4-Day Russia Itinerary With Cost Breakdown | From My Turkey-Russia Solo Trip
By DAN FORTEZA
Russia, the largest country in the world, occupies one-tenth of all the land on earth. Thus for many travelers, it’s often difficult to decide where to start and where to go for such huge countries like Russia. But no worries, to help you with your Russia itinerary, I’ll be sharing the list of places I’ve visited during my 4-day stay in Russia. I will also include the breakdown of cost during my trip for your reference.
Although I have only visited Moscow and St. Petersburg, starting off your journey in either of these two megacities will for sure bring the best of Russia in you!
NOTE: I stayed for 3 days in Turkey before flying to Russia. If you want to know the places I’ve visited in Turkey, here is my 3-day my itinerary in Turkey with cost breakdown.
Here are my route details with costs for this Russia itinerary:
- Manila (MNL) to Dubai (DXB) via Cebu Pacific – 6,499 PHP
- Dubai (DXB) to Istanbul (SAW) via Pegasus – 8,904 PHP
- Istanbul (SAW) to Moscow (DME) via Pegasus – 6,072 PHP
- Moscow to St. Petersburg via Russian Rail – 3,530 PHP (68 USD)
- St Petersburg (LED) to Moscow (SVO) via Aeroflot – 4,084 PHP
- Moscow (SVO) to Dubai (DXB) via Aeroflot – 10,914 PHP
- Dubai (DXB) to Manila (MNL) via Cebu Pacific – 2,160 PHP
NOTE: For Philippine Passport holders who will go through flight transfer at Dubai International airport (DXB), you DO NOT need any sort of UAE visa as long as you stay within the airside area of the airport. Even if your next flight is on another terminal, you can transfer with ease using DXB’s terminal-to-terminal transport buses.
It was a 3-hour flight from Istanbul to Moscow. I arrived at Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) at around 3:30 PM. Russia was the 16th country I’ve visited – not that I’m counting!
The first thing I looked for at the airport was an ATM to withdraw some Ruble cash and then I bought a sim card for internet connection. See Day 1 expenses below to see sim card cost.
TIP: Some backpackers do not appreciate buying a sim card. But I always recommend buying one even if you’re just staying for a few days. Googling every thing is a life saver!
MY 4D/3N RUSSIA ITINERARY with COST BREAKDOWN
DAY 1 Photo Gallery
DAY 1 RUSSIA ITINERARY:
- Transport from Airport to Hostel. I took the Aerotrain to get to downtown Moscow and it could take up to 2 hours from DME airport. I believe that was the most convenient way of transport for backpackers new to Moscow. The arrival station is Paveletskiy Railway Sation. Then I took the Metro subway from Pavelestskiy station to Avtozavodskaya station where my hostel is located.
- Hostel name: Hostels Rus – Avtozavodskaya, now Zen Hostel (click here to book)
- Hostel room type: Bunk Bed in Mixed Dormitory Room
- Hostel rate: Refer to Day 1 expenses below.
TIP: When booking your hotel/hostel, look it up on Google Maps first and ensure that it is not too far from a subway/train station.
- Tour around Red Square. The Red Square, the main central square or plaza in Moscow is located in the heart of Moscow and is surrounded by all the major streets and highways.
I was tired but definitely ready to see and explore Moscow. On that day, I got a chance to meet a couchsurfer named Dimitry living in Moscow. We took the metro subway from Avtozavodskaya station to Teatral’naya station to get to the Red Square.
TIP: Buy your own three-day unlimited metro pass to get you anywhere around Moscow for 3 days! I’m telling you, it’s absolutely worth it!
We arrived at Red Square at around 6:00 PM and it was crowded! Here are some notable places we visited at the Red Square:
- The Iberian Gate
- The State History Museum
- St. Basil Cathedral.
- Kazan Cathedral
- Lenin Mausoleum
- The Kremlin
- Get a good view of Moscow from the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge. We took a stroll along some Moscow streets to reach this bridge. It is a concrete arch bridge that spans the Moskva River in Moscow immediately east of the Moscow Kremlin.
NOTE: It was summer when I visited Moscow and thus the length of day time is way longer than the night. The sun rises as early as 4:00 AM while sets at 9:00 PM.
