It’s shocking to me that I still find some people linking Russia only with vodka, matryoshka, AK-47s, bears and beautiful women. Meanwhile, stereotypes are slowly breaking down with the surges of foreign tourists after the Soviet Union’s collapse—except the women-related one, which is true—Moscow is gradually becoming one of the must-go places for travelers from all over the world, and I will show you why. Here are the top 8 places to visit in Moscow:
1. Red Square
If I had to choose only one place to visit in Moscow, it would be Red Square. Apart from being the main Russian square, the place where world history was made and an unquestionably world-known symbol of Russia, Red Square is a location with an astonishing concentration of legendary places per square kilometer. Consider your journey to Moscow wasted if you haven’t visited it. If you find yourself on Red Square, you are five minutes away from a bunch of attractions.
2. St. Basil's Cathedral
The cathedral was built during the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. According to legend, he was so fascinated by its beauty that he blinded architects to prevent them from building anything similar in the future. Nowadays, St. Basil’s Cathedral is both a museum and a place for public religious services every Sunday.
St. Basil's Cathedral
Address: Red Square
Working hours: St. Basil’s Cathedral is open daily from 11:00am to 5:00pm, except Tuesdays
The Moscow Kremlin—the gigantic complex surrounded by walls and defensive towers in the heart of Moscow—is based a hair’s-breadth from St. Basil’s Cathedral. The former fortress has been the residence of Russian government since the 13th-century. Make sure you include these attractions, located inside the Kremlin, in your itinerary: The Kremlin Armory (a former royal arsenal and museum), Dormition Cathedral (the oldest building in Moscow), the Tsar Cannon and the gigantic Tsar Bell.
Address: Red Square, Moscow 103073, Russia
Opening hours: daily 10:00am - 5:00pm, except Tuesdays
Phone Number: +7 4956245503
Website: Moscow Kremlin
4. Lenin’s Mausoleum
The citizens of the Soviet Union strived to visit Lenin’s Tomb at least once in their lives. There you can take a look at the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin, father of the communist revolution. Luckily, you don’t have to stand in a days-long line to enter Lenin’s Tomb, unlike several weeks after his death when people literally waited for days and nights to see their idol. You can visit the Mausoleum for free.
Address: Red Square, Moscow 613310, Russia
Opening hours: It’s open every day except Monday from 10:00am to 1:00pm
Website: Lenin’s Mausoleum
5. Izmailovsky Market
If you’re looking for souvenirs, antiques, cultural relics and epic stories, go to Izmailovsky Market, where you may easily find age-old goods. It’s a place where you can distinctly feel the unique Russian mentality— the uncatchable mindset that totally puzzles foreigners from time to time. It doesn’t matter whether you are searching for gifts for relatives and friends, or merely willing to take a look at some peculiar Russian goods. In fact, it’s hard to leave the market without bags of authentic goods bought, so don’t bring much money there if you are tight on your budget.
Address: Parkovaya St., 3-ya, 24, Moscow 613310, Russia
Opening hours: The market is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm only on Saturdays and Sundays
Website: Izmailovsky Market
6. The Moscow Metro
I encourage you to use the metro as much as possible during your trips across the capital. If you think that the metro in Moscow is dirty and dull like in most of big cities, you will be pleasantly surprised. In fact, the Moscow Metro is a majestic art structure. It feels like the architects did everything in order to make the citizens, who spend a sizable chunk of their daytime on their way to work and back, forget for a while about everyday duties and enjoy the moment. However, you better avoid riding the metro during peak hours because of the enormous amount of people inside.
7. The State Tretyakov Gallery
Let me introduce to you the biggest art gallery in the whole of Russia, where the best part of the national art heritage is being kept and exhibited. Having more than 100,000 exhibits to display, the museum gives any visitor a unique opportunity to dive deeply into the Russian art. It’s shocking to me that people don’t know almost anything about Russian art, thinking that there is nothing worth looking at. In fact, if you visit this place for once, you will see how much Russian culture has to offer to the world. By the way, the building itself is an authentic architect art masterpiece, made in a Russian fairytale style.
The State Tretyakov Gallery
Address: Lavrushinskiy ln, 10, Moscow 119017, Russia
Opening hours: the museum is open from 10:00a, till 7:00pm every day, except Mondays
The entry cost: the admission cost varies from 3.75 USD for adults to 2 USD for children and students
Website: The State Tretyakov Gallery
8. Gorky Central Park
Non-stop sightseeing might be tiring. And there is no better place to restore your energy and enjoy nature than Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure. Being the biggest park in Moscow, as well as the most beloved place among locals during the summertime, it means as much to Moscow as Central Park means to New York.
Gorky Central Park
Address: 9, Krymskiy Val, Moscow, 117049 Russia
You won’t forgive yourself missing out!
I represented only a drop of Moscow’s tourist potential. If I wanted to list all the places you can visit in Moscow it would be a book-long article. Moscow is a truly breathtaking city, one that merits weeks, or even months, of exploring. It has a rich history, amazing destinations, and people that are always glad and open to foreigners. Give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed.
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