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A History of Moscow in 13 Dishes

Featured city guides.

What to do in Moscow

Ballet at the bolshoy, cathedral of christ the saviour, drinking & nightlife, entertainment, house-museums, the museum of modern history, the new tretyakov gallery, novodevichiy convent, patriarch’s ponds, the pushkin museum of fine arts, sandunovsky baths, the tretyakov gallery.

Travel in Moscow is easier than you might think: the city’s general layout is a series of concentric circles and radial lines emanating from Red Square and the Kremlin, and the centre is compact enough to explore on foot. Moscow’s sights can also be mapped as strata of its history: the old Muscovy that Russians are eager to show; the now retro-chic Soviet-era sites such as VDNK and Lenin’s Mausoleum; and the exclusive restaurants and shopping malls that mark out the new Russia. A CityPass is a good bet if you plan on seeing several of the city's heavyweight attractions.

Despite its size, Moscow's concentric layout is easier to grasp than you'd imagine, and the city's famous metro ensures that almost everywhere of interest is within fifteen minutes' walk of a station. Red Square and the Kremlin are the historic nucleus of the city, a magnificent stage for political drama, signifying a great sweep of history that includes Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Stalin and Gorbachev. Here you'll find Lenin's Mausoleum and St Basil's Cathedral, the famous GUM department store, and the Kremlin itself, whose splendid cathedrals and Armoury Museum head the list of attractions. Immediately east of Red Square lies the Kitay-gorod, traditionally the commercial district, and originally fortified like the Kremlin. Stretches of the ramparts remain behind the Metropol and Rossiya hotels, and the medieval churches of Zaryade and the shops along Nikolskaya ulitsa may tempt you further into the quarter, where you'll find the former headquarters of the Communist Party. Take a private Kremlin tour to skip the lines for the Kremlin grounds and cathedrals.

The Kremlin and Kitay-gorod are surrounded by two quarters defined by rings of boulevards built over the original ramparts of medieval times, when Moscow's residential areas were divided into the "White Town" or Beliy Gorod, and the humbler "Earth Town" or Zemlyanoy Gorod. Situated within the leafy Boulevard Ring that encloses the Beliy Gorod are such landmarks as the Bolshoy Theatre and the Lubyanka headquarters of the secret police – with its "KGB Museum" – while the Zemlyanoy Gorod that extends to the eight-lane Garden Ring is enlivened by the trendy old and new Arbat streets, with three Stalin skyscrapers dominating the Ring itself.

Beyond this historic core Moscow is too sprawling to explore on foot. Krasnaya Presnya, Fili and the southwest describes a swathe which includes the former Russian Parliament building (known as the White House); Tolstoy's house and the Novodeviche Convent and Cemetery; Victory Park, with its war memorials and Jewish museum; and Moscow State University in the Sparrow Hills – the largest of the Stalin skyscrapers.

Across the river from the Kremlin, Zamoskvorechye and the south are the site of the old and new Tretyakov Gallery's superlative collection of Russian art. Private guided tours are recommended for art enthusiasts. Here too you'll find Gorky Park, the Donskoy and Danilov monasteries that once stood guard against the Tartars, and the romantic ex-royal estates of Tsaritsyno and Kolomenskoe – the latter known for staging folklore festivals and historical pageants.

Taganka and Zayauze, east of the centre, likewise harbour fortified monasteries – the Andronikov, Novospasskiy and Simonov – and the erstwhile noble estates of Kuskovo and Kuzminki, but the main lure for tourists is the Izmaylovo art market. Inside the Izmaylovo Kremlin, a cultural centre, there are also a range of attractions, from the Bread Museum and the Vodka History Museum to the fascinating Museum of Russian Toys.

Moscow's Northern Suburbs cover a vast area with a sprinkling of sights. Foremost is the Memorial and Museum of Cosmonautics and VDNK. For anyone interested in the glory days of the space race, and its monumental landmarks and propaganda, a visit is a must, like on this guided tour . In the vicinity are the Ostankino Palace, Moscow's Botanical Gardens and TV Tower. West from here, the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines will appeal to visitors with an interest in Soviet social history, too.

Outside Moscow there's scope for day-excursions to the Trinity Monastery of St Sergei, the Abramtsevo artists' colony, Tchaikovsky's house in Kiln, Lenin's estate at Gorki Leninskie, and the battlefield of Borodino, where the battle is re-enacted every September. You can also head out to the village of Aksakovo for a beautiful two-hour troika ride. Further afield, the historic towns of Vladimir and Suzdal are graced by splendid cathedrals and monasteries attesting that they were the seat of a principality when Moscow was merely an encampment. Suzdal is one of the loveliest towns in Russia, and definitely merits an overnight stay. It's also possible to visit the Aviation Museum at Monino air base, en route to Vladimir, if you take the trouble to get permission ahead of time.

This article includes affiliate links; all recommendations are editorially independent.

Top image: Komsomolskaya metro station © Gubin Yury/Shutterstock

While Moscow's Bolshoy Ballet (also spelt "Bolshoi") is going through uncertain times, plagued by infighting and rivalries (not least the recent acid attack on Artistic Director Sergei Filin), few would deny themselves the chance to see this legendary company. During the season, evening performances start at 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday matinees at noon; there are no shows on Monday.

You can see what’s on currently and for a few months ahead on the Bolshoy’s website – although the English version sometimes lags behind the Russian one. The ballet company is usually abroad over summer and sometimes also in the autumn, leaving the junior corps de ballet to entertain visitors – although star dancers are certain to be in Moscow for the opening of the new season in September. For more on Russian ballet visit www.for-ballet-lovers-only.com . For those not interested in ballet but more in the historical aspect of the Bolshoy theatre, take a guided historic tour of the grounds.

If you're more interest in Folk Dances, visit the Kostroma Folk Dance show , the most authentic one in Moscow.

Built as a symbol of gratitude to divinity for having aided the Russians’ defeat of Napoleon in 1812, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (daily 10am–6pm), opposite the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts at Volkhonka ul. 15, was demolished in 1931 in favour of a monument to socialism. The project was soon abandoned and years later, under Krushev’s rule, the site was turned into the world’s largest public swimming pool. In 1994 the Cathedral was rebuilt and is now a symbol of Moscow’s (and Russia’s) post-Communist religious revival.

Moscow isn’t a city that goes to bed early. Many venues act as a café by day, restaurant in the early evening, and both bar and club at night. This can cover anything from an arthouse café with a spot of live music to a dance warehouse, or a fancy nightclub with a restaurant and casino. Most cater to a certain crowd, whether it’s creative professionals, students, shell-suited "flatheads" or designer-draped models. While formal dress codes are rare, face control (feys kontrol) is widespread. Russians distinguish between “democratic” face control (aimed at keeping out hooligans and bandits), and the kind that favours the rich (never mind how they behave). It’s unwise to rile club security staff, however rude they might be.

There are scores of trendy bars and clubs on Krasny Oktyabr, a former chocolate factory building located across the river from Kropotkinskaya and now home to some of Moscow’s hippest nightlife.

Learn how to walk, talk, drink and party like a Russian on a small group with Russian spirits.

Moscow's gastronomic scene has improved enormously over the last five years, with hundreds of new cafés and restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine and surroundings, aimed at anyone with a disposable income – from mega-rich New Russians and expense-account expatriates to fashion-conscious wealthy teenagers.

For cheap eats head to a canteen, where you can compile a tray of dishes smorgasbord-style. Take advantage of the great-value business lunches offered by cafés and restaurants during the week between noon and 4pm.

For well over a century, Moscow has been one of the world’s great centres of classical music, opera and ballet, most famously represented by the Bolshoy Theatre but also by its orchestras and choirs. Theatre can be tricky for non-Russian speakers though circus and puppetry surpass the language barrier. Moscow’s film industry and annual international film festival dwarf St Petersburg’s, but at other times most cinemas screen Hollywood blockbusters.

All this can be surprisingly good value, provided you ask for the cheapest ticket available ( samiy deshoviy bilyet ).

Gorky Park on ul. Krymskiy Val 9 (R100; Park Kultury) is a large park occupying an area of over 700 acres along the river. In the winter the frozen-over paths become one of the city’s largest ice rinks, while in the summer Muscovites stroll the area savouring an ice cream.

Admirers of Bulgakov, Chekhov, Gorky and Tolstoy will find their former homes preserved as museums. Anton Chekhov lived at Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya ul. 6, in what is now the Chekhov House-Museum (Tues, Thurs & Sat 11am–6pm, Wed & Fri 2–8pm; R100, student R60; Barrikadnaya), containing humble personal effects, while the Gorky House-Museum (Wed–Sun 11am–6pm, closed last Thurs of the month; free; Arbatskaya) on the corner of Povarskaya ulitsa and ulitsa Spiridonovka is worth seeing purely for its raspberry-pink Art Nouveau decor. Leo Tolstoy admirers should head to the wonderfully preserved Tolstoy Memorial Estate on ul. Lva Tolstogo 21 (Tues, Wed & Fri 10am–6pm, Thurs 1–9pm, Sat & Sun 11am–6pm; R200, student R60; Park Kultury) where the Tolstoy family lived after moving to Moscow from their country estate in 1881, and where the novelist wrote War and Peace . The Bulgakov Museum at Bolshaya Sadovaya ul. 10 (Sun–Thurs 1–11pm, Fri & Sat until 1am; free; t 495/970-0619; Mayakovskaya), is the house where the novelist lived from 1921 to 1924. There are nightly tours (1–6am; R550; phone a week in advance for tour in English).

The Museum of Modern History at Tverskaya ul. 21 (Tues, Wed, Fri 10am–6pm, Thurs & Sat 11am–7pm, Sun 10am–5pm, closed last Fri of the month; R100; Tverskaya) brings the Communist past alive with striking displays of Soviet propaganda posters, photographs and state gifts, although there’s a frustrating lack of English translation.

Opposite the entrance to Gorky Park at Krymskiy Val 10, the New Tretyakov Gallery (Tues–Sun 10am–7.30pm; R360, student R220; Park Kultury) takes a breakneck gallop through twentieth-century Russian art, from the avant-garde of the 1910–1920s to contemporary artists. Full and illuminating commentary in English is a bonus.

A cluster of shining domes above a fortified rampart belongs to the lovely Novodevichiy Convent (daily 10am–5pm; closed Tues & last Mon of month; R150; Sportivnaya), founded by Ivan the Terrible in 1524. At its heart stands the white Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk. In its cemetery lie numerous famous writers, musicians and artists, including Gogol, Chekhov, Stanislavsky, Bulgakov and Shostakovich.

One of Moscow’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, Patriarch’s Ponds is a pleasant spot (there’s actually just one pond) for a summer stroll or an ice-skate on its frozen waters in the depths of winter. The area is also known for being the location of the opening scene of Mikhail Bulgakov’s magical realist novel The Master and Margarita .

Founded in 1898 in honour of the famous Russian poet, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts at Volkhonka ul. 12 (Tues–Sun 10am–7pm; R150–300, separate fee for Impressionist wing; Kropotkinskaya) holds a hefty collection of European paintings , from Italian High Renaissance works to Rembrandt, and an outstanding display of Impressionist works.

Get the city grit out of your skin at the exquisitely elaborate Sandunovsky baths (Neglinnaya ul. 14 bldg 3–7 w www.sanduny.ru ; Teatralnaya), patronized by Muscovites since 1896. Join Russian businessmen and socialites in the banya , a wooden hut heated with a furnace, where you are invited to sweat out impurities, get beaten energetically with birch twigs, and finally plunge into ice-cold water. Men’s and women’s baths are separate, with the women’s section more like a modern spa. A three-hour session costs R1000. Daily 8am–10pm.

