Russia’s capital and largest city has many faces. It is modern and edgy but at the same time historical and elegant. It is the beating political and economic heart of the country and also the epicentre of its flourishing cultural scene. Moscow never fails to surprise visitors and there are few cities that can offer as much variety and such a fascinating insight into a country that, for many, is somewhat of an enigma.
Most of Moscow’s main sights can be found within what is known as the Garden Ring, with the Kremlin and Red Square at its heart. The square is a great place to start your exploration of the city and is where you’ll find one of the city’s most iconic sights, the magnificent St Basil’s Cathedral with its candy-coloured domes.
From a small settlement on the banks of the Moskva River almost 900 years ago, to its position at the heart of the Soviet Union, Russia’s capital has witnessed a lot of significant change. Visitor’s wishing to get a glimpse into its past can do so at Moscow’s many museums and historic monuments, such as Bunker 42 located 200ft below the city, and VDNKh, an exhibition centre built to celebrate the Soviet achievements in science, industry, culture, transport and engineering.
Although historically fascinating, Moscow is very much a city living in the present. It has a thriving restaurant scene and there is so much going on culturally, from opera and ballet performances at the Bolshoi Theatre to classical concerts at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.
When to go
Moscow is a big business hub, which makes it a lot quieter at the weekends when many residents head to St. Petersburg. Late spring is a lovely time to visit Moscow as the temperatures are pleasant which makes it ideal for sightseeing. It's worth bearing in mind that winters here can be very cold, so wrap up warm.
What to do
- Explore Russian history at Bunker 42 and VDNKh (the All-Russian Exhibition Centre)
- Marvel at the city's architecture from the fairytale turrets of St Basil's Cathedral to imposing Soviet blocks and soaring skyscrapers
- Admire the incredible works of art on the Moscow Metro
- Discover the beautiful GUM department store
- Channel your inner astronaut at the Museum of Cosmonautics