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Red Square & Moscow City Tour

Experience Moscow and learn about its 870 years of history

$177 — 6 hours
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red square tours of moscow

Highlights:

  • Experience medieval Kitay Gorod (China town).
  • Wander picturesque Red Square and Alexander Garden.
  • Explore grand Christ the Savior Cathedral on our Red Square tour.
  • Breathtaking panoramic views from Patriarch bridge.
  • Enjoy a hearty lunch on the large open verandah and marvel at the stunning views of the Kremlin.
  • Learn about Russian culture from the local through relaxed cultural discussions.

Tour Itinerary:

Red Square:

Russia and Moscow are synonymous with Red Square and the Kremlin and that's hardly surprising as you'll find these places absolutely stunning!

  • - Walk-through the Resurrection Gate and don’t forget to flip a coin so you’ll be sure to come back one day!
  • - Visit the world's famous Kazan Cathedral.
  • - See the State Department Store (GUM), once the Upper Trading Stalls, which were built over a century ago and still operating!
  • - Admire the lovely St. Basil's Cathedral! The French diplomat Marquis de Custine commented that it combined "the scales of a golden fish, the enamelled skin of a serpent, the changeful hues of the lizard, the glossy rose and azure of the pigeon's neck" and wondered at "the men who go to worship God in this box of confectionery work".
  • - Walk by Lobnoye Mesto (literally meaning "Execution Place", or "Place of Skulls"), once Ivan the Terrible's stage for religious ceremonies, speeches, and important events.
  • - Entering the Alexander Garden, you’ll take in spectacular views of Russian architecture from ancient to Soviet times, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame. Watch Changing of the Guard Ceremony every hour in summer and every half an hour in winter.

Kitai-gorod:

Stroll along medieval Kitai-gorod with its strong ancient Russia feel, known for its bohemian lifestyle, markets and arts.

  • - Nikolskaya Street. Here you will find the Russia's first publishing house, the second oldest monastery, and Ferryn Pharmacy, known as the number one pharmacy back in Soviet times and famous for its Empire-style architecture.
  • - Ilinka Street. The financial street of the Kitaigorod (China Town) district, where you’ll find the Gostiny Dvor (Merchant’s Yard), which is now a showroom for Ferraris and Maseratis. The street was designed in the 1790s by Catherine the Great.
  • - Varvarka street. The oldest street in Moscow, which dates back to the 14th century, and still has remnants of early Muscovite architecture, such as the Old English Court and the Palace of the Romanov’s.
  • - Kamergersky Lane. Only a small road of about 250 meters, it is home to some of the oldest artifacts of the city, as each building holds a fascinating story. Some of Russia's most famous writers, poets, and composers from as far back as the Golden Age of Russian culture, have lived or worked on this lane.

Historic City Center

Walk the historical old center of Moscow with its cool local vibe, including the main Tverskaya street, and indulge in desserts in the first grocery “Eliseev's store”, housed in an 18th century neoclassical building, famous for its baroque interior and decoration.

 

From our tour. Impressions of our American tourist:

 

At 3:30, as energy flagged, lunch was on the agenda at a Ukrainian restaurant.  Just in time!  We asked our guide to order for us.  We all had the same thing....borscht (the Ukrainian version has beans and more tomatoes than the Russian version, which has more beets and includes beef). 

 

The special high bread served is called galushki.  Our main course was golubtsy...a dish of minced meat rolled in braised cabbage leaves.  Both dishes called for optional sour cream as a topping....of course, yes, please....I recommend it. 

 

Full, satisfied, and completely refreshed, it was off to Red Square and St. Basil's and GUM department store.  Red Square is not so named because of the color of the brick walls of the Kremlin.  Rather the word for 'red' and the word for 'beautiful' are similar in pronunciation....and, there you have it. 

 

As we made the turn by the National Museum in front of which is the mounted sculpture of the "Marshall of Victory," Giorgy Zhukov from WWII and caught our first view of St. Basil's, my friend and I simultaneously emitted "Oooohhhhh!"  There it was....the iconic onion domes of St. Basil's!  Hooray....it was open until 7....we had about 30 minutes and were allowed in, AND we could take photos with no flash. 

 

Now, I can give you a taste of what we saw in the other cathedrals in Cathedral Square.  What we learned is that St. Vasily and St. Basil are one in the same....Russian/English.  He was a common man who wandered Moscow unclothed and barefoot.  But, all, even Ivan the Terrible, heeded his opinions derived from his visions.  Ivan had this cathedral built over his tomb. 

 

As we exited and took photos up close of the onion domes, Inna presented us with chocolate (how did she know we were ready for another energy boost, and we each got a big piece of chocolate.  The baby's name pictured on the wrapper of this famous Russian chocolate is Alyonka....the Russian Gerber baby, don't you think? 

