Onion Domes, Imperial Palaces and an Enduring Culture

Western Russia

Western Russia’s domed Orthodox churches, world-renowned museums, high culture and down-to-earth street life make up a whole that is at once well-bred and wild, huge and intimate, formal and free-wheeling. It is a fascinating hotbed of political intrigue and a fertile field of artists, poets, entrepreneurs, musicians, writers, scientists and humanitarians.  Fall in love with gorgeous, expansive, soulful Russia.

Why Travel with MIR to Western Russia
  • Over 25 years of Western Russia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Princeton and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Russia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • MIR affiliate offices in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk and Ulan Ude
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
Signature Experiences

We regularly garner raves from our travelers for the inspired opportunities we provide to help them get to know the local people, distinctive art, architecture and accomplishments of the age-old country of Russia.  Below is just a sampling of the Russia experiences MIR has designed to take our clients far from the familiar.

  • Toast the New Year at a private St. Petersburg New Year’s Party
    Toast the New Year and new-found friends at a private St. Petersburg New Year’s Party with Russian hosts....
    Read More

    Toast the New Year at a private St. Petersburg New Year’s Party

    Western Russia

    St. Petersburg, Russia

    Toast the New Year and new-found friends at a private St. Petersburg New Year’s Party with Russian hosts.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

    X
  • Train like a real cosmonaut at Star City
    Take the unique opportunity to train like a real cosmonaut by signing up for one of the optional training activities: a Zero-Gravity Flight or Space Walk Training in the Orlan Space Suit Lab at Star City....
    Read More

    Train like a real cosmonaut at Star City

    Western Russia

    Star City, Russia

    Take the unique opportunity to train like a real cosmonaut by signing up for one of the optional training activities:  a Zero-Gravity Flight or Space Walk Training in the Orlan Space Suit Lab at Star City.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

    X
  • Watch a matrioshka doll take shape
    Tour a Sergiev Posad workshop where nesting matrioshka dolls are painted by hand....
    Read More

    Watch a matrioshka doll take shape

    Western Russia

    Sergiev Posad, Russia

    Tour a Sergiev Posad workshop where nesting matrioshka dolls are painted by hand.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

    X
  • Meet a famous St. Petersburg chef
    Meet a famous St. Petersburg chef and take a class with him, preparing (and consuming) traditional Russian specialties....
    Read More

    Meet a famous St. Petersburg chef

    Western Russia

    St. Petersburg, Russia

    Meet a famous St. Petersburg chef and take a class with him, preparing (and consuming) traditional Russian specialties.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

    X
Ways to Travel to Western Russia with MIR

MIR was founded out of love for Russia. Our name means “peace” and “world” in Russian. No other American tour operator has the knowledge, expertise or connections that we’ve amassed exploring this fascinating country from top to bottom.  We design every one of our Russia trips to help you discover for yourself why this is our favorite country.

Take a look at your options, from small group escorted tours to independent trips, from luxury rail journeys to custom and private travel:

