How about Christmas in Russia Visit Moscow. You also get to enjoy two Christmas celebrations because they follow the Orthodox Calendar and their Christmas is 7 January.
What to do in Moscow in Winter:
- Visit Red Square – Music, ice Skating, Christmas Fair
- The Moscow Kremlin – Book a ticket in advance
- St Basil’s Cathedral – Magical interior with an Orchestral trio every day
- The State Tretyakov Gallery
- Bolshoi Theatre – Book a ticket as far in advance as possible!
- GUM for shopping – Fantastic shops, Russian treats and International designers
- Walk along Nikolskaya Street to see the decorations – Best in the world in Moscow
- Ice Skating in Gorky Park
- Sleigh rides in the snow
We stayed in Moscow for Christmas last year and it was wonderful! A Moscow New Year is very special too but we left before New Year. I was dreaming of a white Christmas and checked in advance where to find the Sleigh rides with Reindeer. Unfortunately it was a very mild year and there was absolutely not snow. However, even without snow Moscow was a Winter Wonderland. The Christmas decorations are incredible it is a magical time of year in Moscow!
Moscow is a sophisticated and lively city. Home to some of the richest people in the world, so expect to find great restaurants, bars, hotels and the best shopping. Here are some of the restaurants I enjoyed:
Where to eat in Moscow:
- Pushkin Cafe – A ‘must visit’!
- Wine and Crab – Casual, inexpensive, good food
- Baccarat Crystal Room – Chic and good food
- Conservatory Lounge and Bar – Rooftop Bar
However, even without snow Moscow was a Winter Wonderland. The Christmas decorations are incredible it is a magical time of year in Moscow!
PHOTO: Nikolskaya Street, Moscow
Moscow is such a fun place to be at Christmas. The decorations are second to none and there is a very happy, festive vibe everywhere particularly in the evening when everyone is walking around and enjoying the festivities.
PHOTO: Christmas in Russia – enjoy Moscow at Christmas
Red Square at Christmas:
A must visit. There is an Ice skating ring, Christmas market and lots of Christmas decorations. In the evening you can enjoy the singing on the pop up stage in the market. Make sure to stay in a central location, you can then walk around and enjoy all the Christmas festivities. There is a big funfair too! Lots of singing and dancing going on here! It is really fun and great atmosphere.
Muscovites enjoy strolling around the city admiring the Christmas lights. There is a lovely atmosphere and the city is so clean and safe, you will enjoy joining in with the fun.
PHOTO: There was a Tiny bit of snow before we left!
St Basil’s Cathedral:
A not to be missed iconic Cathedral. You will see it immediately once in Red Square. The entrance fee is 500 rubles, free for children. This is a World Heritage site and deservedly so! The interiors are spectacular and you should go inside to see the seven Chapels with beautiful artwork and often there is a Choral group singing!
Make sure you pack your winter woolies, because it is cold. This just makes the whole city more festive in my opinion! Wear layers because it is boiling hot inside all the buildings.
PHOTO: View from St Regis Nikolskaya Hotel
This is for culture lovers and a trip to the World famous Bolshoi theatre is not to be missed. Here is the link: Bolshoi Theatre
Book your tickets and also a tour of the Theatre. Slightly eye wateringly expensive and book well in advance for the cheaper seats!
We stayed at St Regis Nikolskaya, which is a gorgeous hotel and superb location right next to the shopping street of Nikolskaya. If you love the St Regis Hotel group and the exemplary butler service, you will love this hotel.
PHOTO: Red Square at Christmas time
Moscow is such a clean city, I didn’t see one piece of dropped litter the entire time! The people are really friendly and it is a very safe city. I would recommend getting a local SIM card for your phone and using a translate app. The only time we got lost was trying to take the Metro! A translate App would have been very useful.
PHOTO: Muscovites enjoying the festivities
The photo above was taken outside the Pushkin Cafe, such a lovely Cafe to visit for lunch or dinner. Actually Moscow is full of wonderful restaurants and bars, you have a lot to choose.
PHOTO: Beautiful interior of Pushkin Cafe
There are so many fascinating places to visit in Moscow. Red Square of course and you can visit the Tomb of Lenin, St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin.
Visit The Moscow Kremlin:
Make sure you buy your tickets in advance. The Kemlin is unbelievably popular with long lines even in Mid Winter! Find all the information and tickets on this link: The Moscow Kremlin
Shopping in Moscow:
What to buy in Moscow:
We bought Russian Vodka, not to be missed and takes Vodka to another level. Matryoshka the Russian dolls, which you will see everywhere and range from tourist souvenirs to the most exquisite artworks. Funny T shirts. You can also buy a Samovar, Caviar and beautiful local jewellery.
If you want to splurge buy some Russian Imperial Porcelain, Pavloposadskie shawls – so beautiful and instantly recogniseable. Gzhel Ceramics produced in Moscow since 1802 and stunning Palekh miniatures. Palekh miniatures are boxes with stories hand painted on top, magical!
All of the top International designer brands have shops here but you will find lots of traditional Russian treats to buy, not least the amazing Russian Vodka. Visit GUM shopping Mall when you are on Red Square.
PHOTO: GUM Shopping Mall on Red Square
Make sure you don’t miss the Christmas Markets and Festival of Christmas, link in the information section. A perfect trip all in all….. Christmas Festivities, exploring a new city and the Christmas traditions in Russia all at the same time!
PHOTO: Winter is a good time to visit
If you go in the wintertime it is, of course, winter weather! However, although the city is full of Russian tourists there are very few western visitors at this time and this makes a trip extra special. I like avoiding the tourist season wherever I am in the world.
How to get a Russian Visa: This is straightforward, as long as you are organised! Fill in the Visa Forms online and provisionally book your hotel or accommodation in Russia. The hotel will then send you an official invitation and you take this with you to the Visa Application office along with your application form and a Passport sized photo.
The Visa office keep your Passport and you go back a week later to collect your Passport and Visa. Visa application can seem a bit daunting. However, they basically want to check that you have accomodation booked and sufficient funds for your stay.
Flights: We flew with British Airways from London. The flight is inexpensive and under 4 hours.
Getting around in Moscow: We made the mistake of taking a Taxi from the airport. Such a sweet Taxi driver but he got hopelessly lost! From then on we took Limousines arranged by the hotel and it was not much more expensive.
Walk everywhere you can, you see so much more of the city. Metro, a ‘must do’ – just don’t get lost like we did on the Metro system.
What’s on in Moscow Christmas 2019: Find some information here:
Where to Stay:
Read my hotel review here: