Although Moscow is the highest urbanized city in Russia and the nation’s democratic capital, labeling it as such is utterly false. Moscow is indeed a city of contrasts.
It’s a stunning city, and I thought it was prettier than Saint Petersburg (which is frequently people’s favorite). The city’s capital is undoubtedly busier and less relaxed than Saint Petersburg, but it is also far more colorful and dynamic, with beautiful and distinctive architecture.
There are many reasons to visit Moscow, such as seeing well-known sites like the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral, taking in some fresh air in Gorky Park, and seeing a ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theatre. It’s also among the most unique travel locations in Europe due to visa limitations. The recognizable Red Square, which houses the Kremlin and serves as the city’s spiritual hub, is located in the middle of Moscow. However, as you travel, the storied alleyways lead you to wonderful locations, including historic churches and royal estates, and the Tsars’ summer retreats.
The remnants of ancient Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution, and Stalin are everywhere you look. Rich cultural traditions, outstanding theatre, and a thriving nightlife bind the three together.
Many people think Moscow is a dangerous city, but after visiting, I don’t think this is true. I would suggest the same guidelines apply here as they do in other big cities: don’t wander alone in the dark at night, watch your things on the bus, and be street smart. There is no excuse not to travel to this vibrant city and experience these incredible Moscow activities!
Moscow is a vast city, so it would take several months to discover it, but I’ll discuss some of my favorite activities and destinations with you so you can be ready for your forthcoming vacation! You ought to be able to fit in these highlights from my trip even if you’re only there for a short period.
Table of Content
- Where is Moscow?
- What is the Best Time to Explore Moscow?
- How can I get to Moscow?
- For what is Moscow Famous?
- Moscow Transportation
- Top Attraction Of Moscow On Map
- Where to stay in Moscow
Top Places To Visit
Where is Moscow?
Moscow is in Europe, even though the bulk of Russia is on the Asian continent. With a citizenry of 12.6 million and a total area of far more than 2.500 sq. km, it is the hugest city in Europe. Although characterizing a city just in terms of its dimensions is challenging, perhaps comparing Moscow to seven Viennas will be helpful. The town earned its name since it is located beside the Moskva River. The State Duma, the government, and many other significant institutions have their headquarters in Moscow.
What is the best time to explore Moscow?
Like any eastern city, Moscow is best visited in the spring or fall. However, the winter is when this city is much more stunning, so if you have the chance, take advantage of it to see Moscow at its most lovely. But let’s discuss all four seasons.
- The season of summer usually lasts from June through August, when the days are the longest. The average temp during this time is a calm 25°C. Moscow is busiest during this time of year, so it’s best to avoid going if you don’t want to stand in line to enter several museums.
- You may spend less money traveling to Moscow in the spring and early fall. During this time, costs are typically cheaper, making it possible to get superb lodging and discounted airline tickets.
- Be prepared for a harsh winter if you desire to discover Russia as it truly is. The temperature can drop below 10°C in December, January, and February. Since Moscow suffers more winter weather than the rest of Europe, you should pack warm socks, a knit scarf, and an ushanka, which you’ll need. Snow goes without saying in Moscow. Even though you’ll need to bring a few bulky winter outfits, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy your time in Moscow at this time of year.
How can I get to Moscow?
Obtaining a visa for Moscow:
You require a visa to access Russia. It would help if you gave your fingerprints at a visa center in London, Edinburgh, or Manchester; the processing period is roughly 20 days.
Getting to Moscow:
After obtaining your visa, flying is the most convenient method of transportation from the UK to Moscow. Just under four hours are needed for direct flights from London to Moscow, and an additional 6-7 hours would be needed for an airport stopover. Many more significant European and international cities also provide direct flights.
For what is Moscow Famous?
Moscow is among the most significant urban areas in the world, both in terms of its historical importance and its current prominence in several disciplines. The provincial capital of the Soviet Union, which had a huge influence on important global events, was Moscow. Along with its fascinating and violent past, Moscow is renowned for its artistic marvels. An architectural style is called Naryshkin Baroque, sometimes referred to as Moscow Baroque. It alludes to the city’s distinctive architectural style, which is unmatched elsewhere. This style of architecture was influenced by religion, which was important to the way the state operated.
