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In this page: Accommodation | Eating Out | Getting Around | Time and Time Difference | Climate | Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems | Paying | Speaking | Emergency Numbers | Communications

 

Accommodation

Western type hotels
Hotel with all modern facilities, but still quite rare and very expensive
Select Russia
Soviet type hotels
Standard level of comfort.
Quite expensive considering the service provided especially in Moscow.

All Russia Hotels
Youth hostels
The economical choice.
Generally quite clean with a warm welcome.

Hostels
Hostelword
Bed and Breakfast
Very widespread.
Bed and Breakfast is economical but you can also rent an apartment for a short stay. There are all sorts of categories so all levels of price.

Russian Homestay
Only apartments
Apartments Moscow
Russian flats
Hotel Rules
You are strongly advised to book your hotel before you leave home. Officially, it is even necessary to pay for your accommodation in advance in order to obtain certain visas.
Most of the time, the hotel will take care of your registration with the Russian authorities, for twenty Euros or so. Nevertheless, you should make sure of this in advance because not registering may lead to a heavy fine when leaving the country.
Price is given by room (except in some youth hostels) and taxes are included.
For Further Information
Russian youth hostel association (in English)
Federal tourist agency (in Russian and in English)
Russian hotel association (in Russian)
 

Price Indications

Economy Room from 10 to 35 €
Medium Price Room from 50 to 85 €
Good Quality Room more than 100 €

Source: Lonely Planet

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Eating Out

Categories of Restaurant
 
  • Restaurants
The designation restaurant often indicates gastronomic restaurants where the prices are well above European prices for the same service.
  • Restaurant chains
Types of cuisine from all over the world are present: American-style fast-food, Italian pizzerias, sushi restaurants, Russian or Central Asian traditional cuisine...
  • Cafés
In Russia, cafés also serve as bars, restaurants and sometimes night clubs.
Generally very good value for money.
  • Canteens
These are Soviet-type self-service restaurants.
The price is often modest but the quality is not always there.
Rules For Eating Out
Most restaurants serve meals all day long and in the evening until about 23.00 hours.
A tip corresponding to between 5 and 10% of the order is often expected.
 

Price Indications

Economy Meal from 4 to 10 €
Medium Price Meal from 10 to 20 €
Good Quality Meal 40 € and more
 
Food Specialties
Caviar has always been considered to be the luxury food par excellence.
The Russians eat a great variety of salads (the most famous of which is called 'the olive') and soups (borch, salinaka, yra,...). The ravioli ("pelmeni") from Siberia and the kebabs ("chachlik") from the Caucasus are also among the specialties.
Drinks
Also called "khlebnoe pivo" (bread beer), le Kvas (or kvass) is a drink much enjoyed in Russia. Mildly alcoholic and sparkling, it is made by fermenting bread in water.
Vodka or "little water" (diminutive of voda, water) is the traditional Russian drink. It is often drunk with canapés called "zakouski".
Russians also drink large quantities of beer ("pivo") and tea ("tchai") which often replaces water.
Dietary Restrictions
Table Manners
Table manners are Continental.

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Getting Around

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
The big cities, in particular Moscow and St Petersburg, have an extensive, fast metro network. For travels between Moskow and St Petersburg, it is advisable to take the high-speed SAPSAN train (4 hour of travel).
The most convenient means of transport remains the taxi. It is best to use official taxis (they have a yellow sign on the roof) for security reasons. If you book the taxi in advance and agree on the fare, you can avoid unpleasant surprises. Take into account that the travel time between the city centre and airports could take long time.
A basic knowledge of Russian is useful for getting around.
Maps of Urban Networks
Map of the Moscow metro
Map of the St Petersburg metro
Urban Transport Agencies
The Moscow Metro
Find an Itinerary
To calculate your journey time on the Moscow metro
To find your itinerary in other cities
Taxi Companies
Taxi Hire Service
A list of taxi companies in St Petersburg
A list of taxi companies in Moscow
 

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Moscow - Domodedovo (DME) 37 km / 23 miles RUR 750-1000 / 40 min RUR 30 / 25-30 min RUR 120 / 40 min Available
 

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The rail network is relatively extensive and good quality. Trains keep to the timetable but they are slow. For security reasons it is better not to travel alone.
Domestic flights have greatly increased over the last few years; but the planes are old and comfort is Spartan for most companies. Accidents still happen quite frequently. Some airlines don't have advanced reservation systems and sell tickets for cash in the airport. Flights are often cancelled.
Rail Companies
Russian railways (in English)
 

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Aeroflot Major Yes Yes
Sibir Airlines (S7) Major Yes Yes
Transaero Major Yes Yes
KrasAir Major Yes Yes
Rossiya (Pulkovo) Major Yes Yes
DalAvia Major Yes Yes
KD Avia low cost Yes Yes
Sky Express Low cost Yes No

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU . Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) .

