Hi guys, in this post I’m going to tell you how much money you need to travel
This post was originally written in 2018, but I updated it in November 2019 with all the most recent information.
I would call myself an expert in very few fields actually, but Russia would be definitely one of these fields. In case you’re new to this blog and you haven’t read any of my posts before, welcome, my name is Liza and I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia (read my local’s guide to Saint Petersburg, Russia). I also lived in Russia until I was 22 when I moved to the UK. I still go to Russia at least 2-3 times a year and stay on top of the trends, so I can definitely share with you the cost of travelling in Russia in 2019 (I’ll be updating it for 2020 and further, don’t worry).
Did you know that now you can visit St. Petersburg for free with an e-Visa?
Many people usually ask: is Moscow expensive? Well, Moscow and Saint Petersburg are the most expensive cities in Russia (I don’t count Murmansk and other Northern cities, where groceries are extremely expensive because of their location above the Polar circle, but hardly any tourists go there). Moscow is definitely more expensive than Saint Petersburg in terms of restaurants and services, but don’t expect the difference to be that huge. However, generally, Russia is not expensive and the cost of travelling in Moscow and Saint Petersburg is lower than in major European capitals.
Read my post: If you can only visit one city, Moscow or St. Petersburg – which one to choose?
Cost of travelling in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Is Moscow expensive?
Let’s start with the hotel prices in Russia >>>
How much does it cost to stay in Moscow and Saint Petersburg? Accommodation prices in Russia
You can find all sorts of hotels and apartments for any budget in Russia. Because of recent (well, it happened a couple of years ago, but it’s still pretty recent) currency drop, you can actually afford luxury for less in Russia. Not sure where to stay in Russia? Read my guide about the best areas to stay in Saint Petersburg.
Cost of luxury hotels in Russia:
You can stay in a 5* hotel in Moscow for $200-300 per night (there are cheaper and more expensive options, of course, but that’s just an average). Impressive 5* hotels to look at in Moscow
In Saint Petersburg, you can stay in a luxury hotel for $200-350 per night during a high season. I would recommend looking at The State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel, Corinthia St. Petersburg and Belmond Grand Hotel Europe.
Affordable hotels in Russia:
If you’re interested in good affordable 3*-4* hotels in Moscow, you can get one for $90-150. Well-rated hotels in a great location within this price range
Cost of hostels & vacation rentals in Russia
Finally, the cheapest category of accommodation in Russia is very cheap. You can get a decent hostel for as low as $5 per night, however, if you’re looking for something cheap yet nice, here are some options to look at:
Moscow (price range $15-50): Hostel Kremlin Lights, Hostel Artist on Kitay-Gorod, Capsule Hotel
Is it expensive to fly to Russia? Transport prices in Russia
It’s usually not expensive to fly to Russia, however, that depends on where you are based. The cheapest airport to fly to in Russia would be Saint Petersburg if you use WizzAir flights from London. You can check the prices and availability of the flights to Russia now >>>
Moscow has many airports, however, the price for the aeroexpress (train to the city centre) is usually around $7-8 per person. A taxi (try to use Uber or Yandex Taxi) would cost you around $15-30. A cost of one ride a public bus, metro tram or trolley bus in Moscow ranges from $0.55 to $0.9.
In Saint Petersburg, the airport is close to the city, so you can actually take a public bus to the metro for $0.7 and then take the metro to your accommodation – also around $0.75 for a single ride. Some of the metro stations also accept contactless, so you can pay with your bank card. Read my guide to transport in St. Petersburg here >>>
If you’re planning to visit both Moscow and St. Petersburg and looking for the most efficient way to get from one city to another, I’ve got a guide to moving between Moscow and Saint Petersburg for you!
Food and restaurant prices in Russia
How expensive is Russia in terms of food? Well, there are all kinds of places (restaurants, cafes etc) in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and the prices can range from very low ($2 for a meal) to very high ($400 for a meal).