Unless the distance is vast in Moscow, I would advise strolling down the street because there is something to look and wonder about in every alley, every street, and every corner of Moscow. I had walked more than 16 or 17 miles practically every day or night since I could not afford to miss such things. The Metro is without a doubt the most used mode of transportation in Moscow. Despite the limited number of bus trips, their Yandex service is excellent. To exist in Russia, Yandex is an all-inclusive service. Simply said, Yandex is UBER in the Russian language. In contrast to UBER, Yandex offers all of your options in Russia, including food delivery, shopping, mail, and more.
Use the local taxi app “Yandex,” which is comparable to Uber, to call a cab. Avoid using taxis that are waiting in popular tourist areas since they may demand ridiculous prices for a brief journey.Top Tip
Top Places to Visit
According to several sources, two or three days will be enough to see all of Moscow. On that, we’re not entirely in agreement. In actuality, there are far too many good things in Moscow to mention all. Of course, if you’re short on time, you should focus on the attractions that get the most attention and serve as the city’s primary icons. Making a plan is the best approach to seeing Moscow because it is so large. This implies that you plan your itinerary to see the most notable landmarks in the city.
We’ll try to help by introducing you to some of the sights that unquestionably belong on your list of things to do in Moscow.
1. Red Square
What is that? Among the city’s most recognizable monuments and likely the image of Moscow you have in your head before visiting is the Red Square. The Red Square, which is thought of as Moscow’s center, is the ideal starting point for your trip.
Although red is the dominating color of the Red Square, the term doesn’t truly derive from that color. The Red Square’s official name in Russian is Krasnaya Ploshchad, and historically, Krasnaya meant “beautiful.” However, the word’s definition has changed to red today. Therefore, the Beautiful Plaza would be a more appropriate name for this square.
Due to its unshakable ties to Russian history going back to the 13th century CE, the Red Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What should we do? You may view some of Moscow’s most well-known sights from Red Square, which is open to visitors without charge. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Gum Department Store, the State Historical Museum, as well as the Kremlin Towers, which are very nearby, can all be seen by strolling around Red Square.
Come to the Red Square both during the day and at night to experience how the area changes dramatically. Which one is your favorite? We’ll let you decide.
Red Square still has a great vibe on typical days as people come and go and visitors wander about with eager eyes. You might be shocked to learn that there is just one monument in the ancient plaza, despite the wealth of beautiful sights. Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin are shown in this statue as they thwarted the Polish invasion in 1612.
Krasnaya Ploshchad, Moscow, RussiaAddress
What Is that? The Moscow Kremlin, or рeмл, is an excellent spot in the city to view and experience the vast strength of Russia. It serves as the country’s political and cultural center. Vladimir Putin, the president of the Russian Federation, resides in the Kremlin, an ancient walled fortress in the heart of Moscow.
Despite its political significance, the Moscow Kremlin is a cultural icon and maybe Russia’s most recognizable monument. Five palaces, four cathedrals, several churches, and museums may all be found within the Kremlin’s (up to 19m height) wall.
What should we do? The Kremlin in Moscow should be your sole stop while in Russia. Everything Russian in one location is available here in overdose. This area is home to some of Moscow’s most well-known tourist attractions, such as the Tsar Bell and Cannon.
You may see a variety of cathedrals at Cathedral Square that are entirely painted on the inside. The churches in the Kremlin will be to your taste if golden onion domes or antiquated icons thrill you. Continue oohing and ahhing at the Diamond Fund, where you may see the most giant diamond in the world (342.5 carats), a 33-kilogram gold nugget, Fabergé eggs, and other shiny objects. There are several attractions nearby, including the Assumption Cathedral, Ivan the Awesome Bell Tower Complex, Grand Kremlin Palace, Armory Chamber, and Diamond Fund. Also, there are the Tsar Bell and the Tsar Gun, a huge artillery cannon. The biggest bell in the entire globe is the Tsar Bell. The bell was damaged by a fire and water being thrown over it; as a result, it cracked and a slab broke off, which is currently propped up next to the bell.