 

One could wear out the credit card in GUM's (capitalized because it is actually a government abbreviation), but the 'kitty' and my credit card stayed in my pocket as we strolled through the glass-topped arcade. 

 

We then strolled through some of Moscow's lovely pedestrian streets; paused to listen as a wonderful quartet performed Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" in an underground passage to cross the busy street (hooray!....we DID have our 'classical concert' experience after all; a request Alina tried in vain to fill because none was scheduled those days), saw the Bolshoi, which means 'big' (my friend has yet to recover that their performance schedule did not coincide with our cruise), saw the Central Telegraph Building, dating from the 1930's, and made our way to the Ritz-Carlton to see the night view of Moscow from the rooftop bar, called O2. 

 

There were fleece blankets to wrap yourself in....yes, it got that cold when the sun set.  We each ordered something hot to drink...the ginger, mint, lemon tea served to me in a parfait glass (for 600 rubles...about $9....you pay for the view here!) was delightful and hit the spot perfectly.  It was time to call it a night....

Info

Extra costs (per person):

Entrance fees

 

Lunch/Dinner

(150-1500 rub, depending on your preferences)

Activity Level: moderate
Maximum travelers: 10
Meet up & End location: lobby of your hotel
Start time: any time
Extra hours: If you are having a good time and want your Moscow city tour last a little bit longer, you are welcome to do that. Please note: you will be charged 20 USD per an extra hour.
Tipping suggestions: If you feel like you had a good experience, your guide would appreciate a tip. It's not mandatory. It's your decision whether you want to give your guide a tip.

What you get:

  • + A friend in Moscow.
  • + Private & customized Moscow tour.
  • + An exciting city tour, not just boring history lessons.
  • + An authentic experience of local life.
  • + Flexibility during the tour: changes can be made at any time to suit individual preferences.
  • + Amazing deals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the very best cafes & restaurants. Discounts on weekdays (Mon-Fri).
  • + A photo session amongst spectacular Moscow scenery that can be treasured for a lifetime.
  • + Good value for souvenirs, taxis, and hotels.
  • + Expert advice on what to do, where to go, and how to make the most of your time.

*This Moscow city tour can be modified to meet your requirements.

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red square tours of moscow

$177 — 6 hours

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  • Rate us
  • Rina took me to places I never knew existed. Professional, knowledgeable and fun to be with...what a treat! She's very experienced and tailors your tour to your needs. It was the tour of my dreams.

    Catarina Yucca, Finland,Kuopio, Jul 05, 2016

  • A great introduction to the city. Our guide Dasha made us feel completely at home in a city with few English signs. We loved her fully prepared plan for us, and we loved even more that she listened to our interests and was flexible to change the itinerary on the go. A real plus for Friendly Local Guides.

    Dominique, Myconos, Greese, Dec 29, 2015

  • Vera was excellent and her enthusiasm was outstanding! She made me feel like I was sightseeing with a friend. She picked me up at the airport and spent the entire day with me seeing all we could see in Moscow in one day, and avoiding the long lines. Very informative and a great way to make the most of your stay in Moscow. Thank you, Vera. I will come back! ;)

    Raheem, Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct 10, 2015

  • This was just the perfect afternoon, Monika adjusted the program very flexible to my needs - the weather conditions and all other influences. Would always do this again!

    Stephan Buechel, Germany, Aug 27, 2014

  • Monika met and exceeded all my expectations. Here English was great; her knowledge of Moscow was perfect for me--as I had very little. Her attitude and smile were added to her narrative. She was flexible for me and knew when to speed up and to slow down. And...she found me a great hotel at a great price. Everything was great.

    Timothy Walker, USA, Aug 18, 2014

  • Couldn't have been better. Smart on the fly when weather turned bad. Little history,little architecture but lots of fun.

    Dan McKay, USA, Jun 07, 2013

  • The perfect tour for me, a full day of walking, talking, shopping, and hunting down the elusive "STALIN" for that rare photo-op in Red Square. It was indeed truly memorable - the chance to feel Moscow's pulse and to see Moscow's Pride with the perfect and fun-loving guide Alina. Thank you anew for taking good care of me and More Power... You are the best !!!

    John Sy, Thailand, Oct 27, 2012

  • We truly had a great experience with Alina. She was very good at tayloring the tour to our interests. She was a great resource and truly made our experience quite nice. Alina's help set up the rest of our Moscow trip. She created an understandable map of the subway and the attractions we wanted to see. This allowed us to get around Moscow and enjoy the city. Alina was really patient and helpful. We would highly recommend her for anyone who wants to get great treatment at the start of their Moscow trip.

    Paul Freifeld, USA, Sep 19, 2012