Moscow is a city that is often likened to a giant beast. It’s an enormous, sprawling city that’s home to nearly 12 million people — so with only 48-hours in the city, you’ll need a good ‘plan of action’ to make sure you see its best bits. From seeing revolutionary hero Lenin’s embalmed body, through to partying in a former natural gas factory, here’s your jam-packed guide on what to do in Moscow:
9 am – Red Square
Start the day at Red Square, one of Moscow’s most iconic locations. The square has witnessed a bloody history of executions and revolutionary battles. Soak in the atmosphere and observe the surrounding buildings. The iconic St Basil’s Cathedral can be seen at the end of the square. The cathedral is known for its elaborate, colorful spires, which has a resemblance to striped candy canes. The inside of the cathedral is equally beautiful, with an ornate interior. Pay the entrance fee of between 300-400 roubles, depending on the day you visit. Make sure your camera is fully charged — you’ll want to take a lot of pictures!
11 am – A Revolutionary ‘Hello’
After walking around the square, head to Lenin’s Mausoleum. The Soviet leader was the head of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and was revered for the decades following. Lenin’s body was embalmed for all to see, and you can pay him a visit for free. The Mausoleum is only open from 10-1pm, so be sure to get there before it closes.
1 pm – Dr. Zhivago Lunch
Ever seen the Soviet-era film Dr. Zhivago? If not, it’s a must-see and if you’re in Moscow, the Grand Cafe Dr. Zhivago is a must-visit. The cafe is located right beside the Red Square and Lenin’s Mausoleum. It has a stunning interior that is inspired by Soviet-era architecture. Expect to see walls lined with revolutionary posters and a menu featuring Russian classics such as crayfish rolls, trout pancakes, and Russian gingerbread.
3 pm – A Walk Around The Kremlin
The Kremlin is the most important building in Russia. It’s a giant, red-walled fortress that sits on the river of Moscow and is the official residence of the president of Russia. Many people liken it to the White House — however, you can walk through the Kremlin gates into the complex. Here you can see gardens, cathedrals and of course, a lot of armed guards. Spend a few hours exploring the Kremlin before heading back to your hotel or hostel to take a quick rest.
7 pm – Dinner
Head to Cafe Pushkin, a beautiful restaurant that features an old-style Russian interior and typical Russian meals. Order a starter of borsch soup (a soup made of beetroot and stewed meats) followed by a main of beef stroganoff.
10 pm – Party In A Gas Factory
After a few shots of vodka, head to the Arma Factory complex. The former natural gas factory has been transformed into one of the best party locations in Moscow, with several clubs that draw in some of the world’s best DJs. Some of our favorite places to crash after a night of partying include Art Hostel and Goodmood Hostel.
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9 am – Gorky Park
After grabbing a traditional Russian breakfast of some black rye bread and a coffee — which is served in nearly all cafes — head to Gorky Park. The park is known as Moscow’s equivalent of London ’s Hyde Park or New York’s Central Park. It’s a perfect place for a morning stroll. Sit on a bench and watch the dancers, rollerbladers and joggers go by.
11 am – Hit The Water
Gorky Park lies on the Moscow River. You can purchase a boat ticket at the river entrance that is located in the park. You can ride down the river for an hour or so, soaking in the view of Moscow from the river. If you’re lucky you might spot some sailors from the Russian navy, sat beside boats.
1 pm – Lunch
A great place for lunch is the Bolshoi Restaurant, which is next to the Bolshoi Theatre. It’s a traditional, vintage Russian restaurant with dark wood panels and elaborate trimmings. Try the Russian salad or roasted rabbit. For dessert order the honey cake or pavlova.
3 pm – Soviet Arcades
Spend the afternoon at the nearby Museum of Soviet Arcade Games. The museum gives a real insight into what life was like for children and teenagers during the Soviet era. It features a collection of vintage arcade games that were made in the 1970s and a great history (in English) that shows the realities of life during the Soviet era.
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6 pm – Extravagant Metro
Head to the nearby Kuznetsky Most metro station. The Moscow Metro system is one of the most beautiful in the world, making it one of the city’s star attractions. The metro’s underground walkways are palatial, with high ceilings, marble walls, chandeliers, and mosaics. Explore the walkways before heading to dinner.
7:30 pm – A Georgian Dinner
Finish your time in Moscow with a traditional Georgian meal. The counties of Georgia and Russia have strong ties, as one of the most famous Soviet leaders, Josef Stalin, was from Georgia. Some of the top Georgian restaurants in Moscow include Khachapuri and Sakhilo. Try the delicious meat shashlik or shish kebabs, which are covered in spices and slow cooked. Finish dinner with some shots of Russian vodka before heading back to your hotel.