Travel information
About the country
Russia is the largest country in the world by territory that stretches over a vast expanse of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. The shores of Russia are washed by 12 seas of 3 oceans: the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic.
Russian scenery varies from steppes in the South, plains and forests in the Central Region, tundra and taiga in the North, highlands and deserts in the East.
Russia borders 14 countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, North Korea and China. It also has a sea border with the USA.
The area of Russian Federation has been inhabited by thousands of years. The history of medieval Russia (Kievan Rus) begins in the 9th century and is shared with two other East Slavic peoples - Belarus and Ukraine. For many centuries the Kievan Rus was a very powerful empire in Europe. Then Moscow rose to power and in the 16th century Ivan the Terrible crowned himself the first Tsar of Russia. Russian empire continued to expand under the rule of the Romanov Dynasty Tsar Peter the Great, who founded St. Petersburg and moved the capital there from Moscow. In 1917, the Russian revolution led by Vladimir Lenin overthrew Tsar Nicholas II and established the communist state of the Soviet Union. During World War II millions were killed by the German invasion. At the cost of huge sacrifices and with the help of allies, the Soviet Union defeated Nazis in 1945. In 1991, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union collapsed, which gave independence to all of its 15 republics including Russia.
Over the past 20 years, the two largest cities in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, had gone through enormous changes and massive renovations and became elegant and contemporary. Today these both cosmopolitan cities could boast high-end restaurants and cozy cafes, modern shopping centers and safe public areas, old museums and new art galleries, classic and contemporary theatres and music grounds.
Visa and e-visa
Please check this official website of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (Consular department) to apply for e-visa.
If you require visa-support documents (vouchers, hotel confirmations), just let us know. All our guests are provided with all necessary documents free of charge.
Health and wellness
To enter the Russian Federation, medical insurance with a reimbursement of $30,000 is required. The most widespread types of risk that the insurance should reimburse are impulsive diseases and accidents. Before traveling to Russia, foreign tourists usually take out such insurances in companies where their lives are insured. Anyway, it is very important to make sure that the company has the service centers in the places that the tourist is going to visit. If there are no such centers, in most cases, the insurance company reinsures its client in some company of its Russian partner.
In Moscow, in the case of emergency there is always an opportunity to get free consultation or help of a highly qualified doctor in the Sclifosovsky Scientific-Research Institute of Ambulance. The assistance will be rendered apart from citizenship day and night. The address of the Sclifosofsky Hospital is Bolshaya Sucharevskaya Square, 3 (telephone number: +7 495 680-41-54). If emergency medical care is needed, you can call a doctor from Semashko Second Municipal Clinic (tel. +7 499 238-38-40). In such case, you will have to pay for the attendance. In other cities it will be better to turn to your travel guide or to the first-aid post or the reception of the hotel you are staying at.
Russian native currency is Ruble. You can exchange currency at the local banks. The exchange rate is fixed by the Central Bank of Russia. At the moment it is around 100 Rubles for 1 USD or 1 EUR.
Official holidays
There are a lot of holidays in Russia.
The New Year and Christmas Holidays – January 1st till 7th, Defender of the Fatherland Day – 23rd of February, International Women`s Day – 8th of March, The holiday of Spring and Labour - 1st of May, Victory day – 9th of May, Day of Russia – 12th of June, National Unity Day – 4th of November.
Emergency calls
You can report a fire, gas leak, call the police or an ambulance using emergency toll-free phone numbers:
Fire protection - 101
Police – 102
Ambulance - 103
Emergency gas service - 104
Emergency assistance - 112
You may know that shopping in Russia is rightfully considered as one of the best in the world. Moscow is packed with the designer boutiques, department stores, and shopping malls.
While in Moscow, visit GUM department store, an architectural marvel on Red Square. Pay attention to the world-famous Russian designers and craft goods.
If you look for the traditional souvenirs to bring home - we recommend Imperial's Porcelain, Gzhel ceramics, coloured Alexandrov shawls, wonderful Palech caskets with varnished miniature paintings.
Small towns are famous for fancy linen tablecloths and lacy bedclothes, jewellery and hacks made of semi-precious stones, wooden spoons and Matreshka Dolls made by local craftsmen. In other words, Russia will never leave its guests without wonderful souvenirs that can be bought in every little corner of the country.
