Top 10: Luxurious Moscow

Contemporary Russia is often pictured in many minds as the country of oligarchs and a country with a huge wage gap. Moreover as the Russian federal capital, Moscow is obviously a  city where you can spend a lot. Moscow can offer you pleasures and entertainments…so block your banker’s phone number and let express the billionaire in you!


  • A walk in through passages

Moscow’s city center has several streets dedicated to fancy shops and luxurious brands from all over the world. However the truly luxurious ones are always in small, hidden and elegant passages. Among the best ones, I advice you to go explore the Stoleshnikov and Tretyakovsky streets, and the Petrovsky passage. Of course passages are fancy because you’ll be away from the cold, the rain and the rednecks. So just enjoy and spend, you need this 10,000$ pair socks made of golden spider silk.

Side note: keep your sunglasses when inside, let the crowd know who you are.



  • An evening at the Bolshoi

Yes it’s a famous place, and yes it’s culture. But don’t forget that brain is the new tits, and theater the new ayurveda-yoga class! The Bolshoi is a must do, a place where you have to be seen. You’ll be able to show your most fancy suit and dress in a goldish atmosphere. On the plus side, you’ll watch the best ballets and operas of the world. Obviously, you have to be well seated to enjoy this cultural treat. That’s why I definitely advise you to seat on the Amphitheatre or Dress Circle first rows.
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  • Shopping afternoon at GUM and TSUM

Another place to shop, even though more crowded, are the two famous center-located malls of Moscow: the GUM and TSUM. Both of them are located in stunning historic buildings within a walking distance of the Red Square (actually the GUM is on the Red Square). Both of them were already malls for fancy people during the Imperial Russia. And both of them hosts luxurious quality brands from all over the world. Explore these two buildings, you won’t be disappointed!

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  • Culture time at Terems Palace

How do we recognise rich “in” people? Not only because they wear outfits from Chanel in a casual day, but also because they can access places that “out” people can’t or (worse) don’t know about. Although out people are visiting the Kremlin, in people are visiting the Terems Palace. As you already know, the Terems Palace is for sure one of the most secret and secured place of the Russian Federation. Why? Because the Terems Palace is the office and residence of the Russian Federation President in the very heart of the Kremlin. Few tours are organised each year…you must go if you want to be in!

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  • Enjoy dinner at Turandot

But all this shopping and cultural life are exhausting. So if you need a break and enjoy what life has best to offer (i.e: food), you definitely have to go to Turandot. One of the best and finest restaurant of Moscow established in a very luxurious palace. More than a fancy restaurant, Turandot is a jewel, an imperial palace full of artefacts from the last centuries where you can taste an exquisite cuisine. Top.


Credits: Turandot


  • Rest at the mythical and historical Four Seasons

Moscow is a big city, and it can take ages to reach point B from point A…even though Hubert is the best private driver at your service. That’s why choosing your hotel isn’t a small thing. So if you want, and I know you want it, to be located within a short distance of Moscow’s best places and want an hotel at your standards, you must go to the Four Seasons. Located on the Red Square, you’ll enjoy life, comfort and luxury in one of the best hotel of Moscow. Plus, who has never dreamed of waking up in front of the Kremlin and the Red Square?

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  • Get drunk at Mendeleev

Want to go out in a fancy place? Go to Mendeleev! A very nice and luxurious bar located in the stoned arched cellar of a tiny noodles restaurant in the heart of Moscow. Don’t be tricked, the restaurant is only a facade and hides a place where wearing Louboutin or being a foreigner won’t guarantee you to access. Once inside, you’ll enjoy exquisite cocktails while listening to live jazz music.

Side note: as a in person, you must go through the kitchens and access to the VIP room where a waiter will be at your service and where you’ll probably meet famous Muscovites.


Credits: Mendeleev Cocktail Bar


  • Some winter shopping at Maison Yves Salomon

Winter in Russia can be coldish. That’s why fur, either you like it or not, is often one of the best option to keep you warm. That’s why wearing fur in Russia, and especially in Moscow, isn’t something outrageous or only for the babushkas (grumpy elderly Russian women). Nevertheless, for both ethical and fashion reasons, if you want to buy some fur you have to do it the right way and shop in Moscow most beautiful and luxurious furier: Maison Yves Salomon. Combining Russian and French fur and craftsmanship traditions, Maison Yves Salomon is the most luxurious place to find what you desire most. Obviously, the French touch of Maison Yves Salomon makes it a must-wear among Russian wealthiest people…so do you.

Yves Salomon-14

Credits: Maison Yves Salomon


  • Moscow by the air

Moscow is a busy city with lot of traffic jam. Therefore despite Hubert’s amazing driving capabilities, it may takes ages to cross the city. So why not reaching the sky? Grab an helicopter for about 1,300$ and discover the Russian federal capital by the air! Fly close to land between the tours of Moscow City before going up above the city center and the Kremlin. A must do for every fancy people!



  • Get a well-deserved encas at Beluga

What would be visiting Russia without tasting caviar? Nothing. That’s why, and especially after the previously highlighted activities, you truly deserve caviar in a fancy and luxurious place. To that why not going to Beluga? A famous and luxurious caviar bar facing the Kremlin. Delightful!



Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!


Top 10: Natural Capitals

Moscow and St-Petersburg are big cities with cars and peoples everywhere. Noises, grey buildings, pollution, crowds are all usual aspects of living in a city. Moreover, being an inhabitant or a tourist, you spend your days walking (if not running) in city centers, public transports and famous sights. So why not taking a deep and relaxing breath in one of Moscow and St Petersburg’s amazing parks? Indeed these two cities hosts absolutely stunning parks and gardens that you must have a walk in!   

  • Gorky Park (Moscow)

My favorite so far…and all year around! In winter (i.e almost all the time) Gorky park, covered of snow (and ice), is magical. For the time of a walk you’re escaping Moscow city center and enjoy a timeless moment in a snowy and welcoming forest. But above all, in winter Gorky park allows you to walk along the iced Moskva river, which is absolutely priceless (and freezing). Hopefully there is also lots of caffé and restaurants! When summer finally comes out of the corner, Gorky park becomes more crowded than the Red Square but the friendly atmosphere (and the sun!) worths the walk…or ride one of the available bikes! And when fall arrives, Gorky park wears is absolutely stunning orange and yellow outfits which makes you understand why Russians call autumn the “golden season”.

