Welcome to Moscow, where winter transforms this city into a winter wonderland, adorned with a magical blanket of snow and a festive ambiance that fills the air. From iconic landmarks adorned with twinkling lights to exhilarating ice-skating rinks, Moscow offers an array of activities that will warm your heart and create cherished memories.
This travel guide (including video) with travel tips will be your ultimate companion to navigating the myriad of things to do in Moscow during the most charming season of the year.
Moscow Winter Travel Tips
What to expect when visiting Moscow in Winter? Well it can be incredibly cold! When we were there it hit -30°C/ -22°F, so here are our top tips when visiting Russia in winter.
- Cover your Bum - it's essential to find a long winter coat that covers your bum! Ideal length that extends to your knees or ankles. That might seem silly, but when the icy wind is blowing, you'll appreciate the extra warmth, and fit in looking like a Muscovite.
- Dress in layers: Layering your clothing will help you adjust to temperature fluctuations throughout the day. Start with thermal undergarments, add sweaters or fleece tops, and top it off with a warm, waterproof coat. Don't forget to wear a hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect exposed skin from the biting cold.
- Wear sturdy footwear: Moscow's streets can become icy and slippery during the winter, so it's crucial to wear sturdy, non-slip footwear. Opt for insulated boots with good traction to keep your feet warm and prevent accidents while walking on icy surfaces.
- Buy hand and foot warmers - Moscow winters can be quite frigid so wearing just gloves and thick socks is not enough. They can be purchased from Costco. These are brilliant as they fit comfortably in your gloves and boots and give you 8 hours of warmth while you enjoy your outdoor winter activities.
- Yandex App - download the app for an easy way to get around Moscow, they come to you, reducing the amount of time you have to wait outside in the cold.
- Buy an Ushanka - an ushanka is a fur hat with ear-covering flaps. These flaps protect the ears, jaw and lower chin from the cold.
Moscow Winter River Cruise
Embark on a captivating winter voyage along the enchanting Moscow River aboard the Radisson Flotilla, and immerse yourself in a truly magical experience. The winter months transform Moscow into a winter wonderland, and this river cruise allows you to witness the city's iconic landmarks in a whole new light.
As the Radisson Flotilla gracefully glides through the icy waters, you'll be treated to a captivating journey that showcases the beauty of Moscow's architectural treasures. The glistening domes of the Kremlin, the iconic spires of St. Basil's Cathedral, and the incredibly colorful forest in Gorky Park, an awe-inspiring backdrop against the winter sky.
As you indulge in the onboard culinary delights, savor traditional Russian delicacies or choose the from the seafood menu with melt in the mouth sea bass, paired with a glass of warming vodka. This unforgettable winter river cruise on the Radisson Flotilla promises an enchanting blend of elegance, romance, and unparalleled views, making it a must-do experience for any visitor to Moscow.
Red Square in Winter
Experience the captivating allure of Moscow's iconic Red Square is an incredible experience during the day or the winter nights, where a stroll through this historic landmark takes on an entirely new level of enchantment.
As darkness descends upon the city, the square is bathed in a soft, ethereal glow, with the vibrant colors of the surrounding buildings and monuments casting mesmerizing reflections on the glistening snow. With the majestic silhouette of the Kremlin as your backdrop, embark on a walking adventure that immerses you in the heart of Russia's rich history and culture.
You'll be captivated by the sight of the magnificent St. Basil's Cathedral, with its onion-shaped domes illuminated against the night sky. The grandeur of the State Historical Museum and the stately facade of GUM department store add to the allure of Red Square, creating a picturesque setting that feels straight out of a fairy tale.
Red Square transforms into a winter paradise with its enchanting Christmas market. The outdoor stalls adorned with twinkling lights and decorative ornaments, and immerse yourself in a world of holiday cheer. Browse through the charming wooden huts that showcase an array of handcrafted gifts, traditional Russian souvenirs, and unique trinkets.
Take a moment to soak in the carnival like atmosphere, breathing in the crisp winter air, and relish the opportunity to capture unforgettable photographs of this iconic setting. A nighttime walk through Red Square in winter will create incredible memories that will last a lifetime.
VDNH in Winter
Experience the vibrant spirit of winter at VDNH (All-Russian Exhibition Center), a sprawling complex in Moscow that becomes a true winter wonderland during the colder months. You'll find yourself immersed in a world of festive lights, joyful laughter, and a wide array of winter activities.
