Tip: Planning a two day Moscow itinerary on a budget

Red Square Gate
Gate to the Red Square

Planning a two day Moscow itinerary on a budget is easy, (I’m guessing because most of the other activities that can be done in Moscow, especially nightlife can be pricey).  Personally, I’d recommend packing most of Moscow’s sights into two days, and use the remaining time to visit St Petersburg, especially if you’re near the tail end of the Trans Siberian and don’t have much time to play with.

My definition of budget is expenditure of USD80/ SGD 100 per day (excluding the cost of accommodation and souvenirs). It’s not the most budget of all budgets, but it’s a good figure that allows you to get the best of Moscow. We didn’t eat at restaurants for every meal, only at one because we heard it was really good.

So here is a suggested two day Moscow itinerary: 

St Basil's Cathedral
St Basil’s Cathedral – A must go

Day 1:

(Try to avoid visiting the Red Square on Tuesdays as St Basil’s Cathedral and the State Historical Museum will be closed). Head to the Red Square in good weather, preferably. 

Depending on the weather, head to the Red Square early in the morning, to catch the ‘Four top sights to visit around Moscow’s Red Square‘ namely, St Basil’s CathedralLenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum and GUM.

Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin’s Mausoleum

Catch the candy coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, a world-renowned historical and architectural site. It’s a must-go being the highlight of Moscow. (Take note that it is not open on Tuesdays). If you would like to catch sight of Russia’s greatest man, Lenin, be sure to visit Lenin’s Mausoleum. Take note that the Mausoleum is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, except Mondays and Fridays.

GUM Red square moscow
GUM – Red Square

If you’re into chilling at cafes and soaking up the atmosphere of the Red Square, have a glass of kvass (a Russian non-alcoholic sweet beer, very awesome) while people-watching at one of the chi-chi restaurants at GUM. Do note that your roubles will tend to run out at quite a fast rate, after that.

State Historical Museum
State Historical Museum

Last but not least, if you’re into Russian history right up to prehistoric times, head on to the State Historical Museum. It’s close on Tuesdays too.

If you were to visit all four attractions, it could take you almost a day. (It depends.) We were there from 11am – 4pm.

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During the evening, I suggest taking the metro to Pushkinskaya. There are a couple of food options there including a Japanese place. (I refused to try the sushi and got a stew dish instead. It’s rather Americanised.

Mari Vanna Moscow food
Salmon an Zucchini Pancakes – Mari Vanna

Or if you have a comfortable budget and some time on your hands, head down to Mari Vanna at 10a Spiridonyevsky Lane for some authentic Russian food. It’s like you have entered a traditional Russian home and the decor is really quite worth checking out. We know the food is good because most local Moscovians head there too. Click on the link above to find out more.

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moscow kremlin archangel cathedral
The Kremlin

Day 2: 

Head down to the Kremlin early in the day, and marvel at the various Cathedrals, Bell Tower and the Armoury. There may be a long line of tourists, so it’s better to go early.

The whole visit can last from 2-3 hours, to almost the whole day, depending on your preference. As mentioned, if you’re into architectural design and history, most likely you will spend more time taking photos of the monuments and buildings than someone who’s only keen to take pictures of themselves with the monument of a cannon.

It’s open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm, except Thursdays.

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Izmailovsky Market
Izmailovsky Market

If you are looking for affordable souvenirs, head down to the Izmailovsky Market (10 minute walk from Partizanskaya metro station). There’s a gamut of things to buy there, ranging from Soviet style paraphernalia, Russian dolls, porcelain jewellery boxes as well as shot glasses and beer mugs.

For dinner, catch a bite at one of the restaurants located in the area of the hotels.

And lastly, if you’re keen to visit an actual Russian Orthodox church and attend a service which is attended by locals too, head down to the Danilov Monastery, Moscow’s largest monastery. It’s a real church, and you can see how actual services proceed. No shoes allowed in the hallways. If you arrive on the hour, be prepared to be enchanted by the rich tones of ringing church bells, similar to what you see in The Sound of Music.

Admission is free.

itinerary moscow budget
Danilov Monestary

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This post marks the end of my time in Moscow, in which I boarded an 8 hour flight on Aeroflot back to Guangzhou, then a flight back to Singapore. Hope you enjoyed the posts and stay tuned for a Trans Siberian Roundup.

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