Russia is generally not one of the most common tourist destinations that you hear people planning their getaways to which I find absolutely mind-boggling given how rich in history the country is and how close it actually is to Cairo (just a 4-and-a-half-hour direct flight away!).
After having seen just how stunning the country is, I feel obliged to share the love and help make this beautiful country more accessible to you starting with its famous capital city, Moscow!
Read on for my list of ten incredible things to do in the beautiful city of Moscow.
1. Red Square, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin Complex
Clear up a full morning for this incredible ride through the most recognizable monuments in Russia!
To avoid standing in a terribly long queue, head up to the Kremlin Complex and enter through Alexander Garden entrance no later than 9.30 a.m.
The Kremlin complex hosts more than 15 buildings and 20 towers with palaces, cathedrals, and museums which will easily take you an entire morning to get through. It’s also the official residence of the Russian President so brace yourself for a good look into how a fortified complex protected by the elite military “Presidential Regiment” would look like.
2. A Ballet at the famous Bolshoi Theater
This is one activity you must pre-plan way ahead of your arrival to Moscow especially if you’re traveling in a group.
Most of the shows tend to be booked way in advance and not all of them are hosted in the historic theater. If you don’t want to attend a Ballet though but want to take a tour of the building, you can join some of the tours scheduled on specific days in the week usually on (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) but be sure to check ahead of your trip in case there are any holidays.
Pro-Tip: There is only one English tour planned in any of these days, it usually starts at 11.30 am and takes up a maximum of 15 people at a time so make sure you queue up as early as possible on the day of your tour.
3. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
This museum takes you on a delightful stroll through centuries of Russian and European art as well as other features from across the globe. The collections also include rooms with masterpieces from ancient civilizations that feature tombstones, jewelry, and weaponry all the way to masterpieces from the Italian renaissance.
Fans of 17th Century Dutch art and Rembrandt, in particular, would be particularly glad to stroll through the Leiden Collection which is considered one of the largest and most significant privately-held collections of Rembrandt and Vermeer artwork.
4. Monument to the Conquerors of Space and the Museum of Cosmonautics
The museum of Cosmonautics takes you on quite an extensive tour through the history of Soviet space exploration.
It has an extremely rich collection of models, mock-ups, pictures and videos demonstrating the evolution of Soviet space science and exploration history starting with the very first man-made satellites all the way to the first spacewalks, Moon and Solar system exploration programs as well as international space research programs. This highlight is even nicer if you’re traveling with a family.
5. Take a Tour of the Stunning Subway Stations
No trip to Moscow is complete without a tour of the stunning subway stations. They are marvelous attractions all in their own right.
You should aim to leave a good two hours at least to take in all the splendor of these gems. Step out on to each station, roam through its different stories and observe all the glamour.
Below is a list of my favorite stations and arguably, some of the most decadent ones. Most of them are located on the Koltsevaya line which circles around the city which would make this tour quite easy to go through.
Find quick insights about each of the below metro stations here.
- Prospect Mira
6. Izmailovsky Souvenir Market
About 30 minutes away from the city center you’ll find a souvenir shopper’s haven in Izmailovsky Market.
You can satisfy your urge for bargain finds and get a taste of local snacks and drinks in this charming little hideout. Right next to the main souvenir market is the Izmailovo flea market, an antique and flea market that operates on Saturdays and Sundays.
Between these two markets, your inner bargain hunter will surely be satisfied.
7. The Fallen Monuments Park
This was by far one of my favorite parts of Moscow!
It would only take up to an hour to get through at best but it’s extremely rich in history and is absolutely breathtaking to walk through.
The park is packed with tossed monuments and statues from the Soviet era that were removed from public spaces after the fall of the USSR. Most of the artifacts were dumped in this public space which years later, turned into an incredible open museum of Soviet relics.
Definitely an exceptional walk through history that you should not miss!
8. Walk-through Gorky Park along the Moskva River Embankment
Gorky Park is a beautiful scenic park that is situated along Moskva River Embankment.
This scenic walk draws a huge resemblance to some of the more famous European river banks such as South Bank in London and the scenic streets located along the Seine in Paris. It’s made even more beautiful with Gorky Park located right on the Embankment.
Pro-Tip: The Garage Museum of Modern Art is also located along this walk which would surely satisfy your inner Modern Art enthusiast.
Get more insights about the beauty of these monuments here.
9. Take a stroll down Tverskaya street and other famous Moscow avenues
Tverskaya street is considered Moscow’s main avenue, it offers a scenic tour of Moscow’s glorious architecture and leads on to some of the most vibrant streets and squares in the capital such as Arbat street, Nikolskaya and Kamergersy lane, theater square and of course, the famous Red square.
You will find tons of shopping and dining options along those roads and a wonderful tour of the city.
10. Visit some of the incredible shopping centers in Moscow
Moscow is surprisingly packed with really impressive shopping complexes; one of its most famous shopping malls is GUM which is located right on the Red square.
It’s a 126-year-old building and is considered Russia’s most iconic department store for its distinct architecture and layout. Other distinctive shopping malls include Aviapark, a mall best known for the large aquarium soaring through its center as well as Okhotny Ryad, an underground shopping mall located right outside the Red Square.
Go ahead and share this article with your friends and family to give them alternative destination ideas for their next vacation.