When is the best time of year to come to Russia?
Russia has four seasons and each of them have their pros and cons for travel. When most people imagine Russia, they think of fur hats and coats and year-round snow drifts. While there are some regions of Russia that are like that, many parts are not. Russia is the largest country in the world, and so specific weather forecasts will depend on where exactly you are traveling to in Russia.
Russian winters tend to be very cold and snowy. In the southern parts of Russia (such as the Caucasus), the really cold parts of winter may only last a month or two, whereas in the north they can last 6-7 months, such as in Moscow or St. Petersburg. That being said, winter can be a fabulous time to visit Russia! There’s nothing more magical than the streets of St. Petersburg on a crisp winter morning, sparkling with a blanket of fresh snow; the trees resemble something from a fairytale with their diamond icicles. In addition, from mid-December to mid-January you can see New Year decorations for Russia’s biggest holiday.
Another great reason to visit Russia in the winter is for the cold-weather adventure opportunities. Skiing, snowboarding, 4-wheeling, paragliding, and snowshoeing are all readily available in the mountainous Caucasus region. Despite not being as well-known to the outside world, the Russian Caucasus’ ski resorts of Elbrus, Dombai, and Arkhyz are where the majority of Russians go to get their winter adventure fix.
Spring and Fall in Russia are short and sweet. They often tend to be the shortest seasons of the year, in some parts of the country lasting only a couple of weeks. They can be incredibly beautiful— lush flowers in the spring and vibrant foliage in the fall. Spring is particularly fun as it’s the beginning of swimming and shashlik season (i.e. grilling out)! Naturally beautiful regions like the Caucasus Mountains can be breathtaking in the beautiful fall colors. That being said, if you’re planning a spring or fall trip to Russia, do be aware that these seasons tend to be the rainiest times of the year, and the weather can be unpredictable (for better or for worse). So bring your raincoat!
Many foreigners expect Russia to be cold year-round, but summers here are often quite hot. The lowlands of the Caucasus Mountains often approach 40 degrees Celsius in July and August. Even so, summer is quite possibly the best time of the year to visit Russia. It’s very green with clear, blue skies. An exception would be northern cities like St. Petersburg that have a shorter summer period (2 months) and are still prone to cooler bursts of weather.
Regardless of when you choose to come, there are beautiful things about each season in Russia. Pick the one that sounds best to you, bring a variety of clothes for whatever weather you might encounter, and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.