Russia is a vast country, so the best time to visit Russia largely depends on which region you’re visiting. As a general rule though, winter runs from November to February, with the summer season lasting from May to August.
The winter season is the best time to visit for opera & ballet enthusiasts, and December through February is great for those wishing to experience a true winter wonderland. To see Moscow and St Petersburg at their best, visit between May and August. During these months, the palaces and gardens come into their own as the last of the winter snow melts.
Best time to go for...
Opera and the ballet
November to February sees a harsh winter hit Russia, but it’s also the best time of the year for enjoying the country’s infamous opera season. Both the Bolshoi and Mariinsky put on an impressive calendar of events during the winter season and with few people travelling, you’ll be sure to enjoy an exclusive spectacle. Winter in Russia is also a good time to visit the country’s many museums, as a lower footfall means you’ll likely have many exhibitions all to yourself.
A winter wonderland
Winter is a ruthless season in Russia, especially in places like Siberia where temperatures can easily reach -20°C or lower. However, it’s also a wonderfully charming time to visit the country, as the postcard visions of swathes of crisp white snow come to life. The Christmas markets are a sight in and of themselves, with the best in the country found in Moscow’s iconic Red Square. Frost-laden mountains, cosy hats, warming banya houses, winter sports and an almost guaranteed white Christmas make Russia a breathtaking winter destination.
Cities and festivals
Although a fairly large amount of tourists descend on Russia in the summer months, it’s easy to see why they do. From April to July, the weather is much warmer and the days are pleasantly long. June through July is a particularly good time for festivals and culture, as the White Nights Festival takes over St Petersburg. Paying homage to the midnight sun, White Nights is a public gala of events organised by the city’s administration. From ballet to opera, there’s something for everyone wishing to experience traditional Russian culture.
Palaces and gardens
As the snow melts and the climate becomes increasingly Mediterranean, Russia’s gardens and palaces come into their own. During the summer months, vibrant flowers and pristine lawns are revealed at many of Russia’s most famous palaces, parks and gardens. One of the most impressive palaces across Russia is the Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg, which is definitely worth a visit. If you’re a fan of warm weather, July and August are the perfect time to visit as the high temperatures make this vast country feel more like southern Italy than Russia.