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Sightseeing in Moscow: A Two-Day Spring Walking Itinerary

Sightseeing in Moscow: A Two-Day Spring Walking Itinerary

KEY FACTS

  • In two days of sightseeing in Moscow you will walk about 15 km on foot.
  • The walk includes 6 famous parks and gardens.
  • You will look at the Boulevards and quiet alleys of Ivanovskaya Gorka and Zamoskvorechye.
  • We will offer comfortable and tasty places for lunch and dinner.

Moscow thrives with the coming of the first warm days!

This is especially visible in the capital city’s parks and pedestrian areas. Fountains start to play, shop and restaurant windows get dressed up and urban gardeners who missed their work during winter months compete to create the most sophisticated flowerbed and lawn designs. If you want to experience how the huge city wakes up from its long winter sleep and to get a load of sunny and blooming inspiration, here’s a two-day sightseeing itinerary for visiting Moscow’s parks and historic streets that we’ve designed with you in mind.

Sightseeing in Moscow, Day 1:
VDNKh, Boulevards and Ivanovskaya Gorka.

9:00am – the beginning of our sightseeing tour – VDNKh

We start our Moscow sightseeing tour at VDNKh.

sightseing in Moscow VDNKh.

The Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy is a unique architectural complex built back in Soviet times and a popular spot for locals and tourists looking for relaxation. A few steps away is Moskvarium, one of Europe’s largest indoor aquariums in terms of area and number of sea creatures. Awe-inspiring fountains embellished with recognizable sculptural groups are another of VDNKh’s highlights. VDNKh’s pavilions and outdoor venues host all kinds of festivals, exhibitions and major festivities all the year round. A huge outdoor ice rink is open in wintertime.

VDNKh covers a very large area, but you can always hire a bike and explore the remotest parts of the Park. Alternatively, you can just get an ice cream and enjoy a leisurely stroll taking in the view of the fountains and pavilions.

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12:00pm – Apothecaries’ Garden

moscow sightseeing Apothecaries’ Garden

A lovely stroll now takes you up to Apothecaries’ garden – Russia’s first botanic garden dating back to the early 18th century. This is a great place for relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of city life without, however, getting too far from the city centre. The park is not vast, yet both botany lovers and ordinary visitors will be excited at discovering several orchard houses and a bewildering variety of living plants divided into numerous thematic groups.

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1:00pm – Lunch

Sightseeing in Moscow requires a lot of walking, so make sure you get something to eat first.

We suggest you pause for a lunch break near Apothecaries’ Garden. If you want to take your time enjoying exquisite cuisine and a stylish interior, head for Food Embassy. Choose Lepim i Varim if you prefer noisy, relaxed and reasonably-priced restaurants. Lepim i Varim is a great place offering you a wide choice of pelmenis, made and cooked right in front of your eyes.

2:30pm – Further Sightseeing in Moscow – Sretensky Boulevard

Walk along Mira Avenue through Sukharyovskaya Square and further along Sretenka Street. Now you come to the Boulevard Ring, a great place for strolling in the shadow of trees while enjoying nice buildings representative of Moscow architecture.

Tenement Houses of the Insurance Society

Moscow Sightseing. Houses of the Insurance Society

A group of tenements houses on Sretensky Boulevard, which once belonged to the Rossiya Insurance Society, was built in 1899-1902. Their façades are decorated in the late Italian Renaissance style. In the past, these apartments were extremely expensive and only the well-off could afford to rent them. In 1909, the renowned Russian painter Ilya Repin would often come to an apartment here to paint the portrait of one of the tenants, doctor P. A. Lezin.

2:45pm – Moscow Post Office

Moscow Post Office moscow sightseeing

When crossing the square in the direction of the Clean Ponds, don’t forget to have a look at Myasnitskaya Street where the General Post Office building stands. V. Shukhov, a well-known Russian engineer, designed the ceiling of its big operating hall. A roof lantern over the main operating hall is another unique creation of this outstanding architect that has survived in Moscow. The Postal Museum is also worth a visit.

3:15pm – Menshikov Tower

We’ll now “plunge” into Moscow lanes to see Menshikov Tower.

Menshikov Tower sightseeing in Moscow

The first mention of a church on Dirty Ponds – known today as Clean Ponds – dates back to 1551. It was reconstructed in stone in the 17th century. In 1701, Count Menshikov, Principal Counsellor to Emperor Peter the Great, decided to have a new church erected on this site to celebrate the arrival to Moscow of the icon of Our Lady of Polotsk painted, according to legend, by Luke the Evangelist. The church was built in the extravagant Naryshkin Baroque style.

