While March heralds the beginning of spring in Russia, the weather is mostly quite wintry. Temperatures get warmer as the month progresses, as do hours of daylight. Average highs in Moscow and St. Petersburg hover around 33° F (1° C), and are not much different even in other places that are dramatically colder between December and February (such as Irkutsk, Ulan Ude, and Vladivostok). But, with increasing temperatures comes the melting of snow, which means slush, particularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Instead of snow, you're more likely to experience cold rain.
In short, March is not the best time of year to visit anywhere in Russia, but if you must come during this month, you can at least look forward to days that are slightly warmer and brighter than in the depths of mid-winter.
Crowds & Costs
March is definitely the off-season in Russia, as it doesn't have the festive wintry charm of December and January, or the warmth of later spring. Flights to Russia and accommodation costs while you're there will be lower than at most other times of year.
Where to Go
Like during earlier in winter, if traveling to Russia in March we recommend sticking to the major cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow. There are plenty of excellent indoor attractions in these cities to keep you occupied for days, so you won't need to worry about the cold, damp, and slush outside.
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What to Do
Moscow and St. Petersburg have some of the greatest art galleries and museums in Europe, including the Hermitage, the Kremlin, the Tretyakov, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, and much more. While getting around these cities you can also enjoy the amazing public art in the metro, constructed during communist times. You can also enjoy excellent classical music and dance in these cities, such as at the world-famous Bolshoi Theatre.
If you do want to venture elsewhere, the far northwestern city of Murmansk holds a fun festival in late March that celebrates indigenous Sami culture and makes the most of the still-wintry conditions (see below).
Events in March
International Women's Day, March 8th. Women are often showed with gifts and attention by the men in their lives.
Festival of the North, Murmansk, late March. Expect reindeer sled and snowmobile races, as well as a celebration of Sami culture, at this ten-day festival.
Golden Mask Festival, Moscow. An arts and culture festival featuring drama, opera, and dance performances.
Note that Easter in Russia is celebrated according to the Orthodox calendar, so while the Christian festival usually occurs in March or April in Western countries, it falls in April or May in Russia.
Traveling to Russia in March? Check out these great itineraries
Moscow and St. Petersburg Highlights - 6 Days. The winter 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.