Who hasn’t ever dreamed of a trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg? They are the perfect gateway to the second largest country in the world… that leaves no one indifferent!
Let’s say that it’s a pretty cheap, nice, varied and very, very interesting trip. In this post we tell you everything you can see and do during a trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg, spending more or less 3 and a half days in each one, not counting transfers. You can’t miss, of course, the trip between one and the other with the mythical Red Arrow train.
If you like history and books, you have to go! In just over a week, you go from feeling like a tsar in St. Petersburg to playing a KGB spy in Moscow, you suffer from knowing the gulags and you can travel into space with Yuri Gagarin. Convinced?
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We confess that this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg is one of those that has given us more surprises, of those good dismantling myths of the trips: In Russia you eat quite well and we did not spend as much cold as we expected (and that was already October!). Of course, the Russians are not «like in the movies», but normal, reserved but friendly people.
A beautiful view of the Winter Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia
Standing in front of the Winter Palace is sooo exciting…
On the other hand, it is true that it is a rather less functional country than others, so we must expect some setbacks. Of course, we were worried about the communication issue… and with a smile you can reach everywhere!
Now, here is the itinerary of this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg in a week. We hope you enjoy it!
Contents of the post [Hide]
- DAY 1: Arrival in St. Petersburg
- DAY 2: What to see in downtown St. Petersburg
- Canal and walk in the centre, Hermitage Museum, Nevsky Avenue
- DAY 3: What to see across the river in St. Petersburg
- Mosque, Peter the Great House, Peter and Paul Fortress, Church of Spilled Blood, Yusupov Palace
- DAY 4: Excursion to Peterhof Palace from St. Petersburg
- Finlyandsky Station, Peterhof Palace, Opera
- DAY 5: What to see in the centre of Moscow
- Red Square, Kremlin, walk downtown
- DAY 6: Lesser known places to see in Moscow
- Sparrow Hills and University, subway tour, Gulag museum
- DAY 7: Visit to the historical park of Kolomenskaya
- Arbat Avenue, Kolomenskaya, Space Museum
- DAY 8: Visit to Izmailovo market in Moscow
- Izmailovo market and return flight
- Map: Trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg
- SAVE and prepare your trip to Moscow on your own
- More information about travelling to Russia on your own
- DAY 1: Arrival in St. Petersburg
- We arrived in the afternoon, on a direct flight from London Heathrow with British Airways.
After an hour looking for accommodation, asking how we could get everyone there, it’s clear to us that it doesn’t exist… We go to option B. We have to say that Booking behaved himself. It got dark, but no one was going to spoil our trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg! So we took a walk down the canal to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and had a super good dinner at the Tuscany Grill.
View of St. Saviour’s Church on the Spilled Blood from the canal, one of the most mythical places on any trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg
And the trip to Russia was to be no less… we found monuments in works…
DAY 2: What to see in downtown St. Petersburg
Canal and walk in the centre, Hermitage Museum, Nevsky Avenue
Our first full day of this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg began with a trip along the Griboyedov Canal, passing the famous Lions Bridge (which is not so bad either). From there we started kicking the city, as we like it.
We passed St. Nicholas Cathedral, Marininski Theatre, St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Admiralty before arriving at the Winter Palace Square. Even if your expectations are high, this square will blow your mind! There we ate a small dog and went to visit the Hermitage museum until closing time. This museum is one of the most spectacular we have visited, it would be nice even without paintings. The problem? The amount of people that are so beastly… and we went in low season. We recommend that you get up early and go early.
We followed the kick, this time down the famous Nevsky Avenue. There we visited some places like the Gostiny Dvor shopping center, the Armenian church or the monument to Catherine the Great on Ostrovsky Square. As it could not be otherwise, we ended the day having dinner in one of the best restaurants of Saint Petersburg, the Severyanin, where we ate in luxury.
Portrait in front of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg
In front of St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Taking a photo inside the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The hunted hunter! The photographer at the Hermitage, a must on every trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg
DAY 3: What to see across the river in St. Petersburg
Mosque, Peter the Great House, Peter and Paul Fortress, Church of Spilled Blood, Yusupov Palace
We had an intense day ahead of us today… and very, very wet!
We spent the morning on the other side of the Neva River. We would not have imagined that they were so beautiful in Russia, but the beautiful mosque of St. Petersburg is a real wonder. And from the greatness of Islamic architecture to simplicity: don’t miss the little house of Peter the Great, where the founder of St. Petersburg lived. You will be surprised! We wanted to continue to the Aurora cruise, but it was pouring with rain and we didn’t dare get on any bus and show up at the other end…
Then came one of the places we liked best on this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg: the Peter and Paul Fortress. In this bastion you will be able to visit the cathedral of the same name, where many of Russia’s tsars are buried, including Nicholas II and his family (be prepared for the push!). Here we could also go to the beach, but only to look!
We returned to the centre and ate in a Russian self-service restaurant. Then we visited inside the Church of the Saviour on Spilt Blood, perhaps the most famous monument in St. Petersburg. It is so beautiful and colorful that it reminded us of Bulgarian temples.
The last visit of the day was the Yusupov Palace, where, among so much luxury, we felt like we were in a Russian novel. It is beautiful, full of history (Rasputin died there) and much less crowded than Peterhof.
The beautiful mosque of St. Petersburg, in a very autumnal picture, in Russia
Beautiful St. Petersburg mosque!
