One of my favorite destinations served by our single aisle fleet is the beautiful and by far completely underrated Russian metropolis. Just a little over three hours away from Munich by plane, Moscow surprises with a wonderful combination of historic architecture, industrial chic and romantic cityscape with that certain Soviet touch that makes this city so special.
I have thought of writing about Moscow many times already, had to postpone it though due to other blog projects and lack of time. So do not wonder why some of the pictures were taken during different seasons, the last ones from December 2016.
Traveling to Russia is not so easy, even in modern times. Most visitors have to get a visa in advance which can take quite some time to be issued and the passport and custom controls at the airports Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo are conducted still in a very military way. All Western tourists have to register during their stay at a local police station (most hotels do this for you) and you will have to carry that approval slip with you at all times once touring the city, as mandatory checks by the police can occur. But maybe it is these bureaucratic specialities that excite me and that make Russia such a special destination to visit.
Most European airlines fly to Domodedovo airport. It is located closer to downtown and a rail service links it with the city. Sheremetyevo, on the other hand, can only be reached by car. Taxis are costly and traffic into the city is literally a nightmare!
There are tons of amazing hotels to stay at in this 11,5 mio inhabitants giant. From budget to ultra-luxury. One of my favorite ones is the Swissôtel Krasnye Holmi a little south of the Red Square and the Kreml. The rooms offer great views over the downtown area and the Moskva River and the rooftop City Space Bar & Restaurants is an amazing place for extraordinary cocktails and high-class cuisine at decent prices. Try the Transsiberian cocktail! Even if you are not staying at the hotel, definitely go in the evenings for a drink and a snack. It is absolutely worth it and the views are impeccable, particularly at night.
The Red Square should be on anyone´s sightseeing bucket list. Its sheer size is breathtaking and together with the Kreml and the beautiful Russian basilica one of the city´s most remarkable spots to take snapshots and selfies. You can also take a tour of the church which I did a few years ago and which was very interesting!
Another true highlight to see are the various metro stations which probably belong to the most beautiful ones around the whole world! Due to the lack of time, I hardly had a chance to explore them, but the extensive network holds quite a few jewels. The prettiest and most impressive ones are supposed to be Komsomolskaya, Kievskaya, Prospekt Mira, Victory Park, Park Pobedy, Ploshchad Revolyutsii, Elektrozavodskaya, Shosse Entuziastov, Mayakovskaya and Novoslobodskaya stations.
Even if only for window shopping, a visit to the world-famous luxury department store GUM should also be not missed when in Moscow. Take a sneak peek at the rich and famous carrying dozens and dozens of high gloss shopping bags in the latest designer outfits and furs. It is like a carnival of vanities and great visual entertainment.
When you have the time, I think it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit one of the performances at the Bolshoi Theatre, one of the most reputable stages in the entire world. Architecturally, definitely a masterpiece to see. The Bolshoi offers one hour tours of the entire building held in English on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It starts at 11:15am and groups are limited to 20 people. So you might show up early in order to buy a ticket which cannot be obtained online!
Would you like to try the best hot chocolate served in Moscow made of pure fine chocolate and prepared right at your table in silverware? Waiters in elegant white uniforms serve some of the most exquisite and beautifully arranged desserts and sweet delights in a opulent aristocratic mansion atmosphere reminiscent of ancient times of Russian nobility. This is an absolute must for everyone! I do not remember the name of my cake, but it was served in the style of a closed book and simply took my palate to new heights. Together with the lavish decoration of the interiors, Café Pushkin takes you on a journey back in time.
Taking a long stroll on the river banks of the Moskva is particularly during Summer a wonderful thing to do. Lots of people use the shores as a social meeting point, but it is also lovely for taking an early run in the morning. During the winter, the frozen surface creates a mystical and magical atmosphere. Yet without the right winter clothes and garments you could literally freeze to death! Temperatures can easily go down and record lows have been measured to up to -38°F!!!! It still is pretty though 🙂 .
I would really love to be back anytime soon and have a little bit more time to explore some more sights. I am on standby next. Maybe I will be lucky? But I do hope I could spark your mind for a trip that might not have been on your schedule after all. To find out that all the prejudices one might have against Moscow always look differently once you are there.