Small Group Tours
A Chronicle of Russian Cuisine & Culture

A Chronicle of Russian Cuisine & Culture

Innovation and Imagination in Russia’s Culinary Scene

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

10 Days / Departures in August 2014

Small Group land tour from $5,995

See Trip

A Chronicle of Russian Cuisine & Culture

A Chronicle of Russian Cuisine & Culture

Innovation and Imagination in Russia’s Culinary Scene

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

10 Days / Departures in July 2015

Small Group land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

Classic Western Russia:  Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg

Classic Western Russia: Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg

An Insider’s View of Russia’s Great Cities

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

10 Days / Departures in August, September 2014

Small Group land tour from $4,695

See Trip

Classic Western Russia:  Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg

Classic Western Russia: Moscow, Novgorod & St. Petersburg

An Insider’s View of Russia’s Great Cities

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

10 Days / Departures in May, July, August, September 2015

Small Group land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

Russia’s Southern Steppe:  Land of Cossacks, Kalmyks & Caviar

Russia’s Southern Steppe: Land of Cossacks, Kalmyks & Caviar

Overland from the Caspian to the Kuban

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

14 Days / Departures in August 2014

Small Group land tour from $6,295

See Trip

Russia’s Southern Steppe:  Land of Cossacks, Kalmyks & Caviar

Russia’s Southern Steppe: Land of Cossacks, Kalmyks & Caviar

Overland from the Caspian to the Kuban

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

14 Days / Departures in August 2015

Small Group land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

Mongolia to Moscow:  A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure

Landscapes and Cultures of Mongolia, Siberia and Western Russia

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in September 2014

Small Group land tour from $6,895

See Trip

Mongolia to Moscow:  A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure

Landscapes and Cultures of Mongolia, Siberia and Western Russia

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in July, September 2015

Small Group land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages

Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages

Moscow, the Golden Ring and St. Petersburg

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

11 Days / Departures in September 2014

Small Group land tour from $5,995

See Trip

Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages

Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages

Moscow, the Golden Ring and St. Petersburg

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

11 Days / Departures in May, July, September 2015

Small Group land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

Russian Winter Wonder Land

Russian Winter Wonder Land

New Year’s in St. Petersburg with Moscow and Suzdal

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

10 Days / Departures in December 2014

Small Group land tour from $5,695

See Trip

Russian Winter Wonder Land

Russian Winter Wonder Land

New Year’s in St. Petersburg with Moscow and Suzdal

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

10 Days / Departures in December 2015

Small Group land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

Rail Journeys by Private Train
The Trans-Siberian Express Between Moscow & Beijing: Eastbound

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Moscow & Beijing: Eastbound

From Russia to China Aboard the Tsar's Gold

Travels to: China, Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

16 Days / Departures in July, August 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,195

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Moscow & Beijing: Eastbound

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Moscow & Beijing: Eastbound

From Russia to China Aboard the Tsar's Gold

Travels to: China, Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

16 Days / Departures in May, June, July 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound

Moscow to Vladivostok Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in July, August 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,595

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound

Moscow to Vladivostok Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in May 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $15,895

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Eastbound

Moscow to Vladivostok Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in June, July, August 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,995

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Baikal Express Route

The Trans-Siberian Baikal Express Route

Moscow to Lake Baikal Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

9 Days / Departures in July, August 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $11,395

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Baikal Express Route

The Trans-Siberian Baikal Express Route

Moscow to Lake Baikal Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

9 Days / Departures in May 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $10,595

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Baikal Express Route

The Trans-Siberian Baikal Express Route

Moscow to Lake Baikal Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

9 Days / Departures in June, July, August 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $11,695

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route

The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route

Moscow to UlaanBaatar Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

11 Days / Departures in July, August 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $12,695

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route

The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route

Moscow to UlaanBaatar Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

11 Days / Departures in May 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $11,895

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route

The Trans-Siberian UlaanBaatar Express Route

Moscow to UlaanBaatar Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

11 Days / Departures in June, July, August 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $12,995

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Beijing & Moscow: Westbound

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Beijing & Moscow: Westbound

From China to Russia Aboard the Tsar's Gold

Travels to: China, Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in August, September 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $9,195

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Beijing & Moscow: Westbound

The Trans-Siberian Express Between Beijing & Moscow: Westbound

From China to Russia Aboard the Tsar's Gold

Travels to: China, Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in May, June, July, August, September 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound

Vladivostok to Moscow Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in August, September 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,595

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound

Vladivostok to Moscow Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in May 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $15,895

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound

The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound

Vladivostok to Moscow Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in June, August, September 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,995

See Trip

The Silk Route by Private Train: Eastbound

The Silk Route by Private Train: Eastbound

Moscow to Beijing via Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

21 Days / Departures in September 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $23,995

See Trip

The Silk Route by Private Train: Eastbound

The Silk Route by Private Train: Eastbound

Moscow to Beijing via Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

21 Days / Departures in September 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $24,595

See Trip

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Eastbound

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Eastbound

Moscow to Almaty Across Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

13 Days / Departures in September 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,595

See Trip

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Eastbound

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Eastbound

Moscow to Almaty Across Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

13 Days / Departures in September 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour - call for pricing

See Trip

The Silk Route by Private Train: Westbound

The Silk Route by Private Train: Westbound

Beijing to Moscow via Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

21 Days / Departures in September 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $23,995

See Trip

The Silk Route by Private Train: Westbound

The Silk Route by Private Train: Westbound

Beijing to Moscow via Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

21 Days / Departures in September 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $24,595

See Trip

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Westbound

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Westbound

Almaty to Moscow Across Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

13 Days / Departures in October 2014

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,595

See Trip

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Westbound

The Silk Route ‘Stans by Private Train: Westbound

Almaty to Moscow Across Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Western Russia

