TORSTAI, 09. HEINÄKUUTA 2020
During any season, at any hour of the day, Moscow thrills visitors with its artistry, history and majesty.
Moscow, on the Moskva River in western Russia, is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital. The very founding site of the city (and arguably, the country), the Kremlin and Red Square are still at the heart of Moscow – historically, geographically and spiritually. Feel the weight of this significance as you wander within the walls of the ancient fortress, marvel at the mind-boggling magnificence of St Basil's Cathedral and pay your respects to the revered leader of a now-defunct state. Moscow will move you. It will tantalise your senses, soothe your spirit and boggle your mind – and it all starts right here at the Kremlin and Red Square.
The remains of the Soviet state are scattered all around the city. Monuments remember fallen heroes and victorious battles, while museums attempt to analyse and synthesise the past. See Lenin and Stalin – off their pedestals – at the whimsical Art Muzeon. Step into the socialist-realist fantasy at VDNKh. Descend into the depths of the Soviet system at Bunker-42 Cold War Museum. Ride the museum-like metro and remember the millions who suffered at the Gulag History Museum. Nowadays, retro clubs and cafes give their guests a taste of the Soviet experience. You can even try your hand at Soviet-era arcade games.
What is more thrilling than watching a ballerina defy gravity, leaping across the stage at the glittering Bolshoi Theatre? Or feeling the force of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, just a few blocks away from where it premiered more than a century ago? Or oohing and aahing as circus performers soar under the big tent? The classical performing arts in Moscow are still among the best in the world. Nowadays, even the most traditional theatres are experimenting with innovative arrangements, reviving lost favourites and hosting world premieres. Whether you appreciate the classics or prefer the contemporary, the capital's performing arts will impress.
At nearly every turn in Moscow, you'll see golden domes peeking out over the rooftops and hear church bells peeling through the streets, which are dotted with some 600 churches – many of which are glittering after recent renovations. There are colourful hidden gems, historic fortresses and gargantuan cathedrals. The exteriors are adorned with stone carvings and glittering domes; interiors are packed with ancient icons, swirling incense and faithful worshippers. For more than a millennium, Orthodoxy has helped to define the Russian nation, a significance that is palpable in these atmospheric spiritual places.
BEST TIME GO TO MOSCOW
Best Times to Visit Moscow. The best time to visit Moscow is April and May, when the temperature creeps into the 50s and 60s, the sun begins to shine for significant portions of the day, and hotel rates have yet to skyrocket into peak ranges. Of course, the golden period is summer, when the city is warm and bustling.
Spring (March through May)
Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel moderately cold. Highs range from 72.9°F (22.7°C) and 32°F (0°C) with far warmer temperatures in the later months. Rain is somewhat common with 5 to 6 days of significant precipitation per month. Spring is the busiest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for things to do.
Summer (June through August)
The middle-year months have very comfortable weather with high temperatures that are comfortable. These months see moderate precipitation with 7 to 8 days of precipitation per month. June – August is the second busiest season for tourism in Moscow, so lodging and other accommodations may cost slightly more.
Fall (September through November)
Fall daily highs range from 65.2°F (18.4°C) and 30.8°F (-0.7°C), which will feel chilly given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a significant amount: 7 to 8 days per month. Tourism is the slowest during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be affordably priced.
Winter (December through February)
Weather is far too cold this time of year in Moscow to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 33.6°F (0.9°C) and 19°F (-7.2°C). On average, it rains or snows a fair amount: 6 to 8 times per month. These times of year are fairly slow with tourists.
GETTING TO MOSCOW
By Plane - Most travellers arrive in Moscow by air, flying into one of the city’s four international airports: Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo or the remote and seldom used Zhukovsky. The three main airports are accessible by the convenient Aeroexpress Train from the city centre; reduced rates are available for online purchases. Alternatively, order an official airport taxi from the dispatcher's desk in the terminal (R2000 to R2500 to the city centre). You can save some cash by booking in advance to take advantage of the fixed rates offered by most companies (usually from R1000 to/from any airport). Driving times vary wildly depending on the traffic.
GETTING AROUND MOSCOW
Moscow is famous for its red walls, its snowy winters and its excellent public transport system. Although it is home to over 12 million people, Moscow’s public transportation has been hailed as being amongst the best and most efficient in the world. Whether it is bus, tram, underground, trolley bus, marshrutka (fixed route minibuses) or train, the prices are cheap, the journey is brief and despite the severe weather that hits Moscow, virtually always on time and in service. And if public transport is not for you, simply stick out your arm and you will have a choice of 3 or 4 taxis within seconds. You will never find yourself without a method of getting from A to B in Moscow! The intercity train lines span from one end of the country to the other, making Vladivostok a mere (one week!) train ride away. International connections have never been easier, with more and more airlines including Moscow amongst their destinations.
