Getting around Russia: Tips for Indian Tourists

Don’t be afraid of vast distances between cities.

Once tourists find themselves in Russia, especially for the first time, they understandably want to see it all while spending as little time and money on travelling as possible. Fortunately, the transport system in Russia allows tourists to move around most large cities by planes (saving the time!) or by trains (admiring spectacular views!). Prices are obviously different as well. Here you will find a few options for travelling to and from such popular destinations as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kamchatka and the Murmansk region.

Getting there by air
You will have no trouble finding suitable flights for your tourists. The easiest and one of the most popular routes is Moscow — St. Petersburg. In a little more than an hour passengers find themselves at their chosen destination, and the flights are operated by several airline companies. As of November-December 2020, these include PobedaUtairUral AirlinesNordStarNordwind AirlinesS7RusLine. Each of them has several flights per day so you shouldn’t have any problems booking a couple of seats for your tourists. As for the prices, for example, a ticket from Moscow to St. Petersburg in April will cost your tourists about 2,032 INR.
It will take one a little longer — about 3 hours — to get from Moscow to Murmansk. The prices start at 2,200 IND. Direct flights are operated by Aeroflot and S7.
One of the longest flights you can take in Russia is from Moscow to Kamchatka, but such a trip is surely memorable. Direct flights as of now are operated only by Aeroflot, and a ticket will cost your tourists about 16,500 IND. It is possible to fly with a stopover in Novosibirsk with S7 for 14,460 IND. A direct flight takes about 8 hours, and add 2 hours to that if you have a transfer.

Getting there by train
Yet again Moscow — St. Petersburg would be the most comfortable journey. The options are endless: one can depart in the early morning, in the afternoon or even late at night.

Here’s a tip for you: your tourists can take a train in the evening, spend the night on the road and start sightseeing in the morning wasting no daylight time.

A lot of people consider the Sapsan High Speed Train the most convenient way to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Only 3.5h and 2,420 IND — and your tourists wander the shores of the Neva river. The Sapsan main competitors are Nevsky Express and Strizh — 4 and 4.5 hours accordingly. Another great option is an overnight high speed retro-train Lev Tolstoy. Its compartments and carriages are distinguished for their exquisite interiors that will take the passengers back a couple of decades. Those who aren’t pressed for time can pick one of the deluxe trains — Red Arrow, Volga or Arktika.
By the way, the same Arktika train can take your tourists to Murmansk, though, they will have to spend 1 day 11 hours on the road. Communal compartment costs about 2,700 IND, a separate compartment is not much more expensive — about 3,386 IND. The most adventurous travellers can make a stopover on the way and visit some other cities, for instance, Tver or Petrozavodsk.
If your tourists ever dreamt of taking a train from Moscow to Kamchatka, they may be a little disappointed as there are no direct trains for this route. Therefore, advise them to get on the plane which will also save them a lot of valuable time.

The detailed schedule and prices may be found at the Russian Railways website.

It’s worth noting: some trains have separate compartments for men and women. You can find this information while booking tickets. If it’s all the same to your tourists, they can pick a compartment available for both men and women.

What to take with you
Buying a ticket for travelling around Russia is possible only with a passport or some other form of ID. Your tourists must have the documents with them while boarding the train or plane — only having tickets won’t be enough, they have to verify their identity. Tourists should not put their passports away once they’ve boarded a train — they will be required to show them again once the train starts moving. By the way, porters on the train will be happy to help tourists not to miss their stop — no need to fear that they will end up in an entirely different city.

Safety on the road
Despite the fact that trains and planes continue to make their journeys within the country, it is too early to forget about personal security measures. Be sure to remind your tourists about the need to have masks and gloves with them, and it will not be really helpful to take sanitizers on a trip. Passengers can purchase these items from the porter, as wearing masks remains mandatory throughout the journey.