When is the best time to visit Russia?

Travel advisory

The information on this page is based on historical averages and may not reflect current conditions. Please check with local authorities for the latest travel advice.

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The best time to visit Russia is between May and September. The country’s vast size means the temperatures can vary hugely depending on where you are, but in the major cities, you can expect mostly warm weather and long days.

Temperatures hit their highest in July and August. If it gets too hot, cool off on the Black Sea coastline, or head inland and north to milder climates. The warmer weather – a far cry from the often icy Russian winters – makes it easier to explore the country in the open air, be it to see the glowing White Nights in St. Petersburg, tick off the top sites in Moscow or lay on the pebbly beaches in Sochi. You’ll also be here just in time for a host of festivals – spanning music, tech, food and more – all best enjoyed in the summer months between May and September.

Monthly weather and travel tips for Russia

For the most part, Russia in January is cold. Very cold. However, if you can brave the sub-zero chill, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful snow-covered scenery, natural light shows and winter festivities. Russia’s largely ice-cold climate and northerly location mean there’s a chance of spotting rare phenomena like the aurora borealis – known more commonly as the Northern Lights. Your best bet for a glimpse of a glowing green aurora is high up north in cities like Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.

While many other countries will have packed away their Christmas decorations by now, Russia is just getting started on the winter celebrations. The first week or so in January is a national public holiday in Russia, so prepare for long queues to major attractions in Moscow and St. Petersburg – all the more reason to wrap up warm.

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Events in Russia in January

New Year Holiday

3 January 2022

New Year Holiday Week

4 January 2022

New Year Holiday

5 January 2022

New Year Holiday Week

6 January 2022

New Year Holiday

6 January 2022

Orthodox Christmas Day

7 January 2022

New Year Holiday Week

3 January 2022

New Year's Day

1 January 2022

Old New Year

14 January 2022

The winter chill shows little sign of warming up in Russia in February, so pack plenty of thermal underlayers, thick gloves and socks and the warmest coat you can find. Temperatures in the major cities are likely to be below zero for most of your time there – save for in places further down south like Sochi, where it averages a brisk 6°C.

Once you’re suitably protected against the elements, it’s worth venturing outside for photos of beautiful snow-capped cathedrals, and potentially the chance to see light pillars – natural optical illusions appearing when light reflects through ice fog, creating otherworldly vertical beams up into the sky. While there’s no guarantee you’ll get a glimpse of the pillars, there’s a much greater chance you’ll see fireworks around on 23 February. The country comes together to celebrate Defender of the Fatherland Day, honouring the Russian Armed Forces with parades, commemorative ceremonies and fireworks displays in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities around Russia.

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Events in Russia in February

Defender of the Fatherland Day

23 February 2022

Valentine's Day

14 February 2022

Special Operations Forces Day

27 February 2022

Spring is (very) slowly starting to arrive in Russia in March. While the good news is that temperatures slowly start to increase, places like St. Petersburg tend to stay below zero degrees, and Moscow becomes a city of slush as the snow starts to thaw.

The adverse roads and wet weather forecasts make March one of the least popular times to visit Russia – but it’s not all doom and gloom for locals, and visitors who want to take advantage of the low tourist season. 8 March sees men all over Russia buy chocolate, flowers and champagne for the ladies in their life to mark International Women’s Day. Elsewhere in the country, winter is still in full swing around the Arctic Circle area – cue snow sports, ice hockey and reindeer in Murmansk’s Festival of the North.

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Events in Russia in March

International Women's Day

8 March 2022

Isra and Mi'raj

1 March 2022

March Equinox

20 March 2022

April in Russia sees temperatures averaging around 5°C–10°C for most major cities. The brown slush that covered Moscow’s streets in March finds its way to St. Petersburg as the snow finally starts to thaw.

For many, visiting Russia in April isn’t the most appealing idea – but the off-peak tourist season means you can join locals making the most of the State Hermitage Museum, the Kremlin and the wealth of other museums on offer. April is a big month for ballet buffs, with both the Mariinsky Ballet Festival and Dance Open International Ballet Festival kicking off in St. Petersburg. Moscow Film Festival also rolls out the red carpet around this time of year, making April an attractive prospect for culture vultures who don’t mind getting their feet a bit wet.

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Events in Russia in April

Ramadan starts

3 April 2022

Orthodox Easter Day

24 April 2022

Lailat al-Qadr

28 April 2022

By May, most of Russia – even cities in Siberia – will have reached a more comfortable climate following the cold winter and slushy early spring. With flowers in bloom and the days getting longer, the events calendar starts to fill up with parades, holidays and festivals.

Some museums and attractions will be closed for the May Holidays, which start on 1 May with International Labour Day, and run until Victory Day just over a week later. Use this time to watch military parades and fireworks in Moscow’s Red Square or in St. Petersburg. If you miss these festivities, you’ll have more chances to party in St. Petersburg later in the month. The majestic fountains at Peterhof Palace officially open with a grand ceremony, and the city celebrates its birthday with classical music, parades and fireworks on 27 May.

