The vibrant capital of Russia has a lot to offer, so if you are heading here for your well-deserved holiday, you are in for a treat! It does not matter whether you are travelling in summer or in winter, there are always plenty of things to do! In this article we collected nine of our favourites when you have already seen the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral.
1. Explore Gorky Park
Gorky Park or Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure is an all-time favourite of local people and tourists alike. Why? Because no matter what your interests have, you will always find something you like here. In summer you can enjoy free yoga and fitness classes by the river as well as silent disco and dancing. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle or roller skates and explore the embankment of the Moskva river. In the evening, the outdoor cinema opens its gates and the great news is that the films are available in both Russian and English!
Another great thing about the park is a great variety of food places. You can either try street food or enjoy a glass of wine in one of the park’s restaurants.
In winter the park is home to one of the biggest skating rinks in Europe with the territory over 18 000 square metres. It is beautifully decorated with lights and looks especially charming in the evening. The skating rink also features plenty of food places for you to recharge and will energise you with music while you are skating!
Image: Brittanygstewart, Wikimedia Commons
Getting here: the park is located 10 minutes away from Park Kultury metro station and 5 min away from Oktyabrskaya metro station.
Website in English: http://www.park-gorkogo.com/en/
2. Try Cable Cars at Sparrow Hills
Another great place to visit is Sparrow Hills, a territory on the bank of the Moskva River and one of the highest points in Moscow. Its panoramic views inspired the creation of the cable car route in 2018which runs across Moskva river. Do not miss an opportunity to enjoy the best views of the city from a cable car!
Apart from beautiful views the place is also popular for picnics by the river, rollerblading, cycling and urban hiking. If you like an active day out, Sparrow Hills will not leave you disappointed.
More than that, you can catch a ferry from here and embark on a mini-cruise of Moskva river to see the best sights of the city and learn more about its history. A very popular pastime on a hot summer day!
Getting here: Vorbiovy Gory metro station is located right in the middle of Sparrow Hills. Alternatively, Gorky park is connected with Sparrow hills by a green alley which follows the embankment. A perfect summer walk.
3. Discover Zaryadye
Zaryadye is a new beautiful park and cultural centre in the heart of the city opened in late 2017. It was created by an international team of architects, engineers and landscape designers making it a very modern and multicultural place.
One of the most unusual structures of Zaryadye is its Floating Bridge. It is a unique thin V-shaped air structure extending above the water and allowing the visitors to enjoy excellent views of Moscow.
If you are visiting Zaryadye, do not miss its Ice Cave. It tells the history of development of the Far North and you can enjoy the ice, snow and the shimmering crystals covering the columns and walls of the Ice Cave. But do not forget to wrap up: the temperatures here range from -4 to -9°C all year round.
For those fond of science and history we would recommend popping into the Nature Centre where a number of scientific-educational events take place all year around. Alternatively, visit the Underground museum featuring a collection of artifacts discovered during the excavations of Moscow.
Got peckish? Visit the Zaryadye Gastronomic Centre! It is a modern food court offering its visitors unique dishes from all over Russia. The dishes range from an ice bar with fresh oysters and champagne to the barbecue counter, geese and ducks. All of the food can be bought to-go as a culinary souvenir!
Getting here: the park is located in close vicinity of four metro stations: Okhotny Ryad", "Teatralnaya", "Ploshchad Revolyutsii" and "Kitay-Gorod"
Website in English: https://www.zaryadyepark.ru/en/
4. Amble Along Arbat Street
Arbat (or Old Arbat) is one of the oldest Russian streets and it has been inspiring a lot of writers, artists and musicians for many years. It houses many historic buildings, the famous Vakhtang theatre as well as many fashionable food places (from local food restaurants to Hard Rock Café). It is also very popular with street artists and buskers. If you are fond of Russian music, you may know that the Tsoi Wall – one of the main attractions of the street – is located on Arbat too. A graffiti-covered wall where anyone can leave a note in the memory of the singer Victor Tsoi who died at the age of 28 in a car collision. Tsoi was one of the most influential and popular people in the history of Russian rock music.
Running parallel to Old Arbat, you will find New Arbat Street. A fashionable area with modern shops, cinema (which has screenings in English as well as in Russian) and the largest bookshop in Moscow where you can find books in many languages!
Getting here: The two closest metro stations are Arbat (on one end of the street) and Smolenskaya (on the other end).