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Parc Gorki

  • VDNKh Park (Moscow)

As Gorki park, the VDNKh Park has the greatness of being interesting all year around. Which to be honest is not a small thing when you try to go outside during a fierce winter. The VDNKh park was a an exhibition center to show the efficiency of the Soviet economy. That’s why today VDNKh is more of a recreational complex attracting thousands of people each year. It’s one of Moscow’s most famous and popular park mainly due to its skating-rink in winter, the largest of Russia, and its pavillons, celebrating the USSR glories.

Dreamstime © - Moscou - VDNKh

  • Teply Stan Park (Moscow)

Huge landscape reserve located south of Moscow, the Teply Stan Park is a famous and very popular park in Moscow. Preserved as a mixed Russian forest, it offers to its visitors some very needed fresh air. It also takes you to typical Russian woods, and allows you to, for a day, feel somewhere else…which is a relief when you’ve been staying in Moscow for a while. But more, in the Teply Stan Park you can walk alongside it’s tiny river, rest near its pound, discover the paleontological institute or even, in summer, go sailing! And who doesn’t like to pretend to be a pirate?


  • Sokolniki Park (Moscow)

Sokolniki park is one of the oldest park in Moscow and one of the largest in Europe (of course). Sokolniki park is considered as one of the oldest park in Moscow because before being a public one, it was a hunting ground for Princes and Tsars. A bit later it became a traditional meeting point for gatherings and festive events. The park benefited from public founding which gave Sokolniki a new youth. Currently the park is divided in 9 sectors, each hosting pavillons and a specific biodiversity. Plus, if you’re kind of a bird-fanatic (aka amateur ornithologists) Sokolniki park also has an ornitary with exotic birds to admire!


  • Neskuchny Garden (Moscow)

Another “one of the +superlative” park in Moscow (ie one of the oldest). Neskuchny Garden is located closer to the city center than the previous ones. In line with the famous Gorky park, the Neskuchny Garden is beautiful (especially in autumn). You should go there. It’s great. And beautiful.  


  • Botanical Garden (St-Petersburg)

Being the oldest botanical garden of Russia (seriously, again?), the Botanical Garden of St-Petersburg is now quite significant and hosts numerous plants. It first has been used as the Tsar Apothecary’s Garden, but later transformed in a center for horticultural research. As a result you can explore charming indoor and outdoor gardens and learn more about various plants and biodiversities.


  • Yusupov Garden (St-Petersburg)

St Petersburg is a lot about canals, tiny streets and palaces. But as a result there isn’t much of green spaces to chill, play or picnic on. That’s why the Yusupov Garden is very popular and important. Located in St-Petersburg city center, the Yusupov garden was a significant part of the Yusupov Palace and so remains today a piece of history. This gem really worth the visit and you definitely have to take time to picnic in this imperial garden!

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  • Summer Garden (St-Petersburg)

St-Petersburg’s summer garden comes straight from the Imperial Russian standards of the 18th century. Similar to French gardens of that time, the Summer Garden has been built on geometrical principles. It also hosts many marble statues representing antic subjects, fountains and rare plants. The summer garden is a real breath of fresh air in the city!


  • Pavlovsk Palace’s park (St-Petersburg)

The Pavlovsk Palace’s park is a famous park close to the city. I already wrote a lot about it but this park worth the visit (even more than the Palace itself?). Stroll along the tree-lined avenues of this English park, and enjoy the various pavilions dotting it, and be transported to the Imperial Russia!

Tips: take a good camera and you’ll manage to shoot stunning pics of the park and the palace

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  • Tavrichesky park (St-Petersburg)

As the Pavlovsk Palace’s park, the Tavrichesky park is an English-style park…but in the city center! Built by Catherine the Great around the Tavrichesky manor, it includes pavillons, greenhouses (to take care of rare and uncommon plants) and ponds. It’s a famous park for those who (unlike me) spend their weekends playing chess or doing sport!


Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!



Top 5: Capitals’ Must-See

We know you, you’re in Moscow and Petersburg for few days and you want to come back home with pictures to brag about. Don’t worry follow this list and in two days you’ll be able to see everything that matters to the eyes of those you’ll tell your travel about!

 Obviously the first one can’t not be the Kremlin and the Red Square. But to be fair, it’s always something when you arrive on this famous place. We you stand in the middle of the Red-Square, St Basil in front of you and the Kremlin on your right, you truly realize where you are. This place is the place of all fantasizes and it’s definitely the place you want to be when traveling in Russia (well not so long because in winter it’s really cold).  

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Place rouge (5)


 The Hermitage is another place to be/go when traveling to Russia. For the sweet taste of imperial Russia or its marvelous cats, you have to go to the Hermitage! The Hermitage will help you in showing to Janet from the accounting that you experienced all facets of Russia. On the plus side, the Hermitage is big and hot, so perfect to protect you from Petersburg freakily cold winter.

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The Tretyakov Gallery is a world-known museum that has the advantage of presenting an insight on every Russian schools of art. In a single museum you’ll be able to discover the Russian art from its beginning to the revolution of 1917. Icons, portraits, landscapes and masterpieces from Russian famous artists are all in this museum. So if you manage it well, you’ll be able to pretend that you visited a dozen of museums while travelling in Russia!
Dreamstime © - Moscou - Galerie Tretiakov (2)


In case Janet isn’t impressed by the Hermitage, show her some pictures of Peterhof. Peter the Great’s palace is kind of a Russian Versailles (where Janet spent an hour of her honeymoon) created to astonish visitors from all over the world. If you want a tip, go there in summer when the palace shines and the fountains are working and purposely spray water on visitors (the cold water will calm down your children).



  • Walk in St-Petersburg’s city center (St-Petersburg) 

 Petersburg is wonderful city to walk through. Along the canals and the palaces, you’ll be able to shoot a city between West Europe and Russia, with great colors and amazing buildings from the XIXth and XXth centuries. More, you’ll find many great places to eat and drink. And because the exception doesn’t make the rule, St-Petersburg’s city center is small so easily done by foot!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Canaux et Neva


Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!


