Christmas 2021 in Moscow: what to do, practical info and advice

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Moscow is famous all over the world for its marvelous architecture such as the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theater, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin State Museum and many others; it is a city that flaunts beauty, elegance, luxury and charm in every corner, and becomes even more unique at Christmas. If you love the Christmas atmosphere, this is the city for you! Because? Simple, because you can celebrate Christmas 2 times!

The Russian capital in fact follows the Julian calendar, this means that the dates of the holidays do not coincide with ours: Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, New Year's Eve instead on the night between January 13th and 14th. In short, by planning your trip carefully you can enjoy an encore of dinners! If, on the other hand, you decide to travel on traditional dates (for example between 23 and 27 December), you will find a city alive and at maximum efficiency, with transport, museums, theaters, shops and restaurants in full operation (unlike what happens in other European destinations, which on 25/26 December offer limited services). Here what to do, practical info and tips for spending Christmas in Moscow.



Index

  1. Stroll through the Moscow Christmas markets
  2. Enjoy ice skating
  3. Relax in traditional Russian baths
  4. Watch a hockey game
  5. Take part in the Ded Moroz Parade
  6. Watch a live dance show
  7. Attend Christmas mass
  8. Taste the typical specialties
  9. Which museums and attractions remain open?
  10. What means of transport are available?
  11. Climate in Moscow at Christmas
  12. User questions and comments

Covid-19 emergency: events, concerts and demonstrations could undergo last-minute changes due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We recommend that you inform yourself well about the situation of the destination you intend to visit before departure. If you are planning a trip, follow government guidelines and make sure you are in line with safety measures.



1 - Stroll through the Moscow Christmas markets

Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for someone special or simply want to be pervaded by the joyful Christmas spirit, it does not matter, in the traditional Moscow markets you will find a fantastic world to discover and love, a place to lose yourself among handmade toys and delicatessen. The center of Moscow is transformed into a fairytale world with wonderful illuminations and decorations during the festive period. Red Square, Manezhnaya, Ploschad Revolutsii, Pushkinskaya and other central squares turn into Christmas markets, where you can eat pancakes, participate in folklore shows (the khorovod dance for example), learn ancient crafts and buy traditional Russian souvenirs.

  • Red Square Christmas Markets
    Red Square - Get directions
  • New Year's Fair in TsUM
    At TsUM department store (ул. Петровка, 2) - Get directions
  • Markets at VDNKh (Exhibition of the achievements of the national economy)
    At the VDNKh exhibition fair (lpr-t. Mira, 119) - Get directions

2 - Have fun doing ice skating

Young or old, sportsman or sofa lover, it doesn't matter: ice skating is the winter activity par excellence in which practically all Muscovites try their hand. For this reason, Russians tend to be quite good at skating, but don't be put off if you are a beginner. Ice skating at the public rinks is a simple tradition common in the winter period, so forget the competitive spirit and prepare yourself in a good mood and friendly atmosphere. There are over many skating rinks in the city, we recommend a few:



  • The Red Square, celebrate the season with an ice skating rink, because there is nothing more thrilling than roller skating under the Kremlin towers, with the domes of St. Basil's Cathedral glistening above and the large Christmas tree lighting up the entrance to the GUM shopping mall. Get directions
  • Gorky Park track, is a must that allows pleasant walks, relaxation in the cafes and artistic visits. Get directions
  • VDNH runway, inside the park of the same name characterized by spectacular lights, fountains and Soviet relics. Get directions
  • Track to Sokolniki Park, one of the largest, over 5.400 square meters. Get directions

3 - Relax in traditional Russian baths

We challenge you to find a more relaxing atmosphere than in a typical Russian banya (sauna). This tradition will warm your body and soul. If you want to treat yourself to an experience of pure relaxation, the best solution is it Sanduny plant (Get directions), full of elegant pools of water to dive into after a hot Sauna. For info visit the website eng.sanduny.ru.

