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A trip to Moscow

I'm going to organize a trip this summer. I want to plan everything. I’ll fly from London to Moscow, and I also want to visit St. Petersburg.
Could you, please, advise me what places I should visit? I’ll stay in Moscow for about 10 days before going to St. Petersburg.
Thank you!

Posted by
13930 posts

I don't really see the point of shunning a country because you don't agree with its leader and/or its government. Would you go to Italy? China? Tourist dollars are more likely to get into the hands of the people rather than any corrupt bureaucracy and meeting friendly tourists might just change the locals opinions of foreigners and even give them some information they don't get from local news media.

Posted by
2932 posts

Hopefully , I won't be starting a war here , but I must say I agree with Chani's comments . Having taken three year visas in 2015 , we have been to Moscow and St; Petersburg ( once to Moscow , and twice to St Petersburg ) . The History , Art , Music ( I am a classically trained musician ) and Culture , fascinate us . Much to experience there and advance preparation is essential , To get a good grounding for your visit , read this lavish and detailed book by Suzanne Massie , it's one of the best ways to immerse yourself in what you will experience - https://www.amazon.com/Land-Firebird-Beauty-Old-Russia/dp/096441841X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521652009&sr=8-1&keywords=land+of+the+firebird+massie&dpID=51CPK13XKGL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Posted by
7124 posts

And while leaders of such countries can point to foreign visitor numbers as a sign of support ?
I also believe that personal safety for certain travellers, especially obvious minorities, cannot be guaranteed, as fervent nationalism increases, and tolerance levels evaporate. Just as I may decide against a purchase at the supermarket because of a company’s behaviour, ethics will always be a consideration.

Posted by
321 posts

Well, I'd argue supermarket ethics does not readily translate to travel ethics - the latter is far more complex. Personally, I see the whole "vote with my hard-earned travel dollar" approach as overly simplistic, but if it's your position - I totally respect it.

What I don't understand is members volunteering ethical guidance in response to what seems an innocuous request for travel-related information.

Posted by
5485 posts

I appreciate Rick Steves' point of view in his "Travel As A Political Act". That said, Putin's Russia is not a place I would support. But, to each his or her own....

From a practical point of view, travel between the two countries can be difficult. I understand the Russians who traveled in the US this past winter had to go to the US Embassy in the country of Georgia to get visas because the Russians expelled American embassy personnel. If you do travel to Russia, you may be on your own. See the American travel advisory: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/russia-travel-advisory.html

Travel Advisory January 10, 2018

Russia – Level 3: Reconsider travel

Reconsider travel to Russia due to terrorism and harassment. Some
areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory

U.S. citizens are often victims of harassment, mistreatment, and
extortion by law-enforcement and other officials. U.S. consular
assistance to detained individuals is often unreasonably delayed by
Russian officials. Russia also enforces special restrictions on dual
U.S.-Russian nationals. Due to the Russian government-imposed
reduction on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, the U.S. government
has reduced ability to provide services to U.S. citizens.

Posted by
1605 posts

We have traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg over the past few years. As in the US, most of the people we encountered helpful and not particularly political. In Moscow, we stayed at The Garden Ring Hotel which was a close walk to the metro. The hotel was very comfortable and quiet for being in the city. We loved the art museums and the Georgian restaurants. In St. Petersburg, we stayed at both The 3Mosta hotel near the Hermitage and the Art Hotel Demetra.. In St. Petersburg, we especially liked the Hermitage and Russian museum. Learning the Cyrillic alphabet and having a good map is a must.

Posted by
631 posts

As I think the point about ethical considerations has been made, please keep future replies more specific to the question at hand. Thanks.

Posted by
7165 posts

Either read a good travel book or book a guide who can personally take you to the best places that interest you and tell about the sights you're seeing. We used Dan Petrov on 2 different trips to Moscow and found him to be wonderfully friendly and witty not to mention super knowledgeable.

Posted by
7124 posts

Latest advice, Australian Governmemt, 1 April 2018.
“Due to heightened political tensions, you should be aware of the possibility of anti-Western sentiment or harassment. While the Australian Government is not aware of any increased difficulties for Australians travelling in Russia at this time, you should follow the security and political situation closely and keep up to date with this travel advice. Remain vigilant, avoid any protests or demonstrations and avoid commenting publicly on political developments.”

Posted by
524 posts

We very much enjoyed our group trip to Moscow and St Petersburg last year. excellent guides and accommodations. While Steven who has replied here has excellent advice, ( and we took advantage of it), we felt an organized tour really facilitated our enjoyment of the country. You may want to consider a combination of an organized tour and than adding independent days . Some of the Australians on the tour had arrived a couple of days earlier than the tour stated and then some stayed later. If we were to go again (which I would), that"s how I would do it.
And I must say , it was enlightening to have conversations with the Russian tour guides and the non Americans about the current world situation. Not that we went into any great depth, but I think we all went away with a little more understanding.

Top places: allow lots of time in St Petersburg at the Hermitage- take a separate day for the Impressionist building. In Moscow, the Russian Art Museum was amazing.

Posted by
321 posts

Solid advice from Australian government quoted above, especially the keeping up to date part.

I checked the current version (Sep 18) of that advisory - and it hasn't been updated much. In fact, some sections don't seem to have changed since 2005 - their recommendations for importing/exporting currency and financial instruments, for example, are at least five years behind.

I do like reading governmental travel advisories for entertainment purposes - for instance, up until very recently the US one sternly advised potential travelers that Moscow was largely a cash-based economy (couldn't be further from the truth) and warned about intrinsic dangers of gypsy cabs (which had all but disappeared by 2015).