Strap on a pair of skates and glide across the glistening ice, surrounded by the stunning architectural landmarks that dot the landscape. Indulge in traditional Russian treats like hot mulled wine and freshly baked pastries, as you browse the charming stalls offering handmade crafts and unique souvenirs. VDNH in winter is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
Winter in Gorky Park
Embrace the enchanting charm of winter at Gorky Park, a beloved recreational hub in Moscow that transforms during the colder months. As the snow blankets the park, Gorky Park becomes a haven for winter activities, offering an array of delights for visitors of all ages.
Lace up your ice skates and glide across the frozen ponds, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of towering trees and illuminated pathways. The park's ice rinks cater to all skill levels, whether you're a seasoned skater or a beginner taking your first graceful strides. Warm up with a cup of steaming hot chocolate or indulge in freshly baked treats at one of the charming winter cafes that dot the park. Gorky Park truly comes alive in winter, offering a captivating blend of outdoor activities, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant atmosphere that will leave you spellbound.
GUM in Moscow Winter
Immerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of winter shopping at GUM (pronounced goohm), the iconic department store nestled in the heart of Moscow's Red Square. Stepping into GUM during the winter months is like entering a magical world adorned with festive decorations and dazzling lights.
This historic building is enhanced by the winter ambiance, creating an atmosphere that captivates visitors from the moment they arrive. Explore the luxurious boutiques offering a wide range of high-end fashion, jewelry, and designer brands.
Take a break from your retail indulgence and explore Gastronom No 1, a Soviet style luxury food hall or grab some inexpensive Russian food at the famous Soviet Stolovya 57 on the top floor. GUM in winter is a must-visit destination for fashion enthusiasts and luxury seekers alike.
Izmailovo Kremlin in Winter
Experience the enchanting charm of the Izmailovo Kremlin in winter, a fascinating cultural complex that transports you back to the days of medieval Russia. This architectural gem becomes a captivating winter wonderland during the colder months.
Explore the intricate wooden structures that mimic the architectural styles of old Russian towns. Wander through the open-air market, explore the stalls filled with handmade crafts, souvenirs like matryoshka dolls (best prices in Moscow), and traditional Russian winter attire and Soviet goods. A must-visit destination for a memorable winter adventure in Moscow.
Enjoy a Russian Banya
If you seek an authentic and invigorating Russian experience, look no further than visiting a traditional Russian banya. Embrace the time-honored ritual that has been cherished by locals for centuries, we went to the Varshavksie Bani. The experience begins with a detoxifying session in the steamy sauna room, where the distinct aroma of birch leaves infuses the air, known for their purifying properties.
Participate in a traditional "venik" massage, where birch or oak branches are lightly beaten against your skin to enhance blood circulation. Cool down in an ice cold bath, relax and enjoy boiled crayfish and Russian Salads, before doing it all over again! An authentic experience that will leave you rejuvenated and with a deeper appreciation for Russian customs.
You'll love this vibrant and bustling culinary paradise nestled in the heart of Moscow. This lively Soviet era market offers a sensory feast for both locals and travelers, providing an authentic taste of Russia's gastronomic delights. Be prepared to be greeted by an array of colorful stalls showcasing an impressive selection of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and a tantalizing variety of traditional Russian dishes.
Join the lively throngs of locals as they chat animatedly with vendors, sampling treats, and exchanging stories. Whether you're a food enthusiast, culture seeker, or simply looking for an authentic experience, a visit to Danilovsky Market is a must for anyone exploring the enchanting city of Moscow.
Michelin Star in Moscow
Discover the culinary gems of Moscow's dining scene by indulging in the exquisite offerings of its Michelin Star restaurants. As a city renowned for its rich history and culture, Moscow's gastronomic landscape also boasts an impressive array of Michelin-acclaimed establishments. We went to Twins Garden in Moscow, but there are other incredible Russian Michelin star restaurants you can't miss!
As you dine in these exclusive culinary havens, you'll not only be treated to exceptional dishes but also to impeccable service and an atmosphere of refined elegance. They also serve as a testament to the city's growing reputation as a global gastronomic destination. You'll embark on an unforgettable gastronomic journey that transcends borders and traditions.