Travel Recommendations: Moscow, Russia
Length of Stay
We stayed in Moscow for three full days. We could have definitely done a week and still have more to explore. I would opt in for more time if you can.
The public transit was really excellent. We were there during the World Cup and the major stations had sings in English in addition to Russian Cyrillic. I am not sure if that is something they plan to keep or expand.
We stayed in the Kosmos Hotel, which was ok. But it was close to public transit so that made it nice. I am not sure how AirBnB would be as it’s nice to be at a hotel to help coordinate things if needed.
In June, it was hot and humid. A lot hotter than I expected. I imagine the fall and spring being pretty mild and the winters obviously cold. I have seen those old photos.
You will definitely need to try any type of Soviet style food. While in Moscow, we ate at Cafe 57 in the mall off the Red Square. Get the Honey Cake! So delicious. Pine cones in honey. I know, it sounds weird, but you need to try it if you see it on a menu. Crab flavored chips.
Standard tipping protocol for waiters and bartenders is 10%. More if you are feeling generous.
Best Time to Visit
The weather was really nice for us while traveling in June. It was hot but manageable. I would avoid winter, early spring, or late fall. It will probably be very cold and dark. It was really awesome being there over summer to experience the long days of summer.
The Russians use the ruble. The exchange rate for the US dollar was favorable.
Things to See/Do
- Red Square
- St. Basil’s Cathedral
- Kremlin (get your tickets ahead of time or you will be in line forever)
- Inside the Kremlin, check out the world’s largest cannon and bell
- Wave to Putin as he works out of the capitol building
- Park Zaryadye (different displays of the Russian terrain)
- Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Kolomenskoye Park
- The GIANT Peter the Great Statue
- Fallen Monument Park
Hop on and off different metro stops, the stops were made to be beautiful for the citizens to enjoy
Purchase tickets to the Kremlin the day before or you will be in line forever like we were.
I have been obsessed with Russian history for a long time and a soccer fan. Two things on my bucket list, World Cup and Russia. This was one of the trips that topped many of ours. It was not just the fact that I got to visit a place I have been reading about but the energy of the fans and comradarie was infectious. Most were having the time of their lives, as were we.
One of the first things we like to do it take a walking tour to become acclimated to the city and learn about places we must see, outside of the walking tour. We met our guide in front of the Marx statue and started our tour.
Come to find out, the Red Square was shut down. I was devastated. We came this far to not see the Red Square? We toured around the Red Square learning now taking photos of the metro and government buildings have been relaxed and that Lenin loved art deco style American buildings.
The capital wasn’t always in Moscow but moved to St. Petersburg when Peter the Great became the Tsar. A lot of people seem to be nostalgic of the Soviet ear as you can see hammer and sickles everywhere with Soviet style cafes serving foods of that era are becoming more popular.
On the second day we were there, game day. We scored tickets to the Germany/Mexico game. One of the most anticipated games of the beginning stages of the World Cup. The game was not starting until the evening so we decided to hit up the Kolomenskoye Park which used to be a royal estate for the Tsars outside the city center.
We headed to Fan Fest which was pretty slow at the time and would have probably been more lively if we were not at the actual game. But we had some food and a few beers there before heading towards the stadium. We checked out Novodevichy Convent then had some pine cones at Myata.
Walking into the stadium was like nothing I have ever experienced. Everyone was happy, singing, drink, dancing, and just celebrating. On our way in Mexico fans were pouring Tequlia into the mouths of other fans. Mariachi bands were playing, some were wearing head dresses and others sombreros!
We got to our seats with plenty of time to spare so we picked up some beer. Just before the half, midfielder, Hirving Lozaro scored! All the Mexico fans go crazy! Throwing beer into the air (just filled or almost gone).
Russian Through Touristy Things
Our last day we decided to go check out the Kremlin and stumbled upon the Red Square open! So of course, we walked through the area. Taking photos of St. Basil’s Cathedral, Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum. Which you can go inside to see his embalmed body. We, however, did not.
We did check out the Kremlin but not the entire museum. Since the line was so long, we opted for the tour with fewer parts of the Kremlin. We did see the largest cannon and bell. And also the church that hold Ivan the Terrible’s tomb along with his family.
Last but not least, we did go to the Red Square again our last night. The actual Red Square was shut down again, probably with all the fans because it was wall to wall people in promenade. We still had a beautiful view of the cathedral at night.