Whistles may be heard as you walk around the grounds. Anyone strolling where they shouldn’t be whistled at by the guards monitoring the area. even if it’s only on the grass or in the direction of more constrained regions. When a guard blows a whistle at visitors, they are frequently lost in their worlds, making it amusing to see. Before a visitor realizes they need to turn around and get back onto the main path, the guard will occasionally be facing them and bellowing loudly.
Moscow’s Kremlin is a popular tourist attraction, therefore entry lineups can be unbearably long. Avoid being stupid and purchase your Kremlin entry pass online.
My Story of Entrance
There is a lot to see in this space, which is quite vast. Finding the entryway was the first issue I ran across. I was then informed that even though I already had a pre-booked ticket, I still needed to go to the ticket office to exchange it for a different ticket. If you intend to visit the Kremlin, be sure to bring your passport, as I did.
I eventually obtained a ticket I could use to enter the Kremlin after waiting in line for a while, and I then had to go through security. Make sure you don’t bring a lot with you because this place has strict security. Before I was eventually permitted inside, I had to spend a nightmare emptying my pockets and justifying everything.
Moscow, Russia, 103073Address & Timings
Friday to Wednesday – 10 AM to 5 PM; Closed on Thursday
3. Gum Department Store
What Is that? State Department Stores were located in numerous Soviet-era cities. The GUM (M) overlooking the Red Square in Moscow is the most well-known of these governmental department shops.
It was first ordered by Catherine the Great and later declared a national treasure during the Russian Revolution. Fortunately, Stalin’s attempts to tear down the GUM in 1935 to extend the Red Square were thwarted. The GUM was privatized when the Soviet Union fell apart, thus the days of people forming lines across Red Square are long gone.
Today, if you want to spend a few million rubles on opulent stuff, this gorgeous architecture is THE PLACE to go.
What should we do? You’ll understand that you’ll need your oil pipeline to fully enjoy shopping here after window browsing at a few stores in the GUM. The GUM is fantastic for shopping, but here’s a little secret: for people like you and me, it’s GREAT for eating.
Even though the stores within are undoubtedly quite expensive, it’s a fascinating department store to browse because of its several floors. When illuminated at night, the structure is stunning and blends in well with the other well-known attractions on Red Square. One of the nicest things to do in Moscow, even if you have no intention of making a buy, is to have a brief peek inside. However, keep in mind that there are frequent security checks before entry.
On the third level of the GUM, Stolovaya 57 (толовa 57) offers a trip back in time to the USSR.
Stolovaya is the place to go if your ideal dinner in Moscow involves hurriedly shifting your plate from a chilly salad to hot borscht to another mayonnaise-drenched salad.
In this self-service canteen, you may get traditional Russian dishes for a very reasonable price. After seeing Red Square or the Kremlin, it is the ideal place for lunch or dinner.
The Cafe Festivalnoye (ае естивалное) is another inexpensive and delectable dining option in the GUM. This café is made out of several pavilions built to honor a 1957 Moscow Youth Festival.
For some traditional blinis or jacket potatoes with such a Russian flair, visit the Potato Pavilion or the Pancake Pavilion.
We went to the Asian Pavilion and had a delicious introduction to Uzbek cuisine there. We overindulged in Lagman noodles, Samsa, ora-osh soup, pilaf, and dolma. Again, the meal was outstanding, and the cost was reasonable.
GUM ice cream
Go to the GUM’s bottom level to discover the ice cream shop for dessert or just a treat while exploring Red Square.
The GUM claims to still utilize the same formula from 1945 and that it is free of artificial flavors and colors.
If you are missing the USSR, try the authentic crème brûlée, vanilla, or chocolate flavors. It’s understandable why folks are still waiting in line for it for only 50 roubles.
