We could write an endless long text about why you should travel with us, but we won’t. Instead, we’ll just ask you to consider the following:
56th Parallel is a trusted Australian travel company, the founders and staff are from Russian background, and have extensively travelled with Russia for the past 15 years. We understand the need to close the gap between expectation and reality, especially in regards to travelling in Russia.
We spend every day working on one goal only – providing an outstanding travel experience.
We aim to make it easy for travellers to unlock ‘real’ Russia (not just Moscow and St Petersburg).
We provide guided handcrafted tours to Russia, helping men and women discover the best of Russia through our long-standing cultural relationships and destination expertise.
What is included in my tour to Russia?
Fixed Inclusions on 56th Parallel tours to Russia:
Experiences/Activities (As specified) in detailed itinerary.
Tour guide (english speaking)
Transport on tour
Entrance fees to highlights.
Meals (As specified) in detailed itinerary.
Airport transfers (As specified) in detailed itinerary.
There are additional inclusions on various tours. You will be provided with a detailed itinerary which specifies inclusions for your chosen tour, upon booking.
Are flights included in the tour price?
NO, our tours do not include international or domestic flights. However, our team can advise on travel options for getting to and from arrival and departure points.
What hotels will I stay in?
Information about hotels on your chosen tour can be found in the accommodation tab, on each tour page as well as on the detailed Itinerary PDF.
56th Parallel chooses our guest accommodation based on quality standards including service, style, location and facilities. Your comfort and satisfaction are very important to us.
*Please be aware that on some tours to remote locations, we do not have many accommodation options to choose from.
Can you tell me a bit about your guides?
Our tour guides know their turf well, speak English and are with you throughout the entire tour. They will make arrangements, translate, guide, explain and take care of you throughout the tour. We choose our guides very carefully to ensure that they will add to your experience and make sure you are well looked after and cared for. The guides work hard to make ensure your tour is hassle-free so you have the opportunity to explore, relax and enjoy.
Will I have free time to explore?
Yes, 56th Parallel carefully constructs itineraries. We want you to explore and experience as much as possible. Our itineraries leave you free time to explore the destinations we visit. Naturally, with so much on offer there is always more to see and do. If needed we can help you extend your trip in Russia, feel free to enquire about tour extensions with one of our team members.
Who is on tour?
How many people do you take on each tour?
56th Parallel operates either small group tours or private tour parties. Our group sizes are kept to between 2-12 people on average. We want you to have the freedom to move around and get involved. The emphasis on small group tours means that your group won’t overcrowd your personal experience.
Who will I be travelling with?
Russia attracts a wide variety of travellers from all over the world so you will find that every tour group is different. Generally there will be a mix of single travellers, couples and small groups. Of course our active tours attract adrenalin junkies from all parts of the world. Although 56th Parallel’s tours in Russia are for everyone, our small group tours are made up of people with love for genuine adventure.
Are there age restrictions on your tours?
No, there are no age limits on our tours. However to travel independently you must be at least 18 years of age. If you are a family group with young children we recommend you contact us to arrange a private tour.
As a single traveller, will I be charged a single supplement?
No, if you do not mind sharing a room with another tour participant of the same gender.
Our advertised price is based on a twin share basis to help keep your costs down. Please inform us in the booking process if you would like your own private room for the duration of the tour.
Can my family travel as a private group?
Yes, 56th parallel tours accommodate family groups. With children in mind we try to minimize long travelling times and don’t undertake any disruptive travelling at night. Our family tours are planned so that travelling times are broken up with fun activities and interesting sightseeing. Accommodation options are available for family groups.
Can we travel as a private group?
Yes, 56th Parallel accommodate private group tours for couples, families, groups of friends, organisations and corporate groups, clubs, charities and scientific expeditions. Our team will work with you to create a Russian tour personalised for your expectations and needs. Our team can provide specialist advice on your chosen tour activities, destinations and help you develop an itinerary which works best for your group. Contact usus for more information.
Do I need specific skills?
How fit do I need to be?
We recommend that anyone travelling on one of our active adventure tours should be reasonably fit and certainly have independent mobility to an active degree with a relatively good fitness level. Some of our tours visit remote areas where medical facilities are limited or non-existent, so we recommend you are in good health and hold comprehensive travel insurance.
Do any of the tours require specific skills?
