Kempinski Blog Article
What to do and see in Moscow
At 860-years-old, it would be right to expect a large quantity of history from the Russian capital, but what you might not expect to see in Russia is the growing contemporary scene, a whole host of culture and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere that permeates the city.
Although the history is never far away - you can't avoid the incredible sight of the Kremlin – there is far more to explore in Moscow than its Soviet past.
There are three main airports that service the vast city of Moscow, so it is likely that you will find yourself arriving at either Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo or Vnukovo International Airports. If you are chartering your own flight, you could land at Ostafyevo Airport, but all of these are within easy reach of the city centre.
In terms of climate, you will find that winters in Moscow can be bitterly cold, with average daytime temperatures in January as low as -4.9°C. The spring, summer and autumn months aren't as dramatic, and from May to August, you can expect comparatively warm temperatures at 18-22°C - perfect for enjoying everything the city has to offer outdoors as well as in. From the luxury spa at Hotel Baltschug Kempinski to the plethora of theatres, concert halls and shopping centres, there is plenty to do come rain or shine.
On the subject of the theatre, we should mention the thriving nature of Moscow's cultural scene. Along with historical sites like Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral, the Bolshoi Theatre and other (smaller) creative spaces are home to as much contemporary work as they are classical.
Artists, musicians and actors are producing work within Moscow that is catching global attention - and a visit here is simply the best way to delve into this world. You never know what, or who, you might discover!
Russia's cuisine is not necessarily adored world-wide, but that doesn't mean that it is not worth a sample while you visit. From wheat-based staples like rich brown breads, noodles and pies to a variety of meats and fish, there is plenty for every palette in a traditionally Russian dish.
For a quick lunch, you could try a blini dish. Taking the form of large, thin pancakes, the blinis are wrapped and stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings. Cabbage, mushrooms and cottage cheese remain firm favourites of the locals, but smoked salmon, caviar or even simple honeys and jams are equally delicious.
The brilliantly named salad herring under the fur coat can seem a little bewildering at first, but is also worth a sample. The dish is, in essence, a layered salad that features salted herring, chopped onion, potato, beetroot and carrots with a mayonnaise-based dressing. Colourful and delicious - provided you are a fan of herring, of course.
Of course, there are some places you simply can't come to Moscow and not see. Here is just a handful of our favourite places in the city.
Best visited early in the day if you are keen to experience the square in quieter surroundings, Red Square is an awe-inspiring space that is bordered by some of Russia's greatest architectural triumphs. From St Basil's Cathedral to Lenin's Mausoleum, there is a lot see within Red Square - vital if you are looking to gain an understanding as to the historical and cultural importance of Moscow.
Russia's political centre is cited by many as an absolute must-see when in the city. Though, of course, there are very restricted areas that you are allowed to visit, the parts you are permitted to see are fascinating. Be aware you won't be able to take any photos in here to add to your holiday album.
Renovated back to its former glory in just 2011, today tickets to shows at the Bolshoi Theatre are still incredibly sought after, and make for an unforgettable experience in Moscow. Home to renowned Russian ballets, operas and dramatic productions, the Bolshoi is a major component in the city's cultural scene. Even if you don't have time to attend a show, the theatre itself - even from the outside - is a spectacle worth seeing.
For a little time away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, a trip to Kolomenskoye Park should definitely be considered. Taking shape as a cultivated estate - complete with manor house and church - the grounds are open to the public. From gentle walks along the river to fast-paced hikes through the steep valleys, a visit to Kolomenskoye Park is actually as lovely in the winter as it is in the summer. Just swap your sandals for ice skating boots!