If you’re going to visit Moscow here are some suggestions that will help you have a great time in the Russian capital.
📍The first question many people ask during the preparation process is when is the best time to visit Moscow? The answer totally depends on your goals and priorities. In summertime you can enjoy warm sunny weather, but the hotel prices are high, and many museums are overcrowded with tourists. If you are not afraid of low temperatures than December and January would be great options. It is a time when every corner of the city is adorned with Christmas lights that continue to brighten the city all the way through February - a stark contrast with other countries where decorations usually are up only a few weeks. In May Russians celebrate Victory day, symbolizing the end of World War II. Numerous tourists plan their visit on the 9th of May to see one of the world’s largest military parades which takes place in Moscow city center, culminating on Red Square. Along with the military parade millions of civilians participate in a commemorative march with portraits of their relatives who bravely fought against the Nazi’s. Although World War II has ended over 75 years ago this remains a very important holiday in Russia. Finally, if you want a combination of low number of tourists and mild cold weather, then April and October would be the best months to visit Russia.
📍Keep in mind that tickets to popular museums such as the Armoury Chamber, Diamond Fund, Cosmonautics Museum, Pushkin State Museum or Tretyakov Gallery are usually hard to get, especially during high season (from May till September). So, take care of this in advance, visiting museum’s websites or booking a tour with skip-the-line tickets included.📍Getting a local SIM card will make your stay in Moscow much more comfortable. It’s possible to find Wi-Fi almost in every café or restaurant, but often you will need a local phone number to connect. Besides, with unlimited internet you will be able to use google maps, TripAdvisor or other apps anytime while you are exploring the city. The cost is about 5 dollars, so, totally worth it.
📍If you get lost or need something, do not hesitate to ask the locals for help. Choose youngsters, unlike Russian babushkas (old ladies) they usually can speak English or other foreign languages. You should know that Russians in general do not smile to strangers, however this doesn’t make them unfriendly or unhelpful. During the Soviet times because of the Iron Curtain, tourism was almost non-existent, so nowadays Russians have a very positive attitude to foreign guests.
📍Moscow metro is known worldwide for its beauty and is also the most convenient way to explore different areas of the city. So, it is a great idea to learn how to use the metro or at least to get a metro tour to see the most impressive stations. You can also download a Moscow metro app that finds best routes to your destination, besides, the names of the stations are written in both Russian and English, so you don’t have to know Cyrillic alphabet to be able to navigate the Moscow subway.
📍If you need a taxi, use Uber to get around. Like in many touristic cities cab drivers may have problems communicating in foreign language or just simple overcharge you. To avoid this use the Uber Russia or local Yandex taxi app. Price will be known before the start of your trip and you can pay by credit card or cash – your choice.
📍After visiting all Moscow must see sights like the Red Square, St. Basil Cathedral, Kremlin and Tverskaya street, have a relaxing time in one of the numerous city parks. Green areas take up one third of Moscow’s territory and are used not just for tranquil walks but for various outdoor activities – cycling, skating, sport and culture festivals, open air exhibitions and much more. About 5-10 years ago city government ordered to renovate the city’s major central parks and equip them with playgrounds, bike and scooter rentals and deck chairs. To sum up – you can spend significant amount of time in a local park and not get bored! If you want to check out just one of them make it - Gorky park, a favorite hangout place for Moscovites.
📍If you are staying in Moscow for more than 2-3 days, than use your chance to see Saint-Petersburg, also known as the “Venice of the North”. Everyday thousands of people travel between these two main Russian cities. Russians prefer to use the high-speed train Sapsan, it provides comfortable seats, hot meals and gets you from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg city centers in just 4 hours. You can also travel by plane (1 hour), but take into account the check-in procedure and a long way to and from the airport making you spend even more than 4 hours for travel. Saint-Petersburg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, so in high season make sure to book your tickets in advance.
📍 If you decide to forego travelling to Saint-Petersburg, Moscow is surrounded with smaller Russian towns of great historical value, like Suzdal, Vladimir, Sergei Posad and many more. It’s possible to have a one-day trip there to see traditional Russian houses, 16th century churches and feel the romantic atmosphere of rural Russia. For those who want to add even more emotions and memories to their visit to Russia take the Transsiberian Railway train. The whole journey from Moscow to Vladivostok or Beijing (depending on what you decide) takes about 7 days, but if you wish to take your time and get off the train in a big or small Siberian city the trip might take you up to two weeks. Unforgettable experience is guaranteed, as well as “spartan” conditions of Russian long-distance trains.
📍This list of tips would not be complete without classic advice for all tourists worldwide: take care of your belongings every time you’re not in your hotel. Make sure that your bag has proper zipper and do not leave it without supervision to avoid unpleasant situations.Journey to Russia could easily become adventure of a lifetime! We hope that following these tips will make your stay in Moscow truly pleasant and enjoyable!