Traveling may be expensive. Whether alone, with your lover, with children or even with your step-mother, you don’t want to come back with empty pockets. But avoiding visits, experiences, adventures (or worse, restaurants) is NOT acceptable, especially in Russia’s two capitals ‒ the cultural Saint-Petersburg & the business Moscow. Follow us and you’ll be able to treat yourself tonight, eating caviar in front of the Kremlin!
Moscow by Bike
Curious people, this one’s for you! Especially if you like cycling and feeling the breeze on your skin. Moscow bike sharing system Velobike is definitely the best deal you can find to discover quickly all the main areas of city. For 150₽ a day (2$) you can rent a bike anywhere in Moscow, for the time you want (for free up to 30 minutes), and return it in any bicycle station. Easy and cheap, take a bike and explore the city at your convenience. Also, that’s your chance to “forget” your step-mother or your terrible kids in a remote area of the city… Sorry not sorry.
Open Museums Once a Month (Moscow & Saint-Petersburg)
As culture is very important to Russians, every public museums offer free entrance on the third Sunday of each month. In fact, museums may be somewhat crowded on these days, but come on… it’s free! This is the perfect opportunity to visit or reexplore expensive museums and galleries without spending a kopeck (unless you give in and treat yourself with a coffee break or even souvenirs). Hopefully Russian museums are like Russia, big and large so you (and your children) can breathe and contemplate the numerous masterpieces (I bet you can’t do it in most museums in Europe).
Yet, you may prefer to visit museums on a quiet day, take the Pushkin Museum for example.
Bulgakov House-Museum (Moscow)
One fantastic thing in Moscow is that you can visit many famous artists’ houses. For example, Bulgakov, the author of The Master and Margarita (but you probably knew that), lived in Moscow city center and his house is opened to the public… for free! The house is very small but you have to go and visit it! You’ll see a traditional Soviet interior and dive into Bulgakov’s world. Well, let’s give it a try !
Winzavod Contemporary Art Center (Moscow)
Winzavod is a huge center for contemporary art in Moscow opened to public for free. Located in several former industrial buildings (and among them Moscow’s beer factory) in Moscow’s city center, it presents to public several contemporary projects. A bit underground (but not too much since Dmitri Medvedev visited it during his presidentship), Winzavod is a good way to spend a casual afternoon in Moscow for free, and discover a younger kind of Russian intelligentsia (you can call them hipsters). Let’s chill there!
If you like contemporary art, here you can read more about Russian Contemporary Art.
Radisson Cruise on the Moskva River (Moscow)
Imagine yourself, a sweet breeze on your face, water lapping makes you dreaming, you open your eyes and admire the magnificent monuments of the Russian Capital. Discovering Moscow on the Moskva River is a unique experience, since you can at the same time relax, admire the city, and even sip a delicious cocktail. Boarding on the new, bright and comfortable Flotilla Radisson Royal boat is the treat you deserve, when you already had a busy day or week visiting the city.
And if you’re still eager to learn about Moscow, you may want a guide to accompany you on the Radisson Cruise.
Moscow Subway & Arbat Street
Did you know that Moscow metro stations were built as palaces for its people? Probably, but you may not know that Moscow subway was also built as a refuge in case of nuclear conflict. Moscow people are lucky that the metro is so beautiful, it makes them forget that going from the beginning to the end of any line takes 2 hours. And tourists in Moscow are even more lucky, since you can buy a ticket for a very few rubles and explore the most beautiful stations, just like in a museum. And about exploring Moscow for free (or almost), another outstanding place is Arbat street. I must be honest, this area is quite touristy. But, on this very nice street you’ll find an unequalized concentration of Russian souvenirs, crafts and antiques, and watching all the variety of items shops have to offer is kinda like admiring masterpieces in a museum (with the temptation to buy them for your family & friends as a bonus).
These are not the only free museum-like places, take the Cathedral of the Christ the Saviour for example, the entrance is also free and whether you like religion or not, this is just sublime. If you want to visit the best metro stations in Moscow, Arbat street, and the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in a record time, this tour was made for you!
Izmaylovo Kremlin (Moscow)
This one’s tricky. If the entrance is free, you’re at risk of going out from there way poorer than expected. Is that a challenge? I’ll let you judge… Built like a Moscow’s “wonderland”, the Izmaylovo Kremlin hide behind its walls two markets. One is for tourists, with lots of souvenirs, Russian traditional artefacts and fur. The other one is a bric-a-brac, where babushkas (grandmas) and dedushkas (granddads) sell ancient objects from Soviet times and even before. You may also find icons and wooden art over there. And in case you get hungry or cold in this little world, go take a rest in the food court, they make wonderful shashliks and hot tea!
By the way, if you like to do a series of visits, you could begin with Izmaylovo, see some beautiful metro stations, and have a walk in VDNKh and visit some of its pavilions, such as the Soviet Game Museum.
Church of the Savior on Blood (Saint-Petersburg)
Usually churches are free… but this one is technically not a church, in fact it’s a museum (did you know that or are you just pretending?), and thus it isn’t free. But the famous Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, built as a memorial to Alexander II’s murder, is absolutely divine. For a few rubles you’ll be able to pay a tribute and pray for the Russian tsar’s memory… and also admire the exquisite shining and goldish mosaics that cover all its walls and its roof.
If you want the visit of this world-known monument to be memorable, the best way is to learn the history of the Church of the Savior on Blood with a guide!
Saint-Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)
This one is a church, and a famous one… but also a museum. So for a few rubles, you’ll enter the very heart of Saint-Petersburg religious life and a cathedral with rich ornamentation and dimensions beyond the norm. For the atheists reading this top, you’ll find in Saint Isaac a real museum of stones as the cathedral has been crafted in such varieties of stones from all Russia. One over there, it’s also worth exploring the colonnade which will offer you a marvelous view on the city!
Kremlin’s Theater (Moscow)
The Bolshoi, the Mariinsky and many other theaters in Russia are expensive. But Russians love theater, opera and ballet and so you can find quite easily good tickets very cheap. Surprisingly one of them is the Kremlin’s theater! I know you thought about it and didn’t look at the prices as “it will be the most expensive of all”. Wrong! The Kremlin theater, located in the heart of the Kremlin, offers good operas and ballets (with a strong taste for classics) for not so many rubles. You can even be well seated for only 600r (10$). So take a ticket and you’ll be able to brag yourself while back home!
Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Tsar Visit Travel Blog!