WHERE TO STAY & EAT IN MOSCOW
Featuring free WiFi throughout the hostel, NETIZEN Moscow Rimskaya is situated in Moscow, 100 m from Rimskaya and Ploshchad Ilyicha Metro Stations. It is situated in Golden Gate business centre, where shops and cafes are located. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar and fitness equipment. Each room is equipped with a private or shared bathroom. The hostel offers ironing facilities. Laundry services are available at surcharge. You will find a 24-hour front desk at NETIZEN Moscow Rimskaya, a shared computer in the lobby and a co-working area. A continental breakfast is served. The dining area provides a toaster, fridge and microwave. A weekly entertainment programme is available on site. The Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin are a 10-minute metro ride from the hostel. GUM Department Store are 4 km from NETIZEN Moscow Rimskaya. Vnukovo Airport is 29 km from the hostel.
Set in Moscow, 4 km from Red Square, Hostel Esenin offers air-conditioned rooms and a shared lounge. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a shared kitchen, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hostel features family rooms. Guests at the hostel will be able to enjoy activities in and around Moscow, like hiking. Olympic Stadium is 4.1 km from Hostel Esenin, while Lenin Mausoleum is 5 km away. This is our guests' favourite part of Moscow, according to independent reviews.
- AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow
Offering panoramic views of the city, AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow is set in the central Moscow in a 23-storey building. Guests have access to the Club Lounge located on the 19th floor and offering beautiful views of Moscow. Free WiFi is provided throughout the hotel . Each room at this hotel is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV, a safety deposit box and complimentary bottle of mineral water. Some units have a seating area to relax in after a busy day and a working area. Each room comes with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and free toiletries. There is a 24-hour front desk at the hotel. Guests can enjoy a meal in the Avenue Restaurant, offering local and international cuisine. Guests, travelling for business, will appreciate 10 fully-equipped conference halls. The AZIMUT hotel offers an executive lounge with panoramic views of the Moscow's skyline, available for the certain rooms' guests. The lounge is located on the 19th floor, where guests can relax as well as have a business meeting. Stary Arbat Street is steps from the hotel, while Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Gorky Park are 1 km away. The nearest airport is Vnukovo International Airport, 30 km from AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow.
One of our bestsellers in Moscow!Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Jedi Hostel offers accommodation in the centre of Moscow, a 3-minute walk of the Arbat Street. Smolenskaya Metro Station is within a 5-minute walk from the hostel. Every room at this hostel is air conditioned and features individual lockers, a lamp, a socket and a curtain. The rooms have a shared bathroom. Extras include slippers and a hairdryer. There is a fully equipped shared kitchen with a fridge, stovetop, microwave, electric kettle and coffee maker. Free tea and coffee is offered in the dining area. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. Slippers, hairdryer, laundry services and safe are available upon request. The Kremlin and Red Square are 2 metro stops away. Kiyevsky Train Station is 1 metro stop away. The nearest airport is Vnukovo International Airport, 24 km from Jedi Hostel.
Located opposite Kievsky Train Station in Moscow, providing direct connections to Vnukovo International Airport, Novotel Moscow Kievskaya features a swimming pool, sauna and hammam. The comfortable rooms are air conditioned and have a private bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can enjoy the Gourmet Bar at Novotel Moscow Kievskaya. A fitness centre is available for active guests. Evropeysky Shopping Centre is steps away. Red Square and the Kremlin can be reached within a 10-minute metro ride. Kievskaya Metro Station is located opposite the hotel.
Palmira Business Club offers accommodation in Moscow, within a 15-minute walk of Tulskaya Metro Station. The Kremlin and Red Square are 3 metro stops away. The property offers a fitness centre, tour desk, spa and wellness centre and private parking at surcharge. Free WiFi is available. All air-conditioned rooms are decorated in classic style and feature a flat-screen TV. The bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Guests can order a meal in the on-site restaurant or enjoy a drink at the MaxLevel Bar and Lounge, located on the 12th floor. The bar offers entertainment programme, bar menu and original menu of Japanese, Korean and European cuisine. It takes 10 minutes to drive to Paveletsky Train Station from which you can get to Domodedovo International Airport by Aeroexpress. Sheremetyevo International Airport is 46.5 km away.
Hotel Maroseyka 2/15 is located in central Moscow, 700 m from Saint Basil's Cathedral. Kitay Gorod Metro Station is 20 m away. The rooms have a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and free toiletries. A TV is available. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. GUM Department Store is 700 m from Hotel Maroseyka 2/15, while Red Square is 800 m away. Sheremetyevo Airport is 27 km from the property.
