To enter Russia you'll need a visa before travel - make sure you apply for the correct type and duration of the visa. During periods of high demand, you should apply for your visa well in advance. Russian diplomatic missions and the visa application centres in London and Edinburgh will collect biometric data (scanned fingerprints) from visa applicants above the age of 12. This applies to each Russian entry or transit visa application. It is mandatory to visit the Visa application centre in person to apply for Russian visa. Visa applications for UK residents are to be submitted at the Russia Visa Application Centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh (UK). For further information see the Russian Embassy website and the website of VFS Global who manage Russian visa applications on behalf of the Embassy. Tourist visa applications can take 10 working days to be processed however may take longer during busy periods. Please see https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/russia/entry-requirements for more information. We can help towards application via a Visa Support Letter (VSL). You will need to send us the all of the required passport information within the API form we will send to you. Shortly after we will send you your signed VSL. Upon receiving an authorised VSL you will need to go to your nearest UK based Russian embassy to apply. Please note that only you can acquire a Russian entry Visa due to the collection of biometric data (scanned fingerprints). Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after the expiry date of your visa. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Sunspot Tours. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding visa application.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of €300pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to Moscow via Frankfurt, and return home from St Petersburg via Frankfurt, with Lufthansa. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding in size and 8kg. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt.
Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure.
If you wish to arrange Airport car parking, lounges or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extra Tel. 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.
Health and Vaccinations
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on uneven paths and small hills, and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable
This is an escorted tour, meaning the you will have the services of an English speaking guide during each excursion ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in Russia is the Rouble (RUB). It may be more convenient to exchange Euros or US Dollars cash when you arrive in Russia. Sterling is not as easy to exchange. ATM machines are widely available.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any meals where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, drinks and snacks. Approximately Rub 30,000/£400 per person should be sufficient for the duration of your tour. Please also bear in mind that there will be several shopping opportunities throughout your tour.
The metro systems in both cities are easy to use.
In Moscow, there is a metro station (Partizanskaya) close to the hotel, which takes you to the very centre of Moscow in 5 stops. Tickets may be bought at tickets offices in each station and are very cheap (55 roubles); they are magnetic cards which you hold against the card reader and the barrier opens.
In St Petersburg, the system is less extensive, but there is a stop very close to the hotel (Vladimirskaya/Dostoevskaya), which can take you quickly to the centre with one change. Tickets may be bought at tickets offices in each station and are very cheap (45 roubles) - they are either tokens which you drop into the slot or magnetic cards which you hold against the reader, and the barrier opens.
In both cities signs are mainly in Russian but lines are colour-coordinated; your guide will explain how to use the system in more detail.