The Wild Mint Folk Festival in St Petersburg

Special Events & Festivals in Russia

There is an exciting and varied range of events that take place in Russia each year. Russia is home to many of the world’s finest ballet companies who perform at the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the acclaimed Mariinsky Theatre in St Petes. Winning the bid to host the 2018 Fifa Football World Cup, has placed Russia centre stage on the world’s sporting calendar. Whilst the World Cup is still a long way off, there is plenty to keep sport fans entertained over the coming year; see Moscow’s great city football rivals Spartak and CSKA come head to head in the 80,000 capacity Luzhniki Stadium or in St Petersburg watch the SKA hockey team play their high octane games in the 13,000 capacity Ice Palace, the season runs from September to February. For tennis enthusiasts October is the month to visit Russia, when the world’s top seeded players meet on the courts for the exciting St Petersburg Open and the Kremlin Cup!


Russians are well known for enjoying a tipple and there are plenty of entertaining events centred around drinking; St Petersburg’s Beer Festival in June/July is one of the country’s most lively street festivals and we will be offering the opportunity to join in the celebrations. Whilst in Moscow you can raise your glass at the Russian Wine Festival in November, or toast the Irish, with Guinness at the St Patricks Day celebrations in March. Or for music lovers Russia offers several outdoor and indoor music festivals throughout the year such as the wonderful Festival of French Jazz in April.


Our events calendar below details many of the exciting cultural, sporting and special events coming up in 2011. Most of these events are annual. These can be attended independently during your free time, before or after your tour. The date and details of each event are subject to change. For further information please visit the website of the particular event you are interested in or contact us.





Russian Orthodox Christmas: 7 Jan

Xmas only comes once a year...unless you’re Russian! Prior to 1918, Russia used the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Xmas celebrations last for 6 days and begin on Xmas Eve.


Stariy Noviy God (Orthodox New Year): 13 to 14 Jan

Russians also celebrate New Years Eve twice and who are we to argue! The 14th Jan is now referred to as the ‘Old New Year’. Sample Moscow’s hedonistic nightlife and join in the celebrations!


Vyugovey Ice Sculpture Festival: Moscow - Jan to Feb

Make the most of Moscow’s sub-zero temperatures and visit the incredible exhibition of ice sculptures during the two-month festival at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics.



Golden Dolphin: Moscow - 17 to 20 Feb

If you're a fan of the underwater world, visit Moscow's international diving festival at Gostiny Dvor. Showcasing a range of diving equipment and an excellent underwater film and photography exhibition.


Defenders of the Motherland: Moscow - 23 Feb

Wreaths are laid at Moscow’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to commemorate Russia’s Defenders of the Motherland Day and the monument is surrounded with a spectacular carpet of flowers.


Maslenitsa Festival: St Petes & Moscow - 28 Feb to 6 Mar

This colourful festival dates back to Pagan times. Join in the carnival style celebrations around StPetes and Moscow, with live music, dancing, sleigh rides, fireworks and lots of tasty blini’s (pancakes)!



A Maslenitsa Concert - photo courtesy of Lars Ploughmann



St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Moscow - 17 Mar

This patron saint holds worldwide appeal and in Russia it’s seen as a day of Russian-Irish friendship.Join in the Irish celebrations in the capital, with a city centre parade and pints of Guinness galore!


Russian Football Championship: St Petersburg & Moscow - Mar to Nov

See Russia’s largest cities battle it out on the football pitch at St Pete’s atmospheric Petrovsky Stadium or Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.


Golden Mask Festival: Moscow - Mar to Apr (various dates)

Watch Russia’s most prestigious drama, ballet, opera and musical theatre, at various venues around Moscow.



Festival of French Jazz: Moscow - Apr (various dates)

Experience a taste of Paris in the capital. The glamorous 16 Tons Club, presents a host of jazz musicians.


Photoforum: Moscow 14 to 17 Apr

Calling all budding photographers. The world’s leading manufacturers exhibit in Moscow’s Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre, with a photographic exhibition and hundreds of gadgets.


International Ballet Festival Mariinsky: St Petersburg - 14 to 24 Apr

Watch leading ballet companies perform in St Petes during one of the most significant events in the ballet season.


Petrovsky Football Stadium in St Petersburg



Night at the Museums: St Petersburg - 21 May and Moscow - June

Spend a night at the museum! The most respectable museums and art galleries stay open until the early hours for this wonderful event which is accompanied by special exhibitions, street art and performances.


Attend this event on our special Night At the Museum departure of Simply St Petes or Russian Revolution.


Victory Day: Moscow - 9 May

Commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII. See the military parade, ceremonies and fireworks in Red Square.


