Novodevichy Convent & frozen lake. by Syuqor Aizzat via Flickr Creative Commons

The vast country and long distance from the sea in most regions gives Russia a dominant humid continental climate in most areas, except for the extreme southeast and the wide expanse of tundra. The southern mountains block warm air from the Indian Ocean, and the wide plains in the northern and western regions are open to influences from the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The climate of the Northern European region are sub-Arctic, with northern Siberian winters reaching a bone-chilling -90°F and lower, and the Russian Arctic Islands experiencing a polar climate.

The Black Sea coastal areas see mild, wet winters, and in much of Siberia, winters are dry. Across the country rain usually falls as snow, although the Caspian Sea coast and the Lower Volga region are semi-arid with little rain. Much of Russia only has two seasons (summer and winter), with the shoulder seasons a very brief period between freezing temperatures and searing heat. Large ranges in temperature are common, with January typically the coldest and July the hottest month.

In July and August, Moscow weather hovers around 73°F, with occasional spikes to 86°F, and winter daytime temperatures stay around freezing, with nighttime drops to 14°F. Snow begins to fall in November, clearing by mid-March. Between November and February, humidity is also high. St Petersburg experiences a short, warm, humid summer and long, cold winter, with the Baltic Sea influencing the weather. In July, the mercury sits around 72°F, with short heatwaves pushing it to 90°F or more. The average in winter is 41°F, with occasional falls to -20°F.

Best Time to Visit Russia

Summer is the best time to come to Russia, as the shoulder seasons are too short to make an impact weatherwise and air conditioning is the norm in the better hotels and large stores. Winter can also be a magical season, provided you have the right clothing and footwear. Away from the festival time at Christmas and New Year, it’s possible to find bargains in flights and accommodation in the colder months.

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