As the capital of a country so large that it spans nine time zones and two continents, Moscow was always going to be a pretty exciting place; combine that with the fact that it has morphed from the beating heart of communist Europe to capitalist panacea in the space of a generation, and you've got a city like no other. Moscow holidays are all about peering through a window into Russia’s rich and complex history, from infamous rulers - such as the Tsars and Stalin - to the capital's new lease of life in its wide avenues and colourful neighbourhoods. The era of glitter, champagne and excess has given
way to a laidback lifestyle apparent in the old warehouses converted into artistic platforms, bars, restaurants, and trendy galleries. There is so much to do and see here: marvel at the golden onion domes of the Red Square; soak up the culture – old and new – at the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Art Deco and Pushkin Fine Arts museums; and enjoy Russia’s highbrow culture while watching an evening opera or ballet at the Bolshoi, before savouring the haute-russe cuisine at Café Pushkin. One final thing to consider - the inhabitants of Moscow see their city through the prism of an age old rivalry with cultural capital of St. Petersburg, and the feeling is entirely mutual. While St Petersburg is undeniably more beautiful, Muscovites would argue their patch is way more fun, and with regular high speed trains between the two, there's a very easy to make the comparison.
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We had a fabulous time: all the planning and detail were worth it. I know I am a travel nerd but it (usually) pays off. This time it did. Thank you again for bearing with me. The guide in St Petersburg was especially good.
What can you expect on Moscow holidays that you won’t find elsewhere?
The grandeur of the city's architecture certainly reflects the pomp and spectacle of the city's Soviet and imperial past. From towering skyscrapers and vast squares to metro stations glittering with marble and chandeliers, Moscow is anything but understated. Handy then that the main sites - the colourful onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral and the ramparts of the Kremlin and Lenin's iconic mausoleum are all on Red Square. Pair this with the depth of its other historical and cultural assets, and Gorky Park and the vast avenues bookended by Stalinist buildings, and Moscow becomes an ideal spot for an adventure. Venture out along the 'Golden Ring' to explore the belt of medieval villages northeast of the city, which played an important role in the history of Russia and its Orthodox Church. Nature has an unmissable presence, too. Surrounding the monasteries, cathedrals and churches, you’ll find forests, lakes and fields that ripple out as far as the eye can see. When you discover Moscow and The Golden Ring, you discover Russia.
Who is Moscow best for?
Moscow holidays are perfect for fans of art history, and for those who dream of seeing the colours of the intricate Orthodox churches. Foodies will love sipping a hot chocolate at the gourmet Café Pushkin and if you’re a book worm, a visit here immerses you in the city that inspired works by Dostoyevsky, Gogol and Tolstoy. Whether you’re a seasoned theatre-goer or are just thinking about dipping your toes into the ballet, there’s no better place to visit than the home of Tchaikovsky and Swan Lake. Further cultural pleasures await in the world's finest collection of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery.
The best ways to discover Moscow
Stay for a long weekend in the heart of Zamoskvorechie - a historic district of Moscow that still buzzes with life. Encounter the history of the Tsars on a city tour, visiting the Gorky Museum, Arbat Street, Moscow State University, the Church of the Resurrection, the Assumption Cathedral and Arseny Morozov House. If you have longer to spend in Russia, pair your Moscow holiday with a trip to St. Petersburg – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – for a glimpse of two Russian gems. When the weather is cold and the glistening frost blankets the architectural wonders, the city takes on a new, magical quality. Why not make Moscow your choice for a New Year’s celebration? Take a trip outside of Moscow with a Golden Ring guided tour, soaking up the history of the ornate monasteries that are rooted within Russia’s picturesque countryside. To experience the region from a different perspective, take a cruise along the Volga river or travel on the iconic Trans-Siberian railway, ending your journey at the breath-taking Lake Baikal.
Special things to do in Moscow
Enjoy a cruise on the Volga. Hop aboard in Moscow after a day wandering the city, and float downstream to discover Uglich, a city in the Golden Ring dating back to the 10th century. Here, the Chapel of Prince Dimitry, the Transfiguration Cathedral, and a performance from a traditional choir will be enough to enchant any traveller.
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