Top 10: Tsar-Visit’s excursions

  As you know, Tsar Visit is a travel agency that sells guided-visits and tours in Moscow and St-Petersburg. We are working in 6 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Russian. And thanks to Yulia, we are able to work with professional and accredited guides in those languages. But as Irina is doing her job far to well, you can be lost in our different offers. So here is a list of my favorites!    


My favourite is definitely the Bolshoi’s backstages. First because it’s a privilege of accessing it, and I like being the special and privileged person. Second, because it’s beautiful and for once you have time to admire the splendorous painting and goldish chandeliers. Third, because you can enter the Bolshoi for a much lesser price than the one of a ballet ticket in the historic stage! This is a must do!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Théâtre Bolchoï (3)


Because, I mean… THE Hermitage! Who never dreamt of visiting this marvelous imperial palace and dive into both History and fine art at the same time? Who never dreamt of being an heir of the Romanov finding its way through the palace? The Hermitage is a real historical pearl waiting for you on the Neva’s docks (tips: always look through the windows while visiting the museum, it worths it). But the Hermitage is also and above all the most important museum in the world. In other words, thanks to your guide, you’ll have detailed informations on both world-known masterpieces and the imperial Russia’s history.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Ermitage (9)


As for the Hermitage, the Kremlin is a must-do when visiting or living in Russia. As the political center of the country, but also as a historical keystone, the Kremlin worths the visit ! Nevertheless, the Kremlin is big, highly secured and offers to the public many historical and religious artefacts and buildings. That’s it must be visited… but never forget, with a professional and accredited guide!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Vue aérienne (12)-ciel bleu


The Tretyakov Gallery is one of the most famous museum of Russia… and not for no reason. The Tretyakov Gallery is huge and exhibits masterpieces from Russian and European schools of arts. All of this is stunning and the Tretyakov is a must-do, especially for arts fan. So if you really want to know more about Russia and its artists, you should definitely book a guided-tour!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Galerie Tretiakov (2)


Another feel-like-a-Royal-for-a-day visit that will bring you back in Peter the Great’s splendorous time. Peterhof is the Russian Versailles and this says all. The palace is absolutely stunning on the inside as on the outside. Special notice for the gardens and the fountains that are the icing on the cake. Thanks to a professional guide, you’ll bypass all the tourists, learn more about the imperial history and the Russian culture in a shining historic environment. Definitely one of my favorite!



Seeing Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood in this list, you’re probably thinking that I’m giving all Moscow’s and Petersburg’s classics. Wrong! The world-known cathedral has its path in this list because the inside is absolutely stunning (or am I only attracted by gold? Who knows…). But more than being beautiful and famous, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood is also full of hidden treasures, secrets and remains crucial in the Russian and Soviet history. That’s why you definitely need a guided visit!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (4)


Did you know that the Yusupov where the richest family in the late imperial Russia, and the most powerful after the Romanov? No ? Then here is why you need to visit there palace on the Moika with a guide! The Yusupov palace hides all the secrets of this significant family. But the palace is also, and above all, crucial in the Russian history, having been Rasputin’s murder place!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Palais Youssoupov (4)


As the other places in this list (I admit I have a taste for the Imperial Russia), the Peter and Paul fortress is absolutely crucial in the Russian history. However, if you’re visiting it by yourself, you’ll find nothing else than big walls, a cathedral, graves and a garden. That’s why I advise you to do a guided-tour of it. Your guide will explain you the history of the fortress, showing you artefacts from the past, and give you details on the buried Romanov. Moreover, if (as me) you have a taste for royal families from the past and the present, the Peter and Paul fortress will serve you some delights!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Forteresse Pierre et Paul (10)


Moscow is a big city. And sometimes the best to do in order to discover a big city is to sit and enjoy a guided-tour. With Tsar Visit’s guided tour of Moscow you’ll discover, in a very comfy way, the Russian capital city and all its wonders. A must-do if you don’t have much time in Moscow!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Vue aérienne (13)


Basically the same as for Moscow. This tour is the best. Go for it!



Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!


Top 10: Orthodox Russia

Despite the USSR’s attempt to eliminate religion, Russia can’t barely be pictured without cupolas, monasteries, icons and everything that looks more or less orthodox. Fortunately, these archiectural and artistic masterpieces offer tourists, expats and Russians some wonders of the world that everyone must visit! So being religious or not, follow this top and dive into one of the most important dimension of the Russian culture and history!

  • Sergiyev Posad (Moscow)

Sergiyev Posad is a small town, 2 hours away by train from Moscow. So why putting it first? Because Sergiyev Posad is considered to be the Russian Vatican. Built around a Lavra (aka a very important monastery), Sergiyev Posad must be visited for its spirituality and the magnificence of its cathedrals. Seriously, it’s beautiful, everything is located in the same place and very Russian.

Dreamstime © - Serguiev Possad - Panorama (7)

  • Suzdal (Moscow)

Another very important religious center, Suzdal is a bit futher from Moscow than Sergiyev Posad, but is as important and stunning. If you’re visiting only one of the Golden Ring’s cities, go for Suzdal. This city has been kept away from industrialisation and succeeded in  preserving the treasures given by the Russian Princes through centuries. So if you take a picture in the right angle, you’ll be able to pretend that you spent some days in the Russian countryside… as the true adventurer that you are.

Dreamstime © - Souzdal - Eglise de la Nativité (2)

  • Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood (Saint-Petersburg)

While technically not being consecrated, and so not a church, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood is an orthodox mausoleum. Indeed, the church has been built to mourn Alexander II’s assassination on March 1881. This is a must-do in St-Petersburg, so you should visit it. First, because everyone knows this building. Second, the inside, all covered-up by golden mosaics, is absolutely stunning. Third, because you’ll appear as super knowledgeable among your coworkers when you’ll explain them that this is not St Basil’s cathedral.

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  • Peter and Paul Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

Very small and definitely not as impressive on the inside as others, the Peter and Paul cathedral hosts the grave of almost all the Romanovs. In a way, the cathedral is far more impressive on the outside, but it has the perks of being really important to those who celebrate the Russian Tsars. Especially because the cathedral hosts the remains of Nicholas II and his family, butchered in 1918 by the Soviets.