Founded in 1892 by the financier Pavel Tretyakov, the Tretyakov Gallery at Lavrushinskiy per. 10 (Tues–Sun 10am–7.30pm; R360, student R220; Tretyakovskaya) displays an outstanding collection of pre-Revolutionary Russian art. Russian icons are magnificently displayed, and the exhibition continues through to the late nineteenth century, with the politically charged canvases of the iconic realist Ilya Repin and the Impressionist portraits of Valentin Serov, including The Girl with Peaches , one of the gallery’s masterpieces.

To see Soviet triumphalism at its most prolific, visit the Exhibition of Economic Achievements, or VDNKh (Prospekt Mira; VDNK/Prospekt Mira), with its statue upon statue of ordinary workers in heroic poses. Adding to the scene is the permanent trade-fair-cum-shopping-centre housed in the grandiose Stalinist architecture of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition of 1939, and the People’s Friendship Fountain, flanked by Soviet maidens, each symbolizing a Soviet republic. One of the most hubristic Soviet monuments ever built is the Space Obelisk , which bears witness to Soviet designs on the stratosphere. Unveiled in 1964 – three years after Gagarin orbited the earth – it’s a sculpture of a rocket blasting nearly 100m into the sky on a plume of energy clad in shining titanium. Moscow’s giant Ferris wheel, small amusement park and numerous food vendors help to create a fairground-like atmosphere. For a fantastic view over the VDNK, take the lift to the 25th floor of Hotel Cosmos across Prospekt Mira.

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During any season, at any hour of the day, Moscow thrills visitors with its artistry, history and majesty.

Attractions

Must-see attractions.

The crown of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich in the Armoury in the Kremlin, Moscow. 21/06/2003. (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images)

The Armoury dates to 1511, when it was founded under Vasily III to manufacture and store weapons, imperial arms and regalia for the royal court. Later it…

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Arbat & Khamovniki

This is Moscow’s premier foreign-art museum, split over three branches and showing off a broad selection of European works, including masterpieces from…

St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow, Russia

St Basil's Cathedral

At the southern end of Red Square stands the icon of Russia: St Basil’s Cathedral. This crazy confusion of colours, patterns and shapes is the culmination…

Exterior of Water Tower at Kremlin.

Moscow Kremlin

The apex of Russian political power and once the centre of the Orthodox Church, the Kremlin is the kernel of not only Moscow, but of the whole country…

Mausoleum on Red Square, Moscow, Russia; Shutterstock ID 64158388; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; Project no. or GL code: 56530; Network activity no. or Cost Centre: Online-Design; Product or Project: 65050/7529/Josh Vogel/LP.com Destination Galleries

Lenin's Mausoleum

Although Vladimir Ilych requested that he be buried beside his mum in St Petersburg, he still lies in state at the foot of the Kremlin wall, receiving…

Bridge Over River Against Sky During Sunset

Zamoskvorechie

Moscow's main city escape isn't your conventional expanse of nature preserved inside an urban jungle. It's not a fun fair either, though it used to be one…

Moscow's Red Square

Immediately outside the Kremlin’s northeastern wall is the celebrated Red Square, the 400m-by-150m area of cobblestones that is at the very heart of…

State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia; Shutterstock ID 192471953; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: Digital Content/Sights

State Tretyakov Gallery Main Branch

The exotic boyar (high-ranking noble) castle on a little lane in Zamoskvorechie contains the main branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery, housing the world…

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Specialty stores worth travelling for

James Smith and Sons specialty umbrella store in London, England.

James Smith and Sons specialty umbrella store in London, England.

--> BY Raman Kumar

Last updated . 24 January 2020

Here we reveal our favourite specialty stores to spend time (not just money)…

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella Via della Scala 16, Florence One of the oldest pharmacies in the world, it opened in 1612 and to this day still produces cosmetics, soaps and eau de cologne made with recipes first developed by Franciscan monks in the 11th century. smnovella.it

Fratelli Vigano Via Marco Minghetti 8, Rome This cappelleria dates back to 1870 and stocksall manner of hats, from Panamas to deer stalkers to berets in its charmingly jumbled historic store-front.

Merci 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris This temple of fashion and design is located in the buzzing Haut-Marais and is founded on the ethos of giving back: profits generated fund the Merci endowment fund, which finances human development projects in south-west Madagascar, especially in education. merci-merci.com

Deyrolle 46 rue du Bac, Paris A true curiosity shop, Deyrolle has specialised in taxidermy and museum-worthy collections of insects, birds and butterflies since 1831. You’re probably not going to buy a stuffed tiger to take home with you, but this really is one of those stores you just have to experience. www.deyrolle.com

Shakespeare & Co. 37 rue de la Bûcherie, Paris  Its original namesake was closed down during the German occupation in World War II, but its modern incarnation is still the benchmark for all other indie bookshops because of its passion for championing writers and the written word. shakespeareandcompany.com

Gem Palace M.I Road, Jaipur  This world-famous emporium, established in 1852, is a candy store of precious gems and jewellery, from antiques of the golden age of the maharajas to modern designs studded with lozenge-sized stones. gempalace.com

ABC Carpet & Home 888 and 881 Broadway, New York City A New York institution, all the chicest people pop down to ABC to buy gorgeous things for their lofts and uptown apartments. The stock is extensive with lots of sustainable and eco-conscious credentials. abchome.com

C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries 414 Sixth Avenue, New York  Founded in 1838 (becoming C.O. Bigelow in 1880) as an apothecary dispensing all manner of remedies, prescriptions and beauty products, everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Calvin Klein has frequented the counter here, which has been in its current location since 1902. bigelowchemist.com

American Girl With stores across America (and two in Canada), this doll emporium is a kiddy and tween paradise of all-American dolls, accessories and books which are delightfully age-appropriate and aim to quietly inform and empower modern girls. americangirl.com

ABC Store It seems like there’s an ABC on every corner when you visit Hawaii (they also have outlets in Las Vegas, Guam and Saipan), filled to the brim with wonderfully kitsch souvenirs, groceries, and enough Hawaiian Host chocolates to satiate the most rampant craving. abcstores.com

James Smith & Sons Hazelwood House, 53 New Oxford Street, London This family-owned store opened in 1830 and specialises in handcrafted umbrellas and walking sticks – just umbrellas and walking sticks! The delightful shop itself is Grade II-listed and an attraction in its own right. james-smith.co.uk

Liberty London Regent Street, London  Established in 1875 and situated in its distinctive mock Tudor building since the 1920s, Liberty London has long been shorthand for aesthetics and quality – Oscar Wilde said “Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper”. We definitely want to be one of them! liberty.co.uk

Katayama Bunzaburo 221 Hashibenkeicho Takoyakusidori Karasuma Nishiiru Nakagyoku Kyoto  This traditional shibori tie-dye business, started in Kyoto in 1915, celebrates the distinctive indigo dyed fabric technique passed down from generation to generation. The third-generation proprietor is adapting the time-honoured technique for a modern audience. bunzaburo.com

Loft Shibuya 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Spread over seven floors, the chain store offers everything from furniture to cosmetics to stationery to household goods, all of which is typical top-notch Japanese design.

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Bars & Nightlife

The nightlife scene in Moscow is varied, and long gone are the days when the only kind of venues in operation were luxury establishments guarded by stern-looking bouncers. Although some places still enforce FC/DC, many are now leaning towards a more casual approach to entry - the recent decade has seen a rise in the number of casual bars modelled after hip urban haunts of West European capitals. Wine bars, craft breweries, bohemian cafes, indie bars, and glitzy nightclubs are all to be found in abundance, spread throughout the city's many neighbourhoods. And here are the best bars and nightclubs in Moscow, Russia:

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Chinese Pilot Jao Da

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16 Tons Club

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Hookah Bar Friends

Matryoshka dolls

In order to satisfy the wishes of Moscow's well-off upper middle classes, many chic designer stores have opened their stores in Moscow. Today there is definitely a risk that tourists will return home with considerably more expensive souvenirs than fur hats and Russian "matryoshka" dolls, which are readily available throughout - a good place to start browsing for these is the souvenir market right next to the Red Square.

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Popular Shopping Streets

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Eliseyevskiy Store

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Perlov Tea House

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Tourist Information

Vnukovo International Airport

The city's third and most compact airport, Vnukovo is located approximately 28 kilometres southwest of the city centre. The air hub is best reached by Aeroexpress trains departing from the Kievskaya Railway Station. Several mini-buses also run here from Yugo-Zapadnaya metro station (south end of the red line).

Phone: +7 495 937-55-55

Website: www.vnukovo.ru/en

More Information:

Sheremetyevo International Airport

The largest international airport in Moscow is Sheremetyevo International Airport, located 30 kilometres from the city centre. The easiest and fastest way to reach any of Moscow's three major airports is by Aeroexpress - a fast train designated for air travelers (train departs from Belorussky Railway Station). The train ride takes 35 minutes. Another way to get here is by taxi. At the airport you can order taxis at the operator desk. You can usually book a taxi in advance through the hotel or travel agency when going to the airport. Alternatively, there are different bus routes. The buses take about 30-70 minutes depending on the route and your final destination. When traveling by car or bus, do keep in mind that rush hour traffic may sometimes be very dense, and significant delays are possible.

Address: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow

Phone: +7 495 578 65 65

Website: https://www.svo.aero/en/main

Domodedovo International Airport

Another large airport in Moscow is Moscow Domodedovo Airport. The airport is located 22 kilometres away from the city. You can also reach the airport from Domodedovskaya underground station by mini-bus or bus and from Paveletsky railway station by train. The train from Paveletsky railway station takes 40-50 minutes going on the Aeroexpress train, and 1 hour and 10 minutes on the commuter train. The express buses and shuttles from Domodedovskaya underground station take 25-30 minutes and leave every 15 minutes. Buses run from 6am-12am. Taxis can be ordered at the domestic and international arrivals hall. There are car rental services at the airport.

Address: Moscow Domodedovo Airport, Moscow

Phone: +7 495 933 6666

Website: www.domodedovo.ru

Moscow has one of the world’s most beautiful underground railways which operates very efficiently. If you carry big luggage on the metro, make sure you buy a special luggage ticket. Tickets can be bought at station entrances - either at vending machines or special staffed kiosks.If you plan to use the metro multiple times during your stay, it makes sense to purchase a top-up card called "Troika".

Phone: +7 495 688 02 93

Website: www.mosmetro.ru

Public Transport

In Moscow there are also buses, trolley buses and trams apart from the beautiful metro. Tickets can be bought from the kiosks in the street or from the driver and validated once aboard.

Phone: +7 495 950 4204

Website: www.mosgortrans.ru

In Moscow the easiest way to get a taxi is the traditional way: to stand in the street and hold out your arm. Civilian cars like to operate as taxis, it is therefore recommended to only use professional taxi services. Taxi meters are not always used, so agree on a price before travelling. English-speaking taxi services in Moscow: Welcome Taxi +7 499 922 06 74 www.welcometaxi.ru LingoTaxi: +7 495 204 21 34

There are many post offices around town. If you want to send a letter you can drop it of in one of the dark blue post boxes. Main Post Office:

Address: Ul. Myasnitskaya 26, Moscow

Phone: +7 495 623 67 01

Website: https://www.pochta.ru

Medical care may be very expensive if you do not have insurance. Hotels often have their own doctor, so start there if you need help. There are dozens of pharmacies all throughout the city, and many work 24/7. Rigla 102 www.rigla.ru 15/43 Arbat, Moscow Apteka 36,6 www.366.ru 25 str 1A Zemlyanoy val, Moscow

National code: +7 Area code: 495/499

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Best Shopping in Moscow

By Chris Boyle

BARVIKHA LUXURY VILLAGE

Shopping in Moscow is as varied and vibrant as in any other world capital, so forget any preconceptions you may have of bleak Soviet stores and long queues.

Moscow’s billionaires need places to spend their cash so the streets are packed with world-famous labels and designer boutiques. Some of the most exclusive areas include Tverskaya Street (including Kuznetsky Most, Stoleshnikov Lane and Tverskoy Boulevard), Petrovka Street and Kutuzovsky Prospect, where you’ll find a mixture of international brands and Russian designers.

