Out of season in Russia? Here are 5 Things to Do in winter in Moscow and why!
First stop of our Non-Return-Ticket Tour: Moscow!
We arrived in Moscow at noon and it was already -5 °C! In terms of snow, Moscow didn’t disappointed us! Tons of snow had covered the city while the workers were trying hard to move the snow aside the main roads and to create footpaths for the pedestrians. Russia just celebrated Christmas and New Year (not the same dates as Western countries) and we came here on purpose out of season. However, we surprisingly realised that everything was still decorated but not as crowded as before – I had heard terrible stories of endless queues and waiting time, high prices and nervous people but I found a manageably busy environment with calm people and decent prices instead (similar to Athens and cheaper than London!). High end restaurants of course are not cheap at all and, unfortunately, the Bolshoi Theatre Shows are expensive too. Other than that you can be very happy at this vibrant city – here are just 5 of the things you can do in wintertime! Please consider the abovementioned when you plan a trip to Moscow – come out of season and you won’t regret it!
1. Gorky Central Park
Snow is everywhere! If you can deal with the cold please spent a day (or half!) here. The 24-hour open park is located next to the river and it consists of ice skating paths (only in winter!) , a tiny museum, an ice rink (hockey or ice slides anyone? ), lots of small food and café stalls, art installations and it can be proud of its eco-friendly character. After a major reconstruction in 2011, when the old-fashioned amusement rides and unhealthy food stalls were removed permanently, the park is now free , wheelchair accessible and a happy place where you can meet locals and observe their daily life.
2. Danilovsky Market
A place not very famous abroad as it is mostly a market for Muscovites. Only 2-3 metro stops from the centre, this round, indoor (thanks God!) market has a variety of international food stalls and products- you can expect Russian, Chinese, Caucasian, Cypriot, Italian, American, Japanese, Vietnamese, Georgian and so on. Some vegetarian/ vegan options too but not an entire place. Just few tourists (if any!) around; hence, not many people can speak English! Doesn’t really matter though, you can’t go wrong here when you are hungry!
3. The Red Square
No Moscow list is complete without the central square and definitely it can’t be missed! Kremlin (massive!) , st. Basil’s Cathedral (the most famous building in Moscow) and Lenin’s mausoleum are some of the must-see , just to name a few! You can easily spend one or two days here if you wish to explore as much as possible, even during out-of-season that the queues are not that big anyway! However, Kremlin is said to be so enormous that needs an one-week-visit! Regarding st. Basil’s Cathedral I hold no personal opinion for the inside (as the churches are not my cup of tea) but outside is obviously gorgeous! Very close to this area you can find the Monument to Karl Marx and the Bolshoi Theatre standing opposite to each other. I am wondering if this has happened on purpose!
4. Tverskoy Bul’var
The longest boulevard in the Russian capital! Starting from Bolshoi Theatre and walking Northwest via the contemporary streets that have lots of theatres, museums, monuments, restaurants and hidden in the alleys bars you will reach the top of this popular boulevard. Depending on the season it can be «covered» by flowers, ornaments, Xmas lights etc. while a temporary exhibition standing next to the walking path. We walked here throughout the night and I bet this is the most peaceful and amazing time for the walk, despite the -13 °C!
5. VDNKh (Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva)
My favourite one! The shortage for All-Russian-Exhibition-Centre is located within a gigantic park and it has plenty to offer! A museum for bees, a space museum, lots of shopping pavilions, a small aquarium, an art & crafts workshops house are just few of the attractions. No doubt, the winter ice-rink is the largest in Europe and once more please expect queuing here! In the summer the ice-rink turns into fountains… such a clever design! Many concerts, exhibitions and trade shows take place all year round and a food court and many restaurants are also located in here. Well, the food court is outdoor so if you are not brave enough you better head to the restaurants after skating / visiting the museums- I did the same, don’t tell!
Moscow definitely deserves a full 5 day visit as it is one of the most beautiful and unique European capitals. A detailed guide for visits out of the…wintertime by the journalist Pedro can be find here! Tonight we are flying to Ulan-Ude in Siberia where we will hop on the Trans-Siberian Railway! See you soon!
What do you think so far? Would you visit Moscow?