Specific active adventures do require you to have skills, for example, Sea kayaking (kayaking tour), Marathon Running (baikal Ice Marathon), Good Ski skills (Heli-ski Kamchatka) and many other examples of our active adventures. If you are unsure of whether a particular activity is suited to your fitness level and ability, please contact one of our team members, who can advise if this activity is for you.
Booking My Trip
Do I book online?
The 56th Parallel site is designed to make online enquiry & booking as easy as possible. To start enquire online, Select make an enquiry option from the desired tour Page and fill out the form with your information, and any questions you might have. Expect one of us to get back to you within 24 hr.
Are there set departures or can I pick my own dates?
Our small group tour packages have set departure dates throughout the year. You can choose your own departure dates for a desired tour. Naturally, there will be some cost difference.
Can I book extra nights of accommodation before and after my tour?
Yes. Many travellers take the opportunity to explore more of what Russia has to offer. We are happy to give you advice and help you organise extra accommodation and transport arrangements prior to and/or after your 56th Parallel tour. We offer trip extensions to many of our destinations too. If you’re interested in extending your stay in Russia, contact one of our team members.
Can you customise a tour around my interests?
56th Parallel has a team that designs special interest tours to Russia. Whether you are interested in art, culture, architecture, science, adventure sports, nature or history – our team will work with you to customise a tour to Russia based around your chosen interests.
Can I arrange optional extras offered on my tour?
Yes, and we would be happy to help you further personalise your travel experience. It is highly recommended that you book any optional extras available before your departure date. Optional extra’s are published in the detailed itinerary, which you will receive upon booking, contact us if you need more info.
How far in advance should I book?
56th Parallel tours need to be planed in advance, some of our tours fill up 6 months in advance of the tour departure dates. Booking and payment needs to be arranged as early as possible before departure to secure your place.
By the time you read this you should be able to check availability for all our tours on our website. If this is not the case, please contact one of our team members.
Bookings for customised tours or private tour parties should be booked as soon as possible to make sure we can have enough time to meet your needs and requests.
Which payment options are available?
56th Parallel accepts the following payment options:
Credit and debit cards
Wire transfer and direct deposit
We are unable to accept personal cheques as payment. For more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
I’m booked, where to from here?
What should I pack?
When your tour booking is confirmed, we will send you a tour-specific pre-departure information pack. Included in this pack will be a packing list and recommendations for any other special items you may need to bring with you.
If you have any questions always feel free to contact one of our team members for more information. Essential on your list of things to bring are an open mind, sense of adventure and an easy-going attitude.
Can you help arrange my Russian visa?
Yes, As part of the visa application you will need a Russian visa support document which we will provide free of charge if your book a tour with us. Depending on your country of residence you will either need a scanned copy or the original copy of the Russian visa support document. Once you have the document you will need to apply for Russian visa at your local Russian consulate. Get in touch if you have any questions. or visit our visa information and services page for more info
Do I need to be vaccinated before travelling to Russia?
No, you don’t need vaccinations for travelling in Russia. However if you are taking prescription medication we recommend that you bring enough to last your entire trip.
Do I need travel medical supplies?
56th Parallel will email you a tour-specific pre-departure information pack upon confirmation of booking. The pack will provide a suggested list of items including travel medical supplies. We recommend that you carry any prescribed medications with you and bring enough for your entire trip to Russia. Asthmas sufferers should ensure they have an adequate supply of medicine.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, you must take out comprehensive travel insurance specific to Russia and the regions included in your tour. 56th Parallel requires you to prove that you are adequately insured before we can allow you to participate in our tours. Your policy must cover medical costs in case of hospitalisation or other emergencies and cancellations.
Where will my tour start and finish?
Information on start and finish locations, are included in the tour detailed itinerary pages. Tours always start and finish in major Russian cities with international airports.
What if I need to cancel my trip?
If you need to cancel your trip please send us a cancellation notice by email to [email protected] including all your booking details as soon as you can. Fees may apply upon cancellation. 56th Parallel insists that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that cover you in any such event. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for more information.
Tell me more about Russia
What is Russian hospitality like?
You will receive exceptional Russian hospitality and be treated as an honored guest rather than a tourist. The Russian people have deeply held traditions and beliefs about honouring their guests in a friendly, warm and relaxed manner. Russians love to live life to it’s fullest and share it with their guests.
Can you tell me more about Russian customs and traditions?
56th Parallel and our tour leaders have fantastic inside knowledge of the Russian dining culture. We ensure that you experience the best and most interesting cuisine at your tour destinations. Our tour leaders’ local knowledge will help you understand menus and they will give you tips on what to try. You will be pleasantly surprised by the delicious dishes on offer.