Victor Tsoi's music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGEJOAsQX2w
5. Find All of the Seven Sisters
If you are interested in Soviet heritage, Seven Sisters (also known as Stalin's high-rises)
absolutely have to be on your list! They are seven buildings scattered around Moscow which embody the soviet brutalist architecture and look very similar to one another. They were constructed between 1947 and 1953 in an elaborate combination of Russian Baroque and Gothic styles.
The buildings themselves house The Foreign Ministry located at the end of Arbat street, the iconic Moscow State University, The Radisson Royal Hotel on the embankment of the Moskva river and Hilton Leningradskaya Hotel, Kotelnichenskaya Embankment Apartments, the Kudrinskaya Square Building mainly inhabited by healthy Russians and the Red Gates building. Make it a little quest to find them all and explore the areas around!
Image: Andreykor, Wikimedia Commons
1) Kotelnichenskaya Embankment Apartments - halfway between Kitay Gorod and Taganskaya
2) The Foreign Ministry Building - metro Smolenskaya, at the end of Arbat street
3) Moscow State University - a 5-minute walk from metro Universitet
4) The Radisson Royal Hotel – metro Kievskaya
5) The Hilton Leningradskaya Hotel - metro Komsomolskaya
6) Kudrinskaya Square Building - metro Barrikadnaya
7) Red Gates building - metro Krasnye Vorota
6. Experience Russian Banya at Sanduny
What is the most traditional Russian experience? Banya for sure! Sanduny is one of the oldest banyas (bath houses) in Moscow established in 1808. Even in the nineteenth century the place amazed the visitors with the variety of choice, beautiful interiors and architecture and it managed to keep it all through the years. Apart from the usual men and women sections, Sanduny offers eight separate bath houses with original decorations, swimming pools, jacuzzi and more. Every room is equipped with a comfy lounge room, massage department, to which a bathing procedures specialist may be invited, a hot tub and, of course, a classic Russian steam room.
At the end of your banya experience you can also visit a gift shop and buy a traditional venik, banya hats and other memorable souvenirs.
Getting here: Sanduny is located 10 minutes away from Kuznetsky Most metro station. Contact us for a visit!
7. Enjoy the Views from Ostankino Tower
Ostankino Tower is a television and radio tower located in the north of Moscow. It was erected in 1967 and is the tallest free-standing structure in Europe and eleventh tallest in the world. Here on the ground floor you will learn more about this interesting construction before you go up to enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the city. The tower has become the symbol of the city and is one of the most popular highlights loved by the local people and tourists alike.
More than that, you can enjoy dinner here! The restaurant located right in the tower and apart from amazing views it boasts rotating floors with a full turnover per 40 minutes. The menu is available in both Russian and English.
While you are in the north, we also recommend walking to the VDNKH centre located nearby or even visiting the beautiful Botanical Garden.
Getting here: the closest metro station is VDNK. Then take trolleybus Nº73 or a tram. Contact us to book a tour!
Website in English: http://www.tvtower.ru/en/
8. Izmailovsky Flea Market and Park
Central Moscow has a lot of places where tourists can buy souvenirs. However, nothing compares with Izmailovsky flea market when it comes to buying memorable gifts. Located away from the city centre, it will pleasantly surprise you with variety and prices. Locals like it too as you can buy and sell soviet memorabilia here and find a lot of quirky unusual pieces.
The market itself is located in a very beautiful area near. Izmailovsky Kremlin, which looks like a beautiful toy and is a very popular place for weddings. On the others side you will discover a picturesque park – the largest park in Moscow with a beautiful lake and fairground rides and open-air barbeque places in summer.
Getting here: a 5-minute walk from Partizanskaya metro station
Website of Izmailovsky Kremlin in English: http://www.kremlin-izmailovo.com/
9. Danilovsky Market
Arguably the best farmers’ market in the city, Danilovsky Market is also one of the oldest Moscow markets (it was established as a trading place as long ago as in 13-14 centuries). Today it is managed by Ginza Project who hold a number of restaurants in Russia and abroad, including the restaurant of Russian cuisine Mari Vanna in London. The market was reconstructed in 2017 and holds a number of awards for its good qualities. Interestingly, many chefs of the best city restaurants like buying their ingredients here!
Even if you are not interested in food shopping you can always have a nice lunch at Danilovsky market. The place is full of eateries with dishes from every corner of Russia as well as Vietnamese cuisine.
Getting here: the market is located not far from Tulskaya metro station