How to get to Russia

By | May 3, 2022

Overview

Russia is a country in Europe according to ehistorylib. Gilded tsarist pomp, the frigid tundra of Siberia, swanky Soviet-era monuments and ultra-chic urban culture—the Russian Federation has as many faces as its size suggests. Winston Churchill once said, “Russia is a riddle within a mystery surrounded by a mystery,” and indeed the greatest country on earth remains elusive. Tourists almost exclusively visit the western part of the Russian Federation, where St. Petersburg and Moscow are located. Those who venture further east will find a hitherto little explored country with countless insider tips for tourists. Culturally, Russia is extremely interesting, as more than 150 ethnic groups live here. Perhaps it is the unique combination of different landscapes, breathtaking cities and mysterious nature that has made more and more tourists curious about today’s Russian Federation in recent years.

Getting there

Arriving by plane

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (SU), the national airline, offers a variety of direct flights to Moscow daily or several times a week. Aeroflot also operates flight services between Moscow and most major cities in the former Soviet Union member states.

Flight times

Frankfurt – Moscow or St. Petersburg: 3 hours; Berlin – Kaliningrad: 4 hours (via Warsaw); Vienna – Moscow or St. Petersburg: 2 hours 45 minutes; Zurich – Moscow: 3 hours 30 minutes; Zurich – St. Petersburg: 3 hours Average flight times in the former Soviet states: Moscow – Almaty/Kazakhstan: 4 hours 20 minutes; Moscow – Baku/Azerbaijan: 3 hrs; Moscow – Tashkent/Uzbekistan: 3 hours 45 minutes; Moscow – Samarkand/Uzbekistan: 3 hours 50 minutes; Moscow – Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan: 4 hours; Moscow – Dushanbe/Tajikistan: 4 hours; Moscow – Chisinau/Moldova: 2 hours; Moscow – Yalta/Ukraine: 2 hours; Moscow – Simferopol/Ukraine: 2 hours Moscow – Donetsk/Ukraine: 1 hour 30 minutes; Moscow – Odessa/Ukraine: 2 hours; Moscow – Kharkov/Ukraine: 2 hours; Moscow – Kyiv/Ukraine: 1 hour 30 minutes; Moscow – Lvov/Ukraine: 2 hours 15 minutes; Moscow – Minsk/Belarus: 1 hr 30 min; Moscow – Tbilisi/Georgia: 2 hours 30 minutes; Moscow – Yerevan/Armenia: 2 hrs 45 mins

airpasses

Skyteam’s Go Russia Pass allows passengers of Skyteam airlines whose flights depart from outside the Russian Federation to book three to a maximum of 16 domestic Aeroflot (SU) flights in Russia. The same conditions also apply to passengers with Skyteam’s round-the-world ticket.

Arrival by car

Car: Tourists can enter with their own car or rent a car. The following border crossings are available: From Finland: Raja Jooseppi – Lotta, Nuijamaa – Brusnitshnoje, Vaalimaa – Torfyanovka, Imatra Svetogorsk; from Poland: Bezledy – Bartoszyce-Bagrationovsk, Goldap – Goldap/Gusiew, Gronowo – Branevo; from Georgia: Darial Gorge – Verkhny Lars; from Norway: Kirkenes – Murmansk; from Estonia: Narva – Ivangorod, Vaartsi – Pecory, Luhamaa. Anyone driving from Estonia to Russia by car can register their vehicle online with GoSwift in advance, which significantly reduces the waiting time at the border. Upon entry, the traveler must undertake in writing to export the motor vehicle again. The nationality code “D” must also be attached to the vehicle for EU license plates. The import of fuel in reserve canisters is prohibited. Those arriving by car should have their visa registered at the hotel, motel or campsite for the first night. The license plate number should be entered in the visa. The international green insurance card is valid as international proof of liability insurance (the large green card, which is subject to a fee, must be applied for). A short insurance should definitely be taken out. The letters of protection from the automobile clubs are only valid in the European part (usually only reimbursement of costs, no practical help). Visitors may only travel on routes that have been previously approved by a tour operator. Further information on documents and regulations for traveling by car is available from the tour operators. The supply of petrol stations and service facilities is best guaranteed on the main routes (European routes); two of the most important European roads are the routes Brest – Minsk/Belarus – Smolensk – Moscow – Tver – St. Petersburg – Vyberg and Shegini – Lwow – Rowno – Kyiv – Odessa – Leusheny/Moldova. Distances: Moscow – St. Petersburg: 704 km; Moscow – Rostov: 1065 km; Moscow – Minsk/Belarus: 720 km; Moscow – Kyiv/Ukraine: 878 km; Moscow – Odessa/Ukraine: 1346 km. Long-distance buses: Ecolines buses travel to various Russian cities from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Toll: The roads of the Russian Federation are toll-free. Documents: International driving license (recommended) or national driving license with translation. The international green insurance card serves as proof of liability insurance. In addition, you should always have your passport with a valid visa at hand, as well as the documents with the approved itinerary and the places to stay.

Note on arrival by car

The border to Azerbaijan (Samur) is impassable for foreigners without a special permit. Visitors who want to enter the country by car should find out about the relevant border crossings from the embassy before starting their journey. Considerable waiting times are to be expected in some cases.

Arrival by train

Trains run daily from Berlin, Cologne and Vienna to Moscow and St. Petersburg (journey time: 36-48 hours). Travelers via Hungary use the Tisza Express, which runs between Budapest and Moscow-Kievskaya via Kyiv. Direct trains run from Berlin and Vienna to Kyiv, from where a through coach continues to Vladivostok on even-numbered days. A night train of the Russian State Railways to Moscow coming from Paris stops in Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Frankfurt and Berlin. The PULExpress starts in Berlin and travels to Moscow via Warsaw, Brest and Minsk. The Russian State Railway also connects Moscow with Vienna via Minsk and Warsaw, among other places. Other direct trains or through coaches operate from other western and eastern European cities as well as from Turkey, Iran, of Mongolia and China. For example, the Allegro high-speed train runs several times a day from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in just 3.5 hours. The Trans-Siberian Railway runs from Moscow to the Siberian Pacific coast and on by ferry to Yokohama (journey time: 10 days) and on a further route through Mongolia (Ulan Ude, Ulan Bator) to Beijing (China). The Trans-Mongolian Railway connects Ulan-Ude (Russia) via Ulan Bator (Mongolia) with Jining (China). The Zarengold special train runs from Moscow to Beijing between May/July and September/October (journey time: 16 days).

Arrival by ship

The port of St. Petersburg is visited by numerous cruise ships.

Cruise ships

Shipping companies such as TUI Cruises, AIDA, MSC and Norwegian offer stopovers in St. Petersburg on their cruises.

How to get to Russia