15 Reasons Why You Should Visit Moscow At Least Once


Amani Nizari •  Feb 22, 2017

You must’ve heard about Moscow in the news but have you ever considered going there? This often-misunderstood city is so underrated! The city is more than just Russia’s capital. Famous for its beautiful cathedrals, palace-like metro stations and culturally-rich history, it’s no wonder this city is an emerging attraction. If you’re looking to go to a place less-travelled or craving for a new experience, Moscow is THE place to be with lots to discover!

Credit: Giphy

We’ve got plenty of reasons why you must visit the city at least once. Oh, and don’t forget your Russian Visa!

1. Red Square

Red Square lies at the heart of Moscow city and was established in the 15th century. On its four sides are the capital’s most significant centres of government, commerce, history and religion respecitvely -  the Kremlin, GUM Department store, State Historical Museum and St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Not many realize that the Square’s name has nothing to do with Russia’s Soviet history. Red Square simply means “Beautiful Square” in old Russian. The square is an enormous 400 by 150 metres. It’s so huge that you won’t ever feel the need to push through the crowds!

Credit: brando.n on Flickr

#HHWT Tip: Really cheap and yummy traditional Russian ice-cream (50 Rubles) can be found in GUM! The best part is that they have an English menu too ☺️

Credit: evachug on Instagram

Opening Hours: Open all year round

Address: Red Square, Moskva, Russia, 109012

How to go: Metro Teatralnaya, Okhotny Ryad or Ploschad Revolyutsii (Krasnaya Ploschad Exit).

2. Kremlin

Located at the Red Square, the Moscow Kremlin is the oldest part of the city and is linked to all the historical and political milestones in Russia ever since the 13th century. The fortified walls are so huge you can see it from many parts of the city. It’s no wonder this charming complex is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has gained universal recognition!

Credit: Larry Koester on Flickr

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial dedicated to fallen Soviet soldiers of World War II, lies just outside the Kremlin walls in the Alexander Gardens. A “changing of the guard” ceremony takes place every hour here.

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Credit: tsweetkova on Instagram

Price: Witnessing the Changing of the Guard Ceremony is free to the public

Address: Red Square, Moskva, Russia, 109012

How to go: Metro Teatralnaya (Krasnaya Ploschad Exit)

3. Saint Basil’s Cathedral

This candy-like, crazy confusion of colourful swirls is Russia’s famous Orthodox Church - Saint Basil’s Cathedral! The church is located at the southern end of Red Square and has been around for almost 500 years.

Credit: Syed Hanan

This religious site was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century to commemorate the capture of Kazan against the Tartars. Orthodox Christians flock to the church to worship and pay respect to the icons. If you think the exterior is WOW, wait till you visit the inside. No photography is allowed in the prayer area so you have to see it for yourself!

Credit: Mahmood Al-Yousif on Flickr

Price: Adult (350 Rubles), Student (100 Rubles)

Opening Hours: 11:00 – 18:00 (Ticket office closes 30 mins before closing time)

Closing time vary each season. Do check their official website for more details

Address: Teatralny dr., 1, Moscow 109012, Russia

Getting Here: Metro Teatralnaya, Okhotny Ryad or Ploschad Revolyutsii (Krasnaya Ploschad Exit)

4. Bolshoi Theatre

Theatre and musical enthusiasts - you’re going to love this place! The name Bolshoi (Большой) is a Russian word that means either "grand" or "large". Bolshoi Theatre is one of the best places in the world to watch Russian classical ballet! With Russian ballet and opera having achieved one of the cultural high points in world history – it’s no wonder the Bolshoi has produced some of the world's greatest dancers and directors.

Even if you’re not into theatre, you have to visit Bolshoi and admire its architecture! Famous performances include Swan Lake and The Nut Cracker ?

Price: Theatre Tours (1300 rubles). Price for Performance Tickets varies with seating arrangement

Opening Hours:See website for more details

Address: Teatralny dr., 1, Moscow 109012, Russia

Getting Here: Metro Teatralnaya (Bolshoi Theatre exit) or Okhotnyi Ryad (Theatre Square exit)

5. Moscow Metro

The Moscow Metro has often been hailed as the world’s most beautiful metro and is one of the most extensively used subway system in the world – transporting about 9 million people around the city daily. Don’t worry about the crowd. The metro is one of the most efficient systems in the world, with an average waiting time of around 2 minutes.

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Set aside half a day to explore the brown circle line. You’ll find plenty of marbled walls, high ceilings, chandeliers and mosaics that have been there since the Soviet era – a testament to Stalinism! Who knew taking public transport could be so magical?

