Moscow in Winter

Moscow in winter: When we first thought about possible routes for our “big trip”, the Trans-Siberian Railway was originally for discussion with Moscow instead of the Silk Road. For Visa-technical reasons we rejected the idea again and instead planned a city trip to Moscow during the Christmas period.

A good decision! Moscow received us at the beginning of December with frosty minus temperatures and a thin layer of snow. Even if the Orthodox Christmas is later than “our” holidays, Moscow was already festive and exuberant Christmas Flair. We were a total of four days and I have brought you 11 tips for a winter trip to Moscow home.

The urban area of Moscow is huge, with some of the top sights concentrated within walking distance of each other in the center. It is therefore worthwhile to spend the night centrally. In addition to branches of international hotel chains, there is a historic and equally chic place to stay around the Kremlin and Red Square.

Where to stay in moscow russia

The city area of Moscow is huge, with some of the top attractions focusing on a river-like distance to each other in the center. It is, therefore, worthwhile to stay centrally. Around the Kremlin and the Red Square, apart from the offshoot of international hotel chains, you will find a historic and equally chic stay. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the Hotel Metropolis moscow one of the most magnificent Art Nouveau buildings in Moscow and has housed many illustrious guests in it’s over 100-year history.

Moscow in winter

We were impressed by the hammer-like location of the hotel, the good Service and the great breakfast buffet under the imposing glass dome – even with over 100 years on the hump, the metropolis is still a top address in the center of Moscow and a “must” for Fans of Historic Hotels. We stayed in one of the newly designed Superior rooms.

Red Square Moscow

Those who travel to Moscow in winter must be prepared for short days. This has advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that a comfortable Start to the day with a good night’s sleep and an extensive breakfast is nothing in the way and the deep sun at noon still delights with the best photo light. The disadvantage is that there is less time for Sightseeing.

In the morning after our arrival, we will first take the Red Square, which is only a five-minute walk from the Hotel Metropol. Surrounded by the Kremlin walls, the GUM Department store, the St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Lenin Mausoleum, he is the symbol of Moscow and belongs since 1990 to the UNESCO world heritage sites. An impressive Ensemble that shrinks during the Christmas season with a lavishly decorated Christmas market. Accordingly, I recommend to visit the red square at least twice: once in daylight and once at Dusk.

Moscow stores

The tour of the Red Square takes its toll in icy winds. To warm up your hands and feet, head to the GUM department store on the eastern edge of the square. Built at the end of the 19th century, the department store is the oldest and largest shopping temple in Moscow and an architectural Bijou! If you have a large enough wallet, you can devote yourself here undisturbed the extensive Christmas shopping. There is no trace of crowding, and there is no trace far and wide. We have, however, limited ourselves to marvel at the wonderful symmetries – Gucci, Prada & Co were then a bit too extravagant to me.

russia attractions

While GUM is one of the Highlights of Moscow, I have found an Alternative. The Central Children’s Store is located on the same street as the Hotel Metropol and has its origins in the Soviet era. With over 100 children’s toy shops spread over seven floors, this is a valuable stop, in contrast to the GUM, to find unusual gifts and visually not less impressive.

Moscow river tour

Freshly strengthened, there is nothing in the way of further exploration. Dress up warm and take a walk afterward in the direction of Sarjadje Park. Located right next to the Red Square and Kremlin, the landscape park is one of Moscow’s newest achievements. The park complex, designed by the American architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, has a “floating” bridge that offers a special perspective on the buildings along the Moskva River. From there, our walk takes us to the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building near the big Ustyinsky bridge. The residential building on Kotelnicheskaya Street is one of the so-called “Seven Sisters”; seven high-rise buildings built on behalf of Stalin in the style of socialist classicism in Moscow.

moscow city center

We cross the Moskva River and walk on the opposite side of the river to the site of the former Chocolate Factory “Krasny Oktyabr“. The factory complex was converted and now houses galleries, museums, loft apartments, Bars and Restaurants. The site of the former Chocolate Factory is connected by a pedestrian bridge to the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer and is therefore suitable for a nice round trip in the center of Moscow.

