Things to do and places to see in Moscow
Stroll Alexander Garden
Colourful flower beds and impressive Kremlin views make this historic park a favourite strolling spot for Muscovites and tourists alike. Get splashed by the troika fountain and see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, all for free.
Take in Red Square and Lenin’s Tomb
Stepping onto the vast expanse of Red Square and contemplating its millennium of history will be a highlight of your stay in Moscow, and it doesn’t cost a kopek. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to see Vladimir Ilych in the flesh (www.lenin.ru).
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Lose yourself in the grand grounds of Kolomenskoe. It’s free to wander the grounds of the Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve, an ancient royal estate overlooking the Moscow River. Check out the lovely 16th-century Ascension Church, which, with its brick construction and tent-shape roof, sparked a revolution in Russian architecture.
Be awed by the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
The gargantuan Cathedral of Christ the Saviour dominates the skyline along the Moscow River southwest of the Kremlin. A reincarnation of a 19th-century church that was destroyed by Stalin, it is amazingly opulent, garishly grandiose and completely free.
Shop the Kremlin…at Izmailovo
The famous flea market (www.kremlin-izmailovo.com, for Russian readers) is only part of a theme park that includes shops, restaurants, museums and monuments, all contained within a mock ‘kremlin’ – complete with walls and towers – which makes a great photo op.
Celebrate commerce at Red October
After more than a century of producing chocolates and other sweets, the famed Red October factory has been converted into Moscow’s hottest spot for art and entertainment, with clubs and cafes, art galleries and fashion boutiques. Expensive to buy but free to browse.
Take a quiet moment at Danilov Monastery
Founded by St Daniil in the late 13th century, Moscow’s oldest monastery seethes with devotion, especially the centrepiece church, which contains the relics of the saint. You have to pay to light a candle but prayers are technically free.
Visit the home of a literary legend at Patriarch’s Ponds & Bulgakov House
Patriarch’s Ponds is a sweet park that was immortalised by writer Mikhail Bulgakov in his novel The Master and Margarita. Around the corner is Bulgakov House-Museum. The author’s former flat contains a small (free) museum and cafe where the local literati congregate. A black cat hangs out in the courtyard.
Remember the past at Park Pobedy
Magnificent Park Pobedy (Victory Park) is a huge memorial complex commemorating the sacrifice and celebrating the triumph of the Great Patriotic War, with endless fountains and monuments. The on-site museum is not free, but everything else is.
The innovative, entrepreneurial company Moscow Free Tour (www.moscowfreetour.com) offers a free walking tour of Moscow’s major sights, led by knowledgeable and extremely enthusiastic guides. It’s so good it would be worth paying for – but you don’t have to!