Hostel Photo Gallery
DAY 1 EXPENSES:
- Sim card (MegaFon)- 1,000 RUB
- Aero Express train from DME Airport to Paveliskaya Railway station – 500 RUB
- Metro Subway from Paveliskaya station to Avtozavodskaya station – 55 RUB
- Food (slow-cooked chicken with sauce) at Teremok – 220 RUB
- 3-day unlimited metro subway pass – 415 RUB
- Food (Pancake, soup, tea) at Teremok – 190 RUB
TIP: Bring yourself some home biscuits (I brought some Oreo biscuits with me back from the Philippines) prior to flying to Russia. This should fill your hunger while doing long walks and of course SAVE you some bucks.
DAY 1 TOTAL: 2380 RUB = 38 USD = 1970 PHP
DAY 2 Photo Gallery
DAY 2 RUSSIA ITINERARY:
- Return to Red Square. On my second day in Moscow, I went back to the Red Square at around 6:00 AM! And yes, just what I was expecting – no crowd at all! Perfect to take more good photos.
- Visit the fabulous GUM. I met another Russian friend in Red Square. His name is Valeriy and he took me to GUM just a short walk from the Red Square. Glavny Universalny Magazin or just GUM is a famous shopping center. The shopping center is well known for its exclusive stores that carry well-known western brand names.
- Climb up to Sparrow Hills. Sparrow Hills is one of the highest points in Moscow and offers a panoramic view of the city! I even took a selfie with the 2018 FIFA stadium from this hill. To get here, we took a 25-minute walk from the nearest metro – Vorobyovy gory station.
- Appreciate the beauty of Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (VDNKh). Valeriy and I next headed to VDNKh – a nice amusement park in Moscow. To get here, we took the subway and get off at VDNKh station. Valeriy and I parted ways at VDNkh.
- Visit Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve . The Church of the Ascension located at Kolomenskoye is one particle UNESCO heritage site I’d like to visit. I met another two Russians (I knew one of them named Alex through Couchsurfing) on my way to Kolomenskoe and they were kind enough to show me around.
- Visit Tsaritsyno Palace & Museum-Reserve. We then headed to Tsaritsyno. It is a palace museum and park reserve filled with lush green spaces. Initially built to showcase the grandeur of the Russian Empire, Tsaritsyno offers an idyllic getaway without leaving the city. Located in southern Moscow, it is just a short walk from Tsaritsyno metro station.
- See the Ruined Tower. Next, we walked by a Ruined Tower of Tsaritsyno, its observation deck offers scenic panoramic views of the park. The staircase leading to the site was called devil’s hill: for it was easy to climb, but it is not easy to go down.
DAY 2 EXPENSES:
- Ice cream – 100 RUB
- Food (Big mac, fries, coke) at McDonald’s – 261 RUB
- Food (Chicken with rice) at Chinese Restaurant – 330 RUB
DAY 2 TOTAL: 691 RUB = 11 USD = 572 PHP
DAY 3 Photo Gallery
DAY 3 RUSSIA ITINERARY:
- Get a good morning rest. I needed this after those seemingly endless days of strolling around Moscow. And I tell you it’s also fun to stay at hostel as you’ll meet some other tourist with different cultural backgrounds and with incredible stories to tell!
- Get a good view of the Skyscrapers in Moscow. In the afternoon, I went looking for a good panoramic view of those huge buildings in Moscow’s business district. Finally, I found a good spot at Prichal Kutuzovkiy (just beside Moskva river). To get there, I took the subway and get off at Stantsiya “Kutuzovo” Mtsk station.
- Take a night train to St. Petersburg. I packed my things up and headed to Leningradsky railway station to catch my train going to St. Petersburg! I heard a lot of good things about St. Petersburg and I can’t wait to explore this city first thing in the morning.
NOTE: Night trains have bunk beds and are comfortable enough for sleeping.
DAY 3 EXPENSES:
- Food (Burger and drink) at KFC – 199 RUB
- Bread – 50 RUB
- Fanta soft drink – 50 RUB
- Food (Chicken with rice) – 330 RUB
- Toilet fee – 50 RUB
- Food (Burgers) at KFC train terminal – 216 RUB
DAY 3 TOTAL: 895 RUB = 14.25 USD = 741 PHP
DAY 4 Photo Gallery
DAY 4 RUSSIA ITINERARY:
I arrived at Moscovsky (St. Petersburg Main Railway station) at around 5:30 in the morning and it was already bright outside. My flight back to Moscow was basically the same day at 10:00 in the evening. So I need to make the most out of the day to see everything I could in St. Petersburg.
