Exploring Moscow in one day [top attractions, hotels and tours]

Moscow, the cosmopolitan capital of Russia, oozes of luxury and historic charm.  If you plan on exploring Moscow in one day, you will be surprised to hear that it is very much possible.

I dont say this for most cities, but since almost all architectural wonders are nestled together in the Red Square, its easy to walk around and cover the top attractions of Moscow. At least!

Must Visit Inclusions to Your Moscow One Day Itinerary

Exploring Moscow in one day can be easy and fun. Especially if you just want to cover the basics but since I don’t like to rush through destinations, I gave it three days.

If you just have 24 hours, I would suggest covering these just these spots or taking one of the many short guided tours in Moscow.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

St Basil's Cathedral

The stunning St Basil’s Cathedral

The onion shaped domes of this church had been on my bucket list since I first saw a picture online. The architecture and the color pops were simply incredible. It looks like an image right out of Aladdin. In reality – it looks just as I imagined it to be.

St Basil’s Catherdral was simply a sight to behold!

I felt like a little kid walking on the pages of a pop up story book as I looked at the funky colors and shape of Saint Basil. Was this place for real, I asked myself!

moscow in one day

Colorful onion shaped domes of the cathedral

If you had time to see one attraction in Moscow, I would say – THIS should be it!

Beware of the crowds though as its quite busy, as is the entire Red Square.

Red Square

The tourist mecca of Moscow- Red Square, is flocked by hoards of travelers each day. I never anticipated it to be so crowded. At few spots, there were huge queues and barely any space to walk. So when I say its busy, its NOT an understatement.

Walking around red square

Walking around red square

However, if you want to see any of the top attractions like the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, State historical museum or Lenin’s Mausoleum, then this is the place to be.

Iconic buildings of Moscow

Iconic buildings of Moscow

While you are here, check out Alexandrovsky Sad (aka Alexander Garden) with the pretty horse fountain.

Spectacular horse fountain at Alexander Garden

Spectacular horse fountain at Alexander Garden

If you aren’t too keen on exploring on your own and want some interesting tid-bits of Moscow’s history, then take this two hour guided tour of Red Square.

GUM Mall

Wait! Why is a mall on my must visit list? Well, its like no mall I have ever seen. Quite frankly, to me, it looked like a huge Disneyland.

GUM moscow

GUM Mall from outside

It is filled with cute ice cream shops, fountains, cartoon characters walking around, peppy music and families with kids running around – Sounds like Disney?

GUM mall moscow

GUM – Doesn’t it look like Disney?

Plus, when you walk around Red Square this is the perfect place to beat the heat (Yes, Moscow can get terribly hot in summers).

Arbat Street

After walking around the red square, you can take the underground to Arbat. Its a popular artsy street full of cafes, shops, eateries, bars, souvenir stands, caricaturists and more.

Caricaturists at Arbat street

Caricaturists at Arbat street

As other parts of town, Arbat street is also extremely busy.

Walking around Arbat

Walking around Arbat

Gorky park

Another fun attraction to be covered in Moscow if you just have a day to spare would be the pretty Gorky park of Culture and Leisure.

Its a pure delight for both children and adults. With a lovely lake to relax around, small amusement park for rides, lots of fast food joints, huge ass fountain in the middle, constant events and games for everyone, paths for cycling and skate scooters (plus you can get them on rent here), lounge chairs and huge gardens to lay around in and more! Phew!

gorky park

Gorky even has a beach – well, somewhat!

Gorky is for everyone but beware this is also extremely busy during a hot summer day in Moscow – pretty much all families flock to the park.

gorky park fountain

Another busy spot at Gorky is by the fountain

If there is one thing I learnt from exploring Moscow in 24 hours, was that if you have young kids – you will absolutely love it. There is tons to do in Moscow for families with young ones, that’s for sure. Extremely kid-friendly and fun city.

While you are at Gorky, you can even check out this private boat tour which shows all iconic attractions from a different perspective.

Moscow Underground Stations

Just like the stunning St Petersburg’s metro stations, Moscow has its own underground architectural delights. From the deepest metro station to the most stunning ones, Moscow’s stations are indeed sights to behold.

I would highly recommend taking a tour of the Moscow underground.

Moscow at night

Moscow is simply one of the most stunning cities at night, I have ever seen. No doubt about it.

I got to Moscow from St Petersburg around 2230 hrs and as soon as I stepped out of the station, I was simply looking all around in complete awe.

Moscow is not just a rich metropolis – it LOOKS like one!

Moscow at night is quite a sight

Moscow at night is quite a sight

Plus if you have time, I would recommend checking the bridge’s open across the Neva river at night. This starts at 0125 hrs and lasts till wee hours of dawn. Be aware that the roads to the city are shut temporarily but there are alternative routes or you can wait it out.

Need help? Just book a guided Moscow walking tour at night, for €15 to give you a good insight into this sparkling city.

Where to Stay in Moscow?

Moscow has many budget and mid-range options to stay. However, the only way to do a rich metropolitan city, the right way, is to live it up in style.

I chose Swissotel Krasnye Holmy Moscow for my short stay in Moscow, and I couldn’t have been happier. My room on the 25th floor gave me awesome views of the city below.

Admiring the epic city views at Swissotel

Admiring the epic city views at Swissotel

Watching the spectacular city lights at night with a bottle of wine and waking up to incredible sun rises and a cup of coffee was the norm for my three days at Swissotel.

room at swissotel

Plus my room was everything I needed 🙂

My evenings, after exploring the city, were spent working from the plush executive lounge of Swissotel. With unlimited snacks and alcohol every evening, I noticed it was quite popular among fellow entrepreneurs.

executive lounge in Swissotel

Working with my favorite poison at the executive lounge in Swissotel

The in-house gym, sauna and indoor pool was also impeccable. Though I didn’t get a chance to enjoy these services for guests, personally.

The lovely indoor pool at Swissotel

The lovely indoor pool at Swissotel

Honestly, I couldn’t have done Moscow any other way – Swissotel was the perfect choice.

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