The church was Moscow’s tallest building (84 m) of its time – even taller than the Kremlin’s Ivan the Great Bell Tower! Common folk accused Menshikov of unheard-of arrogance, but in 1723 a fire broke out destroying the upper structures of the church, much to the joy of Menshikov’s haters. Reconstruction works, started as late as 1778, considerably modified the church’s exterior and reduced the building’s overall height. Most of the tower’s authentic interior decoration has remained unchanged, though.

3:25pm – Clean Ponds

Clean Ponds is one of the must-see places in Moscow if you feel like going for leisurely sightseeing in Moscow.

Clean Ponds sightseeing in Moscow

Today, there is just one pond, but this area and the adjoining park are still commonly known in the plural form – Clean Ponds. One theory is that the name “Clean Ponds” is the antonym of the former “Dirty Ponds”, called so because of wastes dumped into them from butcher shops and slaughterhouses, once located in the nearby Myasnitskaya Street. Prince Menshikov had Dirty Ponds cleaned and prohibited people from throwing impurities into them.

3:45pm – Fragment of the White City Rampart Open to Public

White City Rampart Open to Public sightseeing in Moscow

A rampart protected Moscow’s White City from the late 16th to the late 18th centuries. It was built in 1585-1591 on the site of old wooden fortifications on top of an earth rampart, burned down during one of the incursions by Crimean Tatars. The biggest and the best-preserved fragment of the White City Rampart has recently been opened to locals and tourists on Khokhlovskaya Square. Other highlights include an open-air amphitheatre and a pedestrian area. This is a great place for a short stop when doing sightseeing in Moscow, so use it as an opportunity to have a cup of coffee and a scone in a nearby coffee shop.

4:15pm – Khitrovka and Ivanovskaya Gorka

sightseeing in Moscow

After a quick stop for rest on Khokhlovskaya Square, roam one of Moscow’s quiet neighbourhoods that takes you back to Moscow’s past. Here you can revisit history and discover architectural monuments from different eras. A chaotic tangle of lanes hides many exciting buildings shrouded in legends and even mysteries.

For more information about strolling in this Moscow district, check out our website.

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6:00pm – Bolshoy Ustyinsky Bridge

Sightseeing in Moscow – Bolshoy Ustyinsky Bridge

At the end of the day, the sun beautifully illuminates the residential high-rise on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment, when viewed from this bridge. You can take some great pictures especially if the weather is nice. Views of the Kremlin Towers against the background of the setting sun are wonderful and worth coming here for when you do sightseeing in Moscow.

Residential High-Rise on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment

Sightseeing in Moscow Residential High-Rise on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment

The residential high-rise on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment is one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters in Moscow. Construction of the building started in 1938, but the costly project had to be suspended during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, and the first residents started to move in the building as late as 1953. The high-rise used to be home to distinguished artists and scientists. Among its residents were actresses Faina Ranevskaya, Klara Luchko and Nonna Mordyukova, actors Mikhail Zharov and Aleksandr Shirvindt, singer Lyudmila Zykina, ballerina Galina Ulanova, poets Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Andrei Voznesensky, Evgeny Yevtushenko and Robert Rozhdestvensky, writers Vasily Aksyonov and Konstantin Paustovsky and composer Nikita Bogoslovsky.

The building provided its residents with first-class service, including an order and utilities service desk as well as four shops – something exceptional for Soviet times. As in other high-rises, this one features the best design concepts of its time such as the centralized dust control and air cleaning systems mounted into the walls.

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Let’s now leave the Ustyinsky Bridge and do some more sightseeing in Moscow. We’ll cross the bridge spanning Vodootvodny Kanal, turn right into the embankment and take a pleasant stroll down to the bustling Pyatnitskaya Street.

6:30pm – Pyatnitskaya Street – End of Day 1 of Sightseeing in Moscow

Zamoskvorechye is truly “a city within a city”. This old Moscow district boasts its own architecture, history and unique atmosphere. You may want to relax a while at the fountain in the public garden near Novokuznetskaya Metro Station where street musicians are a frequent sight. Then it’s time to find a nice place for dinner.

If you are on a tight budget, you’ll appreciate Marukame, a Japanese noodle house. Of course, it’s always crowded, but you’ll be offered big, hearty servings at very reasonable prices.

If you feel like having something more exquisite, stop by Prostye Veshchi, a restaurant located in Sadovnichesky Lane. Great cuisine, a wide choice of wines and a cozy atmosphere are exactly what you need to round off the day.

Another option is to continue walking down Pyatnitskaya Street, take in the views of the Holy Trinity Church and walk further on to Easy Bricks, a restaurant located a stone’s throw from the Garden Ring. It’s another awesome place where you’ll get nice food, fine wines and a really comfy interior.

