Backpacking Russia

Not many people know that Russia is a great country to backpack to, but it’s slowly becoming more and more popular. What Russia does best is its incredible nature. Here, you’ll be able to experience a lot of diversity, as there is so much more than just mountainous regions! Russia's nature stretches from large glaciers to steep coasts and picturesque roads winding through hilly landscapes.



We hope you enjoy discovering our ideal backpacking route for Russia!


Important Basics

Official Language

Russian

Capital City

Moscow

Form of Government

Semi-presidential system

Best Time to Visit

In the south: May to October / In the north: June to August

Fun Facts
  • Russia has only started considering beer as alcohol in 2013!
  • There are 15 secret cities (or maybe even more) in Russia. You can’t get inside of them without a special permit from the state.
  • You can get fined for driving a dirty car.

Cities

St. Petersburg

Your journey starts in St. Petersburg, which is the northernmost million city in the world.

You will find Cyrillic letters everywhere, but also European architecture. Here, two worlds are united.

The Venice of the North offers art and culture, as well as an active nightlife. In the Catherine Palace, which is located just outside in a suburb, you can find the famous Amber Room. The tour offered there tells you stories of the tsar's family and gives interesting insights. The world-famous Hermitage is a collection of paintings and sculptures, and the Winter Palace is worth a visit. About 70 cats also live there.

St. Petersburg offers more than 300 museums, including a vodka museum. The Resurrection, or Blood Church, has the typical onion domes and is a popular photo motif. The best way is to do a tour with a local, these walker tours are informative, and the people know their city very well. In the end, you’ll only pay as much as you think it was worth. And the best part: the tours are in English. You can also take the bus for different tours. In summer you can do a canal tour. The city offers many possibilities, use as many as you can.

Stay at one of the local hostels and get a bed in a 6-person room for €8 a night.

Moscow

By night train you can reach the capital Moscow for about 35€. Start at the Red Square, where you will find the Kremlin and the Basilius Cathedral.

The Lenin Mausoleum is located in the immediate vicinity of the Red Square. Lenin died in 1924, was embalmed and can still be visited there today. The entrance is free, but taking pictures is prohibited. Many other museums offer a variety of Russian history, such as the historical museum, which is also on the Red Square, or the Moscow Kremlin Museum.

Come in the evening and look again in the spectacular lighting. On rainy days you can go to the department store GUM, where you can find all the luxury brands of the world, as it is the largest department store in Europe. Here you can also go to the Bolchoi Theatre, which offers ballet and operetta.

Moscow has a lively nightlife, one of the most popular clubs is the Aurora Club or the Golden Girls.

Stay the night in a hostel and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €8 a night.

Yekaterinburg

Once again, with the night train you can travel from Moscow to Yekaterinburg for about 65€. Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia and has everything from traditional to modern in stock. The city is located about 40 km from the border with Europe and Asia. You can easily reach all sights on foot.

In Lenin Alley you will find numerous shops and cafes. Right at the beginning of the avenue is the theater. Further it goes to the city pond, which is a central point. The Mayor's House and the Union House are located directly on the promenade. The Cathedral on the Blood, which has only been there since 2003, was built on the site where the Ipatiev House used to stand. There the tsar's family was held for months and finally executed. In 1977 Yeltsin ordered the demolition of the house. The cathedral now commemorates this last family of tsars.

Many parks allow you to rest between the sights. The city hall is also nice to see and has the so-called onion domes.

You can stay the night at a local hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €7 a night.

Krasnoyarsk

The night train goes to Krasnoyarsk for about 80€. Krasnoyarsk is famous for its natural and cultural sights, offering a unique scenery with great mountain landscapes and the mighty Siberian forest.

You can hike to the mountain Karulnaja and enjoy a great view. Go to the State Circus, which offers circus performances, music and cultural events. Countless museums such as, for example, the Forest Museum, the Railway Museum, the Museum of History and a Museum of Pharmacy.

But the most visited is the Regional Museum which offers over 400,000 exhibits, including a very interesting archaeological exhibition. Take a trip to the zoo, or to the nearby Stolby Nature Reserve. Also, the Troizki cemetery is interesting, as there are over 200 monuments and wells there.

You can get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €7 a night.

Irkutsk

For about 45€ you will take the night train the last time. The gate of Lake Baikal is one of the most beautiful cities in Siberia, where Russian and Mongolian culture meet. Wooden houses stand there together alongside modern buildings.

You can go to Kirov's Park right in the city center; you will find many flowers and fountains there, as well as multiple small stalls that offer refreshments. In winter there is an ice slide and numerous sculptures made of ice. The Church of the Revelation is right next to the park; the first version was made of wood and burned down completely, after which it was rebuilt in stone. Opposite of that is the Spasskaya Church, which is also worth a visit.

The promenade offers a great view over the river Angaria and the city. There is also the triumphal arch of Moscow and a monument of the city founder. Visit the statue of the tourist and find out what he is staring at. You might also like the Statue Park, where you will be able to see countless statues there.

Stay the night at a local hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €7 a night.

