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Travel to Russia
«Riddle wrapped in a mystery inside of enigma»
Russia is a land of snow and harsh winters, blooming meadows and mighty rivers, midsummer sun that never sets, a hospitable country with a big heart, talented businesses and amazingly artistic people. There are countless natural, historical and cultural attractions in Russia. It really is a ‘must see’ destination!
Russia covers more than 17 million square kilometres. It takes about a week to cross the country's ten time zones by train, and ten hours by air. Russia's population is about 150 million. The national language is Russian. Sixty percent of Russians are atheist, while the majority of believers are Orthodox.
Russia has the largest river in Europe, the Volga; the world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea; the world's deepest freshwater lake, the Baikal; and Europe's highest peak, Elbrus.
FACTS FOR TRAVELLERS (TRAVEL TIPS)
Visas: Travelling in Russia is easier than ever. However, all visitors require visas. Please contact us for more information and help. Visas must be obtained in advance – they are not sold at the airport upon your arrival.
Climate: One of the best times to travel to Russia is summer, which is also the rainy season. July and August are the warmest months. The coldest time is winter when you can warm yourself up visiting theatres and other places of interest. You’ll be pleased to know that everywhere in Russia has central heating.
Time: GMT + 3 for both Moscow and St Petersburg (GMT +4 in Winter time)
Telephones: The dialling code for Russia is +7. Moscow Area Code : 095, 495. St Petersburg Area Code : 812. Public telephones accept tokens and calling cards, which can be purchased at news-stands, in some stores and many kiosks.
Electricity: Electricity throughout Russia is 220 volt/50hz. The plug is two-pin thin European standard. Make sure you bring your own converter as most places in Russia do not provide them.
Weights and measures: Metric.
Currency: The official monetary unit in Russia is the rouble. You are recommended to take US Dollars or Euros; they can be exchanged at banks, hotels and kiosks. Major Russian cities have ATM machines to withdraw cash, and almost all restaurants/shops accept credit cards. It is not recommended to take traveller's cheques with you to Russia.
Taxis: There are a number of taxi companies in Russia’s major cities. You should avoid ‘gypsy cabs’ by phoning ahead for a taxi or asking your hotel to arrange one for you. If you arrive at Moscow airport, you will see a number of drivers clamouring for your business. It's better to go outside and line up in the taxi queue, where regulated taxis can be found.
Tips: Tips are not necessary but highly expected and appreciated. Usually they should cover 5-10% of the bill, depending on the level of service.
Crime and security: The only concern for the tourist is petty crime.
Water: Water quality varies in Russia. Buy drinking water in bottles, and do not drink tap water.
Medical care: An agreement between Russia and Britain allows British citizens to obtain fast and cost-free medical service in case of emergency. In general, calling a state-run ambulance is still free of charge. If you are at a hotel, call the front desk, which in turn will call the necessary ambulance service. Russian speakers can call an ambulance from a private phone or payphone by dialling 03. Saying it's for a foreigner might help to get faster and better service.
National holidays: New Year's Day (1 Jan), Russian Orthodox Christmas (7 Jan), Easter Sunday (Mar/Apr/May), International Women's Day (8 Mar), Labour Day (1 May), Victory Day (9 May), Independence Day (12 Jun), Day of Reconciliation (7 Nov), Constitution Day (12 Dec).