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  • Kolomenskoye Domain (Moscow)

While all orthodox churches and monasteries look similar, you’ll find in the Kolomenskoye domain a simple one. I mean a church WITHOUT cupolas. So why visiting it you’d say? Why visiting something that you could find in your country? Because the Church of the Ascension is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. And between us these guys rarely mess things up. Indeed the Church of the Ascension is the first church made of stones in an octagonal shape in Russia! Not so common isn’t?

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  • Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

St Isaac’s is interesting for two things. First it has been built and decorated taking St Peter’s of the Vatican as a model. I don’t know if you ever been in St Peter, but it’s just wow! Second because St Isaac’s Cathedral has also been thought as a museum of Russian stones. As a result you have a stunning big church made of gold, icons and colored-marbles from all Russias. You definitely have to go inside, you’ll be able able to make great pics.  

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Cathédrale Saint Isaac (13)

  • Christ the Savior (Moscow)

This one has to be seen for its history. Christ the Savior was an old white church in the very heart of Moscow. However, it has been destroyed in 1931 by order of Stalin, and replaced by a public swimming pool. While Muscovites got used to it and loved spending afternoons in this pool, the Russian government decided to destroy it and rebuild the Cathedral of the Christ the Savior, but this time as the largest of Russia.

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  • New Jerusalem Monastery (Moscow)

Politico-religious dream of the patriarch Nikon, the New Jerusalem Monastery intended to make Moscow the center of the orthodox world. To achieve this, the patriarch Nikon ordered in the middle of the 17th century the building of a monastery based on the Christ church of Jerusalem. But if the Istra river became the Jordan and the building are based on the same architecture, the inner decoration is fairly different. Today, the New Jerusalem Monastery hosts religious arts and must be visited!


  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Saint-Petersburg)

Despite being central in the romanced history of St-Petersburg, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra is a beautiful and peaceful monastery in the heart of the Northern Capital. Maybe because of its pastel-colored buildings, its parks or simply because of its mission, the Lavra has a serene atmosphere. Enter the Lavra and dive in another world, away from the noise and the crowd.

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  • The Kremlin (Moscow)

Moscow’s Kremlin remains first and foremost known for its political dimension. But if you enter the domain, you’ll realise that it is a grouping of church behind defencing walls. Within the Kremlin, the church are older than the usual ones and still ornamented of traditional Russian arts. Plus, each church has its role and mission. Because, why building a single church when you have the space and the resources to build 3 of them?


Want to know more about religion in Russia? Read this article!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

To Do in Moscow Top

Top 3: Unusual Things To Do in Moscow

Tourists, tourists and again tourists… tourists are everywhere! Taking pictures of the same buildings and bringing home the same “so original” souvenirs. But you’re not like them. No, you’re a true explorer. Someone that wants to do what locals do, and bring home truly unusual objects and memories. You’re not a redneck and neither are we, so follow this top and experience another Russia!

In St Petersburg? Check this unusual top 4!

  • Take Height at 354 ‒ Restaurants & Observation Deck

You were considering in taking a “Russian tea” at Caffé Pouchkine ? Seriously ? Well, first, Russian tea doesn’t exist. Second, Caffé Pouchkine is amazing but kind of Moscow’s must-do. Instead go take a cocktail at Ruski at the 85th floor of OKO Tower. More than diving into contemporary Russia by exploring Moskva-City, you’ll jump into the highest restaurant in Europe and in the very heart of Moscow’s “hypeness”. Take height and enjoy some fresh air, by letting your kids in the children’s room and entering the highest ice bar in the world! With its set of restaurants and bars, the terrace in summer and the highest skating rink of Europe in winter, the 354 will offer you an unusual and magnificent view!

Ruski Restaurant - 354m Height in OKO Tower
Ruski Restaurant – 354m Height in OKO Tower

But maybe, you’ll prefer to stay down-to-earth and visit Moscow by night in a soviet military van (called UAZ) or even enroll for a pub-crawl!

  • Mystic Moscow & Russian Superstitions

You may know that if you whistle inside a house in Russia, it’ll bring misfortune to that household… As every city, and because it’s the former Soviet Capital, Moscow has many legends, stories, tales and dark secrets to deliver. Diving into these will require bravery, strength and abnegation (act of renouncing) in order to explore the dark secrets and stories of Moscow and its famous people. It probably also requires a good guide whether by enjoying a walk, or using transport. But be careful, in the end you’ll never know which are tales and which are true stories…

Picture: Mystical Moscow
Mystical Moscow
  • The Dark Secrets of Lubyanka 

Remember when your parents threatened to put you in the cellar without light if you didn’t calm down? (or is it just mine?) Well, explore Lubyanka around former KGB headquarters and you’ll regret your cellar. For those who don’t know, Lubyanka has been the black heart of the Soviet secret intelligence, enforcing “security” inside and outside USSR. For this one, bring your own kinds. Stories of torture, prison and disappearance will give you a real and efficient leverage on these monsters. And well, except you already know all these dark secrets, you’ll need a guide!

Picture: Moscow - Lubyanka Square & FSB Building (former KGB)
Moscow – Lubyanka Square & FSB Building (former KGB)

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!


Top 10: Good Deals in Moscow & Saint-Petersburg

Traveling may be expensive. Whether alone, with your lover, with children or even with your step-mother, you don’t want to come back with empty pockets. But avoiding visits, experiences, adventures (or worse, restaurants) is NOT acceptable, especially in Russia’s two capitals ‒ the cultural Saint-Petersburg & the business Moscow. Follow us and you’ll be able to treat yourself tonight, eating caviar in front of the Kremlin!

  • Moscow by Bike

Curious people, this one’s for you! Especially if you like cycling and feeling the breeze on your skin. Moscow bike sharing system Velobike is definitely the best deal you can find to discover quickly all the main areas of city. For 150₽ a day (2$) you can rent a bike anywhere in Moscow, for the time you want (for free up to 30 minutes), and return it in any bicycle station. Easy and cheap, take a bike and explore the city at your convenience. Also, that’s your chance to “forget” your step-mother or your terrible kids in a remote area of the city… Sorry, not sorry.

Picture: Cycling in Moscow ‒ Renting a bike made easy with Velobike bike sharing system
Cycling in Moscow ‒ Renting a bike made easy with Velobike bike sharing system

If ever you happen to be in Kazan, riding around the city is one of the best ways to discover the capital of Tatarstan.