Olchon

The bus will take you to the island in Lake Baikal for about 11€. The width of the island is only 10 km. The main village is called Chuchir, this is also where most of the 1,700 inhabitants live. From mid-May to mid-December you can get there by ferry. If the lake is frozen, you can take the bus, but you will not find any paved roads there. Many tours are offered directly by hostels.

You can also go on your own. There is the Shaman Rock, which you can find by just walking up the mountain; you’ll get to also enjoy the view of the Lake Baikal. The shamanic poles look great, with the many colorful ribbons. In general, you will be shown a lot of the shamans. So, on some days there is a ceremony that shows you how shamans practice.

In the harbor there is a daily tour with a boat to see the sunset, which takes about 2 hours. You can also travel there, about 1 hour, along Lake Baikal. Or you can take the four-wheel bus, over bumpy roads, to the North Cape, which will give you an unforgettable experience.

You can get a double room in a hotel for €16 a night.


St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

Your journey starts in St. Petersburg, which is the northernmost million city in the world.

You will find Cyrillic letters everywhere, but also European architecture. Here, two worlds are united.

The Venice of the North offers art and culture, as well as an active nightlife. In the Catherine Palace, which is located just outside in a suburb, you can find the famous Amber Room. The tour offered there tells you stories of the tsar's family and gives interesting insights. The world-famous Hermitage is a collection of paintings and sculptures, and the Winter Palace is worth a visit. About 70 cats also live there.

St. Petersburg offers more than 300 museums, including a vodka museum. The Resurrection, or Blood Church, has the typical onion domes and is a popular photo motif. The best way is to do a tour with a local, these walker tours are informative, and the people know their city very well. In the end, you’ll only pay as much as you think it was worth. And the best part: the tours are in English. You can also take the bus for different tours. In summer you can do a canal tour. The city offers many possibilities, use as many as you can.

Stay at one of the local hostels and get a bed in a 6-person room for €8 a night.

Moscow

Moscow

By night train you can reach the capital Moscow for about 35€. Start at the Red Square, where you will find the Kremlin and the Basilius Cathedral.

The Lenin Mausoleum is located in the immediate vicinity of the Red Square. Lenin died in 1924, was embalmed and can still be visited there today. The entrance is free, but taking pictures is prohibited. Many other museums offer a variety of Russian history, such as the historical museum, which is also on the Red Square, or the Moscow Kremlin Museum.

Come in the evening and look again in the spectacular lighting. On rainy days you can go to the department store GUM, where you can find all the luxury brands of the world, as it is the largest department store in Europe. Here you can also go to the Bolchoi Theatre, which offers ballet and operetta.

Moscow has a lively nightlife, one of the most popular clubs is the Aurora Club or the Golden Girls.

Stay the night in a hostel and get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €8 a night.

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

Once again, with the night train you can travel from Moscow to Yekaterinburg for about 65€. Ekaterinburg is the fourth largest city in Russia and has everything from traditional to modern in stock. The city is located about 40 km from the border with Europe and Asia. You can easily reach all sights on foot.

In Lenin Alley you will find numerous shops and cafes. Right at the beginning of the avenue is the theater. Further it goes to the city pond, which is a central point. The Mayor's House and the Union House are located directly on the promenade. The Cathedral on the Blood, which has only been there since 2003, was built on the site where the Ipatiev House used to stand. There the tsar's family was held for months and finally executed. In 1977 Yeltsin ordered the demolition of the house. The cathedral now commemorates this last family of tsars.

Many parks allow you to rest between the sights. The city hall is also nice to see and has the so-called onion domes.

You can stay the night at a local hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €7 a night.

Krasnoyarsk

Krasnoyarsk

The night train goes to Krasnoyarsk for about 80€. Krasnoyarsk is famous for its natural and cultural sights, offering a unique scenery with great mountain landscapes and the mighty Siberian forest.

You can hike to the mountain Karulnaja and enjoy a great view. Go to the State Circus, which offers circus performances, music and cultural events. Countless museums such as, for example, the Forest Museum, the Railway Museum, the Museum of History and a Museum of Pharmacy.

But the most visited is the Regional Museum which offers over 400,000 exhibits, including a very interesting archaeological exhibition. Take a trip to the zoo, or to the nearby Stolby Nature Reserve. Also, the Troizki cemetery is interesting, as there are over 200 monuments and wells there.

You can get a bed in an 8-person dorm for €7 a night.

Irkutsk

Irkutsk

For about 45€ you will take the night train the last time. The gate of Lake Baikal is one of the most beautiful cities in Siberia, where Russian and Mongolian culture meet. Wooden houses stand there together alongside modern buildings.

You can go to Kirov's Park right in the city center; you will find many flowers and fountains there, as well as multiple small stalls that offer refreshments. In winter there is an ice slide and numerous sculptures made of ice. The Church of the Revelation is right next to the park; the first version was made of wood and burned down completely, after which it was rebuilt in stone. Opposite of that is the Spasskaya Church, which is also worth a visit.

The promenade offers a great view over the river Angaria and the city. There is also the triumphal arch of Moscow and a monument of the city founder. Visit the statue of the tourist and find out what he is staring at. You might also like the Statue Park, where you will be able to see countless statues there.