4 - Watch a Hockey match

If there is one sport that Russians are particularly fond of, it is ice hockey. Live the adrenaline-pumping experience of a live match, between fierce clashes and spectacular goals. The best place to enjoy a game is the luxurious 12.100-seat CSKA Arena (formerly known as Vtb Ice Palace), the home of CSKA Moscow, the city's premier club.



5 - Take part in the Ded Moroz Parade

Ded Moroz is the Russian version of Santa Claus. On the occasion of Moscow's Russian Winter Festival, a special is held parade that sees hundreds of people dressed as Santa Claus. It is one of the funniest Christmas celebrations in Moscow, not surprisingly it attracts many tourists from all over Russia.

6 - Watch a dance show live

What is Christmas without The Nutcracker? Visit Russia and not see his most famous ballet it should be a punishable crime! We recommend seeing a show in the iconic Bolshoi Theater. Alternatively, you can visit the Zaryadye Park near the Kremlin walls and its beautiful and modern concert hall which will host ballet performances for the holidays.

7 - Attend the Christmas mass

At midnight on January 6, the traditional Orthodox Christmas Mass is held. Among the main churches where you can attend mass, we recommend the Cathedral of Christ the Savior of Moscow, the main church of the city. However, consider that the church will be quite crowded, so if you are looking for less chaotic solutions, prefer the Church of the Great Ascension at 36 Bolshaya Nikitskaya, very close to the Kremlin.

If, on the other hand, you want to attend the Christmas mass on traditional dates for us Italians, we advise you to reach the Catholic church of St Louis near Lubyanka, which celebrates mass at midnight on December 25th. The address is 12 Malaya Lubyanka, very close to the Red Square.

8 - Taste the typical specialties

Among the main recipes prepared for Christmas day, great courses of roast meat, usually pork or goose, stand out. Equally typical are dishes such as Pirog and Pelmeni (pasta stuffed with various types of meat, such as lamb, beef or pork). Among the desserts, fruit cakes, gingerbread biscuits and Prjanik, a kind of "gingerbread" made from flour, honey, nuts, berries, grapes and spices (vanilla, ginger, cumin, nutmeg) are often consumed. , cloves).

Which museums and attractions remain open?

As already mentioned, Moscow follows the Julian calendar, therefore all the main attractions of the city are open on 25 and 26 December. Get ready to visit wonders such as the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, Bolshoi Theater, Gorky Park and all the other attractions of Moscow.

Many museums and shops are also open on dates between 7 and 14 January, which is the holiday period according to the Julian calendar, albeit with some limitations in terms of hours. For more info, please visit the official sites of the attractions of your interest.

What means of transport are available?

As for the means of transport, the same goes for museums and attractions. The subway and other public transport remain fully operational on the dates of 25 and 26 December. Regarding the Julian calendar holidays, races are generally guaranteed 24 hours a day, and parking on the streets is also made free on the days between December 24 and January 31.

  • Recommended solutions: trams, buses and metro are available (single ride from 50 RUB, about € 0,60). The most convenient way is the metro, among other things some of the stations are real works of art not to be missed.
  • Useful passes and cards: we suggest the purchase of the Moscow City Pass which will allow you to significantly save on entrance costs to the main attractions and on restaurant meals.

Climate in Moscow at Christmas

From a climatic point of view, unfortunately December is the coldest month. Temperatures range from a minimum of -9 ° C to a maximum of -4 ° C.
The average relative humidity is 85% and it snows for 17 days out of 31. December is also the month in which the shortest days of the year are concentrated, with an average of 7,1 hours of daylight. In short, cover up well with gloves, scarves and hats and get ready for a "white Christmas".

Christmas offers in Moscow: Flight + 4 nights in Hotel

  • Return flight Rome - Moscow from € 315,00 -
  • 4 nights in Hotel from € 255,00 per room -
  • Flight + hotel package:
    Return flight + 4 nights / 5 days in 3/4 star hotel from 23 to 27 December - from € 885,00 per person - see the offer

Tickets, tours and bookable activities

We offer you some activities and tours to do in Moscow. Click on the tour you are interested in for more information or to book.


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