  • Open Museums Once a Month (Moscow & Saint-Petersburg)

As culture is very important to Russians, every public museums offer free entrance on the third Sunday of each month. In fact, museums may be somewhat crowded on these days, but come on… it’s free! This is the perfect opportunity to visit or reexplore expensive museums and galleries without spending a kopeck (unless you give in and treat yourself with a coffee break or even souvenirs). Hopefully, Russian museums are like Russia, big and large so you (and your children) can breathe and contemplate the numerous masterpieces (I bet you can’t do it in most museums in Europe).

Picture: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow

Yet, you may prefer to visit museums on a quiet day, take the Pushkin Museum for example.

  • Bulgakov House-Museum (Moscow)

One fantastic thing in Moscow is that you can visit many famous artists’ houses. For example, Bulgakov, the author of The Master and Margarita (but you probably knew that), lived in Moscow city center and his house is opened to the public… for free! The house is very small but you have to go and visit it! You’ll see a traditional Soviet interior and dive into Bulgakov’s world. Well, let’s give it a try !

Picture: Bulgakov House-Museum in Moscow
Bulgakov House-Museum in Moscow
  • Winzavod Contemporary Art Center (Moscow)

Winzavod is a huge center for contemporary art in Moscow opened to public for free. Located in several former industrial buildings (and among them Moscow’s beer factory) in Moscow’s city center, it presents to public several contemporary projects. A bit underground (but not too much since Dmitri Medvedev visited it during his presidentship), Winzavod is a good way to spend a casual afternoon in Moscow for free, and discover a younger kind of Russian intelligentsia (you can call them hipsters). Let’s chill there!

Picture: Inside Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow
Inside Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow

If you like contemporary art, here you can read more about Russian Contemporary Art.

  • Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River (Moscow)

Imagine yourself, a sweet breeze on your face, water lapping makes you dreaming, you open your eyes and admire the magnificent monuments of the Russian Capital. Discovering Moscow on the Moskva River is a unique experience, since you can at the same time relax, admire the city, and even sip a delicious cocktail. Boarding on the new, bright and comfortable Flotilla Radisson Royal boat is the treat you deserve, when you already had a busy day or week visiting the city.

Picture: Flotilla Radisson Royal Cruise on the Moskva River in Moscow
Flotilla Radisson Royal Cruise on the Moskva River in Moscow

And if you’re still eager to learn about Moscow, you may want a guide to accompany you on the Radisson Cruise.

  • Moscow Subway & Arbat Street

Did you know that Moscow metro stations were built as palaces for its people? Probably, but you may not know that Moscow subway was also built as a refuge in case of nuclear conflict. Muscovites are lucky that the metro is so beautiful, it makes them forget that going from the beginning to the end of any line takes 2 hours. And tourists in Moscow are even more lucky, since you can buy a ticket for a very few rubles and explore the most beautiful stations, just like in a museum. And about exploring Moscow for free (or almost), another outstanding place is Arbat street. I must be honest, this area is quite touristy. But, on this very nice street you’ll find an unequalized concentration of Russian souvenirs, crafts and antiques, and watching all the variety of items shops have to offer is kinda like admiring masterpieces in a museum (with the temptation to buy them for your family & friends as a bonus).

Picture: Moscow's Palace-Like Metro Stations: Komsomolskaya
Moscow’s Palace-Like Metro Stations: Komsomolskaya

These are not the only free museum-like places, take the Cathedral of the Christ the Saviour for example, the entrance is also free and whether you like religion or not, this is just sublime. If you want to visit the best metro stations in Moscow, Arbat street, and the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in a record time without missing anything about them, this tour was made for you!

  • Izmaylovo Kremlin (Moscow)

This one’s tricky. If the entrance is free, you’re at risk of going out from there way poorer than expected. Is that a challenge? I’ll let you judge… Built like a Moscow’s “wonderland”, the Izmaylovo Kremlin hide behind its walls two markets. One is for tourists, with lots of souvenirs, Russian traditional artefacts and fur. The other one is a bric-a-brac, where babushkas (grandmas) and dedushkas (granddads) sell ancient objects from Soviet times and even before. You may also find icons and wooden art over there. And in case you get hungry or cold in this little world, go take a rest in the food court, they make wonderful shashliks and hot tea!

Picture: The "Vernissage" at Izmaylovo Kremlin in Moscow
The “Vernissage” at Izmaylovo Kremlin in Moscow

By the way, if you like to do a series of visits, you could begin with Izmaylovo, see some beautiful metro stations, and have a walk in VDNKh and visit some of its pavilions, such as the Soviet Game Museum.

  • Church of the Savior on Blood (Saint-Petersburg)

Usually churches are free… but this one is technically not a church, in fact it’s a museum (did you know that or are you just pretending?), and thus it isn’t free. But the famous Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, built as a memorial to Alexander II’s murder, is absolutely divine. For a few rubles you’ll be able to pay a tribute and pray for the Russian tsar’s memory… and also admire the exquisite shining and goldish mosaics that cover all its walls and its roof.

Picture: The Church on Spilled Blood in Saint-Petersburg, aka the Temple of the Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church on Spilled Blood in Saint-Petersburg, aka the Temple of the Savior on Spilled Blood

If you want the visit of this world-known monument to be memorable, the best way is to learn the history of the Church of the Savior on Blood with a guide! 

  • Saint-Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

This one is a church, and a famous one… but also a museum. So for a few rubles, you’ll enter the very heart of Saint-Petersburg religious life and a cathedral with rich ornamentation and dimensions beyond the norm. For the atheists reading this top, you’ll find in Saint Isaac a real museum of stones as the cathedral has been crafted in such varieties of stones from all Russia. One over there, it’s also worth exploring the colonnade which will offer you a marvelous view on the city!

Picture: Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint-Petersburg, aka Isaakievskiy Sobor
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint-Petersburg, aka Isaakievskiy Sobor
  • State Kremlin Palace (Moscow)

The Bolshoi, the Mariinsky and many other theatres in Russia are expensive. But Russians love theatre, opera and ballet and so you can find quite easily good tickets very cheap. Surprisingly one of them is the Kremlin Ballet Theatre, aka State Kremlin Palace. I know you thought about it and didn’t look at the prices as “it will be the most expensive of all”. Wrong! The Kremlin Theatre, located in the heart of the Kremlin, offers good operas and ballets (with a strong taste for classics) for not so many rubles. You can even be well seated for only 600r (10$). So take a ticket and you’ll be able to brag yourself while back home!

