The best of Moscow (3 days)

The largest city of the European continent with the population of more than 13 million residents, Moscow is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. A fascinating city to wander around, stunning cathedrals, churches, and palaces lie side-by-side with bleak grey monuments and remains from the Soviet state. In addition to its numerous historical and cultural landmarks, Moscow is home to world-class museums, theaters and art galleries. This tour takes you through Russia’s bustling metropolitan capital, amazing Moscow city.

History of Moscow

The first mention of Moscow appears in the chronicles for 1147, almost a century before the Mongol-Tatar invasion. In those times Moscow, a small settlement on the banks of the Moskva River, belonged to Prince Yury Dolgoruky. At the prince’s order a wooden fortress (Kremlin) was erected on a high hill above the river. In the 13th century Moscow became the centre of the independent Vladimir-Suzdal principality. Moscow expanded its territory until it reached supremacy over all the other Russian principalities, though still a Tatar vassal state. In 1320s the Orthodox church moved its administration from Vladimir to Moscow and that rose its prestige. Moscow developed into a stable and prosperous principality, known as Grand Duchy of Moscow, for many years and attracted a large number of refugees from across Russia. When the Grand Duchy of Moscow evolved into the Tsardom of Russia, Moscow remained as the political and economic centre for most of the Tsardom’s history. Under Peter the Great’s leadership, Tsardom of Russia was transformed into the Russian Empire, and in 1712 the capital was moved from Moscow to the newly founded St. Petersburg. In 1918 after October revolution capital status passed to Moscow by the Soviet government headed by Vladimir Lenin. During World War II, the city became a major battleground and a target for invading troops. Most civilians were evacuated from the city as Soviet soldiers fought the Nazis in the Battle of Moscow from October 1941 to January 1942. The defeat of the Nazis in this battle was a major turning point in the war. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Moscow continued to serve as the capital, this time of a new entity, the Russian Federation.


The Kremlin

The world-famous Kremlin is located in the heart of Moscow, right adjacent to Red Square, and serves as the presidential residence. The word “Kremlin” means “fortress inside a city”, and in fact, the Moscow Kremlin is a medieval fortified complex rising above the Moskva River on Borovitsky Hill. This great citadel includes six palaces, eight cathedrals and churches, and massive red brick walls with twenty Kremlin Towers. Museums display some of fascinating Russian history’s relics here, and church services are once again performed in the Kremlin’s numerous cathedrals.

Red Square

Red Square history goes back to the 1490s, when a new red brick Kremlin was built in Moscow. The old Russian word for ‘beautiful’ and ‘red’ was the same; so Red Square means “beautiful square”. Standing in Red Square, you can see the most significant buildings of the Russian capital: the Kremlin, GUM department store, the State History Museum, Lenin’s Mausoleum and of course, St Basil’s Cathedral. For centuries the cobbled space by the Kremlin walls has witnessed parades, execution, markets – and nowadays a popular New Year ice skating rink.

St. Basil’s Cathedral

Bright-coloured, onion-shaped domes of the fabulous St. Basil’s Cathedral are a symbol of the Russia around the world. Commonly known as the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, this church was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible from 1555 to 1561 to commemorate a military victory, the capture of the Khanate of Kazan. The church is named after St. Basil the Blessed. Basil impressed Ivan in 1547 when he foretold a fire that swept through Moscow that year. Upon his death, Basil was buried in the Trinity Cathedral that stood on this site at the time.

Armoury Chamber

One of the oldest museums of Moscow, located in the Moscow Kremlin, Armoury Chamber is a part of Moscow Kremlin Museums. Its collection is made up of unique items, which were preserved in the tzar treasury and in the Patriarch’s sacristy. The original clothing of Russian Tsars, thrones, carriages and gifts from ambassadors from all over the world are housed there. The most famous exhibits of the Armory are the Monomakh’s hat, the symbol of autocracy in Russia, the royal crown, scepter and globus cruciger used to raise the Russian monarchs to the kingdom.

