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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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
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?
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.