Picture: The State Kremlin Palace, aka the Kremlin Palace of Congresses
The State Kremlin Palace, aka the Kremlin Palace of Congresses

Although, if you’ve been dreaming about the Bolshoi for a while, we’ve got a VIP access to the backstages that any ballet-lover would like to get.

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg Top

Top 10: Activities for Children in Russia

Children are nice and cute when they’re not yours (some people say), but they can be real monsters (when not a mortal plague to be honest). As we don’t want to ostracize parents, and help you in raising smart kids, here is a top of things to do in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Go for these and you’ll enjoy good quality time with your children away from the cold and the overcrowded antic museums!

Picture: Chair Swing Ride in Moscow
Let’s enjoy attractions for children in Moscow, have a chair swing ride for example!
  • Moskvarium ‒ The Largest Oceanarium in Moscow

This one will entertain you and your kids at least for a day, away from the cold, and keep them smart. The Moskvarium aims at presenting Russian aquatic inhabitants but also species from all over the world. This oceanarium, located in VDNKh in Moscow, is a living encyclopedia of the underwater world which was thought both for children and grown-ups with shows of killer whales, dolphins belugas and walruses. Perfect to entertain your children and let them know more about marine animals… and don’t tell them but you can also swim with dolphins!

Picture: The Moskvarium ‒ the largest and the best oceanarium in Moscow
The Moskvarium ‒ the largest and the best oceanarium in Moscow
  • Ice-Skating at VDNKh (Moscow)

One of the top Russian activities, ice-skating is a traditional, children-friendly and fairly cheap outdoor activity. You’ll surely be ashamed when you’ll realise that even a 4yo kiddo is ice-skating better than you, but don’t let it stop you from expressing your very personal style. In winter there are many ice-skating rinks inside Moscow but the best (and biggest) one is definitely the ice-skating rink of VDNKh! You can also skate at the 354 (divine) but it’s a bit less children-friendly.

Picture: Ice-Skating in Moscow: on the largest ice-rink in Russia & Europe at VDNKh
Ice-Skating in Moscow: on the largest ice-rink in Russia & Europe at VDNKh
  • Izmaylovo Kremlin & Market (Moscow)

Izmaylovo Kremlin is something between Wonderland and a Russian Disneyland. This colorful wooden kremlin is a good way to spend a half-day with your children, you may also want to have a walk in the Izmaylovo forest just nearby. In Izmaylovo Market, you’ll be protected from the wind while discovering the Russian craft & antiques (and also many mainstream souvenirs). Kids are always hungry, and always when it’s not time to eat, but this is not a problem as you’ll find delicious shashliks (meat skewers) and many different Russian meals. Though Izmaylovo Market entrance is free, you’ll face much temptation to treat yourself and your family!

Picture: Izmaylovo Kremlin ‒ The Best Craft & Souvenir Market in Moscow
Izmaylovo Kremlin ‒ The Best Craft & Souvenir Market in Moscow

NB: don’t hesitate to negotiate prices, this is part of the game and an interesting experience for your children!

If you feel like this is not enough to keep your kids busy, think about visiting majestic Moscow’s metro stations on your way to Izmaylovo Kremlin.

  • The Backstages of the Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow)

Tickets for the Bolshoi are expensive and kids can’t cope with opera, ballet or theater for more than 5 minutes (if so, how the hell did you manage to do that?). If you still want to enter this world-known cultural house but can’t handle the embarrassment that would cause your own blood, you have another option! Indeed, it’s possible to visit the Bolshoi backstages and historic scene with a guide. Lucky you! Cherry on the cake you may have the chance to watch some rehearsals.

Picture: The Bolshoi Theater Backstages in Moscow
The Bolshoi Theater Backstages in Moscow
  • Cruises in the Venice of the North and on the Moskva River (Saint-Petersburg & Moscow)

Children have small legs, energy when they should be sleeping, and interest for things they can’t have. Based on that, visiting the city center of a Russian city can become “Mission: Impossible”. Hopefully, there is another way. A way that would blow your kids’ mind and offer you some peace and time to discover Russia. This secret transmitted generations after generations is called cruises. While cruises in Saint-Petersburg’s are very famous for the canals and the Neva River (that’s one of the reasons why it’s also called the Venice of the North), cruises in Moscow are famous for the Moskva River from where you can admire the most beautiful places in the city!

Picture: The Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River ‒ a unique experience in Moscow
The Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River ‒ a unique experience in Moscow
  • Submarine Museum (Moscow & Saint-Petersburg)

In the same way, children can’t cope with museums. Seriously, why? We all try to improve their knowledge and prepare them for the future, but no, they simply don’t care. Anyway, be ready to appear as a super-parent. Bring them to the Submarine Museum in Moscow and they will be amazed, feeling like a real sailor under the USSR.  On the plus side they, and you, will learn a lot on the Russian Navy, submarines and Soviet times! Are you in Saint-Petersburg? Then, the C-189 Submarine Floating Museum is made for you!

Picture: Inside the Submarine Museum in Moscow
Inside the Submarine Museum in Moscow
  • Nikulin Circus (Moscow)

Another Russian tradition, often forgotten, is the circus. Animals, clowns (not the scary American ones), magicians and acrobats are all part of the Russian circus. Of course, children are more than welcomed and everyone will be amazed. But to be sure to enjoy the show, you have to pick the good one, which means Nikulin’s Circus.  

Picture: Nikulin Circus ‒ one of the oldest circuses in Moscow & Russia
Nikulin Circus ‒ one of the oldest circuses in Moscow & Russia
  • The Bunker 42 of Taganka (Moscow)

As for the Submarine Museum, and even if it’s is a real labyrinth, the Bunker 42 of Taganka is a great museum, aka the Cold War Museum. As you’ll stroll down the steps and floors into the depth of the earth, you’ll dive into the Soviet era and learn how the USSR was preparing itself for a nuclear conflict. It’s an exceptional opportunity to observe old objects, movies, documentaries, weapons, bots… that all come from Stalin’s ruling of the Union, and which will please everyone!