- StandArt Hotel Moscow. A Member of Design Hotels
This design hotel is situated in Moscow city centre, a 2-minute walk from Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya and Chekhovskaya metro stations. Spa and wellness centre with hammam, sauna, plunge pool and massage are featured here. The modern rooms with unique design offer a capsule coffee machine, minibar, safety deposit box and flat-screen mirror TV with satellite channels. A special pillow menu is available upon request. The bathrooms come with a hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers and Etro toiletries. Room service and breakfasts in the room are provided upon request. Concierge service and fitness centre with yoga area are available on site. The Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin are a 15-minute walk from the property. Pushkinskaya Square, Rossiya Theatre and Yeliseyevsky shop are within 100 m reach. Sheremetyevo International Airport is a 35-minute ride with Aeroexpress Train from Belorussky Train Station, which is 2 metro stops from StandArt Hotel.
- Kremlin Lights - Rent Rooms
Offering free WiFi, Hostel Kremlin Lights is located in Moscow, 300 m from the Kremlin. Borovitskaya Metro Station is a 2-minute walk away. The comfortable rooms are air conditioned and come with shared bathroom facilities. Individual lockers are available. Various dining options are a 10-minute walk from Hostel Kremlin Lights. The hostel has a fully equipped shared kitchen and a giftshop. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is 10 minutes' walk away, and the Kremlin is a 2-minute walk away. Kievsky Train Station is 2 metro stops from the hostel, and Sheremetyevo International Airport is 32 km away.
Located a 5-minute walk from Arbatskaya Metro Station in Moscow, Vinegret Hostel features free WiFi. The rooms offer air conditioning and a shared bathroom. Guests are welcome eat out in the cafes and restaurants, located a 1-minute walk from the property. The Red Square, the Moscow Kremlin and Bolshoi Theatre are a 30-minute walk from the property. Sheremetyevo International Airport is a 35-minute ride with Aeroexpress Train from Belorussky Train Station, which is 4 metro stops from Vinegret Hostel.
ACTIVITIES TO DO & PLACES TO VISIT IN MOSCOW
The heart of Russia’s capital, Red Square is arguably Moscow’s most visited attraction. The cobblestone square is surrounded by beautiful architecture, and is the place where most of the city’s (and country’s) history unfolded. What was once a market square where traders would sell their goods is now a key location in the city, surrounded by unforgettable sites such as the Kremlin, St.Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum and other celebrated attractions.
Soak up the archetypal image of Russia’s capital with the glistening rainbow domes of St Basil’s cathedral. The onion-shaped domes were designed to make the building look like the shape of a flame on a bonfire. The cathedral was commissioned in the 1500s by Ivan the Terrible and according to legend, the Tsar thought it so beautiful he ordered that the architect be blinded so that he would never surpass this creation.
Moscow’s ultimate love-it-or-hate-it landmark, Lenin’s Mausoleum houses a glass sarcophagus with the embalmed body of the legendary Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin. First opened to the public in August 1924, the Mausoleum attracts around 2.5 million visitors every year, who don’t mind standing in line and going through a thorough body search to get into the illustrious building.
The biggest activie fortress in Europe, Moscow’s Kremlin offers a week’s worth of attractions. Once you get behind the 2,235 metre-long kremlin walls, there are five squares to wander around, various buildings to explore, 20 towers to learn the names of, and the world’s largest bell and cannon to see.
An attraction in its own right, the State Historical Museum, sheltered in a neo-Russian style building, was founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin and Aleksey Uvarov. What once was the Principal Medicine Store now houses an impressive collection, which includes relics of prehistoric tribes that once inhabited the territory of present-day Russia, the country’s largest coin collection, as well as 6th-century manuscripts and artworks collected by the Romanov dynasty among other treasures.
Russia’s main department store, GUM’s stunning interior houses a variety of high-end boutiques. Built between 1890 and 1893 and known as the Upper Trading Rows until the 1920s, the legendary store is now home to over 200 boutiques selling a variety of brands: from luxurious Dior to the more affordable Zara. Even if shopping is not on your to-do list, the GUM is still worth a visit; the glass-roofed arcade faces Red Square and offers a variety of classy eateries.
An elegant historic street right in the city centre, Arbat is one of Moscow’s most touristy spots. With lots of cafés and restaurants, live music performers and caricaturists, as well as souvenir shops and tattoo salons, monuments and a theatre, Arbat draws crowds of visitors every day.
