November is the proper start of Russia's long, cold winter. Temperatures are uniformly cold, but not quite as bitter as they are in December and January, the coldest months. Moscow and St. Petersburg experience average November temperatures of around 39° F (1° C), and these temperatures are similar throughout the Golden Ring of western Russia. Other popular destinations in eastern Russia and Siberia are several degrees colder. It will snow in Russia in November, and that snow starts to stick around on the ground.
Another factor to consider when traveling to Russia anytime in the winter is the short days. Although the shortest day of the year falls in late December, daylight hours decrease through November. The further north you go, the shorter the days. In Moscow, the sun rises after 9 am and sets around 5 pm. However, daylight and sunlight are different things. Russian winters tend to be quite bright when it's not snowing, and when there's daylight, but not every day. Don't be surprised if you experience some days in Russia in November without much sunlight at all.
Crowds & Costs
Winter is the off-season in Russia, with the exception of the short time around New Year and Orthodox Christmas (in early January). So, you probably won't see too many other tourists in Russia in November. You may be able to find some good hotel deals in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Be aware that many tourist attractions operate on winter hours in November, meaning they usually open a bit later and close a bit earlier than at other times of year.
Where to Go
We recommend sticking to Moscow and/or St. Petersburg during winter travel to Russia. There's so much to do in these cities though that this won't feel like a limitation. There are many indoor galleries and museums, and getting around is easy on the metro. Traveling around the country too much in winter means you risk being delayed by snow or storms. Many smaller towns don't have as many indoor attractions to keep you occupied for very long.
What to Do
Moscow and St. Petersburg have some of the finest art and culture in Europe, at places such as the Hermitage, the Kremlin, the Tretyakov, and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. You can also see fine opera, ballet, and theater theaters like the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky.
While getting around Moscow and St. Petersburg you can also enjoy the spectacle of the Soviet-era metro systems, elaborately decorated with some of the finest public art in the world.
Ice skating is a popular winter pastime in Russia, traditionally done on frozen rivers and lakes. There are also special seasonal rinks set up for ice skating, so this is a great way to warm up and get outside.
Events in November
Day of Reconciliation and Accord (Revolution Day), 7th November. Marks the revolution in 1917.
Traveling to Russia in November? Check out these great itineraries
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.
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.