Cableway and secret metro station: Moscow sightseeing routes offered to foreigners

November 2, 2019
Tourism and travels

The number of tourists in Moscow is growing every year. In the first half of 2019, 11.5 million foreign guests visited the Russian capital. This is almost a third more than in the first half of last year. Travellers mostly come from China, Germany, France, Italy and Israel.

The Moscow City Tourism Committee creates all conditions for guests to spend the most comfortable time. Hotels, museums, parks and other tourist attractions offer free city maps and guidebooks. Discover Moscow portal tells about unusual Moscow sites.

Since August, the Moscow Tourist Information Support Centre has got new phone numbers ― 122 and +7 (495) 122-01-11. Russian and English-speaking operators are available 24/7.

Photo: Yuliya Ivanko

Tour guide interpreters help tourists gain an insight into the history of Moscow and visit all the city landmarks. More than 1,600 accredited guides offer their services to foreign guests. Members of the Moscow Guide Interpreters Association speak 26 languages, both wide-spread such as English, Spanish, Chinese, and rare ones, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Hebrew, Hungarian and Finnish.

Usually, foreign guests are primarily interested in the Kremlin and the historical centre of Moscow, metro stations, the main building of the Moscow State University, Moscow City Business Centre, Ostankino TV Tower, Gorky Park, VDNKh, Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Victory Museum on Poklonnaya Gora and the Museum of Cosmonautics.

For the first visit to the city, the best Moscow travel agencies offer sightseeing tours including the central squares — Krasnaya, Pushkinskaya, Teatralnaya, Manezhnaya, Birzhevaya and others. You can join free sightseeing tours of Moscow daily 10:45 am till 01:15 pm. To take part in a walk through the city centre, book a place in the tour group by filling out a special form on the website.

Photo: Evgeny Samarin

Tours of the Moscow metro, a unique facility both in terms of transport infrastructure and architectural features, are traditionally among the top popular tours. Tourists interested in the Moscow metro will like 'Metrotour' — a joint project by the Moscow metro and the Museum of Moscow.

In addition to tours to metro stations listed as architecture monuments, anyone can visit the closed Delovoi Tsentr station of Solntsevskaya line. Participants of this unique tour can talk with the metro workers, see the cabin of the station attendant and watch train traffic controlled online.

Since January 2019, there is the project 'Tours of the Metro' available, too. Passengers can choose from a variety of tours by accredited guides. The list of tours is constantly updated, so the service is growing popular every month. Citizens can learn more about the history of construction, architecture and features of the Moscow metro. Choose a tour on the project's website.

Photo: Maxim Denisov

Walking and bus tours are not the only format of tours offered for Moscow guests. Tourists who want to visit Vorobyovy Gory take a walk near the main building of Moscow State University or go to the Luzhniki Stadium, can take a ride over the Moskva River in a cable car with an audio guide on, available in Russian, English, Spanish and Chinese. For those who wants to see attractions located in remote areas, such as Victory Park or Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve, we offer tours by car or hansom cab.

In the warm season, from May to September, tourists can participate in cycling tours around Moscow. Another great option for those who have planned a visit from May to October is river boats with audio guides available in six languages (Russian, English, Chinese, Spanish, German and French). Bright vessels with 'flower' names — Sunflower, Cornflower, Forget-Me-Not, Rose and others— run along the Moskva River from the Ukraina Hotel and Gorky Park to Novospassky Bridge.

Members of the Moscow Guide Interpreters Association told about tourists' favourite attraction sites in Moscow and sites to offer foreign visitors.

Alexei Cherkasov: Asian and Indian tourists like to go to the Circus 

English-speaking guide interpreter

Tourists from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and South Africa are most often interested in learning the history of Moscow, they are happy to listen to stories about attractions. In addition, they like Russian cuisine.

Usually people have their own must-visit list. If fail to visit them within the travel agency's program, they do it on their own. As a rule, it is restaurants and parks. Tourists from the USA, Australia and the UK love the Bolshoi Theatre. Asian and Indian tourists prefer to go to the circus. Folklore programs are popular with all groups of tourists.

Tourists often choose their own places of interest. Some like military museums, some go to the Tretyakov Gallery. Other tourists want to see the FIFA World Cup stadiums. The rest of them go shopping. It all depends on personal preferences.

Alesya Denkova-Gerasimova: All tourists are surprised to find Moscow so green 

Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking guide interpreter

First of all, tourists coming to Moscow want to see the Russian symbols, Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin. Many people are keen on modern Moscow, too. They attend Flight over Moscow and Flight over Russia attractions in Zaryadye Park. They ask where to find 'that very stadium', speaking about Luzhniki.

Many tourists take interest in space. The Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre is an excellent state-of-the-art interactive Museum. Those willing to know more about the architecture and history of Russia go to VDNKh. This facility, a city within a city, is the unique exhibition centre. All tourists are surprised to know Moscow has so many parks and green areas. Many people want to visit Gorky Park and Kolomenskoye.

Besides, spectacular tours of night Moscow grow popular, too. Night illumination of Moscow surpasses many world capitals in its splendour.

Guests often ask if Moscow is a safe city. There are also a lot of questions about history, especially the Soviet and post-Soviet period. Tourists are also interested in social issues: education, healthcare and family. For example, they ask how many children Muscovites usually have, what age people get married at, how they spend their leisure time, how they live in winter.

Also, tourists often ask why there are only a few people walking dogs in the streets: how come that people don't have pets? We explain that Muscovites do not usually walk their dogs on Red Square. One more surprise for foreigners is clean streets: with not so many trash bins, there is no garbage around.

Stepan Semyonov: The guide serves as a people's diplomacy ambassador 

French-speaking guide interpreter, Member of the Board of Guide Translators Association

For Belgians, culture is the most attractive thing in Moscow, with a special focus on Moscow’s traditional museums. French people want culture with historic details. Many of them are very well-read and perceive everything they see in terms of Russian literature. Canadians want to know more about the Soviet period. Guests from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria are keen on trade and shopping issues. Swiss tourists prefer to know more about statistics, education and medicine.

In general, everything depends on the guide: today you show the tourists Tsar Bell, tomorrow you take them to Kolomenskoye. Senior tourists prefer WWII sites. Those coming for the second or third time look for something exclusive. We invite them to food tours, to Sergiyev Posad with hermitages and pilgrimage sites, we tell them more about Soviet times.

A guide interpreter must be an expert to be able to provide a variety of information about Russian culture and history. In a sense, a guide serves as a people's diplomacy ambassador. We use all our expertise and knowledge for the benefit of our enlightening mission and friendly and sustainable relations between peoples.


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