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When is the Best Time to Travel to Moscow

Updated on October 26, 2017
St. Basil's Cathedral is one of the many tourist spots that can be seen in Moscow no matter what time of year.
St. Basil's Cathedral is one of the many tourist spots that can be seen in Moscow no matter what time of year. | Source

What season to take a Russian vacation?

Moscow (or Moskva as it is pronounced in Russian), sits in the northeast of Russia, south of St. Petersburg. This city, like a lot of Russia, looks quite European, however it holds quite a lot of the Central Asian chaotic spirit.

Moscow is a city that hold high amounts of cultural and historical importance.

Moscow is home to 14 million people, which is in fact one of every fifteen Russians. The city was born in 1147 with the building of the Kremlin. The Kremlin is now the heart of the city, surrounded by concentric circles laid out like the corresponding feudal settlements that existed during medieval times. These circles are not the original ones, a fire occurred in 1812 and at that time they rebuilt the city with a more European tone. It was then modernized under Stalin's rule. There are also former manors and monasteries that use to lie outside of the city, that now lay well within the reaches of the city limits.

The Kremlin is another site near St. Basil's Cathedral that draws in large tourist crowds.
The Kremlin is another site near St. Basil's Cathedral that draws in large tourist crowds. | Source

Average Daily Temperatures in Moscow

Average Min/Max in Celsius
Average Min/Max in Fahrenheit
The average temperatures in Moscow, Russia by month according to "The Rough Guide to Moscow" by Dan Richardson.

Moscow's Weather

The climate in Moscow is close to the weather in Edmonton, Canada. Although summers are hot, and winters are cold by the standards of the rest of the world, the lack of humidity and since the weather is often sunny which makes it tolerable, and occasionally pleasant. Regardless of when you plan to travel, unexpected showers are a possibility, so packing a waterproof jacket and compact umbrella would be wise.

Since most people are cautious about traveling through Russia during cold months, the highest tourist season is summer. Summer last from about June to mid-September, however with the influx of tourists and the cheerful weather, many native Moscovites leave the city for the countryside during this time. This is also the time vacation time for many theatre houses which remain closed during this season. The Bolshov Ballet is also away during the summer. During the summer, mosquitoes can be a pest, so either packing a cream bug barrier, or planning to buy one shortly upon arrival.

Autumn does not last long, sometimes as short as just a few weeks of falling temperature and glorious hues of leaves, before winter essentially sets in with sub-zero temperatures. This can happen as early as two months before winter's official beginning in December.

Once winter comes to the city, Moscow seems to be cleansed by the fresh blanket of snow and crispness in the air. Normally it is only a few degrees below freezing and sunny, so the weather tends to be tolerable and the buildings overheated. Once the Christmas and the New Year roll around, be aware that cold snaps can occur at any time sending the temperature as far down as -20 degrees Celsius For travelers planning to visit during autumn winter or early spring, packing plenty of layers is advisable. Thermal underwear, thick socks, gloves, and warm hats are mandatory items to pack and use. Also, boots with a thick tread are advisable due to the ice and slush.

Spring's arrival is unpredictable, but it is filled with festivals such as the Orthodox Easter celebration, "Moscow Stars", May Day, and Victory Day. Cold snaps can continue to occur until the end of May.

More Attractions in Moscow

2017 Seasonal Festivals in Moscow

There are things worth seeing and experiencing in Moscow year round (even some things that are worth braving the winter for). Although the exact date of these festivals can vary from year to year, they are generally held at the same time of year.

Chekhov International Theatre Festival

This festival has ran since 1992, and is still going strong. The events for 2017 begin in May, and range from Shakespeare to Chekhov to Scottish Ballet.

Summer at the Bolshoi

The Bolshoi is possibly Moscow's most well known cultural destination. The Bolshoi is a historical theatre that features opera, ballet, and concerts.

Circle of Light Festival

The Circle of Light Festival began in 2011, and is held in October. It has grown to include eight majestic locations.

Spasskaya Bashnya Festival

The Spasskaya Bashnya Festival is an odd juxtaposition of military and music that creates Moscow's yearly international military music festival, Spasskaya Bashnya, held in September. About 1,500 participants in Russian and foreign military bands, folk groups, and honorary guard units of various heads of states will participate in the week-long event on Moscow's historic Red Square.

The Festival of Lights lights up popular Moscow destinations in an array of bright lights. Here the Red Square is lit up in 2012.
The Festival of Lights lights up popular Moscow destinations in an array of bright lights. Here the Red Square is lit up in 2012. | Source

How to Prepare before Traveling to Moscow

It's always important to be prepared when traveling to a foreign country, this applies to knowing about the country, knowing at least the alphabet, if not some survival phrases in the native language and some travel tips, knowing the expected weather, how to use the public transportation systems, and current crime problems. So save yourself a headache, and do your research before you travel.

Most importantly, have fun while exploring the new country, and try things that you normally wouldn't. Happy exploring!


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    • hrymel profile image

      Haley 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thanks JPPhilips. I had fun writing this hub.

      lovebuglena, I think the weather in reality isn't that frightening, but in a lot of western movies and shows, anytime Russia is shown, it looks like Serbia, with huge amounts of snow, wind, and ice. When in reality, the weather seems to be closer to that of Canada.

    • JPPhilips profile image

      JPPhilips 5 years ago from SC Piedmont Area

      Awesome hub. Love your photos. Great research.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I've only been to Russia once when we had to fill out papers and such for our move to the United States. I would love to visit it someday. Since I am originally from Belarus the seasons of Moscow, especially winter (and snow) do not frighten me one bit...