Zaryadye Park

This new Russian place of wonder, opened in 2017, the spectacular 10-hectare city park Zaryadye features an Ice Cave, an educational centre and a concert hall. The park’s most-visited attraction is a floating bridge – a 70-meter-high console with no support over the Moskva River from which you can admire an impressive view of Moscow and the monuments in Red Square, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and modern skyscrapers of Moscow city, made in the style of high-tech.

The Holy Trinity Monastery (Lavra) of St. Sergius

The Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a unique monastery complex and the spiritual center of Russian Orthodox Christianity (‘Lavra’ in Greek means the most significant monastery). It was founded in 1345 by St. Sergius of Radonezh, monk and hermit from Rostov whose ascetic existence attracted numerous followers. St. Sergius was declared patron saint of the Russian state in 1422. The same year the first stone cathedral was built by a team of Serbian monks who had found refuge in the monastery after the Battle of Kosovo. Traditionally, Muscovite royals were baptized in this cathedral and held thanksgiving services here.

All-Russia Exhibition Centre

Opened in 1939 as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, this centre hosted the Soviet Union’s – and some of world’s – largest argicultural, industrial, social and scientific expo. Over the eight decades, the chief exhibition of Russia has seen a lot: it survived the war and post-war reconstruction, renovation of pavilions in the 1950s, and the period of their transformation into trade outlets in the 1990s, five renamings and finally revival, which began in the spring of 2014. This great Moscow landmark with its eclectic mix of monumental Stalinist architecture and full range of historical styles from Gothic to Art Nouveau attracts over ten million visitors and participants annually.

The State Tretyakov Gallery

The Gallery collection was started by Pavel Tretyakov, the owner of a successful textile firm, and became famous from the minute it was opened to the public in 1870. After Tretyakov’s death the gallery’s collection grew rapidly, especially after the October Revolution when private collections were nationalized and went to the State Museum Fund. Nowadays, the Gallery’s Collection contains more than 130,000 works of painting, sculpture and graphics, created throughout the centuries by successive generations of Russian artists.

Moscow Metro

The Metro began operating in Moscow in 1935 with a single 11 km line connecting just thirteen stations, but it has since grown into the world’s fourth busiest transit system, spanning more than 300 kilometers and offering over 230 stops along the way. The Moscow metro remains the most reliable form of transport in the city, and more besides: many major stations were constructed as luxurious “palaces for the people”. The halls and platforms of Moscow Metropolitan are decorated with statues and reliefs, monumental and decorative compositions: paintings, mosaics and stained glasses, created by the leading artists of the country.


Day 1

Your day will start with a Moscow city tour and include a visit to the Kremlin as well as to Vorobyovy Hills for an overlook at the metropolis. This is the best way to know the city and learn about the history of the Russian capital. On our way we will make several photo stops; one of them is a spot on the embankment of St. Sofia, giving the stunning view of the Kremlin. We will walk the famous pedestrian street Arbat and do souvenir shopping there, see the Seven Sisters, skyscrapers designed in the Stalinist style, and the gold-plated domes of Novodevichy (New Maiden) convent. As a religious centre, the convent was in its day second only to Kremlin, and among other daughters and wives of the Russian Tsars, Peter the Great’s half-sister Sofia was exiled here in 1679.

Enjoy a traditional Russian lunch at the local restaurant.

Continue sightseeing in Moscow with a visit to the Kremlin (residence of Tsars and Patriarchs), Armoury Museum with unique collection of gold, silver and jewelry, beautifully decorated royal carriages and unique religious artefacts. You will see the famous Kremlin highlights created by Russian medieval craftsmen Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon, which weigh over 240 tons together, visit several of the Kremlin’s cathedrals and climb the observation deck of Ivan the Great Bell. After the Kremlin tour we invite you to take a stroll in one of the largest squares in the world, the Red Square, which is situated next to the walls of the ancient Kremlin.

We will explore the famous GUM department store and make a wish at the beginning of all Russian roads at Kilometer Zero, see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexandrovsky Garden – the place where Russians come to remember their family, friends and companion-soldiers who lost their lives in the most brutal war of the 20th century.

