Russian Shopping Information

Visitors to Russia will find plenty of ways to spend their money, particularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg where shops catering for tourists are found in abundance. Here you'll find art and antique stores, souvenir shops, department stores and outdoor flea markets.

Russia's shops, stalls and department stores sell many items to travelers, including crystal bowls, leather bags, and woolen sweaters, as well as fine amber jewelry, paintings and sculptures.

It is necessary to allow extra time for souvenir hunting: shopping can be a time-consuming activity, owing to the relatively chaotic state of the retail trade in the Russian Federation. It is also advisable to shop around, as prices vary significantly.

Kholui and Palekh lacquered boxes make attractive souvenirs. Traditional and amusing Matryoshka dolls (wooden dolls within dolls) are widely available. Khokhloma wooden cups, saucers and spoons are painted gold, red and black. Dymkovskaya Igrushka are pottery figurines based on popular folklore characters. Engraved amber, Gzhel porcelain, Vologda lace and Fabergé eggs and jewelry are highly sought after. A Samovar (a metal urn with a spigot at the base, used in Russia to boil water for tea) also makes a good souvenir.

Interestingly enough, at each station of the Trans-Siberian Railway you will find old ladies who will sell homemade food. They will offer you warm food like pelmeni (little boiled pasties), bread, sausages, pickles, and smoked fish. However, each station has something different. Do not hesitate to buy something from them, their goods are delicious.

Shops accept payments in roubles and, occasionally, by credit card.

Russian's general shopping hours are Mondays to Saturdays 09:00 to 19:00 and most food stores are open on Sundays. 24 hour stores are only now becoming somewhat more common. Local banking hours are from Mondays to Fridays, 09:30 to 17:30.


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