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#HHWT Tip: Although most stations still use signs in Russian, the circle line is tourist-friendly with English signs. Fret not! It’s easy to get by with the Yandex Metro app. There’s even free Wi-Fi on board!

Price: 50 Rubles for a Single Pass (You don’t have to exit the metro to explore all the metro art. Just hop from one station to another!)

Opening Hours: 05:00 – 01:00

Address: Enter from any metro station! They’re easy to spot with a huge red “M” sign

6. Moscow State University

Moscow State University (MSU) was established in 1755 and is the oldest educational institution of Russia. The university has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. Nobel Prize winners and world known scientists are among its graduates and professors.

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The campus’ central tower is the highest of Stalin’s Seven Skyscrapers and has Hogwarts’ feels all around! Tourists often flock here to bask in the grandiose of the building and also for the panoramic view of Moscow.

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Price: Absolutely free but lots of walking required to cover the campus grounds!

Opening Hours: Campus domains is opened all year round but entrance in the campus is strictly for students or special visits

Address: ul. Leninskiye Gory, 1, Moskva, Russia, 119991

Getting Here: Metro Universitet (Vernadskogo Ave exit)

 7. Izmailovsky Market

Izmailovsky Market is a souvenir paradise! You can find almost everything that makes Russia so Russian here! Soviet Trinkets, Matroyshka dolls (Russian nested dolls), Putin T-shirts, bear skins…you get the drift. Locals come here for the flea market whilst tourists walk away happily with a bag full of bargained goodies!

Credit: Faris Malik

Flea markets open on weekends so that’s the best time to shop. If you can speak a little Russian, your chances of getting a discount is way higher!

#HHWT Tip: It’s easy to find places to grab a bite or a drink. There’s a café called Vernisage Café which sells halal lamb shanks served with flat bread! Just look out for smoke from the grills once you’re inside the market area and it’ll lead you to the café.

Opening Hours: 09:00-18:00 (Closes earlier in Winter)

Address: Izmailovsky Market, Moscow 105613, Russia

How to go: Metro Station Partizanskaya (Izmalylovskoye Hwy exit)

 8. Gorky Park

True to its name, the “Central Park of Rest and Culture” is a rare spot of green tranquility amidst the hectic city life. To truly appreciate the scenic views that the park and the Moscow River has to offer, you must take a walk along its embankments. From Park Kultury metro, walk towards Muzeon Park. Continue walking along the Krymskaya Embankment, and you’ll pass under the Krymsky Bridge and reach the western entrance of Gorky Park.

Activities include renting a bicycle or skates. What happens when a case of the munchies strike after all that walking? Got you covered! There’s plenty of kiosks selling snacks and drinks around! If you continue further straight into Gorky Park, you’ll reach its southern end and come across Andreyevsky Bridge. It’s a beautiful pedestrian glass bridge that offers a panoramic view of the Moscow River.

Credit: Dave Gray on Flickr

Price: Full breakdown of bicycle- and skate-rental

Opening Hours: Open All Year Round

Address: Krimsky Val, 9, Moskva, Russia, 119049

How to go: Metro Station Park Kultury (Komsomol’skiy Ave Exit)

9. Arbat Street

“All roads lead to Arbat”. Moscow’s most famous street, Arbat, is a fusion of old and new with Old Arbat on one side and New Arbat on the other. The street is lined with lots of cafes, restaurants, portrait painters and street performers. Walking down the cobblestone street can be very refreshing - making it a popular hangout place amongst teens and young adults.

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#HHWT Tip: Halal food options can be found at ТНЕ21 Food Market in New Arbat. This food court offers halal Western, Turkish, and Central Asian cuisine at affordable prices!

Credit: Food Market 21

Address: Bolshoy Afanasyevskiy per., 33, Moskva, Russia, 119019

How to go: Metro Station Arbatskaya (Arbat St. exit).

 10. Evropeyskiy Mall

Evropeyskiy Mall is one of the largest malls in Moscow, housing plenty of European goods from fashion and make-up to sportswear! It’s so huge that window-shopping can take you forever ? The mall is just one metro station away from Arbatskaya and is also within walking distance from Arbat Street.

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#HHWT Tip: There’s a food court on level four with affordable halal-certified options. The restaurants display the halal icons rather loudly so it won’t be hard to spot them! If you’re looking for a place to do your prayers, the fitting rooms at the corner of Pull & Bear are the biggest, making it a good spot to do your prayers!

