Moscow at Christmas is such a magical experience, the city is blanketed in snow with Christmas lights twinkling all around. Wandering the streets in the bitter cold to see the beautiful decorations and then warming up with a hot drink, overlooking people ice skating almost guarantees you to be in the festive spirit.Whether you are visiting in December or January you will be able to experience all of the Russian Christmas festivities. This is because Christmas in Russia is celebrated later, as they follow the Orthodox Calendar, yet they still set up all of the decorations in December.The city becomes a winter wonderland ready to explore, this makes for the perfect festive getaway with so much to see and do!
There is no better way to get into the spirit of the season than visiting a Christmas Market in the city. There are many Christmas markets around Moscow, my favourite is at Red Square. Russia’s most famous square is adorned with decorations and lights with festive music playing. There are charming little stalls selling everything from souvenirs to gifts and traditional Russian snacks, all with the beautiful Kremlin as the backdrop.Whilst you’re there, why not put on a pair of skates and glide around the open air ice rink in Red Square overlooking the colourful St Basil’s cathedral? If you’d rather stay on firm ground, you can catch incredible shows by Russia’s figure skating stars at Magic Ice Theatre in Revolution Square, opposite the Bolshoi Theatre.
Each year Moscow holds a Christmas Light Festival, which illuminates the city with a number of stunning installations. It creates a fairytale atmosphere during the winter season. It’s worth wrapping up warm and walking around the city to take it all in.
Why not do a spot of shopping to find gifts for everyone on your Christmas list? The stalls at all of the Christmas markets are filled with uniquely Russian gifts. There are the classic Matryoshka dolls, fine crafts and winter clothing such as leather gloves or a traditional fur hat, shapka.If you’re feeling a little cold outside, head into GUM. GUM is a luxury shopping arcade located on Red Square. It’s always decorated with a unique Christmas theme, with garlands and trees throughout the mall. This is the perfect place to find any special gifts for your loved ones, or simply head to one of the cafes to warm up with a drink.
During winter the city seems to fill with Christmas trees, they are an essential part of the celebrations after all. The main Christmas tree is placed in Red Square and is always exquisitely decorated making it a major tourist spot. However, there are hundreds of trees put up around the entire city, expect to see them everywhere you go.
Whilst you’re at the markets, take the opportunity to enjoy a range of specialty foods from around the country. They have everything from Dumplings from Siberia to Sea food from the far East! Stay warm with a hot tea from a traditional samovar, or something more festive like Mulled Wine.If you don’t like eating outside while you’re cold, head into a restaurant. There are so many incredible Christmas dishes that are absolutely worth trying! There are the winter traditional favs of blini and caviar or a sweet treat of priyaniki. Not to mention Sbiten which is a traditional winter drink made with fruit preserves, honey and cinnamon. It’s a truly delicious combinations of flavours that will have you feeling cosy instantly.
Moscow at Christmas is truly magical. The city often has snowfall and the christmas lights makes the snow appear to sparkle. There is a festive mood in the air and the annual Journey to Christmas festival which has so many attractions and performances – from ice skating to ballet! The Christmas markets are filled with festive foods and treats, what more could you ask for?
Have you ever been to Moscow during Christmas? Or is it on your bucket list?