This trip to the Russian capital explores the best of Moscow, starting with a guided tour of Red Square, the Kremlin, and the metro stations. You'll then step out of the tourist zone to discover the city's medieval neighborhoods of Kitai Gorod and Krutitskoye Podvorye, viewing cathedrals and monuments from the as far back as the 16th century. End your trip with a day spent museum hopping, followed by an evening watching a ballet or opera at the world-famous Bolshoi Theater.

Highlights

  • Discover the sites, cathedrals, and monuments of Moscow's Red Square
  • Tour the Kremlin and learn about the city's government and history
  • Watch a world-famous ballet or opera performance at the Bolshoi Theater
  • Peruse the older, medieval neighborhoods of the city
  • Understand Russia's role in WWII with visits to museums and guided tours

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Moscow - Explore Moscow
Day 2 Enjoy a tour of the Red Square, the Kremlin, and the metro Moscow
Day 3 Discover the medieval neighborhoods and sites of Moscow Moscow
Day 4 Explore Moscow museums - Enjoy an evening at the Bolshoi Theater Moscow
Day 5 Depart Moscow Moscow

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Moscow - Explore

Manezhnaya Square in Moscow
Manezhnaya Square in Moscow

Welcome to Russia! Upon arriving at the airport in Moscow, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city. After settling into your accommodation and taking some time to rest, head out to explore. 

Although you'll enjoy plenty of guided tours throughout your trip, you can spend your first few hours perusing the city's streets and walking by some of the main sites. Start in Red Square, where many of Moscow's landmarks reside. You'll see the famously colorful St. Basil's Cathedral, which many consider the symbol of Russia. 

You can also view the two pillars of Red Square, the Tsar's Tower and the 15th-century Nikolskaya Tower. Nearby are the golden onion domes of Ivan the Great Bell-Tower and two cathedrals, the 14th-century Dormition Cathedral and the Annunciation Cathedral.

After your stroll through Red Square, walk down the street into the historic center and find a restaurant or bistro for dinner.

Day 2: Enjoy a tour of the Red Square, the Kremlin, and the metro

Views of the Kremlin
Views of the Kremlin

Now that you've had a night to rest, it's time to properly explore the Russian capital. You'll start your day with a general tour of Moscow, visiting some of its best-known streets and sites along the way. You’ll see the so-called Stalin Sisters, which were built to compete with New York’s skyscrapers, as well as the Triumphal Arch and the Church of Christ the Savior. You'll then visit the New Maidens Convent, Sparrow Hills, Moscow State University, and Luzhniki Stadium

After lunch, your local guide will help you explore all the sites that are congested in Red Square, starting with views of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin from across the river. You'll enjoy a guided tour of the Kremlin, one of the world’s very few medieval fortresses that still function in its original intended purpose as a center of government, a seat of religious authority, a military base, and an expression of raw power.

Afterward, you'll visit the Moscow metro. Construction began under Stalin in the 1930s and was intended to be a showpiece, acting as an underground palace for the people. Today, nearly 9 million people use it on peak days. You'll explore some of these magnificent stations while getting an important taste of everyday life for commuters and city workers.

In the late afternoon, you'll have free time to continue exploring the city on your own or to return to the hotel to rest before dinner.

Plan your trip to Russia
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Day 3: Discover the medieval neighborhoods and sites of Moscow

Krutitskoye Podvorye, Moscow
Krutitskoye Podvorye, Moscow

Since you've seen the big sites of the city, today you'll explore the quieter, medieval side of Moscow. You'll start with a visit to the last remaining sections of the Kitai Gorod Wall while discussing Moscow’s military. Your guide will explain how the largest city in Europe defended itself throughout the centuries. 

Then you'll visit the streets of Kitai Gorod, the heart of the oldest part of Moscow. Next, you'll stop by the Romanov Boyar House and the Old English Embassy, followed by a walk through Krutitskoye Podvorye, a secluded part of the city that seems locked in the 17th century.

After the tour, you'll have free time to continue exploring the city on your own. Some suggested activities include:

  • Visit Kolomenskoye Park and Museum. Kolomenskoye was once the hunting preserve of the tsars and today hosts a wonderful collection of traditional wooden buildings from around Russia, as well as a handful of medieval churches. The main attraction is the 17th-century wooden palace of Tsar Alexei, which was recreated around 10 years ago. The original palaces in the Kremlin looked very similar to this one. Another highlight is the Ascension Church, which was constructed in 1532 and the birthplace of the legendary Ivan the Terrible.

  • Explore Izmailovsky Kremlin and its market. Izmailovsky Kremlin was built as a cultural and entertainment complex in 2007, modeled after Russian architecture of the 18th century. Here you can see the Church of St. Nicholas, the highest wooden church in Russia at 151 ft (46 m) tall, as well as cafes, souvenir shops, and different museums (like the Vodka Museum, the Museum of Folk Arts, and the unique Museum of Bread). The Izmailovsky market is the largest market for souvenirs and handicrafts from Russian regions. Along with the nearby antique market, this is a great place to buy traditional handicrafts, such as Khokloma (style of painting on wood), Gzhel (blue and white ceramics), and Palekh (miniature paintings). You can also pick up an Ushanka, the famous Soviet-era hat.

Day 4: Explore Moscow museums - Enjoy an evening at the Bolshoi Theater

The Interior of the Bolshoi Theater
The Interior of the Bolshoi Theater

Today is yours to explore Moscow at your own pace. The city is brimming with museums, so take your time to peruse some of the most interesting in the city, including the following:

  • Arbat Street and Pushkin Museum. Pushkin is Russia’s national poet, one of the country's most beloved citizens. No visit to Russia is complete without meeting him. You can walk down the famous Arbat Street to see where Pushkin lived after his marriage, and later see the church where he got married.

  • The Second World War Museum at Poklonnaya Gora. You don't often hear about the Soviet side of WWII, and this museum exposes the country's role through interesting exhibits. To comprehend modern Russia, it's important to understand the country's history of fighting and defeating Hitler.

  • Tretyakov Gallery. Tretyakov is one of Russia's great art museums. Housing a world-renowned collection of medieval icons (including those by the legendary Rublev), as well as classics of Russian landscape painting and portraiture. See the Three Bogatyrs, a work known to every Russian, as well as paintings by Kandinski and Malevich.

For your final evening in Moscow, you’ll visit the legendary Bolshoi Theater to watch a ballet or an opera.

Day 5: Depart Moscow

Grand Palace in Tsaritsyno Park
Grand Palace in Tsaritsyno Park

Enjoy your final morning in Moscow. After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport in time for your flight.