So practical when you can stay during your flight to Japan around 10 hours in Moscow- isn’t it? Well, that is what I thought as well..
Since years I wanted to have a walk around the Red Square. What a great chance.
What to find out in this post
The best travel time for Moscow
Moscow is a great place to visit throughout the whole year. It can be a wonderful experience to walk around while the Red Square is covered in snow, but it’s also great to discover Russia’s capital while the sun is shining warmly. In case you want to see more of Russia during your trip, it might be advisable to check which is the best time to visit Russia for you depending on which destinations you are going to see.
Visa for Russia
Yes, we Europeans do need a visa for entering Russia. Yes, we even have to get a visa for a transit stay. And yes, it’s not possible to do it online as it is the case for some other countries. That’s what I’ve realized around one month beforehand. Yeah! Appointments in the visa center were of course totally booked out. Also, there were none in Berlin nor Hamburg (Yes, I even considered that!)
In the end, we found an office for an express visa in Barcelona and received our visa two days before it was time to leave.
Now that we had our visa nothing could go wrong anymore. That’s what we thought at least…
Our experiences in Moscow
After landing the first shock. 11 degrees and rain. In the weather forecast, they had promised 17 degrees and sunny weather all day. Our raincoats were of course in the backpacks that we had checked in. At least I had a thin jacket with me.
Eduardo was just wearing a really thin pullover. So we had to improvise.
He was wearing one of the t-shirts that I brought in case my luggage gets lost during our flight. It didn’t even look thaaat bad! Anyway, he was lucky I chose to bring my widest and biggest shirt.
Around 5.30 we got in one of the lines in order to leave the airport. Murphy’s law didn’t seem to be in our favor this time though. Or maybe even too good as the rain stopped during our time in line.
After one hour it finally was our turn and we could leave the airport with destination Moscow after showing our visa.
As we didn’t have much time we chose the
express train for 1000 Rubel roundtrip. (Around 15 Euro)
At least this worked without any problems. Until we arrived at Red Square. Or should I rather say until we arrived at the closed gates of the Red Square? How unlucky can you just be? There we are one day in Moscow. And exactly that day the main attraction is closed. A police officer explained to us that we were welcomed to visit the square again starting from tomorrow without any problems.
The promised sunny 17 degrees weather also didn’t arrive. Instead, the sky was grey and our search for the sun was always separated by rain showers. Moreover, we couldn’t deny the lack of sleep we obviously had after just a four-hour flight. So we felt really sleepy.
The perfect idea. Maybe just have a tour with a tourism bus to discover the city: and doing this without freezing.
Usually, I am not into that kind of buses. As they bring tourists just from one sightseeing spot to another. This way they won’t have the chance to discover the city besides the typical tourist attractions. Anyway, in this case, it was the perfect solution.
So, we sat around three hours in the doubledecker bus under two blankets and discovered Moscow from its streets. For every station we passed we got the information from an audio guide. Later on, we warmed our selves, in a big mall near Red Square with hot Russian soup.
And then it was already time to return to the airport. We stopped at some of the Metro stations on our way back. There is something true about what they say. Moscow has the most beautiful Metro. It’s definitely worth a look.
Anyway, it takes a while until you know how to use the Russian Metro. Since Russia uses another alphabet than us it can get kinda complicated. 😀
Back at the airport, we could actually see the sun shining outside. Come on!
All in all, Moscow will most probably not become our favorite destination. In our opinion, it just was too grey. It felt like some of the houses really needed a new painting. And some green was missing here and there.
Anyway, we agreed that there is probably enough to see if you are planning to stay some days there.
To not only mention drawbacks: The Red Square (at least the part that we were able to see) and the Kremlin were amazingly beautiful.
Therefore, recommended as a transit-stopover.