Russia travel blog | All about Russia in English

Jun/18

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Top Day Trips from Moscow

Moscow, the sprawling historical, economic and cultural capital of Russia, home to 12 million people and countless museums, galleries, restaurants and parks, is certainly seeing a lot of action this summer.

With the FIFA World Cup in full swing, over 1 million fans from across the globe have poured into this iconic city, which is hosting a grand total of 12 World Cup matches this summer. Although there’s never been a better time to be in Moscow, the intense crowds and, of course, the infamous summer heat waves, can sometimes be a little too much.

The Russian capital is well connected to a huge variety of national parks, cities, villages and historic sites, meaning you’ve got no shortage of amazing options to escape the city and soak up the best of Russian culture. Here’s a round-up of the best day trips to take from Moscow.

The Archangelskoye Estate

Only an hour away on the train from central Moscow, the sprawling Archangelskoye is a heart-stopping masterpiece of old Russian splendour. Originally belonging to the notorious Golitsyn dynasty, this massive estate is one of the best-preserved showcases of Russian neoclassical architecture in the world, with the ornately curated gardens being home to multiple mansions, each with their own original and eclectic design.

As well as drinking in the beautiful surroundings in this serene oasis, the estate also plays host to many of Russia’s most acclaimed music festivals, so make sure to keep tabs on what’s on this summer.

Saransk

If you’re looking for a little bit of city life without the manic hustle of Moscow, hop on the train for 90 minutes and you’ll find yourself in the vibrant city of Saransk, the historic capital of the Republic of Mordovia.

Long known for its vibrant cultural scene, you should make sure to hit up the Maly Theatre and of course, the official State Puppet Theatre, which has a long tradition of performing daring and hilarious puppet satires. You may even find yourself there with the World Cup, as this small city has hosted eight teams there this summer, including Portugal – a team who topped their group and progressed as 25/1 outsiders according to the bookmaker Betway.

The Mordovia Arena stadium, which is hosting all the games, is worth a visit in itself, given the surreal design and monumental scale of this sparkling new stadium. Also make sure to check out the imposing Regional Museum, just a stone’s throw away from the train station, to learn more about this tiny and tortured republic, as well as sampling the fare at the surprisingly good museum cafe.

Suzdal

This unique and ancient little town, just a few miles outside of Moscow (although it has no train station, you can get the train to nearby Vladimir and use public transport), is often described as somewhere completely untouched by time.

It is the physical embodiment of the mythical and much-idealized Russian vision of simple country life, a small village full of dirt roads, friendly locals and beautiful old churches. The town is also well-known for the local mead produced there, a highly alcoholic drink made of honey, so make sure to sample the local wares and get a little buzz going before you hit up the 13th-century monastery by the main river.

This is definitely the place to go if you want to get away from the international bubble of Moscow and experience a little bit of traditional Russia, and prices here are naturally several times lower for just about everything.

Gorki Leninskie

You can’t do Russia without exploring some of the Soviet history which left a permanent mark on the country and the world, and the best place to do so is the Gorki Lenenskie.

Just under an hour away from Moscow by train, this estate was where the Soviet leader Lenin lived out his final years, and it’s where you’ll find some striking examples of Soviet architecture, as well as a painstakingly detailed museum documenting this influential figure’s life, loves, achievements and dramas.

Most of the exhibits are in Russian, but this is still an important place to go to get a better picture of the monumental upheavals that Russia has experienced in the last century.

If you have any top tips for day trips from Moscow, let us know in the comments!

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