Apart from different handicraft articles, local food can also be considered "a traditional Russian souvenir" . It can be black and red caviar, vodka of various labels and sources of production, painted gingerbreads and Russian chocolate that is remarkable for high content of cocoa. It is better to buy souvenirs in different gift shops, little art shows or large trade centers. A little gift shop can always be found in the hotel you are staying at. Original souvenirs of high quality can be found on some artistic vernissage. Your guide will tell you all the necessary addresses. By the way, a present that you buy in an antique shop, may cause problems at the customs, because you will need special documents to take your purchase out of the country.
In Moscow, St. Petersburg and other big cities of Russia there are several widespread means of transport, as a rule: metro (underground), bus, trolleybus and tram. The price for a single trip on public transport is around 50 Rubles ($0,5). Moscow metro has 14 lines. It is operating from 5-30 A.M. to 1 A.M. Most underground stations are real works of art, as they are designed with mosaics, glass paintings and bass-relieves. Have a tour of Moscow metro with your guide and explore the underground "palaces".
Taxi is cheap and easy to get in Russia - use Uber, Yandex Taxi or Wheely apps.
There are three airports in Moscow - Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo. A flight from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg will take  around 1 hour, a flight to Murmansk or Yekaterinburg – 2,5 hours or so, a flight to Novosibirsk - 4 hours, and to Vladivostok – up to 9 hours.
There are nine railway stations in Moscow: Belorussky, Kazansky, Kievsky, Kursky, Leningradsky, Pavelecky, Rijsky, Savelovsky and Yaroslavsky.
From Moscow to St. Petersburg you could get by high-speed train Sapsan in 4 hours, or by comfortable sleeper overnight train in 8 hours.
International calling guideline
The basic principle is the same as in other countries - you dial the country's prefix, which in Russia is +7 (or 8), then the 3-digit area code or mobile's operator's code (this number of digits varies), then the 7-digit number (this number of digits varies).
For example:
Nordway IC cell phone: +7 (926) 687 17 67 where 926 is the mobile operator's code.
To call Russia dial +7 and phone number with the area/city code or mobile's operator's code.
To call home from Russia dial +(your country's prefix) and phone number with the area/city code.
The habit of leaving tips is quite widespread among Russian people. In most cases, if you are satisfied with the service, the tip can be equal to 10-15 % of the bill.
Social norms and taboos
Russian society is very dynamic, developed, and used to modern technologies, although Russians still stick to some old customs and traditions, like spitting three times over the shoulder or knocking on the wood.
Russians are known to be hospitable and open-hearted.
Locals have a well-developed habit of washing their hands immediately upon entering home to avoid germs and viruses.  
Smoking is prohibited in all public areas.
Masks and gloves are required anywhere in public indoor spaces (new pandemic rules).  
Moscow and St. Petersburg are very clean cities. After the most recent renovations Moscow city center has become barrier-free allowing for wheelchairs to pass smoothly.
If you decide to explore the city on your own during your free time, you can order Uber or Get Taxi, using your apps.
The most widely celebrated holidays in Russia are the New Year and the Victory Day (devoted to the victory over nazism). Religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter are also celebrated on a grand scale.
The most popular religion in Russia is Orthodox Christianity. All others would be considered as minorities. Visiting religious sites requires proper attire which would not distract others from prayer. It is common for women to cover their shoulders and heads with a scarf, for men- to take off the hat.
Russia is a country for the foodies. Here you can find cuisine from all over the world, from Michelin-starred restaurants to delicious street food. Taste traditional Russian dishes like borsch and pelmeni. Enjoy ice-cold vodka shot with caviar and pancakes. If you require Halal or vegetarian dishes - no problem. We will prepare a list of recommended restaurants and cafes and book a table for your to make your stay memorable and seamless.
There are various types of climate in Russia, from arctic in the North to subtropical in the South.
The cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg have a moderate continental climate with mild winters and warm summers. The weather is quite variable, and sometimes the temperature spans from -25C in winter, to over 30C in summer. 
We recommend checking the weather in advance and be prepared.

Reading recommendations
· War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (a broad panorama of Russian aristocratic families during Napoleonic army’s invasion in 1812)

· A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (the story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov and his life in the Hotel Metropol where he has been under house arrest for thirty-two years in the beginning of the 20th century)

· The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore (the epic history of the Romanov dynasty 1613-1918, palace conspiracy, family rivalries and game of thrones)

· Children of the Arbat by Anatoly Rybakov (a novel about Stalinist era and youngsters grown up in Moscow in 1930s)

· Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (a thrilling love story beginning with the Devil’s arrival in Moscow in 1930s)

· Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (a novel about a poor student from St. Petersburg Rodion Raskolnikov, his moral dilemmas and plan to murder an old lady pawnbroker for money)
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