Walking through the Zaryadye park, located just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin, we will see four kinds of Russian landscapes: northern landscapes with plants growing in the stony and humid tundra; woodland (waterside forests and birch groves); meadows and steppe zones. One million plants were brought here from different parts of Russia, including permanent and annual grasses, bushes and trees. Admire an impressive view of Moscow and the monuments in Red Square, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and modern skyscrapers of Moscow city from the floating bridge of Zaryadye park.

Day 2

Today you will take a trip to the largest and most important Orthodox monastery – the St. Sergius Trinity Lavra, located 42 miles northeast of Moscow in the town of Sergiev Posad. Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The cathedral is much larger than its model and namesake in the Moscow Kremlin. The greatest icon painters of medieval Russia, Andrey Rublev and Daniil Chyorny, were summoned to decorate the cathedral with frescoes. The magnificent iconostasis of the 16th–18th centuries features Simon Ushakov’s masterpiece, the icon of Last Supper. Interior walls were painted with violet and blue frescoes by a team of Yaroslavl masters in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In 1782 Empress Catherine the Great reorganised the neighbourhoods of the lavra and the settlement was named Sergiev Posad in honor of St. Sergius of Radonezh. The monastery became one of the holiest sites in Russia and received thousands of pilgrims each year wishing to visit it and pray to the relics of saints interned there. In 1920 the lavra was closed and organised into a historical and architectural museum. In 1946 the monastery became the seat of the newly reestablished patriarch of Moscow and All Rus, which it remained until 1983 when the residency was moved to the Danilov Monastery in Moscow. In 1993 the lavra was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as the Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad.

In the evening spend an unforgettable time on the comfortable yacht cruise along Moskva river. All year round you can join the 2.5-hour cruise on the luxurious Radisson yacht. Sit in the comfortable lounge or on the open top deck and enjoy the view of the city’s famous sights gliding past you: the Kremlin and White House, St. Basil Cathedral, Novodevichy Convent, the Moscow State University and Gorky Park.


Day 3

In the morning you will visit All-Russia Exhibition Centre.

It is nearly impossible not be overwhelmed by the hundreds of expo pavilions, ponds and parks, monuments and buildings, gorgeous fountains and amusement-park attractions that speckle the centre’s giant territory. The territory itself measures 2.4 million square meters, or 593 acres. The monument which became symbolic for VDNKh (Russian name for All-Union Exhibition centre) – “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” by Vera Mukhina and Boris Iofan had been installed in 1939. It was made from stainless steel for the 1937 World Fair in Paris and later moved to Moscow. The giant statue of two figures with a sickle and a hammer raised over their heads is one of the greatest sculptures of the 20th century. In the mid-1950s, VDNKh acquired another group of recognizable and symbolic structures – its famous fountains, including ‘The Friendship of Nations’ (also known as ‘The Main Fountain’), ‘The Golden Wheat’ and ‘The Stone Flower’.

Enjoy walks on the green alleys with numerous fountains and georgeous Stalin-age buildings.

Our Moscow Metro takes approximately 2 hours and covers 10 most beautiful metro stations. Tour starting at one of the Moscow metro stations will let you enjoy the impressive interiors of Circle, Red and Green lines stations and see the walls covered with mosaics and frescos, staying under the light of enormous and beautifully decorated lamps.

We invite you to visit the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the national treasury of Russian art and one of the largest museums in Russia. Two separate buildings at different locations – at Lavrushinsky pereulok, and at Krymsky Val, – house the works selected for display. Russian art works, ranging in date from the 11th to the early 20th century, are on the show in Gallery’s historic building on Lavrushinsky pereulok. Here you can see the outstanding collection of Russian medieval icon painting, works by best-known Russian artists of the 18th – first half of the 19th century, masterpieces of national art dating to second half of the 19th century and a collection of art works of the turn of the 20th century.

Farewell dinner will complete your final evening.