In Moscow, for example, temperatures can rise from -25 °C ( -13 °F) degrees in winter, to over 30 °C (86 °F) degrees in summer. It’s a brutal temperature difference.
If you plan on spending time outdoors, early fall is usually better than summer. Places like the Golden Ring (an area that extends north-east of Moscow) and Lake Baikal and the Ural Mountains are stunning in the fall, as the trees change color and a red hue takes over the entire region. Lake Baikal is equally beautiful in winter, and the water looks a deep navy blue under the frozen surface, offering an incredible opportunity to skate right over the world’s largest freshwater lake.
While summer sees the biggest influx of tourists, every season has much to offer to visitors to Russia.
Summer: Most people who visit Russia arrive in summer, in part because they are intimidated by the idea of a Russian winter. Summer visits do have their benefits. The whole of Russia migrates to the countryside to spend the summer in their ‘dachas’. All the tourist attractions are open and operating at full capacity. This is a good time to explore Russia’s museums and palaces. The main theatres of Russia such as the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky remain closed in summer. But the operas and ballets continue in smaller theatres. You can spend your days at the beach and enjoy summer with the locals. Alternately, you can follow the Golden Ring of Russia and explore its medieval towns
St. Petersburg is particularly fascinating in summer, as the city experiences a phenomenon known as “white nights,” when the skies never reach complete darkness and instead remain lighted with twilight colors at night. The drawback of a summer visit is the heat, as temperatures can easily get into the mid-30s Celsius during the hotter months.
Autumn: Autumns are short in Russia, lasting basically only two months (September and October). By November, winter temperatures are already setting in, and you can expect snow in many cities by mid-November. Nights can get cold in Autumn, so layers and even a thick jacket might be needed.
Fall means beautiful red and yellow colors everywhere, but it also means smaller crowds, as kids are back in school and most families aren’t traveling during this time. This is a great time to find deals on flights and accommodations and a great time to visit, as the temperatures aren’t much colder than in the Eastern US coast at the same time of year.
Winter: There’s a magic to snow-covered Russia that makes it worth it to consider a winter visit. Winters are very different across Russia, and while Siberia has very low temperatures, it also has dry winters with very little wind, making it a lot more comfortable than you might expect to walk in freezing weather.
St. Petersburg, on the other hand, is humid but never really cold, with temperatures staying just under zero-enough for the canals to freeze over for a spectacular sight. Thick jackets, non-slippery waterproof boots, and hats are a must for a winter visit to Russia.
Spring: Spring is a quiet time in Russia without too many tourists around. With many festivals being celebrated in spring, it is the best time to get a close look at the local culture. You can explore the museums and palaces at your leisure without the usual crowd of tourists. With the snow still around at the beginning, most parks stay closed until May. Witness the magnificent military parade of Victory Day in Moscow or head to Karelia to enjoy its pristine beauty.