Most of Russia’s traditional food is made from familiar ingredients which makes it easier to order in restaurants. One of the most popular dishes is Borscht (beet soup) and we highly recommend exploring the many flavours and varieties offered by Russian cuisine.
If you are a vegetarian or have special dietary needs please let us know in advance so we can make sure that you are looked after in local restaurants. Please contact one of our team members if you have any special dietary requests.
Any tips on booking Russian theatre and ballet tickets?
Russia’s opera and ballet performances are world-renowned. Shows that cater for international visitors are extremely popular and need to be booked well in advance in Particular in Moscow and St Petersburg. To ensure availability and reasonable ticket prices 56th Parallel recommend making reservations up to two months before the actual performance date. Please inform us well in advance if you are interested in enjoying the Russian ballet or a theatre show while on tour.
Despite perceptions, Russia is actually an incredibly safe place. It is a European country similar to other parts of Europe. During your entire trip you will have the safety and comfort of a private vehicle and driver and one of our tour leaders.
Naturally there are basic precautions you should take travelling anywhere in the world. We recommend that you carry a copy of your passport and visa with you at all times. Your tour leader can advise on secure storage of your original documents at each of the destinations, usually a hotel safe will be available in your room. Be cautious, just like most major European cities, Russia also has its share of pick pockets.
What type of weather should I expect in Russia?
56th Parallel arranges all tour dates to ensure the seasons and weather is the best fit for the tour activities. Average winter temperatures range between 0°C and -20°C. December, February and March are some of the best months to visit Siberia in winter with great snowfall, frozen lakes and rivers like Lake Baikal which freezes over. Spring in Siberia happens before your eyes and like most seasons in Siberia the transformation is very fast into a pleasant and surprisingly warm summer. Summer temperatures in Siberia can reach +35°C. The temperatures in summer are cooler in the Altai or Sayan Mountains. During the brief autumn, Siberia turns on the most amazing colour displays. Seasonal transitions tend to be abrupt and so we try to ensure our tours operate at the peak of the season best suited for the activities.
Should I budget for tipping?
Tipping is entirely at your own discretion. Tips are not included in our tour price. We recommend you tip a certain percentage only if you are satisfied with the service and feel comfortable leaving a tip or gratuity. If you do decide to leave a tip, they can be made in US Dollars, Euros and Rubles (recommended).
Will there be access to wifi in Russia?
YES, your hotel has internet and wifi access, also Internet cafes are plentiful in Russia’s major cities as well as free wi-fi in most coffee shops. However, when you’re adventuring in remote areas internet access will be either limited or non-existent.
Will my mobile network work in Russia?
Yes, we suggest that you check with your service provider before you go to ensure you have international roaming and they have a service agreement with one of Russia’s national telcos. If this is all up and running your mobile phone will work in most Russian major cities. Mobile network coverage will be limited or non-existent when you’re touring the more remote areas. 56th Parallel suggests that you consider buying a local sim card to help keep your international roaming charges down. Your tour leader will be able to advise where you can purchase local sim cards. You can also choose our optional add on, which includes providing you with a local sim.
How much spending money should I bring and in what currency?
You will need to bring some spending money with you. Your tour costs already cover your ground transport, all itinerary activities, accommodation, entrance and activity fees and some if not most meals.
We suggest that you bring your credit card/s and international ATM cards. It will be important to check with the card issuer that their cards can be used in Russia. To ensure that your credit cards are not blocked while you are away, it is advisable to contact your bank and let them know you are travelling to Russia. Most restaurants and retailers will accept credit cards however it is best to travel with some cash if you want to make purchases in smaller stores or at remote destinations.
USD (US Dollar) is the most favourable currency to use for exchange to rubles. ATMs are readily available and your tour leader will be able to direct you to the nearest ATM either in your hotels or close by. When using an ATM in Russia it is best to choose rubles as this saves you the hassle of exchanging foreign currency and possibly incurring agent fees.
What kind of electrical plugs and adapters will I need?
Electrical adapters in Russia use the two prongs round European outlets (see image).
What should I do in an emergency?
In an emergency, one of our specially trained representatives will help you with the best course of action.
In case of a medical emergency your tour leader will use their discretion and arrange the fastest and safest way to transport you to the nearest medical centre.
We require all of our tour participants to take out comprehensive travel insurance which cover these types of emergencies.
If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816