As most foreigners have an exaggerated fear of the cold in Russia, the best time to visit is summer, lasting from the beginning of June to mid-September. Days and nights are warm and sultry, with heat waves likely during August, when Muscovites leave in droves for their dachas in the countryside. Spring is chiefly rewarding for the rituals and candle-lit processions marking Orthodox Easter, when cathedrals are so packed that people wait for hours to get in. (Christmas services are as splendid yet not nearly so crowded.) Several major music festivals start around this time, or in May, accompanied by such national holidays as Victory Day and May Day. Autumn is likewise excellent for festivals, despite cloudy skies and falling temperatures, and you can still look forward to a week or two of Babe leto (“Granny’s Summer”).

Subzero temperatures and snow can set in up to two months before winter officially begins in December. Blanketed in fresh snow, Moscow is magically hushed and cleansed, and Muscovites revel in the crispness of the air. Days are often gloriously sunny, and the temperature only a few degrees below zero, so skiing and sledging are popular pursuits. The secular New Year and Orthodox Christmas in early January are occasions for shopping and merrymaking, but at some point a cold snap will send the temperature down to -20°C or lower, while traffic and thaws turn the snow into mounds and lakes of black ice or brown slush, which linger on until late March.

Finally, make sure you bring the right gear. Lots of layers, a hat and waterproof footwear with nonslip soles are essential for winter. A compact rainproof jacket will protect you from showers in the spring or autumn. Shorts and t-shirts are fine for summer, but pack long trousers or a skirt for visiting monasteries, the ballet or dining out – and a mosquito net to drape over your bed if you’re unsure that your lodgings have screens on the windows.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Russia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Exploring St Petersburg: why Russia’s cultural heart will win you over

Exploring St Petersburg: why Russia’s cultural heart will win you over

St Petersburg is a sophisticated forward-looking city that feels and looks much more European than Moscow. Its pretty canals are lined with pastel-coloured buil…

15 Jun 2018 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
Rediscovering Moscow: why the time to go is now

Rediscovering Moscow: why the time to go is now

Bustling and energetic, Moscow is a vibrant 24-hour city with a captivating and chaotic spirit that blends Western and Eastern cultures. Grand palaces and prett…

14 Jun 2018 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
An expert's guide: the best places to stay in Moscow

An expert's guide: the best places to stay in Moscow

One of the world’s most dynamic metropolises, Moscow has an energy like no other city, a chaotic spirit rumbling just beneath its polished surface. And since …

11 Jun 2018 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs