Square
- Colorful domes and classic Russian architecture make the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow a must-visit
With day time temperatures breaking into the 60s, flowers cover the parks and gardens of Moscow and St.Petersburg. With the right conditions for sightseeing and lean crowds, May is a good month to visit Russia.
- Give in to the idyllic charm of Suzdal
- Witness the change of guards at the Kremlin
With temperatures ranging from 68°F – 73°F, it’s one of the best times to visit Russia. St.Petersburg experiences the ‘White Night’ phenomenon where the skies stay bright even after the sun goes down.
- Stay up to experience St. Petersburg’s White Nights
- Be rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Baikal as you hike your way up Chersky Mountain
It’s the hottest month of the year and also the wettest. Day time highs are in the range of 71°F – 77°F. It’s a busy time of the year for international and domestic travel. Locals head to the beaches to enjoy the warm sun.
- Wander along the many canals and bridges of St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North
- Kizhi Island beckons with its wooden domes churches, windmills and quaint barns
It is peak travel season in the country. Expect crowds and long lines at all the major attractions. Temperatures start decreasing, but with average high temperatures around the low to mid-70s, it is still perfect sightseeing weather.
- Sit back and enjoy the delightful gardens and fountains of the Peterhof
- Discover the Russian countryside and visit famous UNESCO World Heritage sites as you tour the cities of the popular Golden Ring route
Daytime conditions during this month are perfect for sightseeing. The surroundings start turning a beautiful golden shade. But there is a good probability of rain, and nighttime temperatures are only in the mid-40s, so don’t forget your rainwear and jackets.
- Go on a journey of a lifetime aboard the Trans Siberian railway
- Take a break from sightseeing at the vibrant Gorky Park
While October starts with mild temperatures, the first snow of the season can be expected by the end of the month.
- Climb the steps of the St Isaac’s Cathedral in St.Petersburg for the best views of the city
- Stroll around the Summer Garden in St Petersburg, now bathed in the colors of fall
Temperatures drop to freezing or hover just about freezing. Snowy days become a more regular feature. Temperatures in Lake Baikal are at around 23°F.
- The country’s cold temperatures call for a dip in a banya or steam bath
- Head to the Russian Museum in St.Petersburg that showcases the best of Russian art
Temperatures drop further with readings in Moscow and St.Petersburg at only 27°F. With very short sunshine hours, it can be a gloomy time. However, preparations for New Year and Christmas during the second half of the month add a festive touch to the cities.
- Witness Moscow’s most iconic monuments draped by a blanket of snow – an unforgettable sight in white
- Enjoy a serene horse-drawn sleigh ride through the countryside at the Golden Ring region
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Best Time to Visit by Season
Russia experiences four seasons – a bitterly cold winter season that runs from November to March, a short spring during April and May, a brilliant summer season that starts in June and goes all the way till August, and a multi-hued autumn season during the months of September and October.
The most popular tourist season in Russia, summer, is characterized by long days, day time highs ranging from 70°F -75°F and rain! The summer months are also the wettest time of the year. From mid-May to mid-July, St.Petersburg and the cities in the northern regions of Russia experience what is called White Nights – where the sun goes down only for a couple of hours in the night and even during those hours, the sky is bright and lit up. Summer is also the season when locals head to the beaches or dachas (summer cottages) outside the city.
The autumn months of September and October see cities put on a stunning fall show. While September temperatures are cool at around 60°F, the temperature in October drops to the mid-40s. If you are visiting the country during October, you might get to see the season’s first snowfall.
Temperatures are well below freezing during the winter months that run from November to March. At Lake Baikal, day time temperatures can drop to -0.4°F! Moscow and St.Petersburg see temperatures in the range of 21°F – 34°F during this period. The sun makes an appearance only for a few hours every day, and snow is common, especially during December, January, and February.
The country wakes up from a deep cold during the spring months of April and May. Day time temperatures climb up into the mid to upper 40s, leaving the streets filled with puddles. By May, the parks are bursting with springtime colors, and the fountains are operational again – a perfect month to visit Russia.
What to Pack
With widely varying temperatures between seasons, what you pack for your trip to Russia depends on when you are visiting the country.
If you are traveling to Russia during the summer, we recommend packing light layers, jeans, summer dresses, skirts and tops. The summer months see the most amount of rain in the year, so good quality rainwear is a must. You will need to pack a formal outfit if you are planning to attend an evening of ballet or opera. While visiting an Orthodox Church, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. You will also need to cover your head for such a visit, so pack a scarf.
Temperatures during the spring and autumn months, while pleasant during the day, can get quite chilly at nights. It is advisable to pack warmer layers and jackets. Winters in Russia require you to bring out your thickest coats. We recommend you pack thermals, woolens, winter hats, warm gloves, and tall boots with rubber soles.
No matter when you visit Russia, there is plenty to see and do, so pack your most comfortable pair of walking shoes.
Get in touch with our travel experts to find out the best times to visit Russia. With a tailor made itinerary, we will help you experience the best sights and sounds of this country.
Russia’s Golden Ring is a band of pretty little historical towns that lie to the east of Moscow.
Karelia lies along the Finnish–Russian border, with a distinct geography, culture, and architecture all of its own.
Lake Baikal is one of the world’s deepest lakes and oldest geographical features, formed millions of years ago.
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