Stay the night at a local hostel and get a bed in a 6-person dorm for €7 a night.

Olchon

Olchon

The bus will take you to the island in Lake Baikal for about 11€. The width of the island is only 10 km. The main village is called Chuchir, this is also where most of the 1,700 inhabitants live. From mid-May to mid-December you can get there by ferry. If the lake is frozen, you can take the bus, but you will not find any paved roads there. Many tours are offered directly by hostels.

You can also go on your own. There is the Shaman Rock, which you can find by just walking up the mountain; you’ll get to also enjoy the view of the Lake Baikal. The shamanic poles look great, with the many colorful ribbons. In general, you will be shown a lot of the shamans. So, on some days there is a ceremony that shows you how shamans practice.

In the harbor there is a daily tour with a boat to see the sunset, which takes about 2 hours. You can also travel there, about 1 hour, along Lake Baikal. Or you can take the four-wheel bus, over bumpy roads, to the North Cape, which will give you an unforgettable experience.

You can get a double room in a hotel for €16 a night.

Russia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - St. Petersburg
Home - St. Petersburg
Flight
150
6-person dorm
8
2. St.Petersburg
St.Petersburg
-
6-person dorm
8
3. St.Petersburg
St.Petersburg
-
6-person dorm
8
4. St.Petersburg- Moscow
St.Petersburg- Moscow
night train
35
night train
5. Moscow
Moscow
-
8-person dorm
8
6. Moscow
Moscow
-
8-person dorm
8
7. Moscow- Yekaterinburg
Moscow- Yekaterinburg
night train
65
night train
8. Moscow- Yekaterinburg
Moscow- Yekaterinburg
night train
night train
9. Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
-
6-person dorm
7
10. Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
-
6-person dorm
7
11. Yekaterinburg- Krasnoyarsk
Yekaterinburg- Krasnoyarsk
night train
80
night train
12. Yekaterinburg- Krasnoyarsk
Yekaterinburg- Krasnoyarsk
night train
night train
13. Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk
-
8-person dorm
7
14. Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk
-
8-person dorm
7
15. Krasnoyarsk- Irkutsk
Krasnoyarsk- Irkutsk
night train
45
night train
16. Irkutsk
Irkutsk
-
6-person dorm
7
17. Irkutsk- Olchon
Irkutsk- Olchon
Bus
11
Double room
16
18. Olchon
Olchon
-
Double room
16
19. Olchon
Olchon
-
Double room
16
20. Olchon- Irkutsk
Olchon- Irkutsk
Bus
11
6-person dorm
7
21. Irkutsk- Home
Irkutsk- Home
Flight
300

Total price.

Flights 450,00
Transportation 247,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 130,00
Total827,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Blini: the pancakes are often eaten for breakfast. You can fill them as you like, sweet or savory.

Watruschki: the dumplings are filled with fruit and are often eaten in the morning or with tea.  

Soups

Borschtsch:  this soup is a classic in Russia and is characterized above all by its red color. The ingredients include beetroot, cabbage, and beef.

Main courses

Boeuff Stroganoff: for this, the beef is fried in pieces and served in a delicious cream and mustard sauce. Depending on your taste, you can also choose potatoes or vegetables.

Soljanka: the Russian stew is a real specialty and consists of either meat or fish and is served with mushrooms and cucumbers. Solyanka is characterized by its sour taste.

Salad Olivier:  it is also called the Russian potato salad. Tastes delicious!

Pelmeni:  the dumplings are often called the national dish of the country and you can choose the filling according to your taste. It is served with a cream dip.

Caviar: Caviar is very popular in Russia and is often served with Oladji. These are small pancakes and a cream dip. But it’s worth a try!

Drinks & Snacks

Mors: this is a juice from the cranberry, which is often compared to cranberry. The ideal refreshment in summer!

Tschai: this is the Russian tea and a real favorite. The Russians like their tea very strong and it is drunk several times a day.

Russia

The exchange rate for 10 Russian rubles is about €0.18 (as of June 2022) See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of living

Food

Free time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Light handshake: especially women in Russia give themselves a light handshake, even the men. This shows respect and is a form of friendly greeting.

Punctuality: in Russia, punctuality is very important, it is best to arrive a little early, this makes a good impression.

Compliments: in Russia, a compliment is an important gesture, which you can always use towards hosts or friends.

Formalities: Keep to the law because it is very important in Russia.

Don'ts

Expect a smile: in Russia often only friends or acquaintances are given a smile. So don't be disappointed because it never goes against you personally.

Reservedness: Russians have a very direct culture and also in dealing with each other they are usually very direct and ask direct questions. Just be open here and get involved.

Prejudices: yes, Russia does not have the best reputation among many. But don't let that stop you, just get a picture of the country for yourself.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Yes

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Travel documents must be valid for six months beyond the date of departure, however, passports that are almost expired (but still valid for 3 months) can sometimes be accepted. Please also inform yourself on the current entry regulations regarding the Corona virus. Current information about this can be found at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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