You can also book visa only, flight only, or accommodation only holidays if this better meets your needs.
We organise travel to the following destinations: Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Mongolia, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, and throughout parts of Eastern Europe and Asia.
|Required for a Russian / Belarus visa:|
|Required for a Chinese / Mongolian visa:|
|Required for a Ukranian / Baltics visa: |
UK passport holders do not require a visa if staying for less than 90 days in Ukraine or any of Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania).
Please refer to our visa section Visa Services for further information about other visas.
We strongly recommend that you pre-book your airport transfers with us prior to departure, so as to avoid any problems acquiring transport upon arrival. We have a large fleet of both Western and local cars and can arrange internal transfers between hotels, airports, railway stations, or for any excursions.
CLOTHING AND TEMPERATURES
Summer in Moscow and St.Petersburg is similar to that in northern Europe: hot but with frequent showers. Evenings can be cold even in July and August so bring enough warm clothes. Dress is casual but Russians do make quite an effort when they go out. In churches you should always wear clothing covering your shoulders and wrists. In some Orthodox Churches ladies may be asked to wear long trousers and a scarf to cover their hair. Shoes should be comfortable because you will have to walk a lot whilst touring the cities. During winter (November-March) a warm hat, gloves and a scarf are essential as well as a warm coat. It is advisable to wear removable layers as buildings are often very hot inside.
Electricity in Russia is 220v 50Hz AC. Sockets require a European-type plug (two round pins) or adapter. Phone and modem jacks are different from other European countries or the UK and you might want to bring a converter if you need to work online with your computer. Trains usually provide sockets for electric razors.
Roubles are now available at some UK outlets, but we still recommend taking US dollars or Euros in cash and low denominations e.g. $1 to $20. Do make sure that the bills are issued after 1993 and that they are in immaculate condition or they may well be rejected by the bank. It is possible to exchange travellers cheques in banks but you will be charged a higher rate of commission. Most hotels have a bureau de change that will most likely be open upon your arrival. When you check in at the hotel you will be asked to hand in your passport and visa for registration purposes. Until your passport is returned you will only be able to change money in the hotel. Money should only be changed at banks or official exchange kiosks. The current exchange rate is approximately GBP £1=48 RUR, USD $1=30.5 RUR, EUR €1=40 RUR. For accurate rates please refer to www.xe.com.
Russia introduced new roubles in 1998, devaluating the old rouble by a factor of 1,000. the old rouble notes from 1996-1997 are still valid though a 1000 note from 1996 will actually only be worth 10 new roubles. All notes from 1991, 1993 and 1995 are no longer valid.
HOLIDAYS & EVENTS
National Holidays are many in Russia. If a holiday falls on a Thursday, then Friday and Saturday may also be a holiday. If a holiday falls at a weekend, then Monday will generally be considered as a holiday.
|1 Jan||New Year|
|7 Jan||Russian Orthodox Christmas Day|
|14 Jan||Russian Orthodox New Year|
|23 Feb||Defenders of the Motherland Day|
|28 Feb - 6 Mar 2011||Maslenitsa|
|8 Mar||International Women’s Day|
|12 Apr||Cosmonaut’s Day|
|22 Apr||Lenin’s Day|
|24 Apr 2011, 15 Apr 2012, etc.||Russian Orthodox Easter|
|1 May||Russian Day of Spring & Labour|
|9 May||Victory Day|
|12 Jun||Independence Day|
|End of June||White Nights St.Petersburg|
|4 Nov||Anniversary of the October Revolution (7 Nov), now called ‘Grief Day’ or ‘Day of Accord and Reconciliation’|
|12 Dec||Constitution Day|
During public holidays, festivals, special sporting events etc, sightseeing tours may not operate. Museums, banks and shops may be closed. Transfers may also be affected.
English is widely spoken in good restaurants, upmarket shops and in the busier, tourist areas of Russia. Most hotel staff also speak English. This is often not the case in bars, standard shops and amongst most taxi drivers or metro staff. Cyrillic is the alphabet used in the Russian language. A phrasebook detailing the Cyrillic alphabet is recommended for travel. Also, see our website www.into-russia.co.uk, for a few handy phrases.
|Local calls in most major cities are free. Public phones do require phone cards and these can be purchased in most tourist locations. However, please note that the phone cards sold in Moscow may not be useable in other cities. Please check before you purchase the card. |
Phoning from your hotel room can be very expensive.
To make a call from Russia to the UK:
Take plenty of film and batteries with you. Even though there are officially no restrictions other than on the Moscow underground, people still consider filming or photographing railway stations, military installations, airports etc. prohibited.
Using flashes in churches or in performances is usually not allowed. Some churches and museums may ask for an extra fee if you want to take pictures or make a video recording. The fee will be payable at the kiosk before you enter the church or museum. If you do not pay the fee you must hand in your cameras/camcorders into the kiosk and the attendant will give you a numbered ticket to claim your items at the end of your visit.
In Moscow and St.Petersburg, the main means of transportation are metro, buses and taxis.
The metro is the fastest and most convenient way to get around. It operates from 5:30am to 1:00am and metro stations are easily found by the “M” signs. Metro tokens (jetons) and magnetic cards (magnitnaya karta) are available from the ticket counter at all metro stations. One token/card is good for one journey of an unlimited distance and costs approximately 28 Roubles in Moscow and 25 Roubles in St Petersburg. Monthly and weekly passes are also available.
Buses operate from around 5:00 am to midnight. Tickets are available in strips or booklets from people outside all metro stations or from bus drivers directly. Please don’t forget to punch your bus tickets in the machine provided inside the bus. If the bus is crowded and you can’t reach the machine, pass your money (if you want to buy tickets) or pass your ticket to someone else who will pass it to the driver or the punching machine.
|There are three types of taxis:|
It is not advisable to drink the water in Russia unless it has been boiled or purified.
You can buy bottled drinking and sparkling water at any supermarket in the major cities.
On arrival at your hotel, it is advisable to acquaint yourself with fire exits and emergency procedures.
Crimes against people and property, particularly in cities are a regrettable fact of life throughout the world. It is recommended, as in any other Western countries, that you take care of personal belongings especially in busy streets and markets and that you avoid deserted areas after dark, particularly in big cities. Visitors should be vigilant at all times and keep money and valuables out of sight. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up to date travel advice on www.fco.gov.uk
Should you encounter a problem during normal working hours, please contact any of our reservation offices in the UK. For additional peace of mind we have a 24-hour emergency contact number in Russia as detailed in your travel documents. We have included some useful numbers below:
British Embassy, Moscow: Tel
British Embassy, St.Petersburg
Health Literature Line