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Russia: Useful Information for Tourists

Russia: Useful Information for Tourists

There are a large number of places in Russia where one can have a splendid rest and spend a great time. Touristic peculiarities and tips are very useful, whichever tour you choose, whether it is an ordinary trip to the countryside or a journey across the whole country.

Custom Regulations

Going on a foreign trip, it can’t hurt to get acquainted with the rules of entrance to the Russian Federation and departure from the country, as the custom rules are the same for everyone, both for citizens and for foreign tourists.

First of all, you can’t import or export more than 10 thousand dollars. This concerns both cash and bank checks. Such amounts must be declared in writing.

Vacation and tourism are always connected with the well-known duty free shop. Here one should remember that in Russia there are no restrictions for export of alcohol, but note that there may be restrictions for the import in the country you are going to.

It is allowed to bring up to 3 liters of alcohol and a block of cigarettes to the country. Personal things, perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, and clothing can be transported in both directions. Precious metals and gems are to be declared.

Russia bans export of drugs, pornography, weapons, explosives, sending agents, etc. The same is about import. Also one must have a special permit for any art objects and antiques


Foreign citizens need to have visa for crossing the state boundaries. For its registration and receiving it’s necessary to fill out a Consular Questionnaire and to provide it with copy of the passport for traveling abroad, 2 photos, copy of a document confirming the hotel reservation, certified by the tour company, with the basic information about tourists.

Schengen zone citizens in addition need health insurance policy. Citizens of the countries participating in the visa-free agreements don’t need a visa.


There are no problems with money in Russia. All payments are carried out in rubles. One can exchange dollars, euro and other currencies in the banks. Travelers checks are almost not used, and it may become a problem to cash them. Non-cash payments are accepted at big stores and boutiques, shopping malls and restaurants; in almost every supermarket and mall you can find ATMs of various banks.

All the main modes of transport are available in Russia: railway, sea, automobile, air, pipeline, and inline river transport. But the most convenient way is traveling by private vehicles.


Tipping is desirable, but isn’t necessary. Following the European example, many restaurants have already included a surcharge for service into the payment. Taxi drivers often also like to add their surcharge for the cost of travel; so if you suspect something like this, it makes sense to contact the manager, if the taxi is official; but it’s better to negotiate the cost in advance.


It’s cheaper and easier to move around the country by trains. Air travel is available for long distance routes; it’s not very cheap, but sometimes it is the only possible way out, taking into account the distances. It’s convenient to travel short routes with suburban trains or suburban buses; in summer note that suburban traffic may be congested because of the cottage holiday season.

The best is to travel by private vehicles. The roads are far from ideal, so the automobile tourism in Russia hasn’t yet gained the popularity; though the federal highways are enough comfortable for traveling. In the cities trolley-buses, buses, route taxi, and trams are available. The subway is the most convenient transport mode for the biggest cities.

Health Service

As for health care, it is free of charge for everyone, including non-working citizens (except foreigners). Health insurance policy gives you a right for health service in any city and in any state medical clinic, regardless of your registration.

Going on a trip it’s important to remember that everyone has a right for the medical aid, and such refusal is illegal. Emergency medical aid (in special first-aid centers or by specialists of ambulance) must be provided without a policy - this fact should also be noted. Medicine is paid for foreign tourists, except the emergency cases, so it’s reasonable to secure yourself with health insurance.


Long-distances traveling has some peculiarities. Russia is an immense country with nine time zones. So, the central part of the country and surrounding regions use Moscow time, Krasnoyarsk has a lead of four hours, Irkutsk - plus five hours and Yakutia is ahead for six hours.

Magadan and Vladivostok have the biggest time difference from Moscow; these cities have a lead of seven and eight hours. Such time difference in Russia require no less adjustment than for traveling to remote countries.


No less diverse is the climate of the country, owing to which in Russia one can find places for any rest and any mood. Most of the territory is under a temperate climate with pronounced cold winters and hot summers, and wet off-season with heavy rainfall. However, it’s a big mistake to think that palm trees, sea and other subtropical joys are peculiar only for tropical countries. Krasnodar region, Stavropol and the Caucasus have hot climate and all the benefits of summer; even in winter the temperature rarely drops lower than 10-15 degrees above zero; some tourists dare to take sea baths even at this time of the year.

For those who wish to experience the charm of cool and frosty exotic, Siberia and the Far East are necessary places for visiting; here the cold reigns; multimeter snow drifts and subfreezing for several dozens of degrees temperature is natural and usual weather for these places.

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