Russia is a history buff’s dream come true- which was why I was absolutely delighted to visit there. The first destination in Russia was Moscow. Moscow is the country’s capital and their most populous city.
While it is common knowledge to those who know me that I prefer St. Petersburg more (all because of the Hermitage), I did really enjoy Moscow too. I was there for 3 whole days and we covered as much ground as we could of the city. Here are some items that have to be on every itinerary:
Located on the Theatre Square, is a historic theatre. Popular for its Ballet performances, the Bolshoi Theatre and Opera are one of oldest, most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world. Unfortunately for me, the theatre was under renovation when I travelled, so I couldn’t catch a show- but you absolutely must!
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
In Red Square are Moscow’s must-visit places. I visted this colorful monument first at night and then in the morning- and it was spectacular. The design isn’t mirrored or isn’t alike any Russian architectural marvels, which perhaps makes it stands out more. It’s right next to Kremlin, so you can visit the Kremlin, Gum Mall and St. Basil’s Cathedral in one!
Kremlin- Diamond Fund and Armoury
As you know, Kremlin, the Russian Fortress, is Russia’s White House. Within the fortress, there are many things to see- different Cathedrals, a little museum and more. But, the two things that you really cannot miss at the Kremlin are the Diamond Fund, the Armoury and the changing of the guards.
The Diamond Fund-oh how I wish I could spend a few more hours there. It’s an exhibit of Russia’s gems and jewels- which dates back to Peter I. You cannot take pictures of the fund- which sucks, but they are generous enough to offer free postcards to all visitors. It opens 6 days week (Thursdays are off), from 10 am to 5 pm. It is closed off from 1 pm to 2 pm for lunch. I suggest getting there at 1.15-1.30pm to get in. It IS crowded during peak tourist season. The cost of the ticket: 500 Rubles per person (discounted for children).
Armoury Museum is also within the Kremlin and must be visited. Don’t let the name confuse you, it’s not about only arms and armory- it has the clothes, the chariots, the cutlery, basically- IT IS STUNNING! The tickets are sold separately.
VDNKh (All-Russian Fair)
It’s general purpose was to be like a State fair and amusement park, my guide told me. Every little statue, artwork on all arches and buildings inside signify something deeply meaningful for the locals visiting. It’s about two hours inside- mostly because the fountain inside is spectacular. The souvenir shop there is super adorable!
Russians are pioneers in aeronautical science and engineering, the Cosmos museum houses these exhibits. From little details to big, the museum is brilliant.
River Cruise along the Moscow River is a MUST if you’re visiting Moscow. The 2-hour boat cruise takes you around the city- with the best seat in town. I suggest using the Radisson one. I used it and I had a fantastic time. They serve food and drinks on board, as many might. The tiramisu and hot chocolate were delicious, especially in the chilly weather!
I’d been to the circus as a kid, I remembered jumping acrobats, some clowns and that’s about it. Russian Circus was something else- and I recommend EVERYONE has to visit it. Every single act was outstanding and astonishing- some were so bendy that all I could think was is it possible for a human body to twist like that?! Basically, DO visit. I’d suggest that you speak to your guide beforehand and book the tickets!
Sparrow Hills & Moscow State University
It was a beautiful morning, and I found myself popped outside the Moscow State University in Sparrow Hills, Moscow. Within minutes, it started raining heavily. Just as the rain cleared and the sun set in hue behind clouds, it was a view out of paintings. The hills are one of the highest points of Moscow and give the best view of the city.
The Moscow metro stations are like mini art galleries that people rush in and out of. Our tour guide, a lovely Russian fellow, suggested that we let the car go straight to the Circus from Sparrow Hills and travel the Moscow way- in their metros. He promised to show us two of the most popular stations- Komsomolskaya Station (the really, really grand one) and Novoslobodskaya station (which was complete with glass paintings and mosaics). It was fun to see how the locals travel- and it was really cool. The metros were much older than the ones I’m used to!
In every city, there’s a street that has a story to tell- and is very popular- among locals and tourists alike, well, that is exactly what Arbat Street is. With so many souvenir shops and tons of musicians and artists and more, make sure you make an evening out of it there! It’s right next to the Red Square- so you could leave it for the evening you do the Kremlin tour, but don’t miss it!