Is Russia Expensive for Tourists?

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There are plenty of great reasons to visit Russia: stunning scenery, world-class architecture and museums, a busy cultural calendar, and buzzing nightlife in its main cities. But is Russia expensive for tourists? Many don’t know that Russia can be relatively cheap when compared to other tourist destinations.

Of course, there are many things to consider when budgeting for your trip, including:

  • The cost of the air ticket and relevant Russian travel visa
  • The type of accommodation you prefer as well as eating out
  • Internal flights and other means of transport (Russia is a big place!)
  • Entry tickets for unmissable landmarks and tourist attractions

We will cover all this and more in this article, so keep reading.

How Much Is the Cost of a Holiday in Russia?

According to the data gathered from other travellers, a trip to Russia costs, on average, $46 per day (around ₽3,489). That’s how inexpensive Russian can be.

However, as mentioned before, the actual price of your holiday can vary greatly depending on your itinerary and the type of activities you want to enjoy. 

The time you spend in the country also plays a big part in your holiday budget: since air tickets and fast transport are among the most expensive factors, a slow-paced holiday where you visit less touristy towns will surely have lower daily costs compared to 1 week spent between Moscow and St Petersburg. 

Let’s now break down the main costs.

How Much Is a Plane Ticket to Russia?

Of course, this depends on your location. On average, a return ticket from the US costs about $800 if booked in advance. Leaving from Europe will be considerably cheaper.

Before packing your bags, consider also bureaucratic costs that you may incur before leaving, such as obtaining or renewing your passport and applying for your visa. Traditional paper visas can take time and money to request but fortunately, Russia is in the process of launching a new electronic visa that will cover the entire Federation’s territory. Eligible travellers will be able to apply online in minutes.

Accommodation Prices in Russia

The main types of accommodation in Russia are hotels, youth hostels, and tourist apartments (although these can be found mostly in main cities.)

Hotels can vary enormously: you will easily find luxury establishments with a spa but also quite old buildings that could use a renovation. Depending on the location, a 3 or 4-star hotel can cost you between $50 and $100. Luxury hotels can easily cost you $400 a night.

Youth hostels are always the cheapest option, costing between $5 and $10 a night in shared rooms. A word of advice: stay close to the city centre to save money and time on public transport but also to avoid illegal establishments.

When it comes to sharing an Airbnb apartment with your friends, you can expect to spend the same as you would in a low-cost hotel.

Is Food Expensive in Russia?

When it comes to eating out, there are plenty of options available to tourists, from street food to elaborate cuisine.

Food can be very inexpensive in Russia, with the average holidaymaker spending under $15 per day on meals.

Fast-food chains and street vendors are the cheapest alternatives, with a whole meal costing between $5 and $10. Buffet restaurants are only slightly more expensive.

You can also sit down at a fancier restaurant and enjoy Russian or international cuisine starting from $25 per meal.

Train Ticket from Moscow to St Petersburg

Visitors in a rush can book plane tickets to move between Russia’s major cities. However, travelling by train is a much more unique and enjoyable experience.

The most classic route is the one between Moscow and St Petersburg. You can choose a fast train (the “Sapsan” express), which takes about 4 hours, or slower options like the overnight train.

Booking in advance will save you a pretty penny and potentially halve the cost of a fast train ticket, which can range between $60 – $130 in second class. A bed on the night train can cost USD 25-110 depending on the season, type of train and class, and the time of booking.

The Cost of Tourist Attractions in Russia

The average tourist can expect to spend around $10 per day on entry tickets in Russia to visit the country’s most famous museums, cathedrals, and buildings. The Hermitage ticket price for adults is about $8 and Catherine’s Palace is $13. Churches and cathedrals are cheaper or even free.

Keep an eye out for concession tickets and discounts for students. Consider purchasing tourist cards and passes to save on the total cost of your activities.

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