Russia - How many days in Moscow?


I had an extended weekend during the summer months and not much else to do. The flights were astonishingly cheap to Moscow these days and I never visited it before. That's the story of how I finally decided to visit Russia.

One of the biggest questions and one I found out was discussed controversially all over the internet in travel forums, is how long to stay in Moscow for the first time visit.

How many days in Moscow?

The more, the better I guess, as always. I spent 6 days in the Russian capital whereas the first and the last day was solely for arrival and departure, which leaves it to 4 full days.

For a first visit I found the duration of 3-4 full days was totally fine as I had no idea how the whole transportation thing works. I didn't plan and prepare or this trip except for flight, the accommodation, and pinning a few spots on google maps.




Day 1 - Arriving in the late afternoon

I arrived in the evening at Vnukovo airport in Moscow. The metro from the center to downtown (the city center Moscow) was about 45 minutes.

The Moscow Metro was the best and fastest way to get from A to B. The trips were cheap and cost less than 1 Euro. No matter how far I wanted to go. Moreover, most metro stations are incredibly magnificent and reminded me more of a museum instead of a dreary metro station.

When leaving the underground metro a lot of skyscrapers are visible and it's impressive to see the old buildings and the massive constructions of roads and apartment blocks.

Had my Airbnb not far from the Arbat area. The apartment was in a skyscraper and the Kremlin was visible from the kitchen. View from the apartment.





Day 2 - Walking to and around area of the Kremlin

Once in the city center it seemed everything was easy to reach everything on foot.


Long walk through the "Arbat area"

There was a lot of street art in the Arbat, even the Soviet era has not lost its influence. The Arbat is just over 2 km long.



Red Square with the "Kremlin"

The most famous sights in Moscow are the Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin, once the seat of the tsars. The heart of Moscow pulsates at this place. It's almost impossible to not get past it here. I was quite impressed by all the buildings that belong to the Kremlin.

The Red Square and the directly adjoining department store GUM, the beautiful Basilius Cathedral and the Lenin Mausoleum are located here.



Also on the Red Square, the red building "State Historical Museum"



Another extra on the Red Square, the "Mausoleum" with death Lenin inside. I was here during the summer months and due to many people on vacation, there was a queue with 30 minutes waiting time.



Famous department store in Moscow "GUM"

The most famous shopping center in Russia is the GUM department store directly on Red Square. The architecture and interior was interesting. In 1993 the department store celebrated its 100th birthday.



Landmark of the Russian capital "Basilius Cathedral"

The symbol of Russia was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible. Only in the 17th century did the cathedral get its oriental appearance.

The interior is supposedly not worthwhile - due to summer temperatures and a considerable accumulation of tourists I decided not to visit the interior.



Around the Bolshoi Theatre




Day 3 - Metro Station Hopping

To visit most beautiful metro stations, a metro ticket is enough as metro station hoping doesn't require to exit the station. Exit the tube, visit the metro hall, continue with the next tube to the next station.

The wonderful "Moscow Metro Stations"

This was my most interesting "trip" within Moscow. Hopping from metro station to metro station is a real adventure as every station looks completely different.

Riding the metro is not only cheap but also took me reliably and quickly from A to B. Especially when the streets are congested.

The highlight are waiting in the station when leaving the tube. The magnificent architecture really knocked me out. I had never seen anything like it before.

"Palaces for the people", as the stations are also called, are among the most used in the world. Over 9 million people use them every day.



Walking along the "River Moskva"

After a long time in the underground of Moscow, I continued above along the Moskva River. Thousands of people were here for a walk, cycle, skate, etc. It's almost like this is the only place in Moscow for recreational sports activities.

A walk along the river offered a magnificent view of the city.





Day's 4 + 5 Outside Moscow and cruising the river

Even when Moscow has a lot of signs written in English, it definitely was not as in another western city where it all makes sense on how to get around. The language barrier is still there and makes a visit much more difficult than to other European cities.

With every kilometer further away from the city center, fewer people speak English and the more the signs of directions are written in Cyrillic.


Cosmonaut Museum

In the space museum (Musei Kosmonawtiki) the history of Soviet space travel is told. From original suits of the cosmonauts, over satellites to the Mir space station and the Sputnik. I was interested in and spent about an hour in the museum.

Outside a big statue with a rocket at the top shows the way into space.




Stalin's "Seven Sisters"

The name "Seven Sisters" is a designation of the seven buildings commissioned by Stalin



The high-end business district of Moscow called "Moscow City"

It seems as Moscow has reached the 21st century.

The skyscraper is with approximately 12 skyscrapers currently still compact but is constantly growing these years. The highest building has a viewing platform but I didn't cross the river to get up there, as it would have required another hour to go up there and as I was already on the way to the boat trip along the Moskva river.



Boat trip on the "Moskva River"

The jetty is located at the Kiev railway station.

I think discovering a city from the water is always a great idea to see a city with different eyes.

Everywhere in the area there are people who offer a boat trip and then take the passengers to the ship. I chose a 2-hour trip on the Moskva and enjoyed the trip on the river in beautiful weather.





Day 6 - Time to go home

I couldn't resist but try the Russian McDonalds before leaving for the airport in the morning and then flying back home.



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