How to make the most of your time in Moscow? What are the most common mistakes tourists make?
1. When to come and what season to avoid?
If you are scared of the cold, we’d advise you to schedule the trip for summer. The warm season usually starts in Mid-April and lasts till Mid-September.
However, it might be a good idea to avoid visiting Moscow on May 9 and late August-early September. These days you might not be able to walk around Red Square. They start preparing for the May Day Parade in early May, and Red Square is closed for several days. In Early September, Moscow hosts the Military Tatoo festival, and a larger part of Red Square is also blocked.
With its golden and reddish shades, October is usually a wonderful time of the year. However, the weather is not easy to predict, and it might snow at the end of the month.
November is probably the dullest month of the year, yet it is an excellent time for museum lovers. It is not very pleasant to walk around, but all the famous theatres and museums are empty.
Winter is a great time to visit and experience fun winter activities, snow. Moscow is a fantastic destination for Christmas. It is better to avoid visiting Red Square in early January. Russian holidays season starts from Jan 1 and lasts for about ten days. Starting from Jan 1, Red Square and other places in central Moscow might be overcrowded.
2. Don’t plan too many sights in one day.
Moscow is a very vast city, and many attractions are not close to each other. We’d recommend you not planning more than two museums a day. Dedicate at least half a day to Moscow Kremlin as it has a lot to see. Spend not less than 2 or 3 days in Moscow; however, we’d recommend staying in the city even longer.
3. Don’t be scared to use the metro.
Moscow metro is a must-see Moscow attraction that will surprise you with its gorgeous interiors. Besides, it is elementary to use. Many English signs will help you to find your way. Moscow metro is surprisingly cheap, and it often appears the fastest way to get around the city.
4. Do not take the metro during rush-hour.
The Moscow metro’s busiest hours are 8 am – 9.30 am and 5 pm – 7 pm. It’s better to avoid using the metro at that time. Thus, you may explore the metro in the morning of the weekend.
However, rush-hour is also not the best time for taking a cab. In general, it’s best to have a hotel within walking distance of Red Square. Otherwise, you can start your tour at around 10 m in the morning, have dinner in the city center at around 7 pm and go back to your hotel after 8 pm.
5. Do not miss the Armoury museum
Armory museum’s name in Moscow Kremlin might be misleading as this is Russia’s most incredible collection of treasures. For many people, it often turns up the highlight of their trip to Moscow. Armory museum is usually jam-packed in high season, so it’s better to book a visit in advance. Most of the group tours are often scheduled in the morning, while the afternoon sessions at 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm are usually quieter.
6. Don’t take street cabs
Never trust a driver, inviting to join a trip for a quite democratic price and saying that he has a meter in his car. Taxi scams are quite common in Moscow. There were plenty of cases when such cheaters deceived tourists. Their “meters” seldom work correctly, and clients often end up paying astronomical costs for their rides. It’s safer to use Uber or Yandex taxi instead.
7. Don’t only stick to most touristy sights
With Red Square and Kremlin being the magnets for all foreign visitors, we’d suggest you thinking of other destinations as well. Moscow is famous for gorgeous parks such as Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsino, VDNKh. You may experience some literary museums’ incredible atmosphere, such as Leo Tolstoy’s house. You’d also enjoy visiting beautiful churches or monasteries where tourist groups never enter.
8. Do not schedule day trips out of Moscow on weekends in summer
It would be correct to say: Do not drive out of Moscow on Saturday morning and not drive back to Moscow on Sunday evening.
Many locals escape from Moscow on weekends to stay at the dachas (countryside houses). Therefore, you risk getting stuck in traffic on the way out of the city and back. However, if you think of a 2-day countryside trip, it would be perfect to drive out of Moscow on Sunday morning.
9. Do not allow people wearing costumes taking photos with you
At famous tourist places such as Red Square or Sparrow Hills people wearing historical costumes invite foreigners to take pictures with them. Very often you might not even realize that a picture has already been taken. And in the end, they’ll ask you to pay large amounts rudely and aggressively.