Red Square, 3, Moskva, Russia, 109012Address & Timings
10 AM – 10 PM (Friday – Thursday)
4. St Basil’s Cathedral
Perhaps the most recognizable structure in the entire globe and the most prominent structure in Russia The finest site in Moscow is St. Basil’s Cathedral, if not even the best!
St. Basil’s is located on Red Square, home to some other well-known landmarks in Moscow. This still stands out among them all, in my opinion. I thought it was rather amazing how the colorful domes stood out against the Moscow cityscape.
Even though I had been in Russia for a few days, it wasn’t until I stood in front of this magnificent piece of architecture that I truly felt at home.
Ivan the Terrible reportedly gave the architect the command to construct the cathedral, and it appears that once he finished it, Ivan blinded him so that he would never be able to construct something more magnificent. Whether or not this tale is real, it undoubtedly heightens the gloomy mood as you stand in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral’s splendor.
A museum with several historical artifacts originally utilized at the cathedral is housed there; admission is 700 rubles. The beautiful inside walls alone are a show, thus, in my opinion, it’s worth the entrance cost.
5. Ride the Metro and see the Palaces of the People
What is that? Morning travel is just a means of transportation for a lot of us. However, another of the greatest and cheapest activities for visitors to do in Moscow is taking the subway to work.
With approximately 7 million daily users, the Moscow metro is the busiest in all of Europe. Moscow metro stations are a sight to behold, making them a pleasure for passengers.
Moscow’s metro stations, often known as Palaces of the People, have marble columns, chandeliers, bronze sculptures, and mosaics. It is flawless, effective, and breathtakingly gorgeous on a scale that only Russia can achieve.
What should we do? Get a metro map, and mark the following stations, that Moscow people consider to be among the best:
- Park Pobedy
- Park Kultury
- Slavyansky Bulvar
- Ploschad Revolutsii
Ploschad Revolutsii is a well-liked station in Moscow, home to various bronze sculptures of Soviet citizens including soldiers, farmers, athletes, factory workers, and schoolchildren.
Some of these sculptures are said to bring luck if you touch a certain area of them, according to mythology. The soldier’s weapon, the rooster, the woman’s shoe, and other things may be involved.
The dog is the most well-liked animal. If you stay for a long, you’ll observe one commuter after another stroking the dog’s nose. The dog has a very sparkly nose.
From 5.30 am to 1 am every day, the Moscow Metro is open. For just 55 rubles, you may travel in one of the grandest metros in the world thanks to the reasonable ticket prices.Opening Hours
6. Bolshoi Theatre
Bolshoi, which loosely translates to “huge theatre,” signifies “big” in Russian. One of the best ballet groups in the world is the Bolshoi Theatre. One of the most attractive sites to visit in Moscow, the building’s façade is a striking sight that is well worth viewing from the outside. Although there are tours of the inside accessible, attending a ballet here is one of the greatest things to do in Moscow if you truly want to get a sense of the theatre.
The ballets were incredibly expensive, so I debated whether or not to reserve a seat. Swan Lake would have been nice to watch (as at least I may have recognized some of the music). I chose not to go because there were no performances on the days I was in Moscow. However, going to ballet will be on my bucket list of things to do if I return to Russia.
Given that it is such a distinctive experience, I can highly suggest it!
- Request a 2-hour private tour
- Watch a rehearsal, enter by a different door, and see the presidential box designated for tzars.
- Free cancellation within 24 hours.
7. Gorky Park
To get to Gorky Park along the Moscow River, cross the waterway. The most well-known green space in the city, comparable to Central Park in New York, and a popular hangout for residents on weekends. There are many lovely parks in the city, but if you just have a short stay, you must visit this one!
It’s a fantastic location to unwind with fair attractions to keep kids entertained, magnificent manmade lakes and gardens, and loads of outdoor activities. a peaceful location in the center of the city. One of my favorite oases is the area in front of the New Tretyakov Gallery and the Muzeon Park of Arts since it is a little more tranquil than Gorky itself.
Why not spend a little time in the museum to experience an excellent visual history of Russia or just relax and take in the weekend art show outside?