GUM

One of the largest department stores in the world, GUM is as much an architectural marvel as a shopping center.

The name derives from an abbreviation of the Russian word for Main Universal Store, and GUM was once home to 1,200 shops, before it became nationalized after the 1917 revolution. Used as the headquarters for Stalin’s Five Year Plan, GUM was privatized after the fall of the Soviet Union and now features a large number of international brand outlets. But the pleasure in shopping at GUM comes from the grandeur of the building itself; its façade along Red Square is an impressive 794 feet and it has a glass ceiling designed by acclaimed architect Vladimir Shukhov.

The 8 Best Restaurants in Moscow

Confidante: beautiful branded hotels, azerbaijan, dubai and beyond: fairmont expands luxury portfolio.

+7 495 788 4343

[email protected]

3 Red Square, Moscow

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Barvikha luxury village.

BARVIKHA LUXURY VILLAGE

Located in the affluent area of Barvikha – to the west of Moscow – Barvikha Luxury Village is a high-end shopping center nestled among pine trees.

The idea behind the village was to create a shopping area that reflects the beautiful surrounding Russian countryside through the use of natural materials. Visitors will find some of the finest brands in the world, such as Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Chloe, Marni, Brioni, Kiton, Ermenegildo Zegna and Loro Piana, and even Harley Davidson and Ferrari outlets. Barvikha is also host to the famous Barvikha Sanatorium, a well-equipped medical center that has treated several Russian leaders.

+7 495 225 8880

[email protected]

Odintsovsky District, Moscow 143082

www.barvikhahotel.com

CARA&CO

CARA&CO

A concept store to rival Colette in Paris or 10 Corso Como in Milan, Cara&Co brings high-end fashion to Moscow, but with a difference.

Created with the idea of showcasing intellectual fashion, Cara&Co is a shop for people who are serious about clothes. Using the moto, ‘No Logos, Fashion Only’ Cara&Co features unique pieces of intricately designed clothing for those who are prepared to spend. Voted one of the top ten stores in the world in 2008 by the UK’s Observer newspaper, the shop also features a book zone, a vintage area and the Break zone, where customers can take time out from flexing their plastic and view the art and photography on show.

Julia Teplaya, PR Manager

+7 495 223 4111

[email protected]

4th Syromyatnicheskii per, h. 1, bld. 9, Moscow

www.caraandco.com

DENIS SIMACHEV

A shop and restaurant by day, a bar and disco by night, Denis Simachev is a unique destination store located in Stoleshinkov Perulok – the most luxurious street in Moscow.

The restaurant features booths designed as toilet stalls, and this eccentricity continues with the designs in the shop. Simachev has earned a reputation for his innovative, bizarre and often comical designs, which include classical Russian military uniform imitations and former president Vladimir Putin’s head surrounded by roses. A firm favorite with Russia’s social elite looking for eye-catching pieces to define their individuality.

+7 495 629 5702

[email protected]

12 bldg 2, Stoleshnikov pereulok, Moscow 103031

www.denissimachev.com

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Home » Europe » Moscow

EPIC MOSCOW Itinerary! (2024)

Moscow is the heart of Mother Russia. Just the mention of this city conjures images of colorful bulbous pointed domes, crisp temperatures, and a uniquely original spirit!

Moscow has an incredibly turbulent history, a seemingly resilient culture, and a unique enchantment that pulls countless tourists to the city each year! Although the warmer months make exploring Moscow’s attractions more favorable, there’s just something about a fresh snowfall that only enhances the appearance of the city’s iconic sites!

If you’re a first-time visitor to Moscow, or simply wanting to see as much of the city as possible, this Moscow itinerary will help you do just that!

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Best Time To Visit Moscow

Where to stay in moscow, moscow itinerary, day 1 itinerary in moscow, day 2 itinerary in moscow, day 3 and beyond, staying safe in moscow, day trips from moscow, faq on moscow itinerary.

Here is a quick look at the seasons so you can decide when to visit Moscow!

The summer months (June-August) are a great time to travel to Moscow to take advantage of the enjoyable mild temperatures. This is considered peak travel season. Bear in mind that hotel prices rise along with the temperatures!

when to visit moscow

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If you’re planning a trip to Moscow during fall (September-November) try to plan for early fall. This way the temperatures will still be pleasant and winter won’t be threatening.

Russian winters (December-February) are not for the faint of heart as Napoleon learned to his peril. Some days the sun will be out for less than an hour, and snow is guaranteed. Although winters are exceptionally cold, this is when you’ll get a true glimpse of the Moscow experience!

The best time to visit Moscow is during spring  (March-May). The temperatures will begin to creep up and the sun begins to shine for significant portions of the day. Hotel rates will also have yet to skyrocket into peak ranges!

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With a Moscow City Pass , you can experience the best of Moscow at the CHEAPEST prices. Discounts, attractions, tickets, and even public transport are all standards in any good city pass – be sure invest now and save them $$$ when you arrive!

Moscow is a large city with many accommodation options to choose from. Staying in a location that fits with your travel plans will only enhance your Moscow itinerary. Here is a brief introduction to a few great areas of the city we recommend checking out!

The best place to stay in Moscow to be close to all the action is Kitay-Gorod. This charming neighborhood will put you within walking distance to Moscow’s famous Red Square, thus cutting down on travel time. This will allow you to see more of the city in a shorter amount of time!

where to stay in moscow

It’s surrounded by restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. If you’re a first-time visitor to Moscow, or just planning a quick weekend in Moscow, then this area is perfect for you!

Another great area to consider is the Zamoskvorechye district. This area of the city offers a blend of new and old Moscow. It has an artsy vibe and there are plenty of fun sites you can explore outside of the main touristy areas of Moscow.

Of course, as in all areas of Moscow, it’s close to public transportation that will quickly connect you with the rest of the city and make your Moscow itinerary super accessible!

Best Airbnb in Moscow – Exclusive Apartment in Old Moscow

Exclusive Apartment in Old Moscow

Modern and cozy, this apartment is in the heart of Old Moscow. Bordering the Basmanny and Kitay-Gorod districts, this two-bedroom flat is walking distance to the Kremlin and Red Square. Safe, quiet, and comfortable, this is the best Airbnb in Moscow, no question!

Best Budget Hotel in Moscow – Izmailovo Alfa Hotel

moscow itinerary

The Izmailovo Alfa Hotel is a very highly rated accommodation that provides all the components necessary for a comfortable trip to Moscow. There is an on-site restaurant, bar, fitness center, and an airport shuttle service. The rooms are modern and spacious and are equipped with a TV, heating/air conditioning, minibar, and more!

Best Luxury Hotel in Moscow – Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Centre

moscow itinerary

If you’re touring Moscow in luxury, the Crowne Plaza Moscow World Trade Centre is the hotel for you! Elegantly furnished rooms are equipped with a minibar, flat-screen TV,  in-room safes, as well as tea and coffee making facilities! Bathrooms come with bathrobes, slippers, and free toiletries. There is also an onsite restaurant, bar, and fitness center.

Best Hostel in Moscow – Godzillas Hostel

moscow itinerary

Godzillas Hostel is located in the center of Moscow, just a short walk from all the major tourist attractions and the metro station. Guests will enjoy all the usual hostel perks such as self-catering facilities, 24-hour reception, Free Wi-Fi, and security lockers. This is one of the best hostels in Moscow and its wonderful social atmosphere and will make your vacation in Moscow extra special!

An important aspect of planning any trip is figuring out the transportation situation. You’re probably wondering how you’re going to get to all of your Moscow points of interest right? Luckily, this sprawling city has an excellent network of public transportation that will make traveling a breeze!

The underground metro system is the quickest and most efficient way to travel around Moscow. Most visitors rely exclusively on this super-efficient transportation system, which allows you to get to pretty much anywhere in the city! It’s also a great option if you’re planning a Moscow itinerary during the colder months, as you’ll be sheltered from the snow and freezing temperatures!

moscow itinerary

If you prefer above-ground transportation, buses, trams, and trolleybuses, run throughout the city and provide a rather comfortable alternative to the metro.

Moscow’s metro, buses, trams, and trolleybuses are all accessible with a ‘Troika’ card. This card can be topped up with any sum of money at a metro cash desk. The ticket is simple, convenient, and even refundable upon return to a cashier!

No matter which method you choose, you’ll never find yourself without an easy means of getting from point A to point B!

Red Square | Moscow Kremlin | Lenin’s Mausoleum | St. Basil’s Cathedral  | GUM Department Store

Spend the first day of your itinerary taking your own self guided Moscow walking tour around the historic Red Square! This is Moscow’s compact city center and every stop on this list is within easy walking distance to the next! Get ready to see all of the top Moscow landmarks!

Day 1 / Stop 1 – The Red Square

  • Why it’s awesome: The Red Square is the most recognizable area in Moscow, it has mesmerizing architecture and centuries worth of history attached to its name.
  • Cost: Free to walk around, individual attractions in the square have separate fees. 
  • Food nearby: Check out Bar BQ Cafe for friendly service and good food in a great location! The atmosphere is upbeat and they’re open 24/7!

The Red Square is Moscow’s historic fortress and the center of the Russian government. The origins of the square date back to the late 15th century, when Ivan the Great decided to expand the Kremlin to reflect Moscow’s growing power and prestige!

During the 20th century, the square became famous as the site for demonstrations designed to showcase Soviet strength. Visiting the Red Square today, you’ll find it teeming with tourists, who come to witness its magical architecture up close!

The Red Square

The square is the picture postcard of Russian tourism, so make sure to bring your camera when you visit! No matter the season, or the time of day, it’s delightfully photogenic! 

It’s also home to some of Russia’s most distinguishing and important landmarks, which we’ve made sure to include further down in this itinerary. It’s an important center of Russia’s cultural life and one of the top places to visit in Moscow!

In 1990, UNESCO designated Russia’s Red Square as a World Heritage site. Visiting this historic site is a true bucket-list event and essential addition to your itinerary for Moscow!

Day 1 / Stop 2 – The Moscow Kremlin

  • Why it’s awesome: The Moscow Kremlin complex includes several palaces and cathedrals and is surrounded by the Kremlin wall. It also houses the principal museum of Russia (the Kremlin Armory).
  • Cost: USD $15.00
  • Food nearby: Bosco Cafe is a charming place to grat a casual bite to eat. They have excellent coffee and wonderful views of the Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin!

The iconic Moscow Kremlin , also known as the Kremlin museum complex, sits on Borovitsky Hill, rising above the Moscow River. It is a fortified complex in the center of the city, overlooking several iconic buildings in the Red Square!

It’s the best known of the Russian Kremlins – citadels or fortress’ protecting and dominating a city. During the early decades of the Soviet era, the Kremlin was a private enclave where the state’s governing elite lived and worked.

The Kremlin is outlined by an irregularly shaped triangular wall that encloses an area of 68 acres! The existing walls and towers were built from 1485 to 1495. Inside the Kremlin museum complex, there are five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers.

The Armoury Chamber is a part of the Grand Kremlin Palace’s complex and is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1851. It showcases Russian history and displays many cherished relics. Definitely make sure to check out this museum while you’re here!

The Moscow Kremlin

The churches inside the Moscow Kremlin are the Cathedral of the Dormition, Church of the Archangel, Church of the Annunciation, and the bell tower of Ivan Veliki (a church tower).

The five-domed Cathedral of the Dormition is considered the most famous. It was built from 1475–1479 by an Italian architect and has served as a wedding and coronation place for great princes, tsars, and emperors of Russia. Church services are given in the Kremlin’s numerous cathedrals on a regular basis.

The Grand Kremlin Palace was the former Tsar’s Moscow residence and today it serves as the official workplace of the President of the Russian Federation (Vladimir Putin seems to have bagged that title for life) .

Insider Tip: The Kremlin is closed every Thursday! Make sure to plan this stop on your Moscow itinerary for any other day of the week!