Picture: Inside the Bunker 42 on Taganka in Moscow, aka the Cold War Museum
Inside the Bunker 42 on Taganka in Moscow, aka the Cold War Museum
  • Babayevsky Chocolate Factory (Moscow) 

No matter if your child is an Augustus, Violet, Veruca, Mike or a Charlie, you can go and discover the Babayevsky Chocolate Factory, it’s gonna be safer than in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the most important: tastier. Clearly, kids will be amazed by all the tasty konfety or konfetki produced over there, everyone will love these lil chocolate candies, and also learn about the chocolate-making process. And best of all, you can try Babayevsky konfety at any time during your visit which means your kids will stay calm and you probably won’t have to struggle finding a meal to please them for dinner.

Picture: Babayevsky Chocolate Factory in Moscow ‒ the secrets of the konfetki production
Babayevsky Chocolate Factory in Moscow ‒ the secrets of the konfetki production
  • Sokolniki Park: Sledding Race and Ice-Sculpting (Moscow)

Once a year, always on the Defender of the Fatherland Day, i.e. 23rd February, Moscow organizes a sledding race in Sokolniki Park. But this isn’t just a race. Indeed, what matters the most is the originality of the sledge and the final fall! Each year a new theme is settled for the greatest pleasure of all. Lucky you, it’s often held at the same time than the ice-sculpting competition. Don’t miss these two events, your kids will love them!

Picture: Ice-Sculpting in Sokolniki Park in Moscow
Ice-Sculpting in Sokolniki Park in Moscow

Want to discover more parks where to bring your kids in Moscow & Saint-Petersburg? Check out our Top 10: Natural Capitals!

To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg Top

Top 10: What to Do in Winter in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg?

It’s no secret, Russia, even in its Western part, can be coldish in winter. Well sometimes so cold that you can’t stay outside for more than 1 hour… which is kinda annoying when your goals are to visit big and stunning cities such as Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. But, hopefully for you, life isn’t stopping in Russia with the cold. Although, more than giving you the impression of walking in a snowy-end-of-the-world American movie, Moscow and Saint-Petersburg can offer you many opportunities to discover, experience and above all enjoy the Russian winter!

Picture: Russian Winter in Snow-Covered Saint-Petersburg
Russian Winter in Snow-Covered Saint-Petersburg
  • Ice-Skating in VDNKh (Moscow)

One of the best Russian way to deal with the cold is to fight it with sport. Wondering how? Well running in streets or parks on 10cm of ice is something that Russians keep the secret of. But you surely can give it a try, fall (maybe) but still enjoy it. Ice-skating is fun, it warms you up and you’ll be with Russians while discovering another side of the city. Why in VDNKh you say? Simply because VDNKh’s ice skating rink is the biggest and most popular of Russia (which is not a small deal). So everything is well organised and above all you have as much place as you want to do your acrobatic and artistic figures on ice!

Picture: The VDNKh Ice-Rink in Moscow ‒ The Largest Ice-Rink in Europe
The VDNKh Ice-Rink in Moscow ‒ The Largest Ice-Rink in Europe

Also, if you want to make the most of VDNKh Park, you may want to visit the Museum of Cosmonautics, located just next the VDNKh metro station, and that would be another great way to get warmer and to discover the great history of Russian space conquest!

  • The Hermitage Museum (Saint-Petersburg)

The State Hermitage Museum is the most important museum in the world, presenting treasures in around 1000 rooms. But the Hermitage, also known as the Winter Palace, was the Tsars’ main residence and represents a crucial aspect of the Russian history. Going there in winter is the best option for two reasons:

  1. First (and for me the most important reason) you’ll visit this pearl away from the crowd, allowing you to take time and pleasure.
  2. Second because, as a sumptuous palace of the Neva, you’ll discover stunning views of wintery Petersburg from every room, giving you the opportunity of visiting the city while staying warm!
Picture: The State Hermitage Museum in Saint-Petersburg ‒ Home to the Largest Collection of Paintings in the World
The Hermitage in Saint-Petersburg ‒ Home to the Largest Collection of Paintings in the World

You could literally spend days in the numerous rooms of this wonderful palace, I remember that my first time in there, I stayed until the closing time to gaze at every single piece of art, rushing through all the rooms to have a glimpse of them… Maybe I would have enjoyed it better if I had taken guided tour of the Hermitage Museum earlier that day to admire the most important masterpieces and learn interesting facts about them, and then continue the visit by myself.

  • Dog-Sledding in the Countryside (Moscow & Saint-Petersburg)

Another great and sporty activity to do in winter is to enjoy a day outside the city center, doing dog-sledding surrounded by the magic Russian nature. Who doesn’t love dogs? You may be more of a cat-person, but I’m sure you have a thing for huskies, we all do, don’t we? Personally, I also have a thing for Russian food, sometimes I wonder if I should treat myself a little less, but you know what? I may not stay here forever, so I want to enjoy every delight I can find in Russia. Take the shashlik or the oladushki for example, the first ones are delicious skewered, marinated and grilled cubes of meat, while the second ones are some mouthwatering small thick pancakes. These are a great treat after a good ride in the snow with the huskies and a good way to get warmer, not only because you’ll be inside or near a fireplace, but because this is one way to discover the Russian soul, the warmer soul you’ll find on Earth in my mind! 

(then go for it, treat yourself, you deserve it too)

Picture: The Huskies ‒ Lovers & Explorers of Russian North
The Huskies ‒ Lovers & Explorers of the Russian North

Wait a second, did I tell you that if you’re in Saint-Petersburg it’s better to enjoy the Husky experience with shashliks? While in Moscow, huskies prefer oladushki!

  • Having a Goûter or Teatime at Café Singer (Saint-Petersburg)

Close your eyes and imagine: you’ve been walking in Petersburg for two hours, you’re freaking cold and wet (because, well, it’s Petersburg) and the only thing that could cheer you up is a good cake and a hot chocolate (let your inner child live). Open your eyes: here it is. In Saint-Petersburg’s heart, in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, stands with its magnificent glass roof the Café Singer. More than a café, this is a true institution that will warm you up thanks to delicious hot drinks and tasty cakes served while admiring the Kazan Cathedral. And once you got warmer, and maybe by the time it got a little bit sunny, you may be up for a guided tour by walk from cathedral to cathedral?