With its sporting venues and exhibitions, the park offers a lot to explore and do. If you’re looking for activities to do in Moscow during the summer, this is one of the great locations to go to because there are frequent outdoor performances and an outdoor movie theatre. The park has a large number of statues and sculptures, including a small sculpture park section with several intriguing works.
if you’re in Russia on August 2nd, avoid Gorky Park and all other parks. Paratrooper Day, which falls on August 2nd, typically promotes a lot of drinking in the park, which is not always very hospitable.One word of advice
8. The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics
What is that? Russia’s space exploration is honored at the Memorial to Cosmonauts. To honor Yuri Gagarin, a USSR astronaut who became the first person to orbit the globe in space, the memorial’s towering tower was built in 1964.
What should we do? The Museum of Cosmonauts will attract everyone, including kids, cosmonaut enthusiasts, Sputnik aficionados, and USSR admirers. The memorial is pretty spectacular, and one can only speculate about the enormous accomplishment and sense of pride that must have been felt when the USSR became the first country on Earth to launch a person into space.
Be careful to look at the monument tower’s base, where you may see Lenin looking toward space. If you’re searching for some Soviet nostalgia, this neighborhood is fantastic.
9. VDNKh park
What is that? The Exhibition of National Economic Achievements, often known as VDNKh (X), is one of Moscow’s finest examples of Soviet design. Built to display the splendors and economic power of the Soviet Union, this exposition center debuted in 1939.
The park is littered with pavilions representing each former Soviet Republic. Fantastic Soviet monuments, statues, fountains, ponds, and even spaceships may be found between the pavilions.
What should we do? By visiting the pavilion of each nation, you may go around the whole Soviet Union, from Tajikistan to Belarus, from Kyrgyzstan to Ukraine. To sample some excellent Armenian wines and Ararat Brandy from Yerevan, be sure to visit the Armenian tent.
Another impressive fountain in the middle of the park is the Friendship of Nations Fountain, where each figure symbolizes a distinct USSR nation.
10. Izmailovo Market
What is that? Moscow’s renowned flea market, Izmailovo Market, is the finest location to find some distinctive keepsakes. You can find practically anything here, just as a good flea market should, although most of it is oriented at visitors. However, if you look a little closer, you can uncover some very special items that will always have a place in your house.
What should we do? You may find hand-woven carpets from Dagestan and the Caucasus area, crystal glass, and other vintage treasures from as far away as Siberia if you look beyond the bright matryoshka dolls and false amber. Or perhaps you’d want a poster or artwork of Gorbachev or Stalin for the living room.
Finally, I located the ideal handcrafted Matryoshka doll, and I negotiated a podstakannik with an elderly iron lady (metal tea holder and glass).
The Izmailovo Flea Market is a fantastic spot to dine as well. Here, we enjoyed some of the finest shashliks of our life. If I had purchased them anywhere else, I believe I would have spent more than double the price, if not treble.
The flea market is accessible by metro and is open daily from 9 to 5. Partizanskaya Station is the closest stop, and it should take you 30 minutes to get there from central Moscow.
Top Attraction of Moscow on Map
We’ve made a map of the exciting sites described in the blog so you can get a better sense of the city and its treasures. Feel free to utilize it while you plan your journey because you can calculate distances, look for the finest driving routes, and find the closest bus or metro stops. The options are essentially limitless.
Where to stay in Moscow
There is lodging available to suit every taste and style conceivable, as would be anticipated from a city of Moscow’s caliber. Your budget will determine everything.
The Red Square neighborhood of Moscow, in our opinion, is the ideal area to stay. As a result, you can walk to the majority of Moscow’s well-known sites. You don’t want to spend hours traveling to your destination while on vacation.
The location of the Airbnb I stayed at in Tverskaya was perfect. I chose to walk there even though it was only two metro stations from Red Square. Another establishment nearby is Cafe Pushkin.
I had a wonderful time in Moscow thanks to my gracious host, Sergei. He arrived at the train station on the night train from St. Petersburg and came to pick me up. He drove me across Moscow before dropping me off at our destination to show me the greatest attractions and restaurants. Stay still and say thank you afterward.