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State Hermitage Museum

When is the best time to visit Russia?

Summer, with its long, light evenings and balmy temperatures, is the classic time to visit these northerly climes, and for those wishing to visit Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian railway this is the ideal - though most popular - option.

The brief but glorious months of spring and autumn offer an excellent opportunity to experience European Russia in uncrowded peace, while 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 one is properly prepared - even the Trans-Siberian railway continues to chug across the icebound steppe.

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September is my favorite month to visit Russia as the heat of summer is fading away but the days are still mild and sunny - perfect for photography. The changing of the leaves means that the colorful onion domes are complemented beautifully by this natural spectacle.

John, Russia, Central Asia, & The Silk Route Specialist

Russia Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Irkutsk 5°F 0" 14°F 0" 30°F 0" 46°F 1" 63°F 1" 72°F 3" 75°F 4" 72°F 4" 59°F 2" 43°F 1" 23°F 1" 10°F 1"
Kazan 16°F 1" 18°F 1" 30°F 1" 48°F 1" 66°F 1" 73°F 3" 77°F 3" 73°F 2" 61°F 2" 45°F 2" 30°F 2" 21°F 1"
Lake Baikal 0°F 0" 7°F 0" 25°F 0" 41°F 0" 57°F 1" 68°F 1" 73°F 3" 70°F 3" 57°F 1" 41°F 1" 23°F 1" 9°F 1"
Moscow 21°F 2" 23°F 1" 34°F 1" 50°F 2" 64°F 2" 72°F 3" 73°F 4" 70°F 3" 59°F 2" 46°F 2" 34°F 2" 25°F 2"
Novgorod 21°F 1" 23°F 1" 32°F 1" 46°F 1" 63°F 2" 70°F 2" 72°F 3" 68°F 3" 57°F 3" 46°F 2" 34°F 2" 27°F 1"
St Petersburg 23°F 1" 25°F 1" 34°F 1" 46°F 1" 61°F 2" 70°F 2" 72°F 3" 70°F 3" 59°F 3" 46°F 3" 36°F 2" 28°F 2"
Ulan Ude -2°F 0" 7°F 0" 27°F 0" 45°F 0" 61°F 1" 73°F 2" 77°F 3" 72°F 2" 59°F 1" 41°F 0" 19°F 0" 5°F 0"
Vladivostok 16°F 0" 23°F 1" 36°F 1" 48°F 2" 59°F 3" 63°F 4" 72°F 4" 75°F 6" 68°F 5" 57°F 3" 39°F 1" 23°F 1"

Month-by-month guide to traveling 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.

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Trip ideas and travel guides to exploring Russia