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Events in Russia in May

Spring and Labor Day

1 May 2022

Day off for Spring and Labor Day

2 May 2022

Victory Day

9 May 2022

Eid al-Fitr

3 May 2022

Save for the occasional chilly spell, June in Russia is mostly hot during the day and cool at night. In St. Petersburg, however, nearly 24 hours of sunlight mean day and night often merge into one – so best carry some extra clothing in case you get caught in the cold.

The natural phenomena – known as the White Nights season – bathes St. Petersburg in a surreal twilight well into the early morning hours. This can start as early as April, but June is when the city comes alive with celebrations like the Stars of the White Nights Festival, and a huge fireworks display over the Neva River for the Scarlet Sails festival. Once you’re done soaking up the atmosphere with ‘nighttime’ strolls around the city, an eye mask is a good idea for when you do finally want to get some shut-eye. Other notable events elsewhere in Russia include Kinotavr Film Festival held in Sochi and the folk festival of Sabantuy, celebrated in Kazan and all over the Tatarstan region.

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Events in Russia in June

Russia Day

12 June 2022

Day off for Russia Day

13 June 2022

June Solstice

21 June 2022

The weather is reaching its peak in July in Russia. The hot and humid climate in Moscow sees many locals escape the city to cool off by the Black Sea or Caspian Sea coastlines. Pack clothes for hot weather in the major cities, and something for the occasional chilly evening just in case.

The summer sun makes July the perfect time for outdoor festivals here. There’s a handful of them around Moscow – like Park Live and Nashestvie – and international headliners at Nizhny Novgorod’s electronic music festival, Alfa Future People. The temperature drops very slightly as you head further north towards St. Petersburg, where you’ll find plenty of July activities too. The Open Look festival showcases contemporary dance from around the world, the Usadba Jazz festival plays the St. Petersburg leg of its Russia tour, and boats and naval officers sail down the River Neva to celebrate Navy Day.

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Events in Russia in July

Eid al-Adha

10 July 2022

Muharram

30 July 2022

While marginally cooler than July, temperatures in August in Russia still remain high, averaging comfortably in the twenties in most regions. A lot of the locals will be away on holiday around this time of the year, but an influx of tourists does mean the major cities can get busy. Thankfully August has a fairly quiet cultural events calendar and extended opening hours for tourist attractions, so you should still be able to see plenty during your time here.

The capital’s main event in August is the Spasskaya Tower Military Music Festival, a week of marching bands, military parades, light shows and fireworks in the famous Red Square. The celebrations start late in the month and lead into September.Russia’s nature often puts on a show in August too. The Burlinskoye Lake – close to the north-east border of Kazakhstan – changes from its usual blue hue into a beautiful flamingo-pink colour at this time of year, thanks to the population of microscopic shrimp peaking in the summer.

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September is arguably one of the best times to visit Russia. Some of the major cities’ sweltering summer temperatures have started to cool, the school holiday season is over and there are plenty of festivals, celebrations and ceremonies to keep you entertained.

September’s smaller crowds make it a great month to visit must-see landmarks like St. Basil Cathedral, Catherine Palace and the Hermitage Museum. While the holiday season may have quietened down in September, the cultural events calendar certainly hasn’t. Moscow celebrates its birthday on the first weekend of September, then later puts on a spectacular laser and pyrotechnics show for the Circle of Light festival. Meanwhile in St. Petersburg, Queerfest celebrates LGBTQ+ culture with a series of talks, exhibitions and concerts, while the Earlymusic Festival showcases classical music from ancient eras with performances at venues around the city. Down in coastal resorts like Sochi, the quieter beaches and still hot climate make September an ideal time to soak up some Russian sun.

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Events in Russia in September

Day of Knowledge

1 September 2022

September Equinox

23 September 2022

October in Russia has an autumnal feel for the first few weeks, before the fallen leaves make way for snow towards the end of the month. The days get progressively colder, so much so that average October temperatures in Moscow and St. Petersburg are roughly half those recorded in September.

Despite the colder weather, Moscow still has plenty going for it around this time of year. The city is less crowded than in the peak holiday season, and there are plenty of indoor attractions – like famous museums and the Kremlin Cup tennis tournament – if the weather takes a turn for the worse. One area less affected by the dropping temperatures is Sochi. You might not get perfect beach weather, but the Black Sea is still fairly warm and the city also turns into the home of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

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Events in Russia in October

The Prophet's Birthday

8 October 2022

Freezing temperatures mean most of Russia is well into winter in November. Some southern cities still manage to hang onto average highs of 15°C, but you’ll want warm clothes and an umbrella in cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan, where you can expect temperatures around the zero mark.