13 Days / Departures in October 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $16,995

See Trip

Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route: Eastbound

Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route: Eastbound

Moscow to Vladivostok in Winter Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in February 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $15,895

See Trip

Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route: Westbound

Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route: Westbound

Vladivostok to Moscow in Winter Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

15 Days / Departures in March 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $15,895

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival: Eastbound

The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival: Eastbound

From Moscow to UlaanBaatar, featuring the Naadam Festival Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

13 Days / Departures in July 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $15,895

See Trip

The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival: Westbound

The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival: Westbound

UlaanBaatar to Moscow Aboard the Golden Eagle

Travels to: Mongolia, Russia, Siberia and the Russian Far East, Trans-Siberian Railway, Western Russia

13 Days / Departures in July 2015

Rail Journey by Private train land tour from $15,895

See Trip

Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries across the breadth and depth of Russia for over 25 years; a majority of our guests travel on custom itineraries.

For ideas, peruse one of our Regional Travel Planners, a roundup of the must-sees from our savvy staff.

Take a look at our suggested Private Journeys, Essential Russia and Essential St. Petersburg, or read more about how to design your own trip. Also, consider this: You can customize our Classic Western Russia: Moscow, Novgorod, St. Petersburg small group tour or other Western Russia tour to match your preferred dates of travel.

Design Your Own Custom Trip

Traveling privately on a custom program means flexibility:

  • You set the dates, the focus and the level of accommodations.
  • You are met on arrival and seen off at the end of your trip.
  • Your in-country transportation is pre-arranged hassle-free.
  • Your own expert local guides ensure that you get the most out of your visit.
  • And the best part? You travel at your own pace on an itinerary exclusive to you.

Check out just a handful of our Western Russia signature experiences below and then get in touch with a MIR Private Journey Specialist to craft an itinerary that suits your travel goals, budget and style.  Or get started planning now.

 

Suggested Itineraries for Private Travel

Whether you’re looking for a compact trip with all the highlights or something a little roomier with some of the extras, MIR offers itineraries that are available on a private departure basis with your choice of dates. They can also serve as inspiration for your own custom itinerary.

Our itinerary, your dates – great for solo travelers, couples or small groups.

Essential St. Petersburg

Essential St. Petersburg

Imperial Splendors of the Czars

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

Departures in July, August, September, October, November, December 2014

This itinerary available as a private journey

See Trip
Essential St. Petersburg

Essential St. Petersburg

Imperial Splendors of the Czars

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

Departures in January, March, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2015

This itinerary available as a private journey

See Trip
Essential Russia

Essential Russia

Survey of Moscow and St. Petersburg

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

Departures in July, August, September, October, November, December 2014

This itinerary available as a private journey

See Trip
Essential Russia

Essential Russia

Survey of Moscow and St. Petersburg

Travels to: Russia, Western Russia

Departures in January, March, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2015

This itinerary available as a private journey

See Trip

Weather
Our Favorite Places in Western Russia
Western Russia

Moscow

Russia’s capital city has become a world-class destination in recent years, with fine new hotels, tasteful renovations and greatly improved infrastructure. The Kremlin’s Armory Museum filled with imperial treasures, the famed Tretyakov Gallery of Russian art and the recently re-opened Bolshoi Theater show off the city’s polished aura, and MIR can also guide travelers to less well-known places like Stalin’s secret underground bunker and the Russian cosmonauts' Star City.

View trips that travel here
Western Russia

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg’s miles of canals, laced together with graceful bridges set amidst pastel 18th century buildings, have earned it the name, "Venice of the North."  Conceived by Peter the Great and designed by his favorite European architects, St. Petersburg was meant to be Peter’s link to the western world. A convergence of art and soul, the city survived the calamitous 20th century with its reputation as a storehouse of Russian culture intact. Its lavish pre-revolutionary palaces and churches have been renovated with flare and reverence.

