Russia is a great place to visit: there are plenty of things to do and plenty of spots to explore. There is a fantastic array of hotels and places to stay for those with tight budgets and for those who like to splash out.
But remember that bears don’t walk along the streets, there is no snow in summer and yes, we have McDonalds, Starbucks and other American chains (we don’t live on another planet). But there are some points you should remember if you plan a trip.
Language is the first mystery for tourists coming to Russia. You will not understand a word without special preparation. There are not many signs with English translation (some cities don’t have them at all), so it will be extremely difficult to navigate in the city without knowing the Russian alphabet.
Advice: If you don’t have time to learn to speak Russian, try to learn to read the most necessary words that can be useful like “exit”, “entrance”, “restaurant”, “pharmacy”, etc.
First of all, remember that Moscow is famous for its traffic jams (other cities are less congested). Russian public transport can be rather complicated for tourists, too, and there are no information booths where you can get necessary instructions in English.
Advice:Try not to drive during rush hours and to walk more so to avoid jams! As for taxis, we strongly recommend you to use the official ones.
It is important to know that Russian currency is rubles. You can of course bring any other currency (US dollars and Euros are preferable) and exchange it.
Advice: Credit cards are not accepted everywhere, so it is better to have some cash in your pocket. Change money in banks: the largest bank in Russia is Sberbank (Сбербанк).
Russian weather is very changeable: it can be raining in winter or snowing in spring. Even residents often don’t know what to expect and it is possibly true that meteorology is the most difficult profession in Russia.
Advice: Take the appropriate clothing, shoes and an umbrella. Regardless of what part of Russia you are going to visit, it is better to take with you some warm clothes, as it can be cool even in summer.
You can meet a big amount of various cafés and restaurants in Russia including popular American chains. The cuisine differs much especially in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg – Japanese, Mexican, Italian, etc. There are also places where you can taste traditional Russian food.
Advice: To experience Russian culture, I recommend you to try Russian national dishes and drinks. There are several chains like “Yolki-Palki” (Cyrillic spelling: “Ёлки-Палки“) or “Moo-Moo” (Cyrillic spelling: “Му-Му“), where it is possible to taste Russian traditional food