Government Travel Safety Advice
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Under 18 immigration guidance
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Visa and Passport Information
All nationalities require a single entry visa in order to enter Russia. As part of the visa requirements, you will need to obtain a Russian Travel Invitation/Voucher from the local Russian authorities. Explore will request this on your behalf approximately eight weeks prior to departure. Please allow a minimum of five working days for the invitation letter to be processed. Due to the visa processing times, Explore are unable to accept bookings within one month of travel.
For British passport holders:
All applicants must fill out the online visa application form for a tourist visa, which is found at: https://visa.kdmid.ru/PetitionChoice.aspx
Before your application can be completed, you must then go in person to the Russia Visa Processing Centre in London, Manchester or Edinburgh to provide biometric information (fingerprints). There is currently no appointment system in place, so you will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. The biometric process is not optional, and any applicant who refuses to provide their fingerprints will automatically be refused a visa. This information is not stored and applicants will therefore need to travel to the Processing Centre each time a visa is required. In the event that an application is rejected due to inaccurate or incomplete information, fingerprints must be resubmitted as part of the revised application. For more information regarding this process, we recommend contacting the Russian Embassy directly. Their website is: http://rusemb.org.uk/visa/
Our local agent is the Russian National Tourist Office and if you are able to travel to their London office then you can take advantage of a special visa rate of £160 per visa, which includes the Consulate Fee, Visa Centre Fee and VAT. The service includes their pre-check service, assistance with the visa form, biometric submission at their office and submission to the Russian Embassy. You can visit them on any weekday (except bank holidays) between 9am to 1pm to submit your application. If you would like to use this service then please quote 'Explore' at the time of making your application to receive this special rate.
Russian National Tourist Office address is:
202 Kensington Church Street
For further information regarding this service, please visit their website: www.visitrussia.org.uk/tourist-visa.php
Once your application is made and your visa is being processed, your passport will be held by the Russian Embassy for around 20 days. If you need your passport returning more urgently than this, then this is a possibility, but further express visa charges will apply.
It is essential that you provide Explore with the correct passport information at the time of booking, as this will be required in order to request the Russian Travel Invitation/Voucher, as well as pre-book your train tickets. Corrections and amendments will incur additional charges, so please double check that the information we have for you is up-to-date and correct; this includes your passport number, full name as per passport (including middle names), date of birth and place of birth. If you renew or reissue your passport after submitting the details to us then train tickets must be cancelled and purchased again, which involves extra costs and may result in you being in a different train carriage to the rest of the group. If you intend to renew your passport, please let Explore know at the point of booking and please ensure that we have your new passport information no later than eight weeks prior to travel.
You will be required to enter a reference number and a confirmation number on your visa application. These can be found at the top of your Russian Travel Invitation/Voucher under the heading 'Voucher Number'. The six-digit long number is the reference and the four-digit number is the confirmation number.
In order for Explore to provide the necessary documentation to support your visa application, all pre and post tour accommodation must be booked through Explore and not booked independently.
Please ensure that your passport has a minimum of six months validity from the date of return to your home country and that you have at least two adjacent blank pages. You will also need one recent colour passport-size photograph taken against a white background.
All other nationalities not holding a British passport should check with the Russian Embassy.
All visa information is subject to change regularly, so please check with your local consulate for the most up-to-date advice for the countries you are visiting.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.
Booking a land only package with Explore
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Joining Tour Abroad
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Please note that at many attractions and sites you visit during the tour, you will not be allowed to take coats or bags inside. These will have to be checked into the cloakrooms and so you are advised to carry a small bag for wallets and purses, mobile phones, personal docs etc. for whilst you are inside the venue.