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The best time to visit Russia is during summer (June to August), with its long, light evenings and balmy temperatures of 21C-25C. It’s also the ideal — though most popular — time for those wishing to visit Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian railway.

The brief-but-glorious months of spring and autumn offer an excellent opportunity to experience European Russia in uncrowded peace.

However, many consider St Petersburg at its best in its glittering winter dressing of snow. Despite plummeting temperatures, travel in winter does remain a possibility if you’re properly prepared — even the Trans-Siberian railway continues to chug across the icebound steppe.

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Russia Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Irkutsk -15°C 12mm -10°C 8mm -1°C 12mm 8°C 20mm 17°C 33mm 22°C 69mm 24°C 114mm 22°C 91mm 15°C 57mm 6°C 27mm -5°C 22mm -12°C 19mm
Kazan -9°C 34mm -8°C 27mm -1°C 24mm 9°C 34mm 19°C 37mm 23°C 67mm 25°C 68mm 23°C 60mm 16°C 54mm 7°C 50mm -1°C 42mm -6°C 37mm
Lake Baikal -18°C 11mm -14°C 5mm -4°C 4mm 5°C 11mm 14°C 19mm 20°C 38mm 23°C 75mm 21°C 64mm 14°C 38mm 5°C 19mm -5°C 25mm -13°C 25mm
Moscow -6°C 43mm -5°C 35mm 1°C 33mm 10°C 42mm 18°C 49mm 22°C 78mm 23°C 89mm 21°C 76mm 15°C 63mm 8°C 61mm 1°C 57mm -4°C 53mm
Novgorod -6°C 30mm -5°C 23mm 0°C 29mm 8°C 35mm 17°C 42mm 21°C 63mm 22°C 74mm 20°C 72mm 14°C 64mm 8°C 55mm 1°C 52mm -3°C 38mm
St Petersburg -5°C 38mm -4°C 29mm 1°C 33mm 8°C 36mm 16°C 40mm 21°C 61mm 22°C 76mm 21°C 79mm 15°C 71mm 8°C 65mm 2°C 58mm -2°C 49mm
Ulan Ude -19°C 5mm -14°C 3mm -3°C 3mm 7°C 8mm 16°C 14mm 23°C 44mm 25°C 76mm 22°C 63mm 15°C 31mm 5°C 10mm -7°C 12mm -15°C 12mm
Vladivostok -9°C 10mm -5°C 15mm 2°C 21mm 9°C 45mm 15°C 66mm 17°C 93mm 22°C 112mm 24°C 142mm 20°C 122mm 14°C 65mm 4°C 31mm -5°C 17mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Russia

The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia

Visiting Russia in January - February

January and February are among the coldest months in Russia, but the scenery is idyllic, with snow covering much of the landscape and frozen waterways. Hotels are always well heated, the cuisine is warming and the hot chocolate in St Petersburg in particular is fantastic. Russian Christmas is on 7th January, so you may find that restaurants and shops are closed over a few days. However, this means that you can still visit Christmas markets in early January. This is 'low season' for visitors, so attractions will be relatively uncrowded.

Events & Festivals

  • Winter Festival (mid-December to mid-January): Winter Festival sees the Christmas markets spring up, as well as a celebration of Russian winter traditions such as troika rides, ice sculptures, ice skating and Russian cuisine.
Yurev Monastery, Novgorod, Russia

Visiting Russia in March

March is typically still snowy, with the snow only melting in Moscow and St Petersburg towards the very end of the month. Though still cold, temperatures are not as low as they are from November to February, so instead of snow falling you may find sleet or rain.

Kizhi

Visiting Russia in April - May

As temperatures increase, the snow and ice melts, so from early April onwards the rivers and canals can be navigated by boat again. Easter is very important to Russians and celebrations - both religious and chocolate-based - are quite pronounced. Spring flowers begin to emerge in April and May, making the parks and gardens of the cities quite beautiful. The fountains in the gardens of Peterhof open in May.

St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg

Visiting Russia in June - July

June to July sees numerous cultural events and firework displays take place, making St Petersburg a gloriously vibrant place to visit. It is also the busiest time of year, so hotels raise their prices accordingly and availability is scarce; you should therefore book well in advance. Temperatures are pleasantly warm in June and can be quite hot in July. If you are visiting St Petersburg then you should take mosquito repellent; particularly if you are near canals and rivers. June through to August are also the wettest months of the year.

Events & Festivals

  • White Night's Festival (June and July): A celebration of the midnight sun period held annually in St Petersburg. Various cultural events are held throughout the city, as well as evening fireworks. Read more
The Hermitage Theatre, St Petersburg

Visiting Russia in August

August's climate is similar to July's, but if you are visiting St Petersburg the city will be slightly less busy, as you'll be out of the White Night's period. From mid-August to mid-September the Mariinsky Theatre closes.

Peterhof Palace

Visiting Russia in September - October

September and October are Russia's autumn months, when the trees take on attractive rust and gold hues. The cities are less crowded, making exploring the museums a more pleasant experience. The fountains at Peterhof close at the end of September, while towards the end of October you may encounter the first snowfall.

Events & Festivals

  • Moscow City Day (early September): Moscow's birthday is celebrated with military tattoos, firework displays, musical concerts, creative workshops, educational lectures and street theatre performances over several days. Read more
Peter & Paul's Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia

Visiting Russia in November - December

November and December are cold, often snowy months across the country. During daylight hours (which are limited during these winter months) it is often sunny, although temperatures across the country are likely to be well below freezing.

Events & Festivals

  • Winter Festival (mid-December to mid-January): Winter Festival sees the Christmas markets spring up, as well as a celebration of Russian winter traditions such as troika rides, ice sculptures, ice skating and Russian cuisine.

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Travel Advice

Practical tips for travelling to Russia, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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