Experience a Russian tea ceremony

Moscow in winter, the traditional Russian tea ceremony at the Chaliapin Bar at the Hotel Metropolis also a great opportunity to warm up after a tour of Red Square and to strengthen it for a further sightseeing tour. The tea ceremony serves either green or black tea and is accompanied by blini, caviar, sour cream, Rasstegai and Pirozhki (traditional Russian pastries), small Sandwiches and Petit Four. The cost for two to four people is fixed at 5 ‘ 800 rubles (around 85 CHF) and, in my opinion, is a worthwhile experience in the historic ambiance of the Hotel Metropol.

City sightseeing Moscow

Even if it freezes us outside around the ears, it pulls out and again into the cold. Not only south of the Kremlin there are exciting buildings to discover, but also North. Moscow in winter is a real treasure trove for architecture-interested travelers. Outstanding classical buildings can be found north of the Bolshoi Theatre on Tverskaya and Ulitsa Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street. The historic Nikolskaya pedestrian street connects the GUM with the Central Children Store.

Moscow in winter

Also worth seeing are some of the Moscow metro stations. In particular, I was impressed by the Mayakovskaya Station, which is located in some Listicles to Moscow’s most beautiful metro stations. The metro station is located close to the center of the Zamoskvoretskaya line (line 2).

Moscow museum

Not far from the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer is pushkin museum st petersburg of Fine Arts-one of the largest museums of foreign art in Russia. I had originally planned other museums, but due to the opening hours (many museums open only just before noon and on Monday most remain closed), we finally managed” only ” to Pushkin. Two other cultural institutions that I would have liked to see are the Manege right next to the Kremlin and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in the Gorki Park.

visit the Kremlin

Something that can be done on Monday morning when the majority of museums closed, is a visit to the Kremlin. Who does not want to waste time with standing up, the buys his Ticket online (incidentally, this tip is also valid for Pushkin). Different ticket options are depending on what is of interest. We bought tickets for every 500 rubles for visiting the five churches in Cathedral Square. Attention is also paid to the recent building of the complex – the State Kremlin Palace. The simple but powerful construction contrasts with the richly decorated Cathedral domes. A visit to this building is only possible in connection with events (concerts).

Keep in mind when planning your trip that the Kremlin closed on Thursday! Information about opening hours and tickets can be found here: Moscow Kremlin Museum

Moscow market

Who would like to get to know the life of the local population, far from the pomp of the center, I recommend the side trip to the old country markets, such as the Preobrazhensky market in the North-East of the city?

best things to do in russia

The market is located on the site of an Orthodox monastery from the 18th century and is one of the few that still look like the kolkhoz markets of the Soviet Union, tells us, Elena. Elena offers various culinary tours on behalf of the hotel Metropolis and knows the Trends of the local restaurant scene. We’ll take her on a half-day market Tour. Currently, the Georgian and Armenian cuisine, as well as to us Elena reveals – and in the Preobrazhenskiy market or any other market, you will find the stand, the offer of the corresponding products.

The third market, which we visit together with Elena, is not quite so crowded and usually crowded to the last place – but centrally. The Central Market is located within walking distance of the center and is home to “Camera Obscura Coffee” the best coffee roast in the city.

Restaurants in moscow Russia

Moscow in winter, has a very lively restaurant scene that plays in the highest league in terms of product processing. We were less enthusiastic about service quality – there is still potential for optimization.

For a light lunch or coffee and cake in between, I can recommend you both the Strelka Bar, close to the site of the former chocolate factory “Red October” as well as the Restaurant Gorynych above the Central Markets. Both very casual Restaurants with a map, which consists mostly of modern interpreted Russian dishes.

If you don’t mind paying at least twice the usual Drink price, the O2 Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton is recommended. The price is reasonable in so far as there is here a magnificent panoramic view over the center of Moscow (incl. Red Square and Kremlin) for free. If the weather is good, you can take great postcard photos from the roof terrace.

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