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Moscow tours and excursions

Moscow tours

Boat tours

One of the best ways to see Moscow is to take a boat trip on the Moskva River. Sightseeing cruises run by the Capital Shipping Company leave half hourly from a number of landing points in the city centre and trips last around 90 minutes, passing such Moscow icons as the Kremlin and the Moscow State University. Tickets can be booked through hotels or from the boat company. For longer cruises, including the trip to St Petersburg, contact Visit Russia.

Tel: +7 800 555 5379

Walking tours

Travel agencies and hotels can arrange private guides to lead you through Moscow on foot, and these individuals are more reliable than the freelance guides who offer their services in Red Square, some of whom speak only limited English. For something a little more imaginative, MoscowMania is a team of energetic history scholars who offer a wide range of informal city walking tours.

Tel: +7 903 713 0583.

Moscow excursions


Around 20km (12 miles) south of Moscow, Peredelkino was a favourite retreat for Moscow's great writers and intellectuals, who maintained dacha (second homes) in the surrounding pine forests. Boris Pasternak, the poet and author of Dr. Zhivago, lived here from 1953 and is buried in the graveyard next to the village church. Pasternak's dacha is open to the public as a museum and contains his personal belongings and a large library. The surroundings are perfect for summer walks or cross-country skiing in the winter.

Sergiyev Posad

One of Russia's most magical sights is the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius in Sergiyev Posad (formerly Zagorsk). Founded in the 1340s by St Sergius of Radonezh, this is the most important monastic complex in Russia and the spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church. Resembling a castle, it's one of only four Russian Orthodox Churches to have the honorific 'Lavra', an Orthodox term reserved for revered retreats for hermits. It's open daily 0500-2100 and admission is free. Sergiyev Posad is part of the Golden Ring, a group of ancient Russian towns northeast of Moscow that are practically open-air museums.

Tel: +8 496 540 5334.
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Featured Hotels


Historical Hotel Sovietsky

In the 1950s, Joseph Stalin decreed that the famous Yar restaurant should be upgraded to a hotel and the Historical Hotel Sovietsky was born. It quickly became a showcase for the image of sophistication that the Soviet government wished to present to the world, and its 107 rooms still conjures up the nostalgia of this period in history.

Hotel Danilovsky

It's hard to imagine a more atmospheric place to stay than the 12-century precincts of the historic Danilovsky Monastery. Set amidst chapels and gardens, the hotel is a modern construction, but the rooms are comfortable and all have a view of the stately monastery buildings. There's a sauna and bar onsite too.

Hotel National

With perhaps the perfect Moscow location, overlooking the Kremlin, Hotel National offers a unique blend of history and luxury. Frescoed ceilings, Damask wallpaper, oil paintings and antique furniture all add to the classic Russian baroque experience. The best rooms afford splendid views of the Kremlin, and all have all the expected mod-cons, including Wi-Fi.

Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy

This eye-catching modernist hotel looms above the Moscow River. The most expensive rooms have sweeping views towards the Kremlin and the Seven Sisters, but they can be found from the hotel's rooftop bar too. There are 233 sleek rooms, all with flatscreen TVs and Wi-Fi access. There's also a spa, pool, gym and an organic restaurant.

Hotel Baltschug Kempinski

Facing the Kremlin across the Moskva River, the opulent Baltschug Kempinski is elegance incarnate. Rooms are lavish, with flowing drapes, piles of soft linen and every imaginable convenience, but it's the views of domes and spires across the river that steal the show. There's a plush restaurant with a view of St Basil's, plus a swish spa too.

Izmailovo (Gamma-Delta)

Constructed to accommodate visitors to the 1980 Olympics, the concrete towers of the Izmailovo boast a staggering 8,000 rooms. Institutional in atmosphere, and located far out in the northern suburbs, the hotel is handy for the enormous Izmaylovo Market and has decent city centre links. There are several onsite restaurants and in-room Wi-Fi is available too.