Consider these statistics on your flight to Russia: not only is Russia the largest country in the world, it is also the largest supplier of natural gas, the second largest oil producer in the world, and is home to the world’s longest railroads, most trafficked subway systems and one of the oldest lakes (Lake Baikal). Plan your Russia flights and vacations wisely – there is a lot to see in Russia.
No longer under communist reign, Russia is now a nation of individuality and diversity. When you book flights to Russia today, you’ll arrive in one of the best places in the world to see the ballet or take in the opera. Russia boasts a renewed sense of excitement. Cathedrals are being renovated, street market vendors are making money and the Red Square is back to being a high-traffic meeting place. Even literature is making a comeback in Russia. While some people were forced to read Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” for school requirements, many travelers pass the time on their flights to Russia with a leisurely read of the classic book. Book a cheap flight to Russia now and avoid the crowds – the Winter Olympic Games are heading to Sochi in 2014 and the country is sure to be laden with crowds and tourists.
Russia is an enormous country with extremely different climates. It will get colder the farther north you go. For most of the country, summers are quick and winters far too cold and long.
Moscow and St Petersburg are two of the most popular tourist destinations and are traveled to much of the year. The early summer (May and June) has the festivals, exhibitions, carnivals and concerts; autumn (September) is a great time to book flights to Russia for the foliage; and late winter (January and February) is when these cities are covered by thick falls of snow. Moscow’s temperatures can range between -22 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit; St Petersburg’s average winter temperature is about -14 degrees and summer highs are about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
St Petersburg (and other northern cities such as Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo and Aberdeen) enjoys White Nights when the sun does not set until after 10pm – twilight melts into dawn – between late-May and early-July.
Winters are bitterly cold. If you visit in the off-peak season, be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes. However, the winter is the best time to find cheap flights to Russia.
Aeroflot Russian Airlines, the national airline, has a comprehensive domestic Russia flight network. It flies from Moscow to several cities including St Petersburg, Kazan, Samara and Vladivostok
S7 Airlines is based in Novosibirsk and flies to several destinations including Irkutsk, Kazan, Moscow, Nizhni Novgorod and Omsk.
Transaero offers Russia flights around much of the country including to St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kiev, Odessa, Chimkent, Tashkent and Kamchatsky.
Rail: the Trans Siberian railway is the longest railway in the world. It starts in Moscow and chugs through Nizhni Novgorod, Kirov, Ekaterinburg, Omsk and over to Vladivostok.
Russian Railways operates a good range of passenger services throughout Russia, from Archangelsk to Zabaykal’sk. Journeys are inexpensive, if slow, but there are usually three classes of service on long journeys. Travel third class (Platskartny) for a more “Russian” experience. Moscow and St Petersburg have metro systems; good service and really beautiful stations.
Bus travel is also cheap and links cities and towns around Russia, but is not very comfortable. The main bus station in Moscow is called Schyolkovsky Bus Terminal.
The following chart gives approximate journey times from Moscow (in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in the Russian Federation.
Also known as Knevichi Airport, Vladivostok Airport (VVO) is one of the primary hubs for Eastern Russia. Located not far from the North Korean border on Asia’s east coast, the airport is 31 miles (50km) outside of Vladivostok.
A small regional airport serving just over a million passengers a year, flights to Vladivostok are hard to find outside of the Asian subcontinent. There is direct service from cities including Moscow, St Petersburg, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, Hanoi and Tokyo.
The airport has big plans, however, as the government has announced that it will be rebuilt ahead of the APEC Russia 2012 Summit on Russky Island, south of Vladivostok.
Irkutsk International Airport (IKT) is situated 5 miles (8km) from central Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia, Russia. Irkutsk is the gateway to central Russia and is one of the largest cities in Siberia.
The airport’s two passenger terminals are within easy walking distance of each other, but passengers traveling during winter should remember to be dressed for the occasion as “freezing” does not even begin to describe Siberian winters. Even a short walk between terminals or between your plane and a terminal will leave you chilled to the core.
Many of the airlines based at Irkutsk International Airport are Russian carriers or from neighboring countries such as Mongolia and Tajikistan. One of the easiest ways to get a flight to Irkutsk International Airport is via Moscow, Beijing and Antalya in Turkey.
Irkutsk Airport is close to Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lakes. The airport is well located for passengers wishing to explore some of the sights of central Russia.
Ekaterinburg Koltsovo Airport is the fifth-largest international airport in Russia, and the largest regional airport. It serves as the main gateway to Siberia and Ural, both major business centers, and is close to the Trans-Siberian Railway, which has a station in Ekaterinburg. Flights to Ekaterinburg Koltsovo Airport come from a number of cities across Russia, and a few in Europe and Asia.
Ekaterinburg is one of the largest cities in Russia, and is famous for its many theaters, libraries and museums. It’ll take 30–40 minutes to get into town, but if you can, it’ll be well worth exploring.
Ekaterinburg Koltsovo Airport has been renovated in recent years, and as it’s currently operating below its capacity of eight million passengers per year, you won’t need to queue for too long.
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