Sightseeing in Moscow, Day 2:
Gorky Park, Muzeon Park of Arts, Alexander Garden, Zaryadye Park

9:00am – Gorky Park

Sightseeing in Moscow Gorky Park

Morning – especially a spring morning – is the best time to go for a stroll in Gorky Park. It’s not crowded yet and you can walk leisurely along sumptuous flowerbeds, sit a while near the fountains on Fontannaya (Fountain) Square or just relax on one of the poufs or hammocks scattered throughout the park. Alternatively, you can head for the embankment, get a lungful of fresh air and enjoy the panoramic view of the Moskva River or of the massive building of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The Park has numerous bike rental points, so you can take a bike ride to Neskuchny Garden and explore its shady lanes, steep slopes and mansions and houses dating to the reign of Catherine the Great, hidden among the trees.

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10:00am – Krymsky Bridge

Sightseeing in Moscow

Now let’s do some more sightseeing in Moscow by taking a walk further on to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. When walking under the bridge, you get from one park to another. The bridge itself is also worth a glance. Many centuries ago, the site where it now stands used to be known as Krymsky Brod (Crimean Ford). As legend has it, it was here that Crimean Tatars would cross the Moskva River during their incursions into Moscow. The current bridge was built in 1938. What is special about it is that its four pylons are connected between each other with chains instead of conventional beams. This architectural solution makes the bridge look airy, even weightless, despite the fact that the remaining steel structure weighs 10,000 tons!

10:00am – Muzeon Park of Arts

Sightseeing in Moscow – Muzeon Park of Arts

Muzeon Park of Arts is unique in that it successfully combines sculptures by contemporary artists and monuments to leaders of the past, brought here from all over Moscow, with a stylish landscape design featuring elaborate flowerbeds, fountains and recreation areas. If you are lucky with the weather, don’t hurry up! Get a cup of rich taste coffee in one of the coffee houses on the embankment and sit down for a while on the wooden covering near the New Tretyakov Gallery overlooking the river and the so-called “dry” fountain – a favourite among children in summertime.

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11:30am – Patriarshy Bridge

Sightseeing in Moscow walking tour – Patriarshy Bridge

Our further sightseeing in Moscow takes us to the other side of the Moskva River. Built in 2004, the pedestrian Patriarshy Bridge has quickly become a popular place for strolls, romantic dates and, of course, great picture taking. On the other side of the bridge is the historic GES-2 building. The power plant operated on this site from 1907 to 2015. The building is now being converted into a contemporary art centre.

11:45am – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

sightseeing walking tour in Moscow – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is the main Russian Orthodox church that houses numerous relics and sacred objects. The cathedral was built to celebrate the Russian victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1812 (also known as the French Invasion of Russia). Unfortunately, what we see today is the reconstructed version of the authentic 19th-century cathedral. In the 1930s, the cathedral had been demolished to clear the site for one of Stalin’s greatest architectural design ideas, the Palace of the Soviets which, ironically, was never built.

To add colour to your sightseeing walk in Moscow, you can get up to the Cathedral’s viewing platform giving a breathtaking view of Moscow’s historic district and rivalled, arguably, only by the view from the Ivan the Great Tower in the Kremlin.

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From the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, walk past the Pushkin Museum towards the Kremlin and Borovitskaya Square topped by the impressive Pashkov House.

12:30pm – Pashkov House

sightseeing walk in Moscow - Pashkov House

Built in 1786, the Pashkov House is one of the outstanding Russian architectural masterpieces built in the Classic style. Although this aristocratic manor has survived to this day without significantly losing its original form, there no longer is any garden in front of the main façade with ponds, fountains and rare bird species. The German writer Johann Richter called this house “a fairytale castle”. The owner, Pyotr Pashkov, was a Russian aristocrat and a rich Moscow tax farmer charged with tax revenue collection for a specific fee. According to eyewitnesses, he was a highly ambitious person, and his mansion definitely confirms this.

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12:40pm – Alexander Garden, Manezhnaya Square

sightseeing in Moscow Alexander Garden, Manezhnaya Square

The Neglinnaya River used to flow here until the 18th century, with four bridges spanning it. In the aftermath of the Great Patriotic War of 1812, Emperor Alexander I ordered the river diverted into an underground tunnel and gardens laid out on the site. Today, this is one of Moscow’s best walking areas, popular with locals and tourists alike.

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1:30pm – Red Square

sightseeing in Moscow – Red Square

Red Square is the heart of Moscow and Russia’s main square and no visit to Moscow would be complete without seeing it. Buildings of different styles and eras spanning the 15th-20th centuries – meet at the same architectural space, creating a uniform ensemble, beautiful in its diversity.