Picture: Singer House in Saint-Petersburg ‒ home both to the House of Books and Café Singer
Singer House in Saint-Petersburg ‒ home both to the House of Books and Café Singer

I think another good way to enjoy Saint-Petersburg on a rainy day, or on any cold day, is to visit its main sights in a private vehicle and listen to the incomparable history of Saint-Petersburg. By the way, do you know the history of Singer House? It was initially designed as a skyscraper for the Singer Sewing Machine Company, yet the building code in Saint Petersburg didn’t allow buildings taller than the Winter Palace, so the architect got round this law to build an elegant six-floor Art Nouveau structure crowned with a glass tower, overtopped by a glass globe sculpture.

  • The Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow)

If we apply the famous “In Rome do as Romans do”, then being in Russia in winter, you’d better go to the museum. Museums are always a good place to be during a fierce winter: it’s warm, big and full of masterpieces. What are you waiting for? In Moscow, you must visit the Tretyakov Gallery, this is surely the best museum in town. In an afternoon, you cross the centuries of Russian and European arts, looking at masterpieces, from icons to sculptures and paintings. It’s definitely a must do that doesn’t require further explanations. (Seriously, you have to go).

Picture: Monument to the merchant Pavel Tretyakov in front of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow
Monument to the merchant Pavel Tretyakov in front of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow

Also, if you want to discover more about Moscow without getting cold or soaked to the skin, a good idea is to visit Moscow in a private vehicle, stopping here and there to admire its majestic monuments. On a sunny day you may prefer to have a walk in the city center, though by car you can see more of the city and go further than the city core.

  • Enjoy a Traditional Banya ‒ The Russian Sauna (anywhere in Russia)

Of course Russians aren’t spending their winters only in museums, they’re also, and maybe even more, going to banyas. Midway between the Scandinavian sauna and the Arabic hammam, the Slavic banya is perfect to find warmer temperatures, recover from stressing daily life (or stressing tourists’ imperatives) and stay in good health. Start with one of Moscow or Saint-Petersburg’s baths and dive into a new Russian traditional art and experience!

Picture: Inside the banya: fresh veniks, a felt hat, and a wooden bucket to add water on the wood stove and have a real steam bath!
Inside the banya: fresh veniks, a felt hat, and a wooden bucket to add water on the wood stove and have a real steam bath!

If you don’t know how to enjoy a proper banya, Tsar Visit masters this for you, have a look, here we propose a 2-in-1 experience with Russian banya and the visit of the Trinity Lavra of Saint Sergius in Sergiyev Posad.

  • Izmaylovo Kremlin (Moscow)

You’re probably wondering why I advise you to visit Izmaylovo Kremlin in the heart of winter? Indeed, why going to a place where there is wind, snow and where you can’t walk fast to warm you up? Because the Izmaylovo Kremlin, aka “Moscow’s Disneyland”, is a great place to buy furs, Russian winter clothes, souvenirs and to eat shashliks! (No, I’m not obsessed with food…)

Picture: The Izmaylovo Market in Moscow ‒ a cultural and entertainment complex in a reconstructed Russian-style wooden Kremlin
The Izmaylovo Market in Moscow ‒ a cultural and entertainment complex in a reconstructed Russian-style wooden Kremlin

If you’ve got some spare time, I would highly recommend you to visit the palatial Moscow metro stations before heading to Izmaylovo Market.

  • Have a Walk and a Hot Chocolate in Gorky Park (Moscow)

In winter, Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure may be a bit empty (except around the ice skating rink and when there is a public holiday) but this uphold all its beauty. The snow gives Gorky Park a new face, and add some mystery to the green heart of Moscow. Plus, while walking in Gorky Park you’ll enjoy stunning views on the frozen Moskva River, always impressive and beautifully dangerous. Happily, Gorky Park hosts the Garage Museum of Contemporary Arts, and several delicious restaurants and cafés. My advice would definitely be to sit in one of these and drink a hot chocolate! (Ok, maybe slightly obsessed with food…)

Picture: View on Andreyevsky Bridge in Moscow, relying Gorky Park to Luzhniki, across the frozen Moskva River
View on Andreyevsky Bridge in Moscow, relying Gorky Park to Luzhniki, across the frozen Moskva River

And to enjoy fully your walk and learn some cultural facts, I think it’s worth visiting Gorky Park with Leo, a French expat in Moscow!

  • Embark on the Radisson Yacht for a Cruise on the Moskva River (Moscow)

Going on a cruise in winter is quite surprising. Especially when we know that the Moskva River turns into a big ice skating rink. But thankfully, the Radisson cruises are running all year round by using ice-breaker-cruise-boats (what great century to live in) keeping you warm behind super-clean glasses. You’ll be able to discover Moscow under the snow by boat, while drinking a glass of wine and being seated in comfortable sofas!

Picture: The Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River
The Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River

And there’s so much to see from the Radisson Royal Flotilla Yacht, it may be a good idea to have a guide to accompany you on your cruise on the Moskva River.

  • Take a Dip in Icy Water for Kreshenye (anywhere in Russia)

This one is for the tough ones. For women, men, children that have the inner strength of dealing with fears and primitive instincts. Happening the night between the 18th and the 19th of January, Kreshenye is a traditional celebration during which people immerse themselves 3 times under water to honor the Holy Trinity. This Orthodox tradition, known as the Great Blessing of the Waters, celebrates Epiphany and marks the baptism of Jesus. Securised and well-organised, you’ll gather with Russians from all ages and backgrounds to dive, one by one, in the iced water. Having celebrated it, I can tell you that this is wonderful. Not only because you’re being part of the Russian society, but also because you find that fear is the only obstacle to achieve this. Trust me, take a dive and you’ll be another person, what’s more you won’t be ill for the whole winter!

Picture: People diving in a ice hole for Kreshenye, also known as the rite of the Great Blessing of the Waters
People diving in a ice hole for Kreshenye, also known as the rite of the Great Blessing of the Waters

Have you missed the Epiphany this year? No worries, you still can wash away your sins and have the experience of a spiritual rebirth by diving in a hole in the ice, and get warm in the banya again!

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Tsar Visit Travel Blog!