Day 1 / Stop 3 – Lenin’s Mausoleum

  • Why it’s awesome: The mausoleum displays the preserved body of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin .
  • Cost: Free!
  • Food nearby: Khinkal’naya is a charming Georgian restaurant with vaulted ceilings and exposed brick. It’s a popular place with locals and right next to the Red Square!

Lenin’s Mausoleum, also known as Lenin’s Tomb, is the modernist mausoleum for the revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. It’s located within the Red Square and serves as the resting place for the Soviet leader! His preserved body has been on public display since shortly after his death in 1924.

It’s located just a few steps away from the Kremlin Wall and is one of the most controversial yet popular Moscow attractions!

Admission is free for everyone, you’ll only need to pay if you need to check a bag. Before visitors are allowed to enter the mausoleum, they have to go through a metal detector first. No metal objects, liquids, or large bags are allowed in the mausoleum!

Lenins Mausoleum

Expect a line to enter the building, and while you’re inside the building, you’ll be constantly moving in line with other visitors. This means you won’t be able to spend as long as you’d like viewing the mausoleum, but you’ll still be able to get a good look. Pictures and filming while inside the building are strictly prohibited, and security guards will stop you if they see you breaking this rule.

The mausoleum is only open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday – unless it’s a public holiday or a day scheduled for maintenance. The hours it’s open for each day are limited, make sure to check online before you visit to make sure you can fit this into your Moscow itinerary for that day!

Insider Tip: The Lenin’s Museum is there for people to pay their respect; remember to keep silent and move along quickly, it’s not intended for people to congregate around. Also, men are not allowed to wear hats and everyone must take their hands out of their pockets when inside the building.

Day 1 / Stop 4 – St. Basil’s Cathedral

  • Why it’s awesome: A dazzling designed cathedral that showcases Russia’s unique architecture. This cathedral is one of the most recognizable symbols of the country!
  • Cost: USD $8.00
  • Food nearby: Moskovskiy Chaynyy Klub is a cozy cafe serving food items and pipping hot tea; it’s the perfect place to go if you’re visiting Moscow during the winter months!

Located in the Red Square, the ornate 16th-century St. Basil’s Cathedral is probably the building you picture when you think of Moscow’s unique architecture. Its colorful onion-shaped domes tower over the Moscow skyline!

The cathedral was built from 1555-1561 by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. It was designed with an iconic onion dome facade and enchanting colors that captivate all who see it. Fun fact: If you’re wondering why Russian churches have onion domes, they are popularly believed to symbolize burning candles!

This iconic cathedral has become a symbol of Russia due to its distinguishing architecture and prominent position inside the Red Square. It’s one of the most beautiful, wonderful, and mesmerizing historical cathedrals in the world!

St. Basils Cathedral

The interior of the church surprises most people when they visit. In contrast to the large exterior, the inside is not so much one large area, but rather a collection of smaller areas, with many corridors and small rooms. There are 9 small chapels and one mausoleum grouped around a central tower.

Visiting the inside is like walking through a maze, there are even small signs all around the cathedral tracing where to walk, and pointing you in the right direction! The walls are meticulously decorated and painted with intricate floral designs and religious themes.

The church rarely holds service and is instead a museum open for the public to visit.

Insider Tip: During the summer months the line to go inside the cathedral can get quite long! Make sure to arrive early or reserve your tickets online to guarantee quick access into the cathedral!

Day 1 / Stop 5 – GUM Department Store

  • Why it’s awesome: This is Russia’s most famous shopping mall! It’s designed with elegant and opulent architecture and provides a real sense of nostalgia!
  • Cost: Free to enter
  • Food nearby: Stolovaya 57 is a cafeteria-style restaurant with a variety of inexpensive Russian cuisine menu items including soups, salads, meat dishes, and desserts. It’s also located inside the GUM department store, making it very easily accessible when you’re shopping!

The enormous GUM Department Store is located within the historic Red Square. It has a whimsical enchantment to it that sets it apart from your typical department store.

A massive domed glass ceiling lines the top of the building and fills the interior with natural sunlight. There are live plants and flowers placed throughout the mall that give the shopping complex a lively and cheerful feel! A playful fountain sits in the center, further adding to the malls inviting a sense of wonder and amusement!

The GUM department store opened on December 2, 1893. Today, it includes local and luxury stores, including Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and many more! There are numerous cafes, restaurants, and even a movie theater inside!

GUM Department Store

For a special treat, head into Gastronom 1. This 1950s-style shop sells gourmet food items, like wine, freshly-baked pastries, cheese, Russian chocolate, and of course, vodka! Also, be on the lookout for a bicycle pedaling ice cream truck with an employing selling ice cream!

The ambiance is simply amazing, a trip to this idyllic shopping mall is an absolute must on any Moscow itinerary!

Insider Tip: Make sure to carry some small change on you in case you need to use the restroom, you’ll need to pay 50 rubles – or about USD $0.80 to use the bathroom in GUM.

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Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

Novodevichy Convent | Gorky Park | State Tretyakov Gallery | All-Russian Exhibition Center | Bolshoi Theater

On your 2 day itinerary in Moscow, you’ll have a chance to use the city’s excellent public transportation service! You’ll explore a few more of Moscow’s historic highlight as well as some modern attractions. These sites are a little more spread out, but still very easily accessible thanks to the metro!

Day 2 / Stop 1 – Novodevichy Convent

  • Why it’s awesome: The Novodevichy Convent is rich in imperial Russian history and contains some of Russia’s best examples of classical architecture!
  • Cost: USD $5.00
  • Food nearby: Culinary Shop Karavaevs Brothers is a cozy and simple place to have a quick bite, they also have vegetarian options!

The Novodevichy Convent is the best-known and most popular cloister of Moscow. The convent complex is contained within high walls, and there are many attractions this site is known for! 

The six-pillared five-domed Smolensk Cathedral is the main attraction. It was built to resemble the Kremlin’s Assumption Cathedral and its facade boasts beautiful snowy white walls and a pristine golden onion dome as its centerpiece. It’s the oldest structure in the convent, built from 1524 -1525, and is situated in the center of the complex between the two entrance gates.

There are other churches inside the convent as well, all dating back from many centuries past. The convent is filled with an abundance of 16th and 17th-century religious artworks, including numerous large and extravagant frescos!

Novodevichy Convent

Just outside the convent’s grounds lies the Novodevichy Cemetery. Here, you can visit the graves of famous Russians, including esteemed authors, composers, and politicians. Probably the most intriguing gravestone belongs to Russian politician Nikita Khruschev!

The Novodevichy Convent is located near the Moscow River and offers a peaceful retreat from the busy city. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The convent remains remarkably well-preserved and is an outstanding example of Moscow Baroque architecture! 

Insider Tip: To enter the cathedrals inside the complex, women are advised to cover their heads and shoulders, while men should wear long pants.

Day 2 / Stop 2 – Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure

  • Why it’s awesome: A large amusement area in the heart of the city offering many attractions!
  • Cost: Free! 
  • Food nearby: Check out Mepkato, located inside Gorky Central Park for a casual meal in a cozy setting. There are indoor and outdoor seating options and the restaurant is child-friendly!

Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure is a large green space in the heart of Moscow. The park opened in 1928, and it stretches along the scenic embankment of the Moskva River. It covers an area of 300-acres and offers a lovely contrast from the compact city center.

You’ll find all sorts of wonderful attractions, from boat rides to bike rentals to tennis courts and ping-pong tables, and much more! there are an open-air cinema and festive events and concerts scheduled in the summer months.  A wide selection of free fitness classes is also offered on a regular basis, including jogging, roller skating, and dancing!

Although many of the options you’ll find here are more suited for outdoor leisure during the summer, you’ll also a selection of winter attractions, including one of Europe’s largest ice rinks for ice-skating!

Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure

If you’re trying to decide what to do in Moscow with kids, the park also offers several venues designed specifically for kids. Check out the year-round Green School which offers hands-on classes in gardening and art! You can also feed the squirrels and birds at the Golitsinsky Ponds!

The park is very well maintained and kept clean and the entrance is free of charge, although most individual attractions cost money. There is also Wi-Fi available throughout the park.

With so many attractions, you could easily spend all day here! If you’re only planning a 2 day itinerary in Moscow, make sure to plan your time accordingly and map out all the areas you want to see beforehand!

Day 2 / Stop 3 – The State Tretyakov Gallery

  • Why it’s awesome: The gallery’s collection consists entirely of Russian art made by Russian artists!
  • Food nearby : Brothers Tretyakovs is located right across the street from the gallery. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric restaurant serving top quality food and drinks!

The State Tretyakov Gallery was founded in 1856 by influential merchant and collector Pavel Tretyakov.  The gallery is a national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the most important museums in Russia!

It houses the world’s best collection of Russian art and contains more than 130, 000 paintings, sculptures, and graphics! These works have been created throughout the centuries by generations of Russia’s most talented artists!

The State Tretyakov Gallery

The exhibits range from mysterious 12th-century images to politically charged canvases. The collection is rich and revealing and offers great insight into the history and attitudes of this long-suffering yet inspired people!

All pictures are also labeled in English. If you plan to take your time and see everything inside the museum it will take a good 3-4 hours, so make sure to plan your Moscow trip itinerary accordingly! This gallery is a must-see stop for art lovers, or anyone wanting to explore the local culture and history of Russia in a creative and insightful manner! 

Insider Tip: When planning your 2 days in Moscow itinerary, keep in mind that most museums in Moscow are closed on Mondays, this includes The State Tretyakov Gallery!

Day 2 / Stop 4 – All-Russian Exhibition Center

  • Why it’s awesome: This large exhibition center showcases the achievements of the Soviet Union in several different spheres. 
  • Food nearby: Varenichnaya No. 1 serves authentic and homestyle Russian cuisine in an intimate and casual setting.

The All-Russian Exhibition Center is a massive park that presents the glory of the Soviet era! It pays homage to the achievements of Soviet Russia with its many different sites found on the property.

The center was officially opened in 1939 to exhibit the achievements of the Soviet Union. It’s a huge complex of buildings and the largest exhibition center in Moscow. There are several exhibition halls dedicated to different achievements and every year there are more than one hundred and fifty specialized exhibitions!

All Russian Exhibition Center

The Peoples Friendship Fountain was constructed in 1954 and is a highlight of the park. The stunning gold fountain features 16 gilded statues of girls, each representing the former Soviet Union republics. 

The Stone Flower Fountain was also built in 1954 and is worth checking out. The centerpiece of this large fountain is a flower carved from stones from the Ural Mountains! Along the side of the fountain are various bronze sculptures.

You will find many people zipping around on rollerblades and bicycles across the large area that the venue covers. It’s also home to amusement rides and carousels, making it the perfect place to stop with kids on your Moscow itinerary! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and allow a few hours to explore all the areas that interest you!

Day 2 / Stop 5 – Bolshoi Theater

  • Why it’s awesome: The Bolshoi Theater is a historic venue that hosts world-class ballet and opera performances!
  • Cost: Prices vary largely between USD $2.00 –  USD $228.00 based on seat location.
  • Food nearby: Head to the Russian restaurant, Bolshoi for high-quality food and drinks and excellent service!

The Bolshoi Theater is among the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world! It also boasts the world’s biggest ballet company, with more than 200 dancers!

The theater has been rebuilt and renovated several times during its long history. In 2011 it finished its most recent renovation after an extensive six-year restoration that started in 2005. The renovation included an improvement in acoustics and the restoration of the original Imperial decor.

The Bolshoi Theater has put on many of the world’s most famous ballet acts! Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake premiered at the theater in 1877 and other notable performances of the Bolshoi repertoire include Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker!

Bolshoi Theater

Today, when you visit the theater, you can expect a magical performance from skilled singers, dancers, and musicians with the highest level of technique!