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2:00pm – Lunch

Столовая 57, Гум, прогулка по Москве

We’ve some done some intense sightseeing in Moscow today, so it’s time to fuel up and the best place to do that is GUM. You can have lunch at Bosko Café and admire a lovely view over Red Square. Optionally, you can go to the third floor, located almost under the lace ceiling, and enjoy reasonably priced homemade dishes at Stolovaya 57.

3:30pm – Zaryadye Park

sightseeing walk in Moscow – Zaryadye Park

The 10-hectare Zaryadye Park, situated on the shore of the Moskva River in the historic Kitay-gorod district, was opened in 2017. The park features a recreation area with various natural landscapes, an Ice Cave, a scientific and educational centre and cinemas. The Park’s highlight is the Soaring Bridge that boasts breathtaking views of the Kremlin.

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If you have the time (and if you feel like it), you can enrich your sightseeing in Moscow by exploring historic landmarks such as the Old English Court and the Chambers of the Romanov Boyars, located on Varvarka Street.

Chambers of the Romanov Boyars, walking tour in MOscow

We suggest you leave the park on the side of the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge. This way, you’ll have another awesome riverside view of the Kremlin before heading for the Bolotnaya Embankment.

5:00pm – Bolotnaya Square

sightseeng walk in Moscow– Bolotnaya Square

Bolotnaya Square got its name back in the 14th century from the lowlands, situated opposite the Kremlin in the area between the Moskva River and the present-day Vodootvodny Canal. Pouring spring rains and melting snow used to turn this entire territory into a swamp (‘boloto’ in Russian). After the construction of the Bolshoy Kamenny (Big Stone) Bridge in the early 17th century, major festivities and executions used to be held here, including that of Yemelyan Pugachev, leader of the great popular resurrection of 1773-1775.

Today, this area is known for its nice and cozy public garden with benches, fountains and a lovely view of the embankment. Here you can take a short rest and then continue your spring sightseeing in Moscow over the pedestrian bridge and into Lavrushinsky Lane.

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5:30pm – Lavrushinsky Lane

walking tour in Moscow – Lavrushinsky Lane

In the 16th century, the village of Kadashyovo, located on the site of the present-day Kadashyovskaya Embankment and Lavrushinsky and Tolmachyovsky Lanes, grew over time into the largest district in Zamoskvorechye due to its flourishing weaving, or ‘khamovny’, factories. Well-off artisans built many beautiful churches and manors, many of which have survived to this day.

Demidov residence, sightseeing in Moscow

Lavrushinsky Lane is one of Moscow’s most beautiful lanes, best known for its crown jewel – the Tretyakov Gallery. Walk along Lavrushinsky Lane until you reach Tolmachyovsky Lane where, behind a chiseled wrought-iron grill, stands the manor of the Demidovs, a prominent Russian family of metal industrialists whose factories employed up to 10,000 people. The manor was built in 1777 and partially rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1812.

6:00pm – Bolshaya and Malaya Ordynka Streets

Walk on along Tolmachyovsky Lane, and you are on Bolshaya Ordynka Street. We recommend that you turn right into this beautiful street and have a stroll there, then go to Malaya Ordynka Street and walk back. During this short tour, you’ll discover the cozy atmosphere of Zamoskvorechye with its numerous churches, chiseled grills and the orderly façades of its low-rise mansions.

Marfo-Mariinsky Convent

Marfo-Mariinsky Convent sightseeinng in Moscow

This extraordinary landmark on Bolshaya Ordynka Street is definitely worth a visit. The convent of extraordinary and unique beauty is built in the rare Art Nouveau church style. Marfo-Mariinsky Convent was founded in 1909 by Great Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, sister of Alexandra Feodorovna, the Empress of Russia, and granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

The central Cathedral of the Intercession was designed in 1912 by the well-known Russian architect Aleksei Shchusev who, ironically, later designed Lenin’s Mausoleum.

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7:00pm – St. Clement’s Church

Moscow walking – St. Clement’s Church

To wrap up your sightseeing in Moscow, walk along Malaya Ordynka Street to the crowded Klimentovsky Lane where you cannot miss the impressive St. Clement’s Church. This is one of Moscow’s best-known churches and a unique example of church Baroque architecture. The total area of the cathedral is almost 1,500 sq. m.

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7:30pm – Dinner

Klimentyevsky Lane and Pyatnitskaya Street, which is next to it, abound in food facilities which cater to every taste and budget. For an ideal dinner, we recommend you stop by Tutta la Vita, a cozy Italian restaurant whose seasonal menu always has something special to offer!

The sun has long been set. Thus ends our spring sightseeing tour of Moscow, but if you still have the strength to keep going, visit our Nightlife and Bars section to find some interesting things to do with your evening.

Nightlife and Bars

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