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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
Website: http://www.visitrussia.org.uk

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.
Website: http://www.mosmania.com

Moscow excursions

Peredelkino

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.
Website: http://www.stsl.ru

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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.

Peking Hotel

Built in 1956 as a little sister to Stalin's Seven Sister skyscrapers, and intended as post-war headquarters for the secret police, Moscow's Peking Hotel is a heritage hotel with a small 'h', in a good location just northwest of the centre. Although slightly old-fashioned, its 130 rooms are comfortable enough, with satellite TV and en-suite bathrooms.

Warsaw Hotel

Although its location may not be one of Moscow's most picturesque, the Warsaw Hotel is convenient for Gorky Park. Considering the quality of the competition, this is one of the best cheap options in the city, with clean and comfortable rooms, albeit in a rather dated style. Wi-Fi is complimentary and the Oktyabrskaya Metro station is right next door.

Golden Apple

A boutique hotel on a refreshingly human scale, the Golden Apple offers imaginative styling and a personal touch that many 5-star hotels lack. Behind the baroque facade, its minimalist rooms are cosy, and there's an onsite restaurant and an open-plan bar too. Staff speak excellent English and there's Wi-Fi access, a gym and a sauna.

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.