If you don’t have time to see a show, the theater also provides guided tours on select days of the week. Tours are given in both Russian and English and will provide visitors with a more intimate look at the different areas of the theater!

The stage of this iconic Russian theater has seen many outstanding performances. If you’re a fan of the performing arts, the Bolshoi Theater is one of the greatest and oldest ballet and opera companies in the world, making it a must-see attraction on your Moscow itinerary!

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Godzillas Hostel

Godzillas Hostel is located in the center of Moscow, just a short walk from all the major tourist attractions and the metro station.

  • Towels Included

Cosmonautics Museum | Alexander Garden | Ostankino Tower | Izmaylovo District | Soviet Arcade Museum

Now that we’ve covered what to do in Moscow in 2 days, if you’re able to spend more time in the city you’re going to need more attractions to fill your time. Here are a few more really cool things to do in Moscow we recommend!

Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

  • Hear the timeline of the ‘space race’ from the Russian perspective
  • This museum is fun for both adults and children!
  • Admission is USD $4.00

The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is a museum dedicated to space exploration! The museum explores the history of flight, astronomy, space exploration, space technology, and space in the arts. It houses a large assortment of Soviet and Russian space-related exhibits, and the museum’s collection holds approximately 85,000 different items!

Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

The museum does an excellent job of telling the full story of the exciting space race between the USSR and the US! It highlights the brightest moments in Russian history and humanity and is very interesting and fun for all ages!

If you’re a fan of space or just curious about gaining insight into Russia’s fascinating history of space exploration, make sure to add this to your 3 day itinerary in Moscow!

The Alexander Garden

  • A tranquil place to relax near the Red Square
  • Green lawns dotted with sculptures and lovely water features
  • The park is open every day and has no entrance fee

The Alexander Garden was one of the first urban public parks in Moscow! The garden premiered in 1821 and was built to celebrate Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s forces in 1812!

The park is beautiful and well maintained with paths to walk on and benches to rest on. The park contains three separate gardens: the upper garden, middle garden, and lower garden.

The Alexander Garden

Located in the upper garden, towards the main entrance to the park is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with its eternal flame. This monument was created in 1967 and contains the body of a soldier who fell during the Great Patriotic War!

The park stretches along all the length of the western Kremlin wall for about half a mile. Due to its central location in the city, it’ll be easily accessible when you’re out exploring The Red Square.

It provides a bit of relief from the city’s high-energy city streets. Bring a picnic lunch, go for a walk, or just sit and people watch, this is one of the best Moscow sites to wind-down and relax!

Ostankino Television Tower

  • Television and radio tower in Moscow
  • Currently the tallest free-standing structure in Europe
  • Make sure you bring your passport when you visit, you can’t go up without it!

For spectacular views of the city, make sure to add the Ostankino Television Tower to your itinerary for Moscow! This impressive free-standing structure provides stunning views of the city in every direction. The glass floor at the top also provides great alternative views of the city!

Ostankino Television Tower

It takes just 58 seconds for visitors to reach the Tower’s observation deck by super fast elevator. The tower is open every day for long hours and is a great site in Moscow to check out! There is even a restaurant at the top where you can enjoy rotating views of the city while you dine on traditional Russian cuisine or European cuisine!

The tower is somewhat of an architectural surprise in a city that is not known for skyscrapers! To see the city from a new perspective, make sure to add this stop to your Moscow itinerary!

Izmaylovo District

  • The most popular attractions in this district are the kremlin and the flea market
  • Outside of the city center and easy to reach via metro
  • Most popular during the summer and on weekends

Travel outside the city center and discover a unique area of the city! The Izmaylovo District is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and one of the coolest places to see in Moscow! The two main attractions we recommend checking out are the Kremlin and the flea market.

The Izmailovo Kremlin was established as a cultural center and molded after traditional Russian architecture. This colorful complex is home to several single-subject museums, including a Russian folk art museum and a vodka museum!

Izmaylovo District

Next to the Kremlin is the Izmailovo open-air market, which dates back to the 17th century! The market is connected to the Izmailovo Kremlin by a wooden bridge. Pick up all your Russian souvenirs here, including traditional handicrafts, paintings, books, retro toys, and Soviet memorabilia!

You will find many hand-made and hand-painted options available at higher prices, as well as mass-produced souvenir options at lower prices!

Museum of Soviet Arcade Games

  • Closed on Mondays
  • Filled with old arcade games that visitors get to try out!
  • The museum also includes a small cafe and burger shop

For something a little different, check out the Museum of Soviet Arcade Games! The museum features roughly 60 machines from the Soviet era, including video games, pinball machines, and collaborative hockey foosball! The machines inside the museum were produced in the USSR in the mid-1970s.

Museum of Soviet Arcade Games

The best part is, most of the games are still playable! Purchase tickets and try the games out for yourself! The museum also has a neat little screening room that plays old Soviet cartoons and an area with Soviet magazines! This unique attraction is a fun addition to a 3 day itinerary in Moscow, and an attraction that all ages will enjoy! 

Whether you’re spending one day in Moscow, or more, safety is an important thing to keep in mind when traveling to a big city! Overall, Moscow is a very safe place to visit. However, it is always recommended that tourists take certain precautions when traveling to a new destination!

The police in Moscow is extremely effective at making the city a safe place to visit and do their best to patrol all of the top Moscow, Russia tourist attractions. However, tourists can still be a target for pickpockets and scammers.

Moscow has a huge flow of tourists, therefore there is a risk for pickpocketing. Simple precautions will help eliminate your chances of being robbed. Stay vigilant, keep your items close to you at all times, and don’t flash your valuables!

If you’re planning a solo Moscow itinerary, you should have no need to worry, as the city is also considered safe for solo travelers, even women. Stay in the populated areas, try and not travel alone late at night, and never accept rides from strangers or taxis without a meter and correct signage.

The threat of natural disasters in Moscow is low, with the exception of severe winters when the temperature can dip below freezing! Bring a good, warm jacket if you visit in Winter.

However, please note that Russian views on homsexuality are far less accepting than those in Western Europe. Likewise, Non-Caucasian travellers may sadly encounter racism in Russia .

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance for Moscow

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Now that we’ve covered all the top things to see in Moscow, we thought we’d include some exciting day trips to other areas of the country!

Sergiev Posad (Golden Ring)

Sergiev Posad Golden Ring

On this 7-hour guided tour, you’ll visit several scenic and historic areas of Russia. Start your day with hotel pick-up as you’re transferred by a comfortable car or minivan to Sergiev Posad. Admire the charming Russian countryside on your drive and enjoy a quick stop to visit the Russian village, Rudonezh!

You’ll see the majestic Saint Spring and the Church of Sergiev Radonezh. You’ll also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, one of the most famous Orthodox sites in Russia!

Lastly, you’ll swing by the local Matreshka market and enjoy a break in a nice Russian restaurant before returning to Moscow!

Day Trip to Vladimir and Suzdal

Day Trip to Vladimir and Suzdal

On this 13-hour trip, you’ll discover old Russia, with its picturesque landscapes and white-stoned beautiful churches! You’ll visit the main towns of the famous Golden Ring of Russia – the name for several cities and smaller towns north-east of Moscow.

Your first stop will be in the town of Vladimir, the ancient capital of all Russian principalities. The city dates back to the 11th century and is one of the oldest and the most important towns along the Ring! Next, you’ll visit Suzdal, a calm ancient Russian town north of Vladimir with only 13,000 inhabitants!

The old-style architecture and buildings of Suzdal are kept wonderfully intact. If you’re spending three days in Moscow, or more, this is a great option for exploring the charming areas outside the city!

Zvenigorod Day Trip and Russian Countryside

Zvenigorod Day Trip and Russian Countryside

On this 9-hour private tour, you’ll explore the ancient town of Zvenigorod, one of the oldest towns in the Moscow region! As you leave Moscow you’ll enjoy the stunning scenery along the Moscow River, and make a few stops at old churches along the way to Zvenigorod.

Upon arrival, you’ll explore the medieval center, including the 14th-century Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery. Next, you’ll take a break for lunch (own expense) where you’ll have the chance to try out the Russian cuisine! Next, you’ll visit the Museum of Russian Dessert and sip on tea at a Russian tea ceremony.

The final stop of the day is at the Ershovo Estate, a gorgeous place to walk around and enjoy nature!

Day Trip to St Petersburg by Train visiting Hermitage & Faberge

Day Trip to St Petersburg by Train visiting Hermitage and Faberge

On this full-day tour, you’ll enjoy a a full round trip to St Petersburg where you’ll spend an exciting day exploring another popular Russian city! You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Moscow and be transferred to the train station where you’ll ride the high-speed train ‘Sapsan’ to St Petersburg.

Upon arrival, you’ll start the day by touring the Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace. Next, you’ll visit the Faberge Museum, where you’ll explore the impressive collection of rare Faberge Eggs! In the afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing boat ride and a traditional 3-course Russian lunch.

If you’re spending 3 days in Moscow, or more, this is an excellent trip to take!

Trip to Kolomna – Authentic Cultural Experience from Moscow

Trip to Kolomna - Authentic Cultural Experience from Moscow

On this 10-hour tour, you’ll escape the city and travel to the historic town of Kolomna! First, you’ll visit the 14th-century Kolomna Kremlin, home to the Assumption Cathedral and an abundance of museums!

Next, enjoy lunch at a local cafe (own expense) before embarking on a tour of the Marshmallow Museum – of course, a marshmallow tasting is provided!  Your final stop is the Museum of Forging Settlements, where displays include armor and accessories for fishing and hunting.

Discover this beautiful Russian fairytale city on a private trip, where all of the planning is taken care of for you!

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Find out what people want to know when planning their Moscow itinerary.

How many days you need in Moscow?

We recommend that you spend at least two or three days in Moscow to take it all in.

What’s the best month to visit Moscow?

The best time to visit Moscow is over the spring, from March to May as temperatures are mild, crowds are thin and prices are reasonable.

What are some unusual things to do in Moscow?

I mean, queuing up to see an almost 100 year old corpse is pretty unsual! Check out Lenin’s Mausoleum if you fancy it!

What are some fun things to do in Moscow?

The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is a fun place to explore the famous space race from the perspective of the ‘other side’!

We hope you enjoyed our Moscow itinerary! We’ve made sure to cover all the Moscow must-sees as well as some unique attractions in the city! Our addition of insider tips, favorite food stops, and day trips from Moscow is an added bonus and will guarantee you make the most out of your exciting Russian vacation!

Immerse yourself in the modern and traditional Russian lifestyle! Get lost in museums, witness awe-inspiring architecture, and indulge in Russian cuisine! Spend the day strolling through all of the charming sites of Moscow, admiring the beautiful scenery and discovering the city’s fairytale-like enchantment!

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Alya and Campbell

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Moscow   Travel Guide

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Why Go To Moscow

Moscow's opulence and high culture is a sight to be seen. Forget what you learned about Russia in grade school. This lavish capital of a formerly communist nation has fully embraced the luxuries, excesses and decadence of Western capitalism. Like many former Soviet countries, Mother Russia struggles to successfully confront issues of widespread poverty, alcoholism, failing healthcare, and environmental protection. But Moscow has burgeoned into one of the most expensive, exclusive and largest travel destinations in the world. It comes complete with world-class museums, magnificent palaces, $1,000-a-night hotels, "face-control" nightclubs and internationally-renowned restaurants. Don't think you can afford Moscow? Don't be afraid. You can still find affordable deals if you are vigilant. This metropolis has a big and bold character and grandiose setting that's definitely worth getting to know.

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Best of Moscow

Best hotels in moscow.

  • # 1 in Hotel Metropol Moscow
  • # 2 in Radisson Collection Hotel, Moscow
  • # 3 in Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow

Hotel Metropol Moscow

Best Things to Do in Moscow

  • # 1 in Red Square
  • # 2 in Tretyakov Gallery
  • # 3 in St. Basil's Cathedral

Moscow Travel Tips

Best months to visit.

