Russia generally experiences a short spring, which is really just a transition between the two main seasons, winter and summer. Temperatures across Russia in April are cold to mild, with average temperatures well above freezing point but still chilly. Of course, later in the month tends to see better weather than earlier, as spring kicks in.
Average highs in Moscow and St. Petersburg are a mild 48° F (9° C), so you'll only need a regular coat and not winter extremes. Average highs are similar, give or take a couple of degrees, in other destinations, such as Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal and Ulan Ude. The further north you go, the colder the temperatures generally are.
A major disadvantage of April is that the winter snow is melting, creating unpleasant slush in the towns and cities. But, an upside of this is that rivers, lakes, and coastal areas are accessible again and no longer frozen. Fountains and gardens in the towns and cities also open again.
Another highlight of April is that spring flowers bloom, making natural areas and the parks and gardens of the cities appealing again after the frozen winter.
Crowds & Costs
Visitor numbers start to pick up again after the winter. Easter is a major drawcard, and either falls in April or May, according to the Russian Orthodox calendar. St. Petersburg and Moscow see a few more visitors around this time, especially in Moscow where there's a major Easter festival (see more below). Book transport and accommodation in advance if traveling to these cities in April. Elsewhere, it's still generally the off-season.
Where to Go
The conditions in the cities of western Russia are not great, with slushy melting snow dominating the streets. But, as there's so much to do inside in cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow (the Hermitage, the Kremlin, the Tretyakov, and more), you might not mind.
If you don't mind winter conditions but didn't want to visit Russia in the fierce winter, Siberia and northern Russia in April isn't such a bad idea. Winter hangs around a bit longer there, but daylight hours are longer than in mid-winter, and temperatures not as bitingly cold as in winter.
Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway in April can also be good fun. While summer is a more popular time to undertake this epic rail journey, in April you can experience enormous Lake Baikal while it's still semi-frozen. However, whether taking the Trans-Siberian in April is right for you depends on what you want to see and do, and how often you want to get off en route. Many parts of Siberia will still be pretty cold in April, which may or may not be an issue for you.
What to Do
While visiting Russia in winter means avoiding being outside as much as possible, the weather in April is more suited to getting outdoors. This doesn't mean its great hiking weather in most places, just that you can comfortably tour the gardens, parks, and grounds in the cities without putting your health at risk.
Easter is a big deal in Russia, and it often falls in April. As well as church services and markets selling colorful painted Easter eggs, in Moscow you can check out the Easter Arts Festival (see below).
Events in April
Easter Arts Festival, Moscow. An arts and culture festival featuring drama, opera, and dance performances that runs from late March to early April.
Easter. Russian Orthodox Easter falls in April or May. Locals attend midnight church services and exchange painted eggs.
Traveling to Russia in April? Check out these great itineraries
Moscow and St. Petersburg Highlights - 6 Days. The spring is an ideal time to check out the highlights of Moscow and St. Petersburg on a short but action-packed tour.
Cultural Immersion in Moscow - 8 Days. Take a deep dive into Russian culture on this fun tour that includes a Russian cooking class, a Russian language class, and other activities that you won't find on every tourist itinerary.
History and Art in Russia - 9 Days. Lovers of art and history are in for a treat in Russia, as there's plenty of each. This tour focuses on the historic, artistic, and architectural highlights of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as Tolstoy's country home in Tula.