How to make the most of your time in Moscow and avoid the most common mistakes?
Table of Contents
Don’t rely on Moscow traffic
Moscow’s traffic is very unpredictable and might ruin your plans. Be careful when planning some tours or activities on the day of your arrival. The usual time to get from one of Moscow airports to the hotel is around 1 – 1,5 hours, but your transfer might easily last two or even 2,5 hours instead. Be careful when planning your layover Moscow tour. In some cases, it might be safer to use a train from/to airport and get around Moscow by metro.
The worst traffic is usually from 8 am – 9.30 am and from 5 pm- 7 pm. When you take a taxi to a theatre evening performance, think of potential risks to come late.
Don’t visit other museums on the Kremlin day.
We’d recommend you dedicating at least half a day to your Moscow Kremlin tour. Do not plan anything else. The day when you visit the Kremlin will be very inspiring and very tiring at the same time.
A common misconception is to think of the Kremlin as of one single building. Instead, it is a vast territory with streets, squares, and a beautiful garden. During the tour of the Kremlin grounds, you may visit three cathedrals, one church, one palace, and two exhibition halls. Besides, we’d strongly advise you to visit the Armoury Museum and the Diamond Fund, which are mind-blurring collections of treasures.
In the summertime, Kremlin might be very crowded. Be prepared to stay 30 -45 min in line to go through the security at the entrance. While walking around the Kremlin, you might have to queue a bit more as the cathedrals are not big enough, and the attendants have to limit the number of people inside.
Don’t try to predict Moscow weather
These days it is becoming harder and harder to plan your vacation in terms of appropriate weather.
Think of that when you plan some weather-dependent activities. Summers are not always hot and sunny, and winters are not necessarily cold. While preparing for your winter holidays in Russia, keep in mind that traditional white Christmas might never happen. Be careful planning winter fun activities such as dog sledding or Troika rides as the weather conditions might be not appropriate. Think of some indoor alternatives instead.
Don’t take the metro during rush-hour
The busiest hours for the Moscow metro are 8 am – 9.30 am and 5 pm – 7 pm. If possible, it’s better to avoid using the subway at that time. If you wish to make the most of your metro experience and enjoy the beauty of its luxurious marble halls, it’s best to choose some quieter hours of the day. Thus, you may explore the metro in the morning of the weekend.
Don’t purchase Bolshoi tickets from strangers.
Be careful if a person you don’t know offers you to buy tickets to the Bolshoi. There have been many cases of tourists being ripped off by ticket touts. In most cases, they provide low-quality seats for astronomic prices. It’s best to purchase Bolshoi theatre tickets online as early as possible.
Don’t take photos inside churches
Photography is not permitted inside many Russian Orthodox churches.
The only exception is a church that is used as a museum. In some cases, you need to purchase a special photo permit. But even if photography is allowed, it is considered very rude to take a selfie inside.
Do not expect to see Moscow in one day
The most common misconception is to imagine that Moscow is only famous for Red Square and the Kremlin. However, this is the city to discover Russian art, try delicious Russian cuisine, experience the vibe of the nightlife, enjoy the best theatre performance, and admire fantastic illumination at night. A three-five tour of Moscow will allow you to get the feel of the city and visit some of its most iconic sights.