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. But if you want to (slightly) spare yourself from the perpetually expensive rates, try the shoulder seasons in the spring and early fall. Preferably spring, since fall experiences more rainfall and less sunlight. Winters are brutally cold, but this is when you'll get a true glimpse into the Moscow experience (A frost-bitten walk through Red Square seems to intensify the historical significance of this great capital city).

Weather in Moscow

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

A little Russian English is spoken only in major hotels and restaurants, and you'll find mostly Russian speakers in the less tourist-heavy areas. American visitors also struggle with the Cyrillic spellings and pronunciations. Practice some key Russian phrases on the long flight over.

A little tipping Unlike most other European cities, tipping (five to 10 percent) in restaurants is the custom.

A lot of vodka This Russian drink of choice (yes, they usually consume it straight) is found at any bar. But if you wish to taste it and learn about its origins, the Moscow Distillery Cristall is your best bet.

How to Save Money in Moscow

If it seems too good to be true It probably is. Take that proverb to heart in Moscow, and don't expect the Czarist medal you purchased off a street vendor to be worth anything more than a good memory.

If you're oblivious on the subway You'll probably leave several rubles lighter. Pickpockets prey on unsuspecting foreigners in crowded places, particularly metro cars. Beware!

If you're not scared of the dark You may be able to handle Moscow's long nights in fall, winter and spring, when hotels offer the lowest rates. December sees an average of 18 hours of sunlight … in total.

Culture & Customs

English is spoken in major hotels and restaurants, but you'll find mostly Russian speakers in the less tourist-heavy areas, such as at the market or in small inns. Some helpful Russian greetings include the informal hello (pronounced, pri-VET ); the formal hello ( Zdravst-vwee-tye ); the informal goodbye ( pah-KAH ); and the formal goodbye ( Dah svih-DA-nee-ye ). To thank someone, say " Spas-EE-ba ."

What to Eat

Traditional Russian fare focuses on hearty meat dishes and cold soup, a particularly Russian specialty. But don't arrive in Moscow thinking you'll experience only the old cuisine. Russia's new personality has been accompanied by a lavish taste for international cuisine, especially Asian food. Sushi and Asian fusion restaurants are among the most popular in the city, and other dining options include American and Italian cuisine. Eating out, like everything in Moscow, can be very expensive, but you can find cheaper restaurants in shopping centers and areas outside the city center. 

Stay alert for pickpockets when using public transport and when visiting the main tourist sites. Many an unsuspecting traveler has been relieved of some rubles on the Moscow Metro and near Red Square. Also, make sure to exercise extra caution when leaving bars and clubs at night.

There have been cases of corrupt police asking for random fines -- if this occurs, get the officer's number and name and ask to go to the police station with him or her.

Getting Around Moscow

The best way to get around Moscow is the metro. Faster and more efficient than the trolley buses and trams, this extensive system has stations that contain beautiful ornamentation, sculptures and mosaics. You could rent a car, but it's best to use public transportation to avoid the city's perpetually congested roads. Plus, street signs are all in Russian. In fact, English signs are nonexistent in the public transit system as well, so it's best to quickly get familiar with a map. Most travelers arrive through Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), but there are several other airports that serve the metro area. Several buses and a metro line shuttle airport travelers to and from downtown.

Entry & Exit Requirements

Acquiring a visa to travel in Russia is a bit more complicated and expensive than visiting other countries. Every foreign traveler entering Russia must have a Russian-based sponsor (like a hotel, tour company, university or relative). In addition to a valid U.S. passport, you must also obtain a travel visa from a Russian embassy or consulate prior to arriving in Russia. If you plan to stay in Russia for more than seven days, you have to register your visa and migration card (the white paper document given by the border police on first entry to Russia) with the Federal Migration Service. Visas can cost anywhere from $160 to $250 per person, depending on the length of your stay. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. State Department website .

Red Square is one of the most famous squares in the world.

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  • Moscow Travel Agent

As a leading travel agency in Moscow, Exploring Tourism aims to make your visit truly unforgettable. Our expert Moscow travel agent know all about its vibrant culture, history, and hidden gems, ensuring that you experience all it has to offer during your stay here. When you choose us as your travel agency in Moscow, you gain access to our extensive knowledge and expertise. Every traveler is unique; therefore, we take the time to listen carefully to your preferences and interests before creating tailored itineraries that best meet your needs. No matter whether it is history, food, or adventure you seek, we have something in Moscow just right for you!

Our travel agent in Moscow will take care of organizing all aspects of your trip, from booking flights and accommodations to organizing guided tours and activities. We collaborate closely with a network of trusted partners and local tour operators in Moscow to create an authentic and immersive experience for you in Moscow. From exploring historical landmarks to indulging in culinary delights, we will take you on a journey that showcases the true essence of Moscow.

Moscow is a city steeped in history, boasting numerous iconic landmarks and attractions. From the modern wonders and the historic places, our sightseeing tours ensure you don't miss out on the city's architectural marvels, cultural hotspots, and hidden gems.

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To make your travel experience seamless and hassle-free, we offer thoughtfully crafted tour packages. Whether you're interested in exploring the small places of Moscow, visiting sacred places, or discovering the beautiful landscapes, our Moscow tour packages cater to diverse interests and budgets.

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Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Moscow with our exciting activities. Experience the thrill of road transport, savor the flavors of authentic Russia cuisine during food tours, or indulge in traditional dance and music performances. Our carefully curated activities allow you to create cherished memories during your time in Moscow.

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Moscow is a treasure trove of attractions, offering something for every traveler. Explore the shop for souvenirs at the colorful bazaars, visit the religious places, or take a peaceful stroll in the serene gardens. With our expert guidance, you'll discover the best places to visit and experience the true essence of Moscow.

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Navigating a bustling city like Moscow can be daunting, but our Moscow travel agency takes care of your transportation needs. Whether you prefer private transfers, chauffeur-driven cars, or reliable public transportation, we ensure seamless and comfortable journeys throughout your trip.

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Discover the beauty and magic of Moscow with Exploring Tourism, a trusted Moscow travel agency, by your side. Contact us today to start planning your dream trip to this incredible city. Let us create memories that will last a lifetime as we take you on a journey through the vibrant places, ancient monuments, and captivating culture of Moscow.

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Travel Itinerary For One Week in Moscow: The Best of Moscow!

I just got back from one week in Moscow. And, as you might have already guessed, it was a mind-boggling experience. It was not my first trip to the Russian capital. But I hardly ever got enough time to explore this sprawling city. Visiting places for business rarely leaves enough time for sightseeing. I think that if you’ve got one week in Russia, you can also consider splitting your time between its largest cities (i.e. Saint Petersburg ) to get the most out of your trip. Seven days will let you see the majority of the main sights and go beyond just scratching the surface. In this post, I’m going to share with you my idea of the perfect travel itinerary for one week in Moscow.

Moscow is perhaps both the business and cultural hub of Russia. There is a lot more to see here than just the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Centuries-old churches with onion-shaped domes dotted around the city are in stark contrast with newly completed impressive skyscrapers of Moscow City dominating the skyline. I spent a lot of time thinking about my Moscow itinerary before I left. And this city lived up to all of my expectations.

7-day Moscow itinerary

Travel Itinerary For One Week in Moscow

Day 1 – red square and the kremlin.

Metro Station: Okhotny Ryad on Red Line.

No trip to Moscow would be complete without seeing its main attraction. The Red Square is just a stone’s throw away from several metro stations. It is home to some of the most impressive architectural masterpieces in the city. The first thing you’ll probably notice after entering it and passing vendors selling weird fur hats is the fairytale-like looking Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It was built to commemorate one of the major victories of Ivan the Terrible. I once spent 20 minutes gazing at it, trying to find the perfect angle to snap it. It was easier said than done because of the hordes of locals and tourists.

As you continue strolling around Red Square, there’s no way you can miss Gum. It was widely known as the main department store during the Soviet Era. Now this large (yet historic) shopping mall is filled with expensive boutiques, pricey eateries, etc. During my trip to Moscow, I was on a tight budget. So I only took a retro-style stroll in Gum to get a rare glimpse of a place where Soviet leaders used to grocery shop and buy their stuff. In case you want some modern shopping experience, head to the Okhotny Ryad Shopping Center with stores like New Yorker, Zara, and Adidas.

things to do in Moscow in one week

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To continue this Moscow itinerary, next you may want to go inside the Kremlin walls. This is the center of Russian political power and the president’s official residence. If you’re planning to pay Kremlin a visit do your best to visit Ivan the Great Bell Tower as well. Go there as early as possible to avoid crowds and get an incredible bird’s-eye view. There are a couple of museums that are available during designated visiting hours. Make sure to book your ticket online and avoid lines.

Day 2 – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Tretyakov Gallery, and the Arbat Street

Metro Station: Kropotkinskaya on Red Line

As soon as you start creating a Moscow itinerary for your second day, you’ll discover that there are plenty of metro stations that are much closer to certain sites. Depending on your route, take a closer look at the metro map to pick the closest.

The white marble walls of Christ the Saviour Cathedral are awe-inspiring. As you approach this tallest Orthodox Christian church, you may notice the bronze sculptures, magnificent arches, and cupolas that were created to commemorate Russia’s victory against Napoleon.

travel itinerary for one week in Moscow

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Unfortunately, the current Cathedral is a replica, since original was blown to bits in 1931 by the Soviet government. The new cathedral basically follows the original design, but they have added some new elements such as marble high reliefs.

Home to some precious collection of artworks, in Tretyakov Gallery you can find more than 150,000 of works spanning centuries of artistic endeavor. Originally a privately owned gallery, it now has become one of the largest museums in Russia. The Gallery is often considered essential to visit. But I have encountered a lot of locals who have never been there.

Famous for its souvenirs, musicians, and theaters, Arbat street is among the few in Moscow that were turned into pedestrian zones. Arbat street is usually very busy with tourists and locals alike. My local friend once called it the oldest street in Moscow dating back to 1493. It is a kilometer long walking street filled with fancy gift shops, small cozy restaurants, lots of cute cafes, and street artists. It is closed to any vehicular traffic, so you can easily stroll it with kids.

Day 3 – Moscow River Boat Ride, Poklonnaya Hill Victory Park, the Moscow City

Metro Station: Kievskaya and Park Pobedy on Dark Blue Line / Vystavochnaya on Light Blue Line

Voyaging along the Moscow River is definitely one of the best ways to catch a glimpse of the city and see the attractions from a bit different perspective. Depending on your Moscow itinerary, travel budget and the time of the year, there are various types of boats available. In the summer there is no shortage of boats, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.

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If you find yourself in Moscow during the winter months, I’d recommend going with Radisson boat cruise. These are often more expensive (yet comfy). They offer refreshments like tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and, of course, alcoholic drinks. Prices may vary but mostly depend on your food and drink selection. Find their main pier near the opulent Ukraine hotel . The hotel is one of the “Seven Sisters”, so if you’re into the charm of Stalinist architecture don’t miss a chance to stay there.

The area near Poklonnaya Hill has the closest relation to the country’s recent past. The memorial complex was completed in the mid-1990s to commemorate the Victory and WW2 casualties. Also known as the Great Patriotic War Museum, activities here include indoor attractions while the grounds around host an open-air museum with old tanks and other vehicles used on the battlefield.

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The hallmark of the memorial complex and the first thing you see as you exit metro is the statue of Nike mounted to its column. This is a very impressive Obelisk with a statue of Saint George slaying the dragon at its base.

Maybe not as impressive as Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower , the skyscrapers of the Moscow City (otherwise known as Moscow International Business Center) are so drastically different from dull Soviet architecture. With 239 meters and 60 floors, the Empire Tower is the seventh highest building in the business district.

The observation deck occupies 56 floor from where you have some panoramic views of the city. I loved the view in the direction of Moscow State University and Luzhniki stadium as well to the other side with residential quarters. The entrance fee is pricey, but if you’re want to get a bird’s eye view, the skyscraper is one of the best places for doing just that.

