If you were ever told that the season to visit Russia is summer only, we are here to tell you: that’s not quite true!
There are plenty of reasons to enjoy your trip in early spring. Apart from lower prices on accommodations and transport, spring is the most festive and cheerful season in Russia. This is the perfect time to experience authentic folk celebrations & festivals, breathe in the festive air and feel like a local in this beautiful city. Here our 5 main reasons for planning your Russian vacation in the spring.
- Hasle-free sightseeing & no wasting time in queues
It might look entertaining when somebody posts on Instragram a picture of the lines at the Hermitage, or Catherine Palace halls crammed with tourists, but you don’t want to be in that picture yourself. Unlike in summer high season, you may enjoy Hermitage and Pushkin without being bothered by somebody stepping in your picture frame. There are no lines at the entrances and ticket offices, so you may actually decide on the spot what you want to visit, not having to plan days ahead. Though, planning is still a good thing to do. Planning a guided tour of a museum like Hermitage or Peterhof Grand Palace in St Petersburg gives you a deeper understanding of history and a more memorable museum experience. Check out our touring options here. Private tours gives you the freedom of exploring museums’ collections at your pace, so you may admire at your favorite paintings by Rubens or Renoir with no rush.
- Best deals on accommodation & transport
It is not a secret that the lower lower the demand, the lower the price. Low season starts in Russia in late October and lasts till April. Prices on hotels and flights might be two or even three times lower than during high season. This is a chance not to be missed! And it’s not only the hotels and flights are cheaper, Russian trains prices fall as well. For instance now you may buy a train ticket from St Petersburg to Moscow or vice versa for $15 instead of normal $30-$100! So, early spring is your perfect time to explore multiple cities. Plus traveling on Russian trains might be an experience itself. You may check out the prices and availability, as well as book and pay your tickets online on official Russian Railways website.
- Russian style carnival: Maslenitsa week
This is one of few authentic folk celebrations that is still cherished by local communities and celebrated with respect. You may know about this week by the name “Butter Week” although a more appropriate name in English would be “Pancake Week”. And yes, you do eat pancakes all the week!
It has both pagan and Christian origin. The pancake symbolizes the Sun and the festival itself is a call for spring. In the Christian tradition it marks the last week before Lent, the last opportunity to eat in abundance, before strict limitations start.
Long story short, it is a great opportunity for you to party like a Russian at one of the best city festivals. Check the venues at Palace Square, Shuvalovo (close to Peterhof), Peter and Paul Fortress, Elagin Island and many more. During that week, pay attention to the special offers at the local restaurants: this is our chance to try all kind of pancakes and to choose the best ones!
Tip: this year Maslenitsa is celebrated from 12th to 18th of February. Stay tuned on our social media to check festival events.
- Russian Army day & International Women’s Day
These two events are celebrated 2 weeks apart, so you may even catch both of them in two different cities. Both of them are bank holidays remained as a heritage from Soviet Union times. Therefore they are another cultural layer showing a different approach to celebration.
Russian Army day on the 23d of February is generally considered to be a “Men’s Day”. Usually there are patriotic-themed events taking place in bigger cities. It is also another great opportunity for men to meet up with friends and get some beers (or something stronger). Take a visit to a pub or a bar on that night, authentic hard partying experience guaranteed!
International Women’s Day celebrated on the 8th of March. It is another bank holiday. Though the origins of this holiday were mostly political, now it is just another reason for ALL men to get a bunch of flowers for every woman they know. This day, and the evening before, is brightened with happy smiling ladies. Coupled with the aroma of flowers in the Spring airs, puts you a in romantic mood. And yes, it is a very good excuse for ladies to leave their chores behind and meet with friends over a glass of wine. Again, going out and partying on that night is highly recommended.
- Orthodox Easter celebration
Apart from being a religious celebration, Easter is also a very warm family reunion holiday. It is so embedded in the Russian culture, it survived 70 years of rigid atheism. If you happen to be in Russia on Easter weekend, enter the courtyard of the churches, you will witness how the food gets blessed in the orthodox tradition. In bigger cities there are usually vast celebrations being held with Easter Processions. But the real spirit of this bright spring holiday may only be seen in the provinces. There, people still carry on the tradition of family reunions when everybody gathers together for lunch, including the eating of blessed eggs.
Tip: This year Easter in Russia is celebrated on the 8th of April. Think of going to Golden Ring cities (Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Yaroslabl etc.) for this particular celebration, it will definitely make your whole trip experience.
Stop wasting time, just Go and Pack!