July is mid-summer in Russia, and brings hot weather, festivals and concerts, and very long days. It's also peak travel season, with Russian schools out for summer and lots of domestic vacationers. Here are some important things to know about traveling to Russia in July.

Weather

July is the hottest month across Russia and you can expect warm-to-hot temperatures in most places. Average July temperatures are between 71° F (22° C) and 77° F (25° C), although much hotter temperatures are not unusual.

Summer is the wettest season of the year in Russia, so you should also expect some rain if traveling in Russia in July.

The further north you go, the longer the days are in Russia in July. Daylight hours peak in late June, when St. Petersburg, for example, experiences around 22 hours of daylight, with the sun setting after midnight and rising again around 2am. Daylight hours begin to wane again in July, but are still very long. This can make sightseeing and going out at night great fun, but can also be a bit exhausting, especially if you have trouble sleeping when it's light out. Don't underestimate the potential effects of the long daylight hours on your energy levels and sleep quality.

Crowds & Costs

July is peak season in much of Russia. St. Petersburg in particular is busy in June and July thanks to the White Nights festival, which sees accommodation prices soar.

July is also a popular month to take the Trans-Siberian Railway, and to visit Lake Baikal, so book transport and accommodation in advance so you don't miss out.

Russian schools are mostly out between late June and early September, so you can expect to see wealthier Russian families at popular tourist destinations, and greater crowds at attractions in the cities popular with kids. The beach resort towns of southern Russia, particularly Sochi, see an influx of Russian visitors in July.

Russia is a huge country, so beyond a handful of popular destinations, you won't struggle to get away from the crowds. The mountains and plains are never crowded with tourists, even if they get more visitors in July. 

Where to Go

St. Petersburg is a great place to be in June and July (but also expensive and busy.) The White Nights festival is a must-see for classical music and dance lovers. Book accommodation as well as concert and event tickets in advance.

Taking a Golden Ring tour of western Russia is a great way to get an overview of European Russian culture, history, and architecture. To see classic onion-domed churches and rural architecture, head to charming cities like Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Suzdal, Sergiev Posad, and Pereslavl-Zalessky. The Golden Ring is easily accessible from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and more or fewer places can be added to the itinerary, to suit your time and interests.

Outdoor lovers should check out the Ural Mountains, accessible from Yekaterinburg. The ancient mountain chain divides European and Asian Russia, and the area is covered in forests, lakes, caves, and other natural attractions. The mountains are also a skiing destination in the winter.

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What to Do

Siberia is most accessible in the summer, so the Trans-Siberian Railway journey is popular, or you can fly to Irkutsk to save time. Temperatures are hot and the landscape is green and alive. Lake Baikal is one of Siberia's most popular attractions. You won't see it with its dramatic thick ice in July, but you will be able to access Olkhon Island, the third-largest lake island in the world.

There are lots of cultural festivals in Russia throughout the summer. As well as those listed below, many Russian cities celebrate their 'birthdays' in the summer, so you're likely to find an unexpected party and cultural performances in all sorts of places.

If you want some beach time, head to the Black Sea Coast (Sochi) or the Gulf of Finland, accessible from St. Petersburg. Sochi is very built up and you can expect more of a pumping nightlife scene than chilled out time on the beach, but the Gulf of Finland coast is quite the opposite.

Events in July

White Nights (St. Petersburg). Throughout June and July, various shows are put on at the Mariinsky Theatre and other venues.

Mir Sibiri, Shushenskoe (Siberia). A folk, traditional, and world music festival.

Solovetsky Islands Herring Festival. Bare-handed fishing competitions (among other things!) are held during this festival on the islands in the White Sea.

Traveling to Russia in July? Check out these great itineraries

Trans-Siberian Rail Tour: Moscow to Beijing - 16 Days. A classic Russian journey, the Trans-Siberian is best done in summer, when the landscape is vibrant and temperatures comfortable.

Highlights of Russia's Capital Cities - 8 Days. Discover the distinct cultural and artistic characters of European Russia's two largest and most vibrant cities.

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.

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