The colder months can bring with them some rare natural phenomena too. Flying saucer-like lenticular clouds sometimes appear above the mountains on the Kamchatka Peninsula, caused by moist air being blown over a mountain range. You might also be able to see the Northern Lights in Murmansk in November. While freezing temperatures aren’t directly related to the aurora, the longer, darker nights in winter do increase chances of spotting the spectacular natural light show.

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Events in Russia in November

Unity Day

4 November 2022

December in Russia means short days, long nights and sub-zero temperatures. It’s still well worth heading out into the cities at this time of year though – wrap up in your warmest winter wear and you’ll get to see Russia’s famous cathedrals, buildings and streets topped with fresh layers of bright white snow.

Moscow certainly knows how to put those long December nights to good use too, during the aptly named December Nights Festival. This event consists of classical music and art throughout the month, at the fittingly grand Pushkin Museum. St. Petersburg celebrates music too with orchestras and opera during the Arts Square Winter Festival. If you’re looking to come to Russia for Christmas, you’re a month early – the country celebrates the Yuletide season in January, following plenty of parties and fireworks to welcome in the New Year.

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Events in Russia in December

December Solstice

21 December 2021

Weather and temperature in Russia

You’ll find the best weather in Russia between May and September. The sub-zero temperatures seen in many parts of Russia in winter have gone, making way for sunny skies and long days in the major cities. This is particularly true in St. Petersburg, where the White Nights phenomenon bathes the city in an ethereal sunlight for nearly 24 hours a day during May, June and early July. Average temperatures creep up slightly as you move down towards Moscow. Here you can expect mostly warm weather, but prepare for both some cooler rainy days and the occasional heatwave. You’ll get similar conditions in cities further inland like Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and Yekaterinburg. Down in the more southerly Russian regions, beach-side cities such as Sochi enjoy hot summers, with climates closer to that of Turkey across the Black Sea.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Moscow High -5°C -3°C 2°C 11°C 20°C 22°C 24°C 23°C 16°C 8°C 3°C -2°C
Low -10°C -8°C -6°C 2°C 10°C 12°C 14°C 13°C 8°C 2°C -1°C -6°C
Saint Petersburg High -4°C -2°C 3°C 9°C 18°C 20°C 23°C 22°C 17°C 8°C 4°C -0°C
Low -8°C -7°C -5°C 1°C 7°C 10°C 13°C 12°C 8°C 2°C 0°C -4°C
Kazan High -8°C -7°C -1°C 9°C 21°C 24°C 25°C 24°C 17°C 7°C 1°C -4°C
Low -14°C -14°C -9°C 2°C 10°C 14°C 14°C 14°C 9°C 2°C -3°C -9°C
Sochi High 10°C 11°C 12°C 17°C 22°C 26°C 28°C 29°C 25°C 20°C 16°C 11°C
Low 2°C 3°C 4°C 9°C 14°C 18°C 20°C 20°C 16°C 11°C 7°C 3°C
Krasnodar High 5°C 6°C 11°C 19°C 26°C 28°C 30°C 32°C 26°C 18°C 12°C 6°C
Low -2°C -3°C 2°C 7°C 14°C 17°C 19°C 19°C 14°C 7°C 3°C -1°C

Weather data provided by Forecast.io

Cost of stay in Russia

Want to travel smart? Here, you can check out the average cost of accommodation per night in Russia.

    0 12 24 36 48
  • US$28 Jan
  • US$28 Feb
  • US$27 Mar
  • US$27 Apr
  • US$29 May
  • US$30 Jun
  • US$28 Jul
  • US$28 Aug
  • US$29 Sept
  • US$31 Oct
  • US$31 Nov
  • US$27 Dec
    0 12 24 36 48
  • US$15 Jan
  • US$14 Feb
  • US$13 Mar
  • US$12 Apr
  • US$14 May
  • US$15 Jun
  • US$14 Jul
  • US$15 Aug
  • US$14 Sept
  • US$15 Oct
  • US$15 Nov
  • US$14 Dec
    0 12 24 36 48
  • US$5 Jan
  • US$4 Feb
  • US$5 Mar
  • US$5 Apr
  • US$5 May
  • US$6 Jun
  • US$6 Jul
  • US$6 Aug
  • US$6 Sept
  • US$6 Oct
  • US$5 Nov
  • US$4 Dec
    0 12 24 36 48
  • US$49 Jan
  • US$44 Feb
  • US$40 Mar
  • US$34 Apr
  • US$39 May
  • US$30 Jun
  • US$30 Jul
  • US$31 Aug
  • US$33 Sept
  • US$42 Oct
  • US$49 Nov
  • US$46 Dec
    0 12 24 36 48
  • US$20 Jan
  • US$18 Feb
  • US$19 Mar
  • US$18 Apr
  • US$21 May
  • US$22 Jun
  • US$20 Jul
  • US$21 Aug
  • US$20 Sept
  • US$21 Oct
  • US$20 Nov
  • US$18 Dec

The best places to visit in Russia

Check out some of the most popular cities, places to visit and things to do in Russia!

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