A trip to Moscow

Travel Forums Europe A trip to Moscow

1. Posted by Megan34 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

I'm going to organize a trip this summer. I want to plan everything. I’ll fly from London to Moscow, and I also want to visit St. Petersburg.

Could you, please, advise me what places I should visit? I’ll stay in Moscow for about 10 days before going to St. Petersburg.

Thank you!

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3. Posted by Teoni (Respected Member 554 posts) 25w Star this if you like it!

Just checking but have you got your visa organised?

4. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1161 posts) 25w 2 Star this if you like it!

Ten days is lots of time for Moscow - people mostly have 3 to 5 days.

A basic understanding of Cyrillic lettering would help you a lot, as would some phrasebook-level Russian. Getting around, not too much signage is in English or even in latin script. There are loads of free online tutorials to help you pick up the alphabet, so it's worth investing even a few hours and the signage will come into focus - the most obvious example is a sign saying PECTOPAH doesn't make much sense until with a knowledge of Cyrillic you read it as RESTORAN.

For getting around, you can cope at minimum by buying single trip metro tokens at the kiosk and asking for "adeen" (one) or "dva" (two).

As Teoni mentions, visas need to be sorted. For Brits this now involves a visit to the Russian Embassy in London (maybe Edinburgh too?) as they take your fingerprints. To do it yourself, the form is in Russian and it's a right pain. They want to know things like your parents' professions and every country you've ever travelled to complete with dates. For me it's worth using a visa agency to make it easier. I use Real Russia and recommend them (I'm just a customer - I don't gain by recommending them); they'll complete the forms for you and their rep will meet you at the embassy to steer you through the process.

Are you white and would pass for Russian in the street? In Russia there's some racism (as well as homophobia), and as well as the attitude of the general public, people of other ethnicities can be targets for the attention of police - particularly if you could look like you're a terrorist from the Caucasus republics.

Now for the good stuff...

Moscow is great. Lots of visual treats. Walk around Red Square, look at St Basil's catherdral and its quite ridiculous architecture. You can also go inside the Kremlin - the ticket kiosks are around the other side from Red Square. Facing the Kremlin across Red Square is GUM, which was a Soviet-era department store and is now a lot of posh shops inside.

Dotted around the city are the Seven Sisters, grand buildings in the Stalinist style of architecture. All worth a look.

The Cosmonaut Museum is good, with the impressive Monument to the Conquerors of Space. It's across from a small funfair park and a former Soviet conference centre which is now a market, I think it was called something like VDNK.

Izmaylovskiy Market is another Kremlin - stalls housed in ornate wooden buildings, and I think in the middle was a small Vodka museum.

For eating out, Grabli is a chain of "milk bars" or "Russian kitchens". These are cheap cafeterias used by the locals, you take your tray along and point at what you want, paying at the till at the end. A good way to try local foods. Or Russia's fast food chain is Teremok, which sells blinis (pancakes) filled with anything from cream cheese to salmon, and of course borscht. After ten days in Moscow you'll be a borscht connoisseur, comparing the offerings at various places and rating them.

Out at Gorky Park there's a replica Buran space shuttle, if that's your thing.

Best viewpoint is maybe out at Sparrow Hills, in front of the Moscow University building (one of the Stalin buildings) overlooking a bend in the river.

One place I've not yet made it to, but which intrigues me, is the Park of Fallen Heroes - meant to be filled with all the statues which were taken down after the Soviet era.

St Petersburg is if anything even more impressive than Moscow. The Church of Spilled Blood is perhaps the most ridiculous and amazing building I've ever seen.

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6. Posted by itravel1 (Budding Member 7 posts) 24w 1 Star this if you like it!

ten days may be a bit much. look at other towns in the ring to fill some days. Sergiev Posad, a day trip from Moscow. Vladimir and on to Suzdal for a night. On route north just before St. Petes stop where it all started, Veliky Novgorod. good for another sleepover. I'm not sure as to your total length but there is definitely more to see in St. Petes than Moscow, so be sure not to shortchange it.
Russia is full of churches and museums. It's not hard to see too many in a short time and lead you feeling tired of visiting them. Be sure to grab some Russian literature and spend some time in the many parks soaking up the locals going about their daily ways. Take an evening performance at the Bolshoi or Mariinsky theatre. Afternoon tea at the Pushkin Cafe or evening listening to jazz.
Lots to see and do, if I can help send me message