Located on the Moskva River, Moscow, the capital city of Russia is the country’s economic, cultural and political centre. With a rich history dating back almost 800 years, Moscow is full of intrigue and hidden gems waiting at every turn.
What to see and do
The first place you should visit is the famous Red Square. Once the site of executions and military parades, the Red Square sits at the centre of Moscow and is considered the symbolic centre of all of Russia. Interestingly enough, the Red Square is flanked by some of the most important and significant attractions in Moscow – the Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum, St Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum and GUM (a departmental store).
A good way to cover this area would be to head to the square in the morning, then slowly move around to cover the attractions and end the day with the views of the square at night.
The Kremlin, which translates as Fortress is one of Moscow’s most important buildings with its road system is centred around the seat of the Russian Government. From there, the roads radiate out and intersect in a sequence of circular roads or rings focused at the Kremlin. Visit the Kremlin and the Kremlin Arsenal which is a symbol of Russia’s victory over Napoleon.
Aside from the historical and religious sites, the artistic side of Russia is also equally noteworthy and the best place to get a closer look would be the Tretyakov Gallery. Said by many to feature the best collection of Russian fine art in the world, the gallery comprises two buildings and houses works from famed Russian artists such as Vrubel and Kandinsky.
For art lovers, you might also want to visit the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts which houses a more diverse range of European works as compared to the Tretyakov.
If you have time and want to catch either a ballet or an opera, be sure to head down to the legendary Bolshoi Theatre. With a stunning interior and exterior, the Bolshoi Theatre promises the performance of a lifetime and is definitely an experience not to be missed. If you can’t get tickets to the Bolshoi, check out the equally majestic Vakhtangova Theatre for the latest ballets and operas.
How to get there
Moscow is served by three airports, so make sure to check Skyscanner for your preferred flight from major cities in New Zealand to one of the three; the Moscow Domodedovo Airport, Sheremetyevo International Airport or Vnukovo International Airport.
From all three airports, the city centre is around 28km away and there are Aero Express buses that take you from the airports to centrally located metro stations. This is the best way to get from the airport to the city, but make sure you get a bus schedule to know when and where to catch the bus.
You could also take the Aero Express bus then a taxi, or take a taxi directly from the airport to the city, which might be more economical if you’re travelling in groups of four.
How to get around
The roads are crowded and so is the public transportation, especially during peak hours. So as a general rule, if you can walk, walk. If its not peak hour, you can either take the metro.
In an intriguing tradition unique to Moscow, any car can be a taxi, so don’t be afraid to flag any car down, tell the driver where you want to go and negotiate a price! Most official taxis charge the same price as these ‘private taxis’ so don’t be afraid to give it a go.