Yes sir – it’s the same challenge, but a new city. This time it’s destination Russia, and we are headed to its capital Moscow to see how we can make the best use of a little under two days and two hundred bucks.
I notice that Moscow often gets named as one of the world’s most expensive cities. I personally don’t think that’s the case. For sure, it’s not one of the cheaper ones, but compared to the others I’ve featured on this segment – New York, Paris and London, it’s certainly cheaper than all three of those. I do believe that if you want to live in Moscow, rent or indeed own an apartment for example, then it is pretty dear, but all in all I think you can do quite a bit with $200 over two days and one night (as is the guide line for this challenge) in Moscow.
I usually start with accommodation, and right now it’s hard to get an accurate read on the rate for a dorm bed, some of which I have found for less than ten dollars Australian, around $7USD. I can only presume that that’s because of the pandemic. Even pushing it out to June next year, when it’s no longer winter, it’s similarly priced which just doesn’t seem right.
I paid $80 a night for a room in the Slavyanka Hotel back in 2017. That’s AUD so around $60USD. It was an older hotel with hot water issues, but I liked it well enough and it came with breakfast. It was near a Metro stop which is vital in Moscow as the city is huge, but the Metro gets you pretty much most places you want to go. See my review here – Slumming it at the Slavyanka.
Let’s take that therefore as our accommodation, just one night the plan is early morning arrival on day one and late departure day two, so we only require one night’s accommodation.
Getting around Moscow there are buses and the like above ground, but mostly below ground is one of the world’s best Metro systems, with some of the most stunning stations you’ll ever see with chandeliers and decorations – they are an attraction in their own right! And the great news is one ride on the Metro is around 60 cent US. You can get into and out of town by the Metro to to the airports, or whichever station you arrive at if you come by long distance train.
So let’s devote $20USD to transport for the whole weekend. That might include a short Uber or taxi ride if needed. A bit of lee way there. Next we need to look at food.
It’s not a very cheap place for food, but still there are places like Stolovaya 57 which is in the amazing GUM department store very close to Red Square. It’s a canteen style place and the food is great and very Russian, it’s a canteen style place where you select things, pop them onto a tray and take them to eat in the dining area. I had a meal of soup, dumplings and a main dish for under $10USD. I’m sure there are other places like this, so your lunches could be taken care of for $20USD for the two days. Dinners, well there are other places. I had a great Russian dinner for around 1000 Roubles one night and that included a couple of glasses of wine. Let’s say $15USD per dinner. I think that’s plenty and it’s allowing you to eat out. Not at the most expensive places obviously, but still Russian food generally doesn’t have to be expensive. So $50USD to cover meals, and you can easily fit a couple of snacks in there too.
So far we have spent $130USD. That leaves us $70USD to hand pick the sights we want to see and maybe buy a souvenir or two. You should start in Red Square and do the things around it on the first day if you want to capture the really touristic things to do in Moscow on the first day. For example –
See Lenin’s body – okay, seeing a hundred year old embalmed corpse may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel like it’s something different. Give it a miss if it’s too morbid for you. You walk slowly through the mausoleum in Red Square, but photos inside are not allowed. Cost is perfect – $0!
The Kremlin – loads of buildings, little museums and churches. Watch you don’t go into the wrong part or the security guards will blow there whistle at you. Cost – $9USD
St Basil’s Cathedral – perhaps the most iconic thing in Red Square, it doesn’t look all that big but inside it’s a different story with staircases and so many different rooms and chapels. Not to be missed. Cost – $9USD
State Historical Museum – This is an awesome museum in an historic building. Devote some time to it and you won’t be disappointed! Cost – $6.50
Should you want to catch a performance in Moscow, people flock to the Bolshoi but it can be a little pricey. It will set you back from $22USD or so. I paid a similar price for an orchestral performance at the Tchaikovsky Theatre in 2017 as the Bolshoi was sold out, and it was worth every Rouble!
Day One cost (not including transport, food and accommodation) – $9 + $9 + $6.50 + $22 = $46.50. So, we only have $24.50 left!
Day Two though we will keep the cost down a bit by starting with a journey to the famous Gorky Park. Walk around and appreciate this famous park, and then go across to the Moskva River and walk along it and go up to see the somewhat grotesque Peter the Great Statue ontop a boat. There’s a sort of collection of Soviet Statues in a park on the way which is cool for a few photos.
Keep walking as I did, cross a bridge somewhere and you will find the large Church of Christ the Saviour. Probably the largest church I’ve been in in Russia. It’s costs a little under $4 for entry and you can go up to the near top and enjoy some amazing Moscow views!
With the rest of your time in Moscow, you may want to explore the city at your leisure. The Moscow Museum was around $5 for entry and possibly not worth it, although you will learn a little about the city if you can manage to find the museum.
The Novodevichy Convent is a little way from the centre and worth a look. It’s again around $5 but a bit less if you don’t want to use your camera. There is also the Gulag History Museum which is around $3. If you managed to cram all these things in you would fork out around $17USD for all these attractions. Which would have a total of $192.50 approx. spent, leaving you with just enough for a small souvenir!
If you’re up for an architectural challenge you might even consider seeing (from the outside) all seven of ‘Stalin’s Sister’ – although this takes time. Have a look at this post – In Search of Stalin’s Seven Sisters.
If you stayed in a hostel on a dorm bed, well, obviously you would spend less, so I think Moscow is certainly a good city in Europe as far as bang for your buck goes! What do you think? What have I missed? Please do comment below! Thanks for stopping by today, and May the Journey Never End!