However, usually, you can get lunch in a very nice restaurant in Moscow for about 1500 rub ($20) and in Saint Petersburg, for about 1000 rub ($15).
Some nice restaurants also offer business lunches for about $10. If you go to some chain restaurants e.g. Teremok, you can have a menu for about $5, which is an insane price for the amount of food offered. If you’re looking for budget-friendly restaurants and eateries in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, you can go to the places with the name “Stolovaya” – these are usually very cheap and you can eat for as low as $2.
If you’re willing to splurge, you can head to White Rabbit (the best restaurant of Moscow) or the restaurants of the Ginza Project group in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Novikov restaurants are also a great choice, however, the prices are comparable to major European capitals. You would spend around $100 for dinner with alcohol.
Check my guide to where to try Russian food in Saint Petersburg here >>>
Check this post about the best desserts to try in Russia >>>
Nightlife in Russia: how much does it cost to go out in Russia?
Going out & drinking in Russia is relatively cheap as well. Of course, there are a few luxurious nightclubs in Russia, but on average, a very nice cocktail in a posh place would cost you from 400 to 1000 rub ($6-15). If you consider cheaper bars / pubs in Moscow or St Petersburg, you can get a pint of local beer for about 150 rub (2.5$) and a pint of German or Belgian beer for about $4-6. There are plenty of affordable cocktail bars with the deals of 2-4-1 where you can get yourself two cocktails for $8.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are two very affordable bar chains in St. Petersburg – Kontakt Bar and SPB bar, where you can get 0.5 of beer for less than $2 (125 rub) and a shot of vodka for even less – 100 rub or $1.44. Read my local’s guide to the best bars in Saint Petersburg >>>
Sightseeing prices in Russia
Russia is all about museums and landmarks, so I strongly recommend you to visit some. Should you need inspiration, I’ve got a guide to Saint Petersburg with all the landmarks or a 3-day itinerary to see the most important things in the city. For Moscow, I have this weekend guide, so feel free to check it out as well. Moscow also has an amazing Christmas Market (one of the best in the world) and there are plenty of things to do in Moscow in winter. Read my guide to Moscow in winter here.
Here are some prices of landmarks you should probably be aware of:
Prices of museums in Moscow:
- Tretyakov Gallery 500 rub ($8)
- Kremlin – the entrance to the Red Square if free, of course,
however, there are a couple of museums within Kremlin that charge 500-700 rub ($8-11)
- Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts – 400
rubSaint Basil’s Cathedral – 500 rub.
Free museums & landmarks in Moscow: Mausoleum, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Prices for some museums and landmarks in St. Petersburg:
- Hermitage Museum – 400 rub (main building) & 700 rub (main museum + other branches). For $24 you can buy a two-day ticket for all the branches of Hermitage
- The Colonnades of
the Isaac’sCathedral + the cathedral museum – 400 rub
- The Church of the Spilled Blood – 250 rub
- Peterhof park with fountains & the palace – 1000 rub (it’s better to buy tickets online – you’ll skip a massive queue)
- The Catherine Palace + park (only charged in summer for the park) – 700 + 150 rub
Free museums in St Petersburg: Kazan Cathedral, The Hermitage (free of charge only on the 1st Thursday of the Month) & always for students, Please note that if you have a valid student ID, you can go to some museums free of change (e.g. Hermitage) or get a substantial discount. Read my post about the best free things to do in St. Petersburg >>>
If you want to see ballet in Russia, I’ve got a guide to watching a ballet in St. Petersburg for you!
Check this post about the best tours to take in St. Petersburg >>>
Don’t forget to monitor the exchange rate, as the Russian ruble is quite volatile: the exchange rate used for this post is 65 rub for $1.
I hope you found this post about the prices in Russia and now you the answer to the question “Is Moscow expensive?” Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below or DM me on Instagram @lizatripsget.