How to Travel Safely in Russia


Whether sipping on a Moscow rooftop cocktail or gazing out from your Trans-Siberian cabin window, Russia offers views that take your breath away. But don’t let the forbidding winters and cold-blooded history fool you, life in this vast land is far from easy—especially for the Russian people.

Russia is home to 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has an extraordinary diversity of natural landscapes. From the pristine Western Caucasus to Siberia’s Lake Baikal and Kamchatka’s Pacific coast, there’s much to see and explore.

There is no shortage of fascinating museums in the big cities, from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg to the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. However, don’t forget to venture out of the cities for a more local experience. Visit small villages or smaller towns where the atmosphere is completely different and you’ll feel like you’re entering another dimension.

The best way to get around is by metro (known as the “underground city” in Moscow and St Petersburg), which is also an architectural phenomenon. When they were first planned under Joseph Stalin, the stations resembled palaces, reflecting his socialist ideology. It is essential to have a map of the subway system in each city and to learn a few basic words of Russian before you go.

Many Russians can speak English and will be happy to help you if they know you’re a foreigner. If they don’t, they will at least try to understand what you are saying and give you some good advice. In fact, the most genuine and heartwarming interactions we’ve had with Russians have occurred in rural communities.

While terrorist attacks are rare, the risk of indiscriminate violence and crime exists throughout the country. We recommend reviewing the Department of State’s Russia travel warnings and following our Safety & Security tips.

We also encourage you to register your visa within seven days of arrival (excluding weekends and public holidays) at your hotel, hostel, private home or with a friend or family member who lives in the same place as you. This ensures that you don’t overstay your visa. In addition, remember that your visa entry and exit dates will be written using European calendar conventions, rather than the American convention of day/month/year.

We strongly encourage you to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy for your trip to Russia, including coverage for lost or stolen luggage, medical and evacuation costs. This will give you peace of mind while traveling to and within the country. We offer a range of policies to suit all budgets, and we can easily add coverage to your existing travel insurance policy for an additional fee. Contact us for more information or to obtain a quote. Please note that if you purchase a policy through us, we will provide you with the necessary documentation and receipts for your visa application. You will need to submit these documents with your Russian visa application at the consulate. In some cases, this may delay your travel plans as it can take up to 10 working days for the consulate to process your visa application.