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Address:  Kiyevsky Station Square, 2, Moskva, Russia, 121059

How to go: Metro Kiyevskaya (Evropeyskiy Mall Exit).

11. New Moscow City Centre

If you’re a fan of city skylines, don’t forget to drop by New Moscow City to see Moscow’s cityscape. This curved building is known as the “Evolution Tower” and is the most iconic landmark of the Central Business District (CBD). The CBD overlooks the Moscow river, making it a great destination to soak in the city lights and stroll down the Moscow River after.

Credit: Faris Malik

#HHWT Tip: There’s a kiosk selling halal kebab right after you exit from the metro. Look out for a халяль” sign. This means HALAL.

Credit: Колбаса Халяль

Address: Moscow International Business Center “Moscow City” or Evolution Tower

How to go: Metro Station Mezhdunarodnaya (Testovskaya Station exit). Alternatively, it is a 30-minute walk from Evropeyskiy Mall

12. Bunker 42

Ever wondered what life under an atomic attack would look like? For history-buffs and thrill-seekers, this eccentric museum is definitely for you! The underground bunker is located 65 meters underground in the center of Moscow and was built in the 1950s as a response to a potential nuclear war. It has since been decommissioned in 2006 and is now a museum as well as an entertainment center ?

Credit: Franco Camilo

Tours of the Cold War Museum are conducted in English by the museum guides and is highly interactive. Before going underground, each visitor is photographed in a gas mask and gets a “secret pass” with his or her photo on it. The place can be quite chilly and some parts of the museum can be quite dark – we wouldn’t recommend this place for claustrophobes! This one’s reserved for the adventure seekers ?

Credit: Bunker 42

Price: Do check their official site for details on the different type of tours available

Opening Hours: By Appointment Only

Address: 5th Kotelnicheskiy pereulok, 11, Moskva, Russia, 115172

How to go: Metro Taganskaya Circle Line. A step-by-step guide to getting there

13. Moscow Cathedral Mosque

There are only four mosques in Moscow and if you don’t have time to visit all four, you must visit this gem! Moscow Cathedral Mosque can accommodate 10,000 worshippers and is one of Europe’s largest mosque. Muslims make up about 16 percent of the 12.5 million population in Moscow, placing the city in contention for the title of ‘most Muslims in Europe’ (not counting Turkey). Meet local Muslims from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and all over the world!

Credit:Faris Malik

#HHWT Tip: Prayers are known as “Namaz” by the locals here. So if you hear anyone asking “Namaz?”, just reply with a “Da!” (which means yes in Russian) and they’ll be happy to show you the way! There’s an Islamic Museum in the mosque, a halal butchery and a few halal restaurants within the area too.

Credit: Syed Hanan

Address: Vypolzov Lane, 7, Moscow 129090, Russia

How to go: Metro Station Prospekt Mira (Mira Ave Exit)

14. Урюк (Uryuk) Restaurant

The word Урюк (Uryuk) means “Dried Apricots” and this is embodied in the restaurant’s logo. Central Asian cuisine is to Moscow what East-Asian is to New York. If you want to treat your tastebuds to Armenian, Georgian, Tajikstan, Uzbekistan and any of the -stan countries’ cuisine, Uryuk is a great place to visit! Restaurant is halal but they do serve alcohol to other customers.

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Price: Depending on what you order, 1000 – 2000 rubles per pax

Opening Hours: 12:00 – 00:00

Address: Franchises can be found all over Moscow, input Урюк on Google Maps to find an outlet closest to you!

15. VDNKh

VDNKh is a park in the north of Moscow.  The Soviet name VDNKh is an acronym meaning "the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy" and was built during Stalin’s time.  You can find plenty of museums here, each dedicated to a specific field. The park is so huge that it’ll take you more than an hour to fully explore the place!

Credit: Faris Malik

In the middle of the complex stands a copy of the “Vostok” Carrier rocket that Yuri Gagarin (the first man to journey into outer space) circled the world in 1961. You can’t find this anywhere else in the world!

Credit: Faris Malik

Price: Entrance to the park is free, with the exception of certain exhibitions

Opening Hours: Park is opened all year round. Check their official website for the availability of exhibits

Address: 5th Kotelnicheskiy pereulok, 11, Moskva, Russia, 115172

How to go: Metro VDNKh (VDNKh exit)

That’s all for now!☺️ There are plenty more places to visit in Moscow but these are our top recommendations. Share with us what do you think of the city as your next travel destination and let us know if we missed out your favorite attraction!