The best alternative to & Airbnb in Russia (+ Crimea)

The best alternative to & Airbnb in Russia (+ Crimea)

Signs of, Visa and Mastercard with sanctions on them. Alternatives during the sanctions on Russia

What is the best alternative to and Airbnb in Russia ?

Among the many Western sanctions in Russia, the world famous suspended their operations in the country, meaning you can’t find a single russian hotel on the platform, even in touristy Moscow or Saint Petersburg.

So how will we, foreign travellers, book our hotel rooms from now on ?

Like many tourists wordwide, I’m very used to book online. Here is the best alternative to and Airbnb to book your accomodation with or without a bank card in Russia in 2024.

Last updated : 21/04/2024

Alternative to in Russia
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RUssia travel insurance

It’s mandatory to have an insurance to travel in Russia and apply for a russian visa (including the e-visa)

I recommend Attollo Assistance (24/7 assistance, medical expenses up to 35 000 €, repatriation)

The best alternative to to book with a bank card in Russia

Zenhotels is the best alternative to and other online hotel booking platforms in Russia to book and pay for your accommodation directly with a Visa or Mastercard bank car

Zenhotels is simply the European branch of Ostrovok (based in Cyprus). It means you can book your hotel and pay the whole reservation online from home. No need to stuff a suitcase full of cash when travelling to Russia and pay the hotel reservation when checking-in.

The interface is exactly the same as Ostrovok, you can change the language and currency.

The cons of Zenhotels : not all hotels and other guesthouses are listed there. You will easily find accommodation in Moscow or other large Russian cities, but if like me you like to visit far away corners of Russia, you may have to look on Ostrovok instead.

A women booking a hotel room in Russia online with a bank card

The best alternative to to book without a bank card in Russia is the best alternative to in Russia to book your stay without a bank card.

The Russian made hotel reservation platform was launched a bit more than a decade ago and is one of the largest online hotel booking platform in the country.

The platform is available in many languages including English, Spanish, Portuges, German & French.

Because it’s one of the main hotel booking platform in Russia, most hotels, guesthouses & short term rental flats can be found. You can also choose the currency and prices will appear at the rate of the day in euros, dollars, pounds or whatever currency you selected.

The ostrovok interface to book hotels in Russia as an alternative to

The best alternative to if you have a russian bank card

If you have a Russian bank card with the MIR payment system like a Tinkoff card, you can also book on Yandex Travel (russian only – must be translated in your browser). In my experience there are more options listed on Yandex than Ostrovok but you need a local bank card to book, pre-pay and/or fully pay online to finalize a booking.

The interface of Yandex Travel to booking hotels and appartments in Russia as an alternative to and Airbnb

The best alternative to Airbnb in Russia

Airbnb is also not operating in Russia anymore, and again the best alternative to Airbnb is Zenhotels.

All you have to do is select “apartments” and about 3 kilometers from the city center (for Moscow for example) in the filter bar on the left side of the Zenhotels interface.

Note : I once never managed to reach the owner of the place I booked on Ostrovok, the address was not well mentionned on the platform and had to find a late night alternative.

How to book accomodation in Crimea ?

Crimea is controlled by Russia since 2014 and is under sanctions since then., Airbnb and other foreign booking platforms do not operate in the peninsula. To book accomodation in Crimea you must use russian hotel booking platforms like Ostrovok or Yandex.

No hotels in Crimea appear on Zenhotels. I think that because they are based in Europe, but the main company is Russian, it may not be political correct on either side. On the other hand, there are hotels in Abkhazia listed on the platform.

The sea side of Yalta in Crimea on the Black Sea coast

How to book on Ostrovok without a credit card (a step by step guide)

How to book on Ostrovok without a credit card step by step

Go to

Choose your destination and dates

Scroll down the filters on the left to “Payment and booking”

Select “no credit card required for booking”

Select prefered hotel

Choose the room with “Pay on the spot – No credit card required!” (usually there are 2 options including “Pay now”)

Click on “Book now”

Enter your details or log into your account and finalize your booking.

Email booking notification

You should receive an email notification of your booking within the next 2 minutes (if not, check your spam).

An aerial view at night of the famous Ukraine hotel in the city of Moscow in Russia

Video tutorial to book without a credit card

Alternative to in Russia
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Let me know in the comments if you found this post useful & don’t hesitate if you have any questions !

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Comments (4)

  • Nick de Groot 30/12/2022 at 21:07 Reply

    Hey, such a nice article and exactly what I was looking for. In case I can pay with creditcard and know the price I pay including fee isn’t this the best? You said pay on the spot. Does this mean I can pay in Euro’s cash or will I need to pay in Rubbles? Because I am not sure I can use my card.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Noémie 31/12/2022 at 09:31 Reply

      Hi Nick, thanks for your comment. I doubt they will accept euros cash but ask, you never know, some people are interested. I always pay in rubles. To know if your card will work (on Ostrovok or any other russian websites) it’s simple : Was your card issued in Russia ? If not, then it won’t work.

  • Beverly Reynolds 28/03/2023 at 13:07 Reply

    I agree, such a helpful information. With the sanctions, it is hard to get information on Russia.

    Can you please tell me when the Mongolian/ China part of the Trans Siberian will reopen.
    Thank you

    • Noémie 28/03/2023 at 15:09 Reply

      Hello Beverly, the border between Russia and Mongolia is open and there are trains between the two countries (I’ve just checked), but for China I’ve got no idea to be honest. Have a look on Caravanistan, hopefully they have up-to-date information.

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