“It is better to see once than to hear hundred times.” - Russian Proverb

Over 25 million foreigners visited Russia in 2018, with most of them coming from neighbouring Asian countries. Europeans and Britons also visit the country, particularly Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

In 2019, Saint Petersburg surpassed 10 million visitors following the simplification of the tourist visa process for the city, something that Moscow hasn’t done yet. However, the Russian capital is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination!

Before you go to the capital of Russia, there are a few things you should think about. Fortunately, Superprof is here to help.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Moscow?

The first thing you need to think of when heading to Russia is how much it’ll cost. Unless money’s no issue, then you’ll need to work out your expenses.

How much does it cost to visit Moscow?
Sadly, it isn't free to visit Moscow, but you can do it on a budget. (Source: Paolinio)

Let’s start with some of the unavoidable costs when visiting Russia:

  • Visa
  • Return flights
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Transport and activities

While you can get an e-visa for Saint Petersburg, there isn’t one for Moscow. The service charge itself is around £25 and you’ll also need a Russian Invitation Voucher before you can do your visa. These are usually provided by hotels. You can end up paying between £20 and £35 for stays shorter than 15 days and between £30 and £45 for stays over 15 days.

You might want to check whether or not you’re insured, too.

For return flights, we recommend you book them at least 3 months in advance. If you want to get the best rates, avoid the tourist season. Return flights can cost between £300 and £500 between October and March but this can rise to between £500 and £700 during the spring and summer months.

For accommodation, it’ll all depend on where you stay. A standard hotel room for two can cost between £50 and £70 a night. Youth hostels can be found for between £5 and £15 per person per night. You can also find accommodation through Airbnb if you want an entire property to yourself. The cost varies between £50 and £100 per night, but if there are a few of you, it’s even more affordable.

You can also eat for cheap in Moscow with a proper meal available for around £15 per person on average. In Russia, it’s the drinks that are expensive.

Transport in Moscow is also very affordable. A metro ticket costs around 50p and you can get 3 days of unlimited travel for less than a fiver.

The cost of activities will really depend on what you want to do. Museums are generally affordable (between £3 and £5), the Kremlin less so (between £7 and £10).

The budget estimated budgets per person per day vary, too. Generally, a shoestring budget is around £20 per person per day and the top budget is upwards of £100 per day. The sky’s the limit!

Find out more about the cost of visiting Moscow.

How Long Should You Spend in Moscow?

Moscow is huge! Fortunately, most of the places you’ll want to visit are within the “Garden Belt” and the metro is a great way to get around the city and a destination in of itself.

How long does it take to visit Moscow?
The amount of time you spend in Moscow depends on the activities you want to do and the things you want to see. (Source: essuera)

You can visit the very heart of Moscow in a day, but we recommend you make the most of a long weekend to really discover the city. After all, the Russian capital is full of history and plenty of places that are worth visiting.

The best way to work out how long you should stay is by planning what you’d like to do there. You can plan around various criteria: your interests, weather, budget, the people you’re going with, etc.

In a couple of days, you can visit all the essentials, which we’ll get to a little later. In three days, you can take your time and add a view museums to the list or a trip down the Moskova river on a boat. If you’re spending over 4 days there, you can take things at a more leisurely pace and enjoy the Muscovite atmosphere. With more time, you’ll have more choice.

We recommend:

  • Planning indoor activities for the morning as it’s usually colder and rainier then.
  • Saving time by buying tickets ahead of time.
  • Scheduling outdoor activities for the afternoon when it’s a bit warmer.
  • There are English-language tours available on Get Your Guide.

Find out more about how long you should spend in Moscow.

Where Should You Stay in Moscow?

As we mentioned earlier, Moscow is a sprawling city. It’s a good idea to pick accommodation somewhere you won’t have to spend hours getting to the things you want to do.

Where should you stay in Moscow?
There are different neighbourhoods for different budgets. (Source: serbuxarev)

You should keep in mind that:

  • The Boulevard Ring is the edge of the city centre. If you’re looking for central hotels in the city, make sure your hotel is within the Boulevard Ring.
  • The Garden Ring is the outer limits of the wider historic city centre.
  • On a map, you can clearly see these rings.
  • If you’re within the Boulevard Ring, you’ll never be farther than 30 minutes from Red Square. Beyond that, you might want to take public transport, especially if it’s cold.

In the centre, you’ll still have a few decisions to make in terms of the neighbourhoods and your budget:

  • Central Moscow: Around Red Square, by the Kremlin, and Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
  • Tverskaya Street: Just north of Red Square by the Bolshoi Theatre, this area is around 10 to 15 minutes on foot from Red Square.
  • Kitay-Gorod: East of Red Square. 15-20 minutes on foot from Red Square.
  • Chistye Prudy: To the northeast of Red Square, the Chistye Prudy Neighbourhood is friendly and dynamic. It’s around half an hour on foot from Red Square or a 15-minute metro ride.
  • Arbat Street: West of the Kremlin. This is a touristy and lively neighbourhood. It’s a 20- to 30-minute walk from the dead centre of Moscow or 15 minutes on the metro.
  • Patriarch Ponds: If you like a bit of peace, choose this area to the northeast of Moscow. You’ll be half an hour from the centre. The only problem is that this area doesn’t have the best public transport connections.

Find out more about accommodation in Moscow.

The Top 10 Attractions in Moscow

Not sure about what to visit in Moscow?

Here are 10 great attractions in the Russian capital:

  • The Kremlin: Home to the Tsar Bell, Tsar Cannon, Kremlin Armoury Chamber with its Diamond Fund, and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Be aware that the Kremlin closes on Thursdays.
  • Red Square: Not to be missed! Have a walk around and see Alexander Gardens and Lenin’s Mausoleum.
  • Saint Basil’s Cathedral: The most photogenic monument in the city.
  • The Moscow Metro and its palatial stations: Mayakovskaya, Ploschad' Revolyutsii, Park Pobedy, Komsomolskaya, Arbatskaya, and many others. You can easily spend a couple of hours admiring the various metro stations.
  • The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts: After the Hermitage Museum, this is the country’s second-biggest art museum.
  • Bolshoi Theatre: If you want to attend the ballet, you’ll need to book tickets.
  • Cathedral of Christ the Saviour: Rebuilt in 1999 and consecrated in 2000, you can see some incredible views over Moscow.
  • Gorky Park: Great for ice-skating in winter or ice cream and a ride on the Ferris wheel in summer.
  • Izmaylovo Market and the Izmailovo Kremlin: Good for out-of-the-ordinary trips to the capital. The place to buy souvenirs, that’s for sure.
  • Arbat Street and Kitay Gorod: If you’re going to visit a couple of neighbourhoods in Moscow, these are the two to go to.
What is there to do in Moscow?
Even the metro stations in Moscow are magnificent! (Source: Paulvandoggenaar)

Learn more about things to see and do in Moscow.

Now you’re ready to start planning your trip to Moscow.

If you'd like to learn more about Russian history or learn a bit of Russian before you go to Moscow, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced tutors on Superprof.

Whether you want to learn a new language or a new skill you can get face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, or group tutorials from tutors all over the UK and around the world.

Each type of tutorial has its pros and cons so make sure that you think about how and what you'd like to learn when choosing your private tutor. Different people learn more effectively in different ways so discuss this with your tutor before committing to lessons.

A lot of the tutors on the platform offer the first lesson for free so try a few potential tutors out before picking the right one for you and your learning goals.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.