Moscow travel guide: Make the most of your vacation with our top picks
From architectural marvels to vintage flea markets
If you were to ask me, ‘Who is Moscow for?’ I’d say it’s for the art buff who’ll be torn between the 400+ museums in the city. It’s for the gastronome who’ll find herself feasting on not just traditional Russian but also Georgian and Ukranian cuisines. It’s for the history and architecture lover who will be awestruck by the centuries-old colourful cathedrals. Moscow’s charm lies in its brightly-lit streets full of restaurants, unique places of worship, subway stations that resemble ballrooms, gorgeous parks, and of course, the iconic Bolshoi Theatre. Here’s a curated Moscow travel guide which includes the best places to visit in the Russian capital:
The sprawling Red Square is home to Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It may not be as imposing as most famed cathedrals around the world, but what it lacks in height, it more than makes up for with its domes. Multi-coloured and onion-shaped, they have no parallel in Russian architecture. Next, max out your credit card at GUM, a historic shopping mall featuring scores of luxury brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. Sweet tooth or not, on a diet or not, you can’t leave without gorging on some famed GUM ice cream.
The incredible domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral have no parallel in Russian architecture
The historic shopping mall, GUM, features a number of international luxury brands
Adjoining St Basil’s Cathedral lies the centre of Russia’s political power. While the Grand Kremlin Palace, the official residence of the President is not open to visitors, there is plenty to marvel at. Numerous stunning cathedrals of varying sizes (built between the 14th and 19th centuries and each with their own fascinating history), museums, cannons, and impressive towers dot the Kremlin grounds. Spend an afternoon walking around the fortified complex, but not without comfortable shoes.
A cathedral and the Tsar’s Bell at the Kremlin grounds
Located next to the Red Square, one of Zaryadye Park’s stand-out features is a floating bridge, which offers a spectacular view of the city. The V-shaped 70-metre structure is suspended over the Moscow (Moskva) river without any support. Zaryadye also houses an ice cave, a modern amphitheatre with a glass roof, a beautiful concert hall, and a multimedia centre.
The floating bride at Zaryadye Park offers a spectacular view of Moscow
Beat Moscow’s notorious traffic jams and take in the sights and cityscape by the waterway. Cruises often offer scrumptious meals and a selection of drinks. Set aside a few hours to unwind as the city passes by you. Catch and watch Moscow come alive by night—it’ll be an experience straight out of your Pinterest travel board (to say nothing of the Instagram content).
Catch the sun set as you unwind onboard a cruise on Moscow river
MOSCOW MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Get your dose of culture at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow MoMA), which boasts five venues across the city. On permanent display at the Moscow MoMA are works by Russian masters such as Kazimir Malevich and Natalia Goncharova. Most of the collection focuses on Russian avante-garde artists but you can also view sculptures by Salvador Dali and paintings by Henri Rousseau.
An interactive artwork by Yoko Ono at a special showcase; Photograph courtesy: Moscow Museum of Modern Art
If you count thrifting as your superpower, consider the massive Izmailovo Market your playground. Bargain your way through vintage typewriters and vinyl records, pre-loved trench coats and winter boots. From wooden furniture to Russian handicrafts, everything you can possibly imagine is on sale at this maze of a market. Get your hands on traditional Russian rugs, matryoshka dolls inspired by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, and even military paraphernalia from the two World Wars.
Keep those Russian rubles handy, cards are not accepted at Izmailovo Market