When to Go

Peak Season: June-August; December-January

The summer months and the winter holidays are peak tourism season here. Tourists flood Moscow and St. Petersburg as Russians escape the dusty heat of the polluted cities. Big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg usually empty out during those months, especially on the weekends, when those Russians that didn't leave for some exotic locale spend their free time at their dachas, or summer cottages in the countryside. It is best not to conduct any business during these two months, as most people are likely to be away from work. In some places, including Sochi and other southern cities, the price of produce and food may go up as well.

New Year's is the most important holiday in Russia. Prices go up exponentially for tickets and hotels as tourists come from abroad and from other Russian cities to Moscow or St. Petersburg. Everything shuts down for the first two weeks of January and many leave the bitter cold for tropical islands. Even medical offices close during the winter holidays. Keep that in mind if you are planning to conduct any business in Russia during that time.

Off Season: February-April; October-November

It is best to avoid Russia during the months of Feb.–mid April and Oct.–Nov. February is usually the coldest month, with temperatures dipping below 0F. In March it starts warming up, but the melting snow and constant precipitation mixes with dirt and creates slush all over the city. The snow continues to melt through mid-April, during which time there is a lot of slush and dirt all over the cities, as the drainage system is nonexistent—even in the capital. The temperatures start dipping into the 30s and 40s in October and November. Fall sees a lot of rain in central Russia with barely any sunshine. Traveling around Russia during those times could be gloomy and uncomfortable.

Shoulder Season: May and September

September and May are the best months to travel in Russia. The weather is pleasantly warm but not too hot, the days are long, and there is a lot of sunshine. Prices are lower than during the peak season and sites are less crowded

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