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

With & Airbnb suspending operations in Russia due to Western sanctions, we, travelers are left searching for alternative ways to book accommodations.

Whether you’re planning a short visit to Moscow or an adventure along the Transsiberian railway, here’s a guide to the best alternatives for booking hotels and apartments in Russia with or without a bank card in 2024.

Last updated : 19/05/2024

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)

Best alternative to in Russia for booking with a bank card

Zenhotels is the top alternative to in Russia. It allows you to book and pay for your accommodation directly with Visa or Mastercard.

Zenhotels is the European branch of Ostrovok, it lets you handle the entire reservation process online, so you can avoid carrying large amounts of cash to pay on arrival. The interface supports multiple languages and currencies, making it convenient for international travelers.

Cons : Zenhotels may not list all available accommodations, like small guesthouses, especially in remote areas. For far away/remote locations, consider using Ostrovok.

Best alternative to in Russia for booking without a bank card is ideal for booking accommodations in Russia without a bank card. This Russian hotel reservation platform, available in multiple languages, lists most of the hotels, guesthouses, and short-term rentals in the country. Prices are displayed in various currencies at the current exchange rate.

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

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

Best alternative to for those with a russian bank card

Yandex Travel is another excellent option if you have a Russian bank card with the MIR payment system, such as a Tinkoff card. Although the platform is only available in Russian, it offers a broader selection of accommodations compared to Ostrovok.

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

Best Alternative to Airbnb in Russia

Since Airbnb has ceased operations in Russia as well, Zenhotels is again the best alternative. To find apartment rentals, simply select “apartments” and set the filter to search within approximately 3 kilometers of your desired location, such as central Moscow.

Note: Always double check the address and contact information for your booked accommodation are correct to avoid last-minute issues (like having to find another place at midnight as I did once …)

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

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’s because the booking platform is 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 it.

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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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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