The best time to visit Russia

Updated: 04th May 2021

Bronze Horseman in Autumn - Russia Tours - On The Go Tours copy

Russia at a Glance: Best Time to Visit

Recommended time to visit: Temperatures are warmest between May - August but this is also when the majority of people visit. September - October offer a good alternative, with pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Less popular time to visit: Russia suffers from bitterly cold winters, particularly the months from December - February. However, the country is enveloped in beautiful snowfall during this period and it can be a delightful time to visit, just remember to wrap up warm!

Exciting time to visit: Celebrating a white Christmas in Russia or ringing in the New Year in Moscow is well recommended, we even have a dedicated tour which takes you to the heart of the celebrations!

Best time for museums: Between April 21 - August 21 each year, St Petersburg comes alive during the "White Nights", the period where the sun never completely sets. All manner of events taking place during this time, including the Long Night of the Museums, when the city's main museums are open all night.

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Climate | Moscow

Temp Min °C-16-14-81811131273-3-10
Temp Max °C-9-6410192123221692-5
Rainfall (mm)393836375358887158454754

Climate | St Petersburg

Temp Min °C-13-12-88611131394-2-8
Temp Max °C-7-520152021201592-3
Rainfall (mm)353031364550727864764640
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Moscow at Christmas - Best Time To Visit Russia
Large Christmas decorations in Moscow during the festive season

Festivals and Events

From spectacular firework displays to traditional pagan festivals, a number of events take place in Russia throughout the year that are worth visiting for.

How's New Year's Day celebrated in Russia?

This is the primary event on the Russian calendar when families enjoy a huge feast and share gifts around a large fir tree, traditions that many in the Western World associate with Christmas instead of the New Year. The celebrations peak with a dazzling display of fireworks in Moscow's famed Red Square.

How's Christmas Day celebrated in Russia?

Celebrated on the 7th January in accordance with the Julian calendar, Orthodox Christmas Day in Russia focuses on religious traditions with families attending Mass and a special 12 dish feast in honour of the 12 Apostles. This combines with New Year's to form the country's 10 day holiday.

How is Easter celebrated in Russia?

Easter is one of the most important holidays in Russia and celebrated a week or two after the Catholic Easter with decorated eggs and special foods including pashka, a pyramid-shaped food made from cheese. Many families will attend church for an Easter service.

What is the White Nights Festival?

The annual White Nights Festival is held in St. Petersburg at the start of the summer when the city experiences midnight sun thanks to the long days of daylight. It's an international celebration of the arts with a series of classical ballet, opera and music events. As part of the festival a number of St. Petersburg's most popular museums, including the Hermitage, stay open all night with free entry.

Site Closure Dates

Many museums in Russia are closed on Monday and the following attractions are closed on certain days:

The Kremlin in Moscow is closed on Thursday each week with Lenin's Mausoleum closed on Monday and Friday. During the rest of the week it is only open from 10am to 1pm. St. Basil's Cathedral is closed on Wednesday and Christ the Savior Cathedral can be closed at short notice for religious ceremonies.

Red Square will be cordoned off and closed for Victory Day which takes place on the 8th and 9th of May.

In St. Petersburg the Hermitage is closed on Mondays as is the Peterhof Palace. The Catherine Palace is closed on Tuesdays with the Church on Spilled Blood and St. Isaac's Cathedral is closed on Wednesdays. During the winter months of November to March the Peter & Paul Fortress is closed on Wednesday and the Pavlosk Palace on Friday.

See Also

For more useful information when planning your trip to Russia, have a look through our handy Travel Guide resources:

Best Places to Visit - where to go and what to see in Russia
Tourist Visas - you won't get in without one!
Top Travel Tips - what to expect of Russian trains, food and shopping
Traveller Reviews - hear why our passengers enjoy our Russia tours
Russia Video Lounge - see Russia revealed in these video picks
Visiting the Golden Ring - the region's history, the top attractions and how to get around
White Nights Festival - find out about this popular event in St Petersburg

Top Russia Deals