Day 4 – VDNKh, Worker and Collective Farm Woman Monument, The Ostankino TV Tower

Metro Station: VDNKh on Orange Line

VDNKh is one of my favorite attractions in Moscow. The weird abbreviation actually stands for Russian vystavka dostizheniy narodnogo khozyaystva (Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy). With more than 200 buildings and 30 pavilions on the grounds, VDNKh serves as an open-air museum. You can easily spend a full day here since the park occupies a very large area.

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First, there are pavilions that used to showcase different cultures the USSR was made of. Additionally, there is a number of shopping pavilions, as well as Moskvarium (an Oceanarium) that features a variety of marine species. VDNKh is a popular venue for events and fairs. There is always something going on, so I’d recommend checking their website if you want to see some particular exhibition.

A stone’s throw away from VDNKh there is a very distinctive 25-meters high monument. Originally built in 1937 for the world fair in Paris, the hulking figures of men and women holding a hammer and a sickle represent the Soviet idea of united workers and farmers. It doesn’t take much time to see the monument, but visiting it gives some idea of the Soviet Union’s grandiose aspirations.

I have a thing for tall buildings. So to continue my travel itinerary for one week in Moscow I decided to climb the fourth highest TV tower in the world. This iconic 540m tower is a fixture of the skyline. You can see it virtually from everywhere in Moscow, and this is where you can get the best panoramic views (yep, even better than Empire skyscraper).

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Parts of the floor are made of tempered glass, so it can be quite scary to exit the elevator. But trust me, as you start observing buildings and cars below, you won’t want to leave. There is only a limited number of tickets per day, so you may want to book online. Insider tip: the first tour is cheaper, you can save up to $10 if go there early.

Day 5 – A Tour To Moscow Manor Houses

Metro Station: Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno on Dark Green Line / Kuskovo on Purple Line

I love visiting the manor houses and palaces in Moscow. These opulent buildings were generally built to house Russian aristocratic families and monarchs. Houses tend to be rather grand affairs with impressive architecture. And, depending on the whims of the owners, some form of a landscaped garden.

During the early part of the 20th century though, many of Russia’s aristocratic families (including the family of the last emperor) ended up being killed or moving abroad . Their manor houses were nationalized. Some time later (after the fall of the USSR) these were open to the public. It means that today a great many of Moscow’s finest manor houses and palaces are open for touring.

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There are 20 manor houses scattered throughout the city and more than 25 in the area around. But not all of them easily accessible and exploring them often takes a lot of time. I’d recommend focusing on three most popular estates in Moscow that are some 30-minute metro ride away from Kremlin.

Sandwiched between the Moscow River and the Andropov Avenue, Kolomenskoye is a UNESCO site that became a public park in the 1920’s. Once a former royal estate, now it is one of the most tranquil parks in the city with gorgeous views. The Ascension Church, The White Column, and the grounds are a truly grand place to visit.

You could easily spend a full day here, exploring a traditional Russian village (that is, in fact, a market), picnicking by the river, enjoying the Eastern Orthodox church architecture, hiking the grounds as well as and wandering the park and gardens with wildflower meadows, apple orchards, and birch and maple groves. The estate museum showcases Russian nature at its finest year-round.

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If my travel itinerary for one week in Moscow was a family tree, Tsaritsyno Park would probably be the crazy uncle that no-one talks about. It’s a large park in the south of the city of mind-boggling proportions, unbelievable in so many ways, and yet most travelers have never heard of it.

The palace was supposed to be a summer home for Empress Catherine the Great. But since the construction didn’t meet with her approval the palace was abandoned. Since the early 1990’s the palace, the pond, and the grounds have been undergoing renovations. The entire complex is now looking brighter and more elaborately decorated than at possibly any other time during its history. Like most parks in Moscow, you can visit Tsaritsyno free of charge, but there is a small fee if you want to visit the palace.

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Last, but by no means least on my Moscow itinerary is Kuskovo Park . This is definitely an off-the-beaten-path place. While it is not easily accessible, you will be rewarded with a lack of crowds. This 18th-century summer country house of the Sheremetev family was one of the first summer country estates of the Russian nobility. And when you visit you’ll quickly realize why locals love this park.

Like many other estates, Kuskovo has just been renovated. So there are lovely French formal garden, a grotto, and the Dutch house to explore. Make sure to plan your itinerary well because the estate is some way from a metro station.

Day 6 – Explore the Golden Ring

Creating the Moscow itinerary may keep you busy for days with the seemingly endless amount of things to do. Visiting the so-called Golden Ring is like stepping back in time. Golden Ring is a “theme route” devised by promotion-minded journalist and writer Yuri Bychkov.

Having started in Moscow the route will take you through a number of historical cities. It now includes Suzdal, Vladimir, Kostroma, Yaroslavl and Sergiev Posad. All these awe-inspiring towns have their own smaller kremlins and feature dramatic churches with onion-shaped domes, tranquil residential areas, and other architectural landmarks.

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I only visited two out of eight cities included on the route. It is a no-brainer that Sergiev Posad is the nearest and the easiest city to see on a day trip from Moscow. That being said, you can explore its main attractions in just one day. Located some 70 km north-east of the Russian capital, this tiny and overlooked town is home to Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, UNESCO Site.

things to do in Moscow in seven days

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Sergiev Posad is often described as being at the heart of Russian spiritual life. So it is uncommon to see the crowds of Russian pilgrims showing a deep reverence for their religion. If you’re traveling independently and using public transport, you can reach Sergiev Posad by bus (departs from VDNKh) or by suburban commuter train from Yaroslavskaya Railway Station (Bahnhof). It takes about one and a half hours to reach the town.

Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a great place to get a glimpse of filling and warming Russian lunch, specifically at the “ Gostevaya Izba ” restaurant. Try the duck breast, hearty potato and vegetables, and the awesome Napoleon cake.

Day 7 – Gorky Park, Izmailovo Kremlin, Patriarch’s Ponds

Metro Station: Park Kultury or Oktyabrskaya on Circle Line / Partizanskaya on Dark Blue Line / Pushkinskaya on Dark Green Line

Gorky Park is in the heart of Moscow. It offers many different types of outdoor activities, such as dancing, cycling, skateboarding, walking, jogging, and anything else you can do in a park. Named after Maxim Gorky, this sprawling and lovely park is where locals go on a picnic, relax and enjoy free yoga classes. It’s a popular place to bike around, and there is a Muzeon Art Park not far from here. A dynamic location with a younger vibe. There is also a pier, so you can take a cruise along the river too.

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The Kremlin in Izmailovo is by no means like the one you can find near the Red Square. Originally built for decorative purposes, it now features the Vernissage flea market and a number of frequent fairs, exhibitions, and conferences. Every weekend, there’s a giant flea market in Izmailovo, where dozens of stalls sell Soviet propaganda crap, Russian nesting dolls, vinyl records, jewelry and just about any object you can imagine. Go early in the morning if you want to beat the crowds.

All the Bulgakov’s fans should pay a visit to Patriarch’s Ponds (yup, that is plural). With a lovely small city park and the only one (!) pond in the middle, the location is where the opening scene of Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita was set. The novel is centered around a visit by Devil to the atheistic Soviet Union is considered by many critics to be one of the best novels of the 20th century. I spent great two hours strolling the nearby streets and having lunch in the hipster cafe.

Conclusion and Recommendations

To conclude, Moscow is a safe city to visit. I have never had a problem with getting around and most locals are really friendly once they know you’re a foreigner. Moscow has undergone some serious reconstruction over the last few years. So you can expect some places to be completely different. I hope my one week Moscow itinerary was helpful! If you have less time, say 4 days or 5 days, I would cut out day 6 and day 7. You could save the Golden Ring for a separate trip entirely as there’s lots to see!

What are your thoughts on this one week Moscow itinerary? Are you excited about your first time in the city? Let me know in the comments below!

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24 comments.

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Ann Snook-Moreau

Moscow looks so beautiful and historic! Thanks for including public transit information for those of us who don’t like to rent cars.

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MindTheTravel

Yup, that is me 🙂 Rarely rent + stick to the metro = Full wallet!

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Mariella Blago

Looks like you had loads of fun! Well done. Also great value post for travel lovers.

Thanks, Mariella!

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I have always wanted to go to Russia, especially Moscow. These sights look absolutely beautiful to see and there is so much history there!

Agree! Moscow is a thousand-year-old city and there is definitely something for everyone.

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Tara Pittman

Those are amazing buildings. Looks like a place that would be amazing to visit.

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Adriana Lopez

Never been to Moscow or Russia but my family has. Many great spots and a lot of culture. Your itinerary sounds fantastic and covers a lot despite it is only a short period of time.

What was their favourite thing about Russia?

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Gladys Parker

I know very little about Moscow or Russia for the\at matter. I do know I would have to see the Red Square and all of its exquisite architectural masterpieces. Also the CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR. Thanks for shedding some light on visiting Moscow.

Thanks for swinging by! The Red Square is a great starting point, but there way too many places and things to discover aside from it!

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Ruthy @ Percolate Kitchen

You are making me so jealous!! I’ve always wanted to see Russia.

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Moscow is in my bucket list, I don’t know when I can visit there, your post is really useful. As a culture rich place we need to spend at least week.

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DANA GUTKOWSKI

Looks like you had a great trip! Thanks for all the great info! I’ve never been in to Russia, but this post makes me wanna go now!

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Wow this is amazing! Moscow is on my bucket list – such an amazing place to visit I can imagine! I can’t wait to go there one day!

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The building on the second picture looks familiar. I keep seeing that on TV.

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Reesa Lewandowski

What beautiful moments! I always wish I had the personality to travel more like this!

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Perfect itinerary for spending a week in Moscow! So many places to visit and it looks like you had a wonderful time. I would love to climb that tower. The views I am sure must have been amazing!

I was lucky enough to see the skyline of Moscow from this TV Tower and it is definitely mind-blowing.

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Chelsea Pearl

Moscow is definitely up there on my travel bucket list. So much history and iconic architecture!

Thumbs up! 🙂

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Blair Villanueva

OMG I dream to visit Moscow someday! Hope the visa processing would be okay (and become more affordable) so I could pursue my dream trip!

Yup, visa processing is the major downside! Agree! Time and the money consuming process…

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THE 10 BEST Moscow Shopping Malls

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1. Central Children's Store

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2. Aviapark Shopping Mall

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9. Mall Columbus

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Blinken will head to eastern Europe as concerns mount about Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to eastern Europe next week as concerns mount about Russia's advances in Ukraine, potential Russian interference in neighboring Moldova and pro-Moscow legislation being promoted in the former Soviet republi...

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to eastern Europe next week as concerns mount about Russia’s advances in Ukraine , potential Russian interference in neighboring Moldova and pro-Moscow legislation being promoted in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the State Department said Friday.

Blinken will visit the Moldovan capital of Chişinau on Wednesday before attending a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Prague on Thursday and Friday. That meeting will be the military alliance's last major diplomatic get-together before leaders meet at a summit to celebrate NATO's 80th anniversary in Washington in July.

The trip comes just two weeks after Blinken made an unannounced trip to Ukraine to reassure Kyiv of Washington’s support in the face of intensified Russian attacks in its north. There are also signs Russia may be considering new actions in Moldova and is behind anti-Western moves in Georgia that the U.S. believes run counter to Moldovan and Georgian aspirations to integrate with Europe.

At his first stop in Chişinau, Blinken will meet Moldovan President Maia Sandu to reaffirm U.S. backing for Moldova's progress on joining the European Union, the State Department said. The top U.S. diplomat for Europe, James O'Brien, said Blinken would announce a “robust” support package for Moldova, where there are 1,500 Russian troops stationed in the disputed territory of Transnistria.

“There’s not a direct military threat that we see at this time, but there’s ongoing Russian influence operations, and that is of concern,” O'Brien told reporters. He did not give details of the support package.

