- If you have just one day in Moscow, you can easily see many of the city’s biggest attractions.
- The GUM department store, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and Russia’soldest bathhouse are all within walking distance of each other.
- The metro is brightly lit, clean, and beautiful – and it’s fast, so you can get to where you want with plenty of time.
If you have only 24 hours in Moscow, don’t worry – many of the main attractions are within walking distance of one another, and the city’s transportation system is easy to use and quick, so you can see a lot in a short period of time.
Download a translating app such as Yandex Translate if you don’t know the language, learn the proper way to toast, and get ready to do some sightseeing. You might even have time for a day trip to Leo Tolstoy’s home.
As soon as you land, go to Sanduny, Moscow’s oldest bathhouse.
Founded in 1808, Sanduny says it’s the oldest public bathhouse in Russia. It’s located only a 20-minute walk from Red Square. The baths are separated into women’s and men’s sections, and you can rent a private room. You can also take a 90-minute guided tour of the bathhouse.
There is also a café that has shchi (cabbage soup) and herbal teas to help you rehydrate between and after your time in the bath.
Check out Red Square.
Red Square is home to some of the most recognisable buildings in Moscow. Try and get there as early as 7 a.m. to soak it up without the crowds.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral remains one of Russia’s most picturesque monuments. It has nine domes, and its construction was ordered by Ivan the Terrible. It was completed in 1561.
Lenin’s mausoleum, where you can see Vladimir Lenin’s body lying in a glass case, is also located on the west side of the square. The pyramid-like structure was completed in 1930 after Lenin died in 1924.
Walk to the Kremlin.
The Kremlin is the former home of Russia’s czars and is now a museum and the official residence of the Russian president. Its foundation dates back to the 12th century, and architects have rebuilt and added on to it several times since. It reflects centuries of architectural style, and its museum holds an impressive collection showcasing Russia’s history. You can purchase tickets in advance to avoid the lines.
Try Soviet-style ice cream at GUM.
GUM, the largest department store in Russia, is located off Red Square and open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. GUM was built between 1889 and 1893, and its architecture was inspired by Middle Eastern bazaars. Josef Stalin closed the market in 1930, and his successor, Georgi Malenkov, had it renovated and reopened in 1953.
The store is famous for its Soviet-style ice cream, which is rich and milky. You can get a cone and stroll through the many individual stores at GUM and, if the season is right, take a spin on the skating rink.
See the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour sits on the northern banks of the Moskva River, about a 15-minute walk from the Kremlin. The original church was built in the 19th century and demolished in 1931. It was reconstructed from 1995 to 2000.
The interior walls of the cathedral were originally decorated with gold, marble, granite, and other precious stones. It was restored almost to its original state with some modern innovations, including bronze high reliefs instead of marble.
Take an hour or two to admire the light filtering in through the main dome onto the artwork and architecture.
Visit the different metro stations.
In central Moscow a subway train arrives at each station almost every three minutes. In addition to their remarkable cleanliness, the stations are feats of architecture and artwork.
Arbatskya station, which was completed in 1953 and meant to double as a bomb shelter, showcases decadent tile work and bronze chandeliers, and other stations are similar. If you find yourself in the Ploshchad Revolyutsii Station, don’t forget to rub the noses of the bronze dog sculptures for good luck.
Not a city person? Take a day trip to Tula.
If you breezed through Red Square or want to see it at night, take a day trip to Yasnaya Polyana, Leo Tolstoy’s home. It’s just outside of Tula, which is a two- to three-hour train ride from Moscow and houses a smaller Kremlin and a number of stunning orthodox churches. It’s also the home of the Tula pryanik, a spiced, gingerbread-like treat made with honey and filled with jam or sweetened condensed milk.
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