View trips that travel here
Western Russia

Solovetsky Island

Visit a 14th century monastery turned gulag, turned monastery again, part of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago in the windswept, isolated Russian north. Experience a fascinating slice of Russian history in the remote and austere landscapes near the Arctic Circle.

View trips that travel here

Journeys that travel to Solovetsky Island

Contact a MIR Private Journeys Specialist at privatejourneys@mircorp.com or 800-424-7289 to plan a custom & private trip to Solovetsky Island.

X

Western Russia

Golden Ring

The Golden Ring towns outside of Moscow are some of Russia’s oldest and loveliest settlements, hosting centuries-old active monasteries, craft collectives and arguably the most beautiful churches in Russia, their walls clad in early frescoes. Cultural travelers and history buffs alike are drawn to this area to learn where Russian art, architecture and politics began.

View trips that travel here
Western Russia

Southern Russian Steppe

The southern Russian steppe is an unfamiliar region spiced with a spirited array of independent cultures, including freedom-loving Cossacks and descendants of the Golden Horde. Noteworthy highlights between the Caspian and Black Seas include Volgograd’s massive memorial to its World War II legacy; historic Astrakhan on the Volga River Delta, home to Russia’s caviar industry; Buddhist Elista, land of the formerly nomadic Kalmyk people (and home of Chess City); and the balmy Black Sea resort of Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

View trips that travel here

Journeys that travel to Southern Russian Steppe

X

Western Russia

Karelia, Northwest Russia

Karelia – the land north and east of St. Petersburg up to the White Sea and along the Finnish border – has been fought over for several thousand years. Originally settled by Finno-Ugric people who left petroglyphs and ancient rock labyrinths on the beaches, the northern lake-filled land was coveted by the Slavs for its furs and ivory, its copper and iron. Many people here still speak a Finnish language, and some are part of an indigenous group called the Veps, a forest people living between lakes Ladoga and Onega. The Veps speak an ancient proto-Finnish language, and resemble Finns with a little bit of Mongolian ancestry.

View trips that travel here

Journeys that travel to Karelia, Northwest Russia

Contact a MIR Private Journeys Specialist at privatejourneys@mircorp.com or 800-424-7289 to plan a custom & private trip to Karelia.

X

Western Russia

Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island in Lake Onega is the location of an open-air museum stocked with old wooden churches and houses from the Karelia section of northwest Russia. The Cathedral of the Transfiguration, built in 1714 completely without the use of nails, has 22 aspen-shingled cupolas sprouting from its roof. The oldest wooden church still surviving in Russia, the 14th century Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus, is one of the authentic buildings here, as are Karelian peasants' and merchants' houses.

View trips that travel here

Journeys that travel to Kizhi Island

Contact a MIR Private Journeys Specialist at privatejourneys@mircorp.com or 800-424-7289 to plan a custom & private trip to Kizhi Island.

X

When to Travel to Western Russia

New Year’s in St. Petersburg

The Czar's Ball at Catherine's PalaceNobody loves New Year’s Eve like the Russians do. You can choose to spend New Year’s making merry in the home of new Russian friends, or opt for the royal treatment and don tux or gown for the glittering Czar’s Ball at Catherine’s Palace. Either way, it’s the most festive holiday of the year, replete with parties, presents and champagne toasts.

Winter – December-January-February

In the deep winter, with snow on the ground, you can experience fresh outdoor activities from ice-fishing and horse-drawn sleigh rides to ice-skating on Red Square.

White Nights

St. Petersburg is about the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. This far north, during the long nights of summer the sky never gets completely dark, but retains the glow of the sunset until the sunrise starts the process all over again. It is a mysteriously beautiful phenomenon that Russians call the White Nights of summer. Since a northern winter is correspondingly dark, people who live here are apt to stay up late and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Mid-June to early July is the peak season and the museums are congested with the traffic of cruise ship travelers. In general, hotel availability is stretched and prices are at their highest during this time period.

August

Russians and Europeans go on holiday in August and this can be a great time to visit. The European business-people are not traveling as much as at other times, so better hotel deals are available in the big cities. Moscow and St. Petersburg’s famous ballet companies are on break as well, so don’t expect to see the Bolshoi or Mariinsky companies perform (note that these top theaters are not scheduled from mid-July through the end of September). Regardless, other quality theaters are still open in summer and usually stage a few classic ballets.