I took the metro subway from Moskovkaya station to Admiraltiskaya station. Admiraltiskaya station is located in the city center and is the stop for tourist destinations like the Hermitage Museum, St. Issac’s Cathedral and other notable museums in St. Petersburg.
- Go down to the deepest subway station in Russia. In St. Petersburg’s subway, getting from the street to the trains can take up to five minutes. Or at least it does at Admiralteyskaya station, the deepest subway station in Russia and among the five deepest metro stations in the world. Admiralteyskaya is 282 feet deep. For some perspective, this is about a fifth of the height of the Empire State Building in New York City.
- Stroll around downtown St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is beautiful! It has plenty of classical and baroque architecture. I haven’t been to other European cities but I believe this city is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Almost any building in the central core, for example, can be considered as a tourist attraction.
Many of the tourist attractions are concentrated within the center so it’s fairly easy to walk from one attraction to another. Here are the notable places I’ve visited:
- Hermitage Museum
- Palace Square
- Walk Along Nevsky Prospekt
- St Isaac Cathedral
- Kazan Cathedral
- The Church of the Spilt Blood
- Visit Peter and Paul Fortress. I met another Dimitry (Dima for short) but this time in St. Petersburg along with his girlfriend, Lena. From Admiraltiskaya, we went for a 30-minute to reach Peter and Paul Fortress located at Zayachy Island. It houses this yellow-colored cathedral where it was said to be a former prison. I’m sure history buffs will love it!
- See the Cruiser Aurora warship. Just 15-minute walk from the Fortress, we went to see the Cruiser Aurora – a 20th-century warship currently preserved as a museum ship in Saint Petersburg floating along the Bolshaya Nevka River. Then we continue heading towards the Ploschad’Lenina metro station. We parted ways at this station.
- Be amazed by the Peterhof Grand Palaces. Peterhof is a large complex outside of St. Petersburg that contains grand palaces, gardens, fountains, and other amenities. It is a marvelous example of eighteenth-century Russian architecture. From Ploschad’Lenina station, I took the subway to Avtovo station then took a bus going to Peterhof complex.
DAY 4 EXPENSES:
- Metro subway Moskovkaya station to Admiraltiskaya station – 45 RUB
- Food (burger, fries, drink) at KFC – 283 RUB
- Toilet fee – 40 RUB
- Food (burger and drink) at KFC – 199 RUB
- Two bottled water – 100 RUB
- Metro subway from Ploschad’Lenina station to Avtovo station – 45 RUB
- Bus fare from Avtovo to Petergof – 80 RUB
- Bus fare from Petergof to Avtovo/Lenin station – 60 RUB
- Metro subway Lenin Prospek station to Moskovkaya station – 45 RUB
- Coke – 44 RUB
- Bread – 37 RUB
- Metro Subway from Moscow station to Aeroport “Pulkovo-1” (St. Petersburg Airport) – 40 RUB
- Fanta drink at Airport – 104 RUB
- Bread at Airport – 54 RUB
DAY 4 EXPENSES (BACK IN MOSCOW):
- Key chains – 70 RUB
- Coke – 100 RUB
- Choco bread – 70 RUB
DAY 4 TOTAL: 1,416 RUB = 62.6 USD = 3,265.6 PHP
- Hotel / Hostel
- Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it as well. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.
- Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!
Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.
- KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.
- Russian Railway (click HERE to book)
- Package tours in Russia
- Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.
Click here to find the best Viator deals in Russia.
- Travel Insurance
- World Nomads. If you don’t have travel insurance when times get tough, basically you are screwed. Traveling always comes with inherent risks attached. Whether you are trekking in the Ural mountains or wandering the streets of Moscow, unforeseen events can suddenly upend your world. Generally speaking, travel insurance covers you for the following: Medical Costs – hospital visits, emergencies, evacuations; Property Loss – luggage and their contents; Travel Issues – accommodation and transportation expenses. Thus, I highly recommend you guys getting a travel insurance. I bought one from the World Nomads (available in 130+ countries) where most travelers get their travel insurances.
Go to this link to get to your World Nomads travel insurance.
So there you have it!
Russia is definitely an adventure of its own. Those people I’ve met were very helpful and incredibly accommodating that made my Russia itinerary a memorable one. They made an Asian dude felt at home in their home country.
I hope that by the guides and tips in this blog I’ve shared, you’d be able to create your own Russia itinerary and I know it’s going to be an amazing journey! Spasiba!