Moldova, like Ukraine, is a candidate member for EU membership and has repeatedly accused Russia of conducting a “hybrid war” against the country, meddling in local election s and running vast disinformation campaigns to try to topple the government and derail its path toward joining the 27-nation EU.

Russia has denied the accusations, but the Moldovan government is wary of Moscow's intentions, particularly after Transnistrian authorities appealed to Moscow in February for “protection” due to what they said was increased pressure from Chişinau.

In Prague, Blinken will meet Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský and other officials to discuss support for Ukraine, including a Czech initiative to supply more munitions to Kyiv, before attending the NATO gathering.

With Ukraine as the top agenda item, NATO ministers also will be looking at developments in Georgia, which like Ukraine, aspires to join NATO and is embroiled in controversy over legislation that many believe is driven by Moscow and intended to thwart Georgia's Western aspirations.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the “Russian law” targeting media that has sparked weeks of mass protests, but the ruling party has a parliamentary majority sufficient to override her veto and is widely expected to do so.

The legislation would require media and nongovernmental organizations to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad. Critics say it closely resembles legislation the Kremlin used to silence opponents and that it will obstruct Georgia’s bid to join the EU.

Late Thursday, Blinken announced that the U.S. would impose travel bans on Georgian officials “who are responsible for or complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia, as well as their family members. This includes individuals responsible for suppressing civil society and freedom of peaceful assembly in Georgia through a campaign of violence or intimidation."

Blinken's announcement did not identify anyone who has already been targeted, but it also said the U.S. would undertake a comprehensive review of U.S.-Georgia cooperation.

“It remains our hope that Georgia’s leaders will reconsider the draft law and take steps to move forward with their nation’s democratic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” he said. “As we review the relationship between our two countries, we will take into account Georgia’s actions in deciding our own.”

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Ukraine-Russia war latest: What's happening with conflict right now?

At least 16 people were killed in a Russian missile strike on a DIY store in Kharkiv city this weekend - read about this in our overview of what's happening in Ukraine below, and we'll be back with live updates on Tuesday.

Monday 27 May 2024 08:11, UK

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  • The big picture: What you need to know about the war right now
  • Number killed rising after Russian attack on DIY store kills more than 40 people | 16 confirmed dead
  • Eyewitness: Russia producing shells three times faster than Ukraine's allies
  • We'll be back with live updates on Tuesday

 We'll be back with live updates on the war tomorrow - but for now, as always, we start the week by taking a few steps back and giving an overview of where the conflict is at right now.

Conflicting claims on the second front

Kharkiv remains a major focus after Russia opened a new front on the northeastern border. 

It has been the subject of conflicting reports, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying Ukraine had secured "combat control", while the Russian ministry of defence claimed its forces were advancing.

The British defence ministry said Russian gains in the northeast had not been joined up, allowing Ukraine to contain Moscow's momentum.

It assessed Vladimir Putin's attempt to create a buffer zone between Ukraine and Russia had been unsuccessful thus far and further gains were unlikely in the coming week.

But this will be little comfort to those living under the constant threat of Russian shells in the region.

An attack on a DIY store in Kharkiv city this weekend killed at least 16 people, injured more than 40, and the search is still on for others.

A 12-year-old girl was among the dead.

The US announced a new $275m package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine to help it repel Russia's assault in the Kharkiv region.

Ukrainian troops have been forced to train without firing ammunition due to shortages. 

Analysis shared with Sky News revealed the scale of the challenge facing Kyiv, with Russia producing artillery shells around three times faster than Ukraine's Western allies and for about a quarter of the cost. 

Across the year, that means Russian factories are forecast to manufacture 3.2 million more shells than European nations and the US combined.

Peace summit

Mr Zelenskyy directly called on his US and Chinese counterparts to join his latest summit for peace in Ukraine. 

Speaking from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Friday, he announced a "global peace summit", co-hosted by Switzerland, starting on 15 June. He claimed 80 countries had already confirmed their attendance.

Putin's 'freeze'

Vladimir Putin is ready to halt the war in Ukraine with a ceasefire that recognises current battlefield lines, four Russian sources told the Reuters news agency. 

The narrative is widely viewed as a strategy to consolidate Ukrainian land under Russian control, with little or no guarantees Mr Putin wouldn't use it to launch another attack on what remains of Ukraine. Russian propogandists have previously advocated reducing Ukraine to the size of the Lviv region in the west.

Nuclear drills

Russia's defence ministry said it had begun a round of drills involving tactical nuclear weapons in response to remarks by senior Western officials about the possibility of deeper involvement in the war. 

According to the ministry's statement, the first stage of the new drills included nuclear-capable Kinzhal and Iskander missiles in southern Russian regions.

Ukraine claimed to have destroyed the last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles that was stationed on the occupied peninsula. It said a long-range attack destroyed the Russian minesweeping navy vessel Tsiklon in Sevastopol.

Vladimir Putin has arrived in Uzbekistan ahead of formal talks on Monday.

The Russian president laid a wreath at a monument to Uzbekistan's independence in the capital, Tashkent.

He is expected to hold formal talks with President Shavkay Mirziyoyev that are expected to focus on deepening the countries' relations.

The pair spoke in what were described by the Kremlin as informal talks on Sunday.

The visit is President Putin's third foreign trip since being inaugurated for a fifth term in May. 

He first went to China , where he expressed appreciation for China's proposals for talks to end the Ukraine conflict, and later to Belarus. 

For context: Now separated from Russia by Kazakhstan in central Asia, Uzbekistan was once part of the Soviet Union.

However, the invasion of Ukraine is believed to have accelerated a process of reducing Russian influence in the country.

In the two-plus years since February 2022, Uzbekistan has also boosted its relations with the EU. 

Fighting continues along the Kharkiv frontline as Russian forces try to overwhelm defenders.

In an update on Sunday evening, Ukraine's armed forces said its troops were seeking to repel attacks and in places have mounted offensives.

The General Staff said on social media: "The Russian aggressor is trying to use superiority in manpower and equipment and air support. 

"Ukrainian soldiers are giving battle to the enemy, and in some directions they themselves are carrying out effective assault actions to improve the stability of the defence and restore positions."

Twelve clashes were reported in the direction of Kharkiv, the update said, as well as near the villages of Lyptsi and Ternova.

"The situation is under control," the statement said.

Ukrainians gathered outside the US embassy in Kyiv as part of mounting demands to remove restrictions on where Ukraine can use Western weapons.

Many NATO countries who provide military aid to Ukraine currently do so on the condition that it is not used to strike targets inside Russia. 

The US and Germany in particular have been strict on this issue, likely out of concern about escalation with Moscow.

Other countries - the UK and Sweden, for example - have confirmed or suggested that Ukraine can use their weapons to hit targets across the border.

In Kyiv today, activists held up placards saying "let Ukraine strike back" and "remove the restriction". 

The US will participate in Volodymyr Zelenskyy's peace summit next month, an official has said.

It comes after the Ukrainian president called on America's President Joe Biden and China's President Xi Jinping to attend the event.

However the US official did not say who would attend or at what level.

The summit, co-hosted by Switzerland, starts on 15 June and, according to President Zelenskyy, 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance.

Battling against the odds, the Ukrainians say they have become skilled at trying to make every round count.

"Often, with just one, two or three shells, we can completely destroy a target," said Senior Lieutenant Kostiantin, an artillery battery commander with the 57th Brigade.

His troops are fighting against a new Russian invasion into the Kharkiv region, in the northeast of Ukraine.

"We have to keep holding the Russians back… and make every metre of land they try to take cost them hundreds of lives."

Watch this report from our defence and security editor, Deborah Haynes :

Crowds of people marched through the Georgian capital, Tblisi, today to mark the country's Independence Day - and also to protest against the government's divisive "foreign agents" law.

The legislation is seen by some as threatening press and civic freedoms and there are concerns it's modelled on laws used by Vladimir Putin in neighbouring Russia.

Hundreds of people walked through the city on Sunday, as the EU anthem played. 

Many held white and red Georgian flags, others the blue and yellow of the EU or the stars and stripes of the US.

There was also a military parade in the city centre as part of the celebrations, attended by Georgia's president and prime minister.

The pair are at odds over the "foreign agents" bill after President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the bill.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on social media congratulating the Georgian people on their Independence Day.

"Both our nations know all too well that freedom and independence are won rather than granted," he said on X.

"I wish the Georgian people to prosper and strengthen their statehood and ties will all other free nations. I also wish magnificent Georgian culture, identity, and hospitality to multiply over the years." 

The parents of a Ukrainian girl who died after a Russian missile strike have bid goodbye to their daughter in emotional scenes at her funeral.

Just five years old, Zlata Rostochil was seriously wounded in an attack at the end of April and later died.

Today, her mother Nadiia and father Vyacheslav knelt beside her body during the memorial service in Odesa. 

Other mourners stood solemnly behind them holding candles.

Russian forces are making "maximum efforts" to break through Ukraine's defences, amid fighting on the frontline near Kharkiv.

Kyiv's armed forces said there have been 83 clashes with the enemy on Sunday.

"Ukrainian troops are taking measures to maintain positions and destroy the offensive potential of the enemy," the General Staff said in an update on social media.

It said there were "no major changes" in the direction of Kharkiv but Russian troops continue to mount offensives around Vovchansk city and the village of Lyptsi.

Is National Service a good idea?

Rishi Sunak has talked a lot this week about security in Europe and the need to invest in defence - and then he announced that he would bring back National Service.

Our military analyst Sean Bell broke down the announcement on Sky News earlier...

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    Moscow is unlike any other city on Earth. It is the wealthy economic center for one-sixth of the world's land mass and has over 120 ethnic groups and nationalities. A diverse and vibrant city with a strange combination of traditional Russian architecture and newer Soviet tastelessness, Moscow is an adventure waiting to happen! Reasons to travel to Moscow But what makes it so popular among ...

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    Public Transport. Take a virtual tour of the fascinating history and architecture of the Moscow Metro. Apr 3, 2020 • 2 min read. You can check out the history and beauty of Moscow Metro's Soviet and modern Russian architecture online. in partnership with getyourguide.

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  10. Best Shopping in Moscow

    Travel. Destination Guides. Europe. Moscow. April 5, 2007. Best Shopping in Moscow. By Chris Boyle. Shopping in Moscow is as varied and vibrant as in any other world capital, so forget any preconceptions you may have of bleak Soviet stores and long queues. Moscow's billionaires need places to spend their cash so the streets are packed with ...

  11. EPIC MOSCOW Itinerary! (2024 Guide)

    EPIC MOSCOW Itinerary! (2024) Moscow is the heart of Mother Russia. Just the mention of this city conjures images of colorful bulbous pointed domes, crisp temperatures, and a uniquely original spirit! Moscow has an incredibly turbulent history, a seemingly resilient culture, and a unique enchantment that pulls countless tourists to the city ...

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    Best Months to Visit. 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 ...

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    Third-wave coffee: Founded in Moscow in 2012, Russian specialty coffee shop Double B has become a global enterprise, reaching cities like Prague, Barcelona, and Dubai. Courtesy Moscow Coffee Book

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    Day 6 - Explore the Golden Ring. Creating the Moscow itinerary may keep you busy for days with the seemingly endless amount of things to do. Visiting the so-called Golden Ring is like stepping back in time. Golden Ring is a "theme route" devised by promotion-minded journalist and writer Yuri Bychkov.

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  21. Tripcook Russia in Moscow, Russia (travel listing under Tour Operators)

    Tripcook Russia is a travel agency/tour operator based in Moscow. We have a team of knowledgeable and professional experts who can organize every aspect of your tour or business travel while in Russia. We offer visa support (LOI) as a registered and licensed company. All kinds of transportation you may need, including air tickets from leading ...

  22. Walgreens Pharmacies & Stores Near Moscow, ID

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  24. Blinken will head to eastern Europe as concerns mount about Ukraine

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