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Sergiev Posad Monastery, Moscow, Russia

Russia

When to visit Russia

Introduction

"In January in Northern Russia, everything vanishes beneath a deep blanket of whiteness. Rivers, fields, trees, roads, and houses disappear, and the landscape becomes a white sea of mounds and hollows. On days when the sky is grey, it is hard to see where earth merges with air. On brilliant days [it's] as if millions of diamonds were scattered on the snow, refracting light."

Robert K. Massie, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Most of Russia is snow-bound for a large part of the year, so most visitors choose the summer months of late May to August to take in the sights of Moscow or subarctic St Petersburg, where in June the sun barely dips below the horizon during the long White Nights. Festivals and open-air concerts stand in for the summer departure of the major opera and dance companies, and there is always plenty of outdoor activity in both cities.

In the colder months of September to May prices are lower and tourist sites are less crowded, though hotel rates and air fares peak around the New Year holiday, the main event in the Russian calendar. Winter activities include cross-country skiing in the forests around Moscow and skating on frozen ponds throughout the country and in the Gulf of Finland off St Petersburg, though many country palaces and other outdoor sites are closed.

Autumn comes in a short burst from late September to early October and is a good time to be in the countryside as oaks and poplars shed their leaves in the warming afternoon sun. Spring, in April, is mild but slushy.

St Petersburg

Average temperature (℃)
Average rainfall (mm)
  • 30
  • 20
  • 10
  • 0
  • -10
  • -20
  • 80
  • 60
  • 40
  • 20
  • 0

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Max temp Min temp Rainfall

Daily max temp (Oct)
8℃

Monthly rainfall (Oct)
65mm

Moscow

Average temperature (℃)
Average rainfall (mm)
  • 30
  • 20
  • 10
  • 0
  • -10
  • -20
  • 100
  • 80
  • 60
  • 40
  • 20
  • 0

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Max temp Min temp Rainfall

Daily max temp (Oct)
7.9℃

Monthly rainfall (Oct)
61mm

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