The Stars of White Nights Festival: St Petes - 21 May to 21 Jul

Enjoy a night at the Mariinsky Theatre which hosts a series of opera, ballet and classical music concerts, and an exciting Battle of the Bands.


City Day: St Petersburg - 27 May

The official birthday of St. Petes - celebrated in style with special events, parties and fireworks around Palace Square. Join the party!



Palaces of St Petersburg Music Festival: St Petersburg - Jun to Jul 

Watch musicians from around the world play one off concerts at the exquisite palaces of the Tsars.


Wild Mint Folk Festival: Moscow - Jun

Join 7000 revellers in Troparevo Park to enjoy a day of music and dancing at Moscow’s best folk festival.


St Petersburg Beer Festival: St Petersburg - Jun/Jul 

St Petes best street festival. Watch the Nevsky prospekt parade and fireworks, whilst drinking lots of beer! On The Go will be offering an optional Beer Festival bolt-on, enabling you to attend this lively event at the start of your tour. Further details to follow, once the Beer Festival date has been confirmed.


A VE Day memorial in Moscow


Ballet Show “Summer Seasons”: Moscow - 5 Jul to 27 Aug

Watch the acclaimed Moscow City Ballet and Russian National Ballet perform in the capital. Performances usually take place in the old Russian National Theatre opposite Red Square. 


Ivan Kupalo/St. John the Baptist’s Day: Moscow & St Petersburg - 6/7 Jul

Moscow and St Petes celebrate the ancient traditions of this popular pagan holiday, with unusual water and fire games.


Afisha Picnic: Moscow - 30 Jul

Attend Moscow’s largest and most exciting outdoor festival at the Tsar’s former estate of Kolomenskoe. International and local bands entertain crowds of up to 50,000.



Singing World: International Festival of Choral Art: St Petersburg - Aug

Hear choirs from around the world sing in some of the city’s most magnificent venues, including the Kazan Cathedral.


Moscow International Folklore Festival: Moscow - Aug to Dec

Based in Moscow’s Hermitage Gardens, this folklore festival attracts dancers and musicians from all over Europe.


Sailing Week: St Petersburg - Late Aug

Watch the ships come sailing in! Hundreds of yachts sail from Vyborg to St Petersburg during this exciting regatta.


St Petersburg Sailing Regatta



Moscow Den’ Goroda (City Day): Moscow - 3 Sep

Celebrate Moscow’s birthday! Enjoy festivities, street parties and a free concert on Tverskaia Ulitsa street. 


SKA St Petersburg Ice Hockey: St Petersburg - 9 Sep to 20 Feb

Watch St Pete’s ice hockey team play in the Continental Hockey League at the 13,000 capacity Ice Palace.


Art Moscow: Moscow - 21 to 25 Sep

Visit the largest and most influential contemporary art fair in Russia, covering every aspect of modern art. 40 international galleries display pieces at the Central House of Artists. 



Days of Absinthe: Moscow - Oct

If you can handle your alcohol head to Mekhana Bansko Bulgarian Restaurant for their 3 day celebration of absinthe! 


St Petersburg Open Tennis: St Petersburg - Oct

See the world’s best male tennis players battle it out for the title at this exciting sporting event. 


Kremlin Cup: Moscow - 15 to 23 October

Russia’s answer to Wimbledon! Get tickets for Russia’s premier tennis event, held at the Olympic Stadium. Not to be missed! 


The Kremlin Cup in Moscow


Day of Accord and Reconciliation: Moscow - Early Nov

Commemorating the historic communist revolution in the early 20th century, watch the colourful parade and events around Red Square. 


Russian Wine Festival: Moscow - Nov

Fancy a tipple? The Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre showcases wines from around the world. The event includes master classes, professional presentations and plenty of wine tasting!


Art November: Moscow - 01 to 30 Nov

Celebrating the arts, from painting to photography and music. Attend a month of special exhibitions and performances across Moscow.



Ice Skating at Gorky Park: Moscow - Dec to Feb

Get your skates on and enjoy the music as you hit the ice skating rinks at Moscow’s Gorky Park.


Christmas at the Kremlin: Moscow - Dec to Jan

Get in the festive spirit with Yuletide concerts at Moscow’s mighty Kremlin.

Russian Winter Festival: Moscow & St Petersburg - Mid Dec to Early Jan

Celebrate the Russian Winter Festival with troika rides (sleighs), folk music and games galore.


New Years Eve!: 31 Dec

The Russian’s now how to celebrate New Year, with impromptu street parties, fireworks and revelling until dawn. See in the New Year in Red Square!


Fireworks on New Years Eve in Red Square over St Basils Cathedral


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