Built between 1900 and 1905, Tretyakov Gallery started as the private collection of the Tretyakov brothers, who were 19th-century philanthropists. Designed by Viktor Vasnetsov, the gallery is a home to one of the largest collections of Russian art in the world. Here you can see icons including Rublev’s Trinity, and pre-revolutionary masterpieces such as Girl with Peaches by Valentin Serov, Demon by Mikhail Vrubel and Rooks have Come Backby Alexei Savrasov.
- Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
The largest foreign art museum in Moscow comprises three branches housing a collection of incredible works by masters of ancient civilisations, the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age. The main building contains masterpieces by Botticelli, Tiepolo, Veronese and Rembrandt, some of which have never been displayed before. The Gallery of European & American Art, located next door, stores an incredible collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.
Moscow’s premier green space, Gorky Park, offers entertainment for every taste: outdoor dancing sessions, yoga and fitness classes all summer, as well as beach volleyball and ping-pong, rollerblading, skateboarding and cycling opportunities, along with segway and boat-rentals. In winter, half of the park turns into one of the city’s biggest skating rinks. The park is also home to an open-air movie theatre and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
If you to take a walk from Gorky Park along the Moscow river embankment, you’ll end up in the city’s other legendary park, Sparrow Hills . Although the park doesn’t offer as many activities as its hip neighbour, here you can take a closer look at the tallest of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers (the Moscow State University), admire the view from the observation deck or get a cable car ride.
Opened in 1856, the legendary Bolshoi Theatre is one of the pest places in Moscow for an evening of entertainment. The building houses two stages, hosting both ballet and opera performances.
- VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Centre
The enormous VDNKh (short for All-Russian Exhibition Centre) recently went through an extensive renovation and now looks better than ever. The centre started as the all-Soviet agricultural exhibition in 1935, and now serves as an open-air museum of Soviet architecture. With the iconic fountain at its entrance, the park complex is home to a number of museums, shopping pavilions, multiple eateries, a massive oceanarium, a zip-line, and a horse-riding rink. In winter a skating rink opens – the largest in Europe.
- Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve
The former summer residence of Empress Catherine the Great was commissioned in 1775, and succumbed to deterioration during the Soviet era. The whole of Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve has been fundamentally renovated since 1980s to look even brighter than the original. With its opulently decorated buildings, gardens, meadows and forests, Tsaritsyno Park is the perfect place for a green respite in Moscow.
Mostly known for the city’s largest and best known flea market, the district of Izmaylovo is home to a maze of shops where you can get just about anything: from handmade items to Soviet antiquities. It’s also one of Moscow’s largest green spaces, where you can hide from the city buzz.
Built in 1967, Ostankino TV Tower was the tallest free-standing construction in the world at the time. Now it’s still the best observation deck with glass floor and breathtaking 360-degree views. So be sure to book one of the hourly tours and speedy elevators will take you to the height of 337 metres in no time.
A 10-minute metro ride from the city centre will take you to Kolomenskoe Museum - Reserve, where you can get an idea of what Medieval Moscow looked like. Here you’ll find ancient churches (one dating back to the 16th century), the oldest garden in Moscow and a favourite estate of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, father of Peter the Great.
Founded in 1524, the Novodevichy Convent is a place steeped in history. Behind the walls that once served as a fortress, there are four cathedrals with a fascinating icon collection and a venerable cemetery. Back in the day it was common for women from noble families to retire in monasteries, and the Novodevichy Convent had some particularly famous residents such as Princess Sophia and Eudoxia Lopukhina, both related to Peter the Great (and imprisoned by him). The former was his half-sister who claimed the throne; latter was his first wife, who stood in the way of his marriage to Catherine I.
- Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
One of Russia’s most visited cathedrals, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a truly remarkable site. The grandiose cathedral was built in the 1990s where a 19th-century church of the same name once stood, prior to being demolished in 1931 by the Soviet authorities. For 50 years the place had been home to the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool, until the country’s new government decided to rebuild the sacred place. Designed to look like its predecessor, the modern building also contains the icon Christ Not Painted by Hand by Sorokin, which miraculously survived the demolition of the original cathedral.
Home to Europe’s tallest office building, Moscow City, also referred to as Moscow International Business Center, is one Russia’s most ambitious engineering projects over recent years. With its various high-rises, the business district is where you should come for great crowd-free shopping and the best panoramic views of the city.
For those on a slightly more limited budget, ditch window shopping at the exclusive GUM and take a foray into the madly bustling world of Izmailovsky, Russia’s best flea market. Delve into the bargains, rifle through the artisan crafts, admire the local handiwork and be tempted by the silky smooth traditional fur hats. Expect walls of matryoshka dolls, fascinating Soviet memorabilia, and glittering hand-crafted jewellery. Head up to one of Izmailovsky Market's cafés for a warming mulled wine before continuing your shopping spree.