 
 
 

Traveling By Yourself

Recommendation
Because of climatic conditions and the road network's lack of maintenance, driving is often difficult and dangerous. The sometimes unpredictable behavior of local drivers, an often disconcerting traffic system, the presence of unexpected objects or vehicles on the public highway, all require very careful attention.
The highway police (GAI) frequently make checks; fines for speeding or crossing solid lines have to be paid on the spot. Emergency road services, medical or mechanical, are slow in coming.
There are often traffic jams near large built-up areas, especially Moscow.
On the main roads, the signs are also written in the Roman alphabet.
Driver's License
You can drive for up to 1 year with your driver's license, translated by a qualified translator, and an international driver's license. You must keep your passport and visa with you at all times.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
None
Rental Agencies
Sixt
Avis
Europcar
A list of rental agencies
Tolls or Taxes
Only on entering the country.
Find an Itinerary
ViaMichelin
Traffic Conditions Online
Real-time traffic conditions. The color of the traffic light tells how bad traffic jams are (from green to red)
Parking Facilities
You can usually park free on the street.
For long periods, it is better to use guarded parking lots; you have to pay for these.
 

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
18
Side of the Road For Driving
Right
Speed Limits
60 km/h in built-up areas, 90 on main roads and 100 on motorways
Safety Belts
Obligatory
National Roads Organizations
Government automobile inspectorate

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Time and Time Difference

Current Local Time
It is %T:%M %A In Moscow, Kazan, Saint Petersburg
It is %T:%M %A In Iekaterinbourg, Perm, Chelyabinsk
It is %T:%M %A In Novosibirsk, Omsk
It is %T:%M %A In Vladivostok, Khabarovsk
Summer Time
Summer time from March to October
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

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Climate

 
Type of Climate
Winter is long and very harsh (except around the Black Sea) while summer is hot and short.
The best time to visit the country is without doubt during the months of May and June; July and August can be stifling especially in the big cities.

For Further Information
Federal meteorological service Russian meteorological institute
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

 

Climate

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Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems

System of Measurement Used
Metric system
Unit of Measurement of Temperature
Degree Celsius (°C)
 

Use our service Measurement converter .

 
Electricity
 
  • Voltage
220V
  • Frequency
50 Hz
Type of Electric Socket
Type C and F
Type of Telephone Socket
Russian
DVD Zoning
Zone 5

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Russian Rouble
ISO Code
RUB
To Obtain Domestic Currency
There are many bureaux de change. Foreign currency can also be changed in banks, certain hotels and department stores.
You can also withdraw roubles directly from the many ATMs which take European credit cards such as Visa or MasterCard.
Possible Means of Payment
Cash is generally preferred. But big hotels, stores or restaurants take credit cards.
 

To Find a Cash Machine Where You Need, Use the ATM locator

 

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Speaking

Official Language
Russian
Other Languages Spoken
More than 150 languages are spoken in the Russian Federation and some of them are the official language in a part of the country.
Business Language
English is more and more widespread.
Managers often understand English better than they speak it. You must be prepared to conduct negotiations in Russian.
Getting Some Knowledge
Consult the travlang website.
Free Translation Tools
Multitran : On-line Dictionary including the most important European languages.
Babelfish Translation : Offers text translations from Russian to English and vice-versa.
Rambler : English and German Dictionary
Systran : Free English-Russian-English translator of texts and web pages
Tranexp : Free English-Russian-English translator of texts and web pages
Ectaco : English-Russian-English Dictionary

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Emergency Numbers

Firemen 01
Police 02
Ambulance 03

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Communications

Quality of Communications
International communications are generally good in the European part of the Russian territory. The use of pre-paid cards reduces the cost drastically, and in particular if you are using a land line.
You can telephone from the premises of the central Telegraph in most cities.
Mobile telephone networks have wide cover; there is no Internet in rural areas.
Telephone Codes
To Make a Call From Russia, Dial 810
To Make a Call to in Russia, Dial +7
Number of Digits of National Telephone Numbers
10 digits.
The number begins with 8 followed by the 3-figure regional code and then the other figures.
Mobile Telephone Standards
The international standard GSM leads the market. CDMA-450, AMPS and DAMPS also exist.
National Mobile Phone Operators
MTS , Beeline (Vimpelcom), Megafon , Skylink.
 

Availability of Internet

Internet Suffix
.ru
National Internet Access Providers
Stream.ru , Russia-On-Line and MTU-Intel.
Access in Public Places
There are a certain number of Internet-cafés in the big cities; some restaurants and cafés offer Wifi areas.
Access in Hotels
Internet access points are growing in number in hotels. They are becoming common in Western-style hotels and youth hostels.
Some big hotels are also equipped with Wifi.

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Last Updates: May 2013

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