Sara and John say...
Of all the countries, perhaps Russia has the most familiar label for being cold... and from November until March the cap (or, should we say, the ‘Russian hat’ fits).
Across this vast continental expanse - from the Middle East to the China border and from the Siberia arctic to the Balkans - temperatures are widely sub-zero, with many places carpeted in snow for many months. Northern and eastern areas experience the most intense cold with the mercury falling as low as -60 Celsius!. But further west, in cities like Moscow and St Petersburg, the chill is more bearable to visitors. Indeed, even in the depths of December and January, daytime temperatures can sometimes creep above freezing. With the many winter festivals in abundance, it can be a fantastic time to visit Russia at its most quintessential - if you wrap up warm.
Spring brings large fluctuations in weather. Warm sunshine and blizzards come in quick succession before the nation finally thaws out. April and May bring a blossoming of new growth and can be a very pleasant time to visit before things really hot up.
In fact you may be surprised by how hot the weather can get in summer - even as far north as the Arctic Circle. Daytime temperatures often reach the 20s and 30s Celsius; and some southern areas peak in the low 40sC!
With the heat comes more humidity. This is the wettest time of year, and dramatic thunderstorms can sometimes pierce the night sky. However, rainfall is often short and sharp, with much of the day remaining dry. But watch out for mosquitoes - they can be a pest, especially near rivers and lakes.
September and October brings a stunning display of autumn leaves. The cool-down is quick but it can be one of the most comfortable and rewarding times to enjoy the hugely varied landscape, before the winter snows return by November.