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Tour Russia in 2019 or 2020

Hello Rick Steves
Are there any plans to take tours into Russia beyond St Petersburg -

Posted by
7165 posts

It cracks me up when people think RS actually browses the forums and answers questions...

Posted by
23 posts

Lol. It would seem this is a personal one for Rick Steves, but would you mind sharing the information incase there'd be a tour?

Posted by
631 posts

I can answer this one. "No" is the simple answer. However, many people taking our St Petersburg/Tallinn/Helsinki tour stay in Russia at the end of the tour and head to Moscow. It makes a lot of sense for people to do so since they've already taken the time to get their Russian visa. Taking the train to Moscow is fairly straight forward and it takes as little as 4 hours.

Posted by
4637 posts

As I felt there is no plans to take tours into Russia by R.S. To go to Moscow totally independently could be rather difficult. Significantly fewer people speak English there than in other parts of Europe. We did it and it was easier for us because I speak some Russian. Despite that to be able to see more we used services of this company:
http://www.expresstorussia.com . We were very satisfied with their services and used them for Volga River cruise from Moscow to Astrakhan. 14 days, 2600 km.

Posted by
64 posts

You might consider using the Rick Steves tour as a starting point. We did the tour, then traveled to Moscow on our own. This was our first time in Russia, so we feared it might be a bit daunting (especially since we don't speak Russian). However, it was a fantastic experience. The Rick Steves tour, including the time in St. Petersburg, set the scene for our trip to Moscow. Four couples from our tour group made the journey independently, but in different ways....Some people took the overnight train (for the experience), then stayed at a famous old hotel near Red Square. Another couple took the afternoon train to Moscow. They bought a first class ticket (which included a meal) & booked a driver to take them from the train station to a modern Marriott. My husband & I also took the afternoon train, then walked to our beautiful Moscow Hilton (which is visible as the train pulls into the station). We had reserved seats, but not in first class, as we wanted to bring our own food. To our surprise, our train car was filled, mostly, with a friendly tour group from Italy. The train ride was fun, as we rode through the countryside, towns & villages along the way. The Hilton we chose is housed in one of Moscow's famous old "Seven Sisters" buildings, which added to the ambiance of our trip. We spent several days in Moscow & always felt comfortable. We explored the city independently, as well as taking a couple of guided tours (including a hop on/hop off bus tour). With the exception of our taxi ride to the Moscow airport at the end of our visit, we successfully traveled the city on foot & by metro. Since subway signs are in Russian, we plotted out our strategy in advance & did not get lost. We were able to see all the important historic sights, as well as visiting modern Moscow (including shopping malls & residential neighborhoods). Because of our Hilton Honors status, we enjoyed several complementary meals at the hotel. We ate other meals at a variety of Russian restaurants, as well as American fast food chains....The latter is a great way to mingle with the locals! Although we left for Moscow as soon as the Rick Steves tour ended, I would suggest staying on in St. Petersburg an extra day. There is so much to see in the city, as well as in surrounding areas. We have since been back to St. Petersburg & have yet to experience everything. Although I did not answer your question, I hope my comments provided worthwhile food for thought!

Posted by
109 posts

I was in Moscow last summer, one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been in. There are many iPhone apps that translate ENG-Russian, and if you hover it over a menu it will translate for you - although all Red Square located restaurants had ENG menus and nearly everyone spoke or at least understood it. I found literally no language barrier in Moscow. Spent four nights and that was perfect.

Posted by
132 posts

I was in Moscow last summer, one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been in. There are many iPhone apps that translate ENG-Russian, and if you hover it over a menu it will translate for you - although all Red Square located restaurants had ENG menus and nearly everyone spoke or at least understood it. I found literally no language barrier in Moscow. Spent four nights and that was perfect.

Aham, things improved dramatically, I can't imagine a native English speaker get lost or having troubles while exploring Moscow or Saint P. As you said, the menu has English translation mostly, younger generation speaks better English and overall Russia experience can become a delightful one. And yup Moscow is in the "era of cleanliness", things were really-really bad in the 90's and 2000's. They have a new mayor for a few years now and he seems to care about the city he lives in.