Russia is amazing during the summer, and the summer months are the most popular time for travel to Russia – with good reason. It’s much nicer to enjoy sightseeing, walking down Russia’s history-soaked streets and taking in scenic views when the streets are not covered with snow. If you have also booked your trip to Russia during one of the hotter months, it’s important to keep in mind some basic etiquette tips for your safety and comfort. So, during the summer in Russia…
Don’t:Lose track of your belongings
The summer months see a huge number of travelers come through Russia, especially in the major cities. This means that popular sightseeing spots, crowded squares, and the metro are excellent spots for pickpockets. Make sure you are always aware of where your bag, camera, jacket, and so on are located. Russian pickpockets are quick, smart, and shameless, so if you are in a tourist spot, keep a close watch on your stuff!Take a daytime train
If you’re sensitive to heat, steer clear of taking long train journeys that will keep you inside a train for a day or more. It’s fine to take a tram or an overnight train, like the 8-hour Moscow-St. Petersburg sleeper train. However, Russian trains are generally not well-ventilated, so sitting inside a train compartment during the day can feel like you’re in a glass cage in the desert. The most you will have to rely on for ventilation during hot summer days are cracked-open windows and the rare longer stop when you can walk around outside.Wear short clothes in a church
Russians may not be as overtly religious as some other nations but they still take their houses of religion very seriously, with most Russian women still covering their heads whenever they walk into a church, regardless of whether they are religious or not. As such, you may not be let inside a church or cathedral if you are wearing shorts or a skirt that hits above the knees.Forget that polar nights are still nights
I made this mistake once while traveling in Murmansk. In the north of Russia, and most importantly in St. Petersburg as well, summer means that it is light outside 24 hours a day (or close to it). However, just because it still looks like day outside, you still have to be careful if you’re walking around the streets late at night in a big city. Not terrified, of course, but careful to the same extent as you should be in any big city. The same unpleasant people that come out during the dark of the night still come out even when the night is not dark.
Do:Relax in a park
While it may be tempting to take in as many sights as possible while traveling to Russia for a short time, don’t cram your day with too many activities when there’s a heat wave outside. Take the time – like the Russians do – to sit in the park and read a book or chat with a friend. Don’t worry about missing out on the crowded tourist attractions – by enjoying a Russian city park you’ll be taking part in an essential Russian summer activity.Take an umbrella
Russian summer weather is quite unpredictable, and even in the midst of a heat wave you could get caught in the rain. Especially if you’re traveling further north, like in St. Petersburg, it’s important to always be prepared for the possibility of rain. Take an umbrella or a raincoat with you if possible, and arm yourself with a plan for a rainy day.
By Varia Makagonova