Visiting Russia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people, but sometimes traveling there can create a little bit of culture shock. While Russians are generally friendly and welcoming people once you get to know them, the culture is full of unspoken rules and subtle expectations that can cause problems for foreign tourists. Whether you're sticking to the guided tours or trying to experience the country like a local, here are things not to do when you're visiting Russia.


01Smiling Too Much

Westerners, particularly Americans, tend to make eye contact with and smile at strangers on the street. In Russia, however, this is seen as odd. They even have a proverb that states that smiling with no reason is the sign of a fool. Unless you want people to think you are simple-minded, it's probably a good idea to get in the habit of looking serious and not making eye contact.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg and Griboedov canal, Russia ArtMarie / Getty Images