Main staircase of Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg
The main staircase of the Yusupov Palace, one of the great surprises of this trip to Russia
DAY 4: Excursion to Peterhof Palace from St. Petersburg
Finlyandsky Station, Peterhof Palace, Opera
We could not leave St. Petersburg without visiting Finlyandsky Station, where Lenin arrived to make the revolution. Thanks to a very nice policeman we were able to go in and see the locomotive where he did it.
We ate early and near the pier in a vintage roll restaurant (which only had the name in Cyrillic, what a pity!), and went to spend the afternoon in the wonderful Peterhof Palace. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive places we have ever known. Not only is it a great place inside, but its gardens, by the sea, are beautiful – you can’t miss this visit during your trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg! If you also go by boat (like us), you will have another view of St. Petersburg… and one more experience.
What better way to end our days in St. Petersburg than with an opera? We really wanted to see the ballet, but we ran out of tickets (keep that in mind!). We chose to see Tosca at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, and were delighted to leave.
The journey to Russia continued: that same night we were travelling from St. Petersburg to Moscow on the mythical Red Arrow train. The truth is that we loved the experience of sleeping on the train and we are looking forward to repeating it.
Image of the front of the Peterhof Palace, from its gardens, on the Journey to Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia
Impressive Peterhof Palace!
St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theater Stadium
Nothing better to say goodbye to St. Petersburg than an opera at the Mikhailovsky Theatre
DAY 5: What to see in the centre of Moscow
Red Square, Kremlin, walk downtown
What do you think is the first thing we did in Moscow? Running off to Red Square! We’re a bunch of freaks! Seeing the domes of St. Basil’s little by little, and then finding yourself in front of that huge square is a travelling dream come true. The cathedral was one of the great reasons to finally make this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg, and it exceeded all our expectations.
After a big queue which was quite fast, we went in to see Lenin’s mausoleum. Right after that, we visited St. Basil’s Cathedral on the inside. The truth is that we did not expect it like that and we were surprised a lot. It is not a cathedral like the ones we are used to see, but there are several chapels, some of them already turned into a museum.
In the same square, we visited the mythical GUM stores and took the opportunity to eat at the Stolovaya restaurant57 .
We spent the afternoon touring the Kremlin and its Cathedral Square. The Kremlin was another of the places that surprised us on this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. We had no idea that there would be so many… and so beautiful! You can’t miss them.
We finish the day with a night walk through the center: Revolution Square, Lubyanka, the Bolshoi Theatre…
Jumping on Red Square, one of the must-see places on your trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg
Long live Red Square!
Moscow Kremlin Cathedral Square in Russia
Kremlin Cathedral Square
DAY 6: Lesser known places to see in Moscow
Sparrow Hills and University, subway tour, Gulag museum
We start the day crossing a beautiful park to get to Sparrow Hills, a viewpoint where you can enjoy an incredible view over Moscow. Right in front of it is the Moscow State University, the most important in the country and one of the biggest in the world – total communist architecture!
Afterwards we went to make our own tour around the «people’s palace»: the Moscow subway. Undoubtedly, a must for every trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg – there are beautiful stations!
We ended the day by getting excited and learning at the State Historical Museum of the Gulag. It is quite far from the centre but it is well worth going, especially if you like history.
Panoramic view of CBD and the Moscow River from Sparrow Hill in Russia
Sparrow Hill, one of the big surprises on this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg
Inside Komsomol’skaja, one of the most beautiful stations of the Moscow Metro
Impressive Moscow subway station!
DAY 7: Visit to Kolomenskaya historical park
Arbat Avenue, Kolomenskaya, Space Museum
The last full day of this trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg began with a walk along Arbat Avenue, the most beautiful avenue in Moscow. It left us a little cold, but it has ambience. From there we went to the historical site of Kolomenskaya, which conquered us with its views and the different buildings, they are very cool! For us, one of the must-see visits in Moscow. Don’t miss the churches and the walk by the river, full of Muscovites enjoying their free time. And what about the wooden palace? That’s not enough!
In a city like Moscow you can’t miss the Museum of Cosmonautics (or Space). We went there with reservations and in the end we had a great time! If you go with children, it is a highly recommended stop in Moscow. Besides the interior, stop and look at it from the outside… the construction is great, and very symbolic.
As it was our last night, we had to go and say goodbye to Red Square, so that’s where we ended the day… and had dinner again at Stolovaya57. As you can see, if we like something we are very faithful… and it was very good!
Posing in front of the side of the old palace of Kolomenskaya in Russia
Look how cool Kolomenskaya is!
Exterior of the memorial and space museum on the trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia
The space museum is cool inside and out.
DAY 8: Visit to Izmailovo market in Moscow
Izmailovo market and return flight
We had to take advantage of the last morning of the trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg, so we went to the market in Izmailovo with our backpacks and arrived when they were opening. You’ll find everything there! We bought our beloved matryoshka and browsed through the antique (and miscellaneous) stalls. There are also places to eat.
We flew back from Domodedovo airport to London Heathrow in the early afternoon with AirBrussels, with a stopover in the Belgian capital.
View of the Izmailovo Market Kremlin on the way to Moscow and St. Petersburg
Don’t tell us that the market in Izmailovo is not curious…
Matrioska at the door of Izmailovo market
With our beloved doll!
Map: Trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg
We believe that eight days, of which three were complete in each city, are enough for a first trip to Russia, visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg… Although we are already thinking about what to do in our next visit to this immense country, what do you think of the Trans-Siberian?