Festive Moscow and St Petersburg: where to go
As you may know, the festive season in Russia has only commenced and will last until mid-January. Therefore, if you want to carry on the festive celebrations past Catholic Christmas, Russia is an ideal place. Most likely, you will find yourself in either Moscow or St Petersburg (perhaps, in both!). What streets, squares and markets should you check out? We reveal the best ones.
GUM-Market on Red Square (ГУМ-Ярмарка на Красной Площади) is certainly the best place to get into spirit of magic: mulled wine, hot chocolate, sausages, crepes, traditional Russian souvenirs… Furthermore, where else can you find a carousel against the backdrop of St. Basil’s Cathedral? There is also a decent-size ice rink right in the middle of Red Square! The market isn’t big, but often considered to be one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world.
Adjacent to the Red Square, Nikolskaya Ulitsa (Никольская улица), is a year-round beauty that is worth checking out too. Do not forget GUM (ГУМ) and Zaryadye park (Парк Зарядье) behind it!
Manezhnaya Square (Манежная площадь) and Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Площадь Революции) are amongst the most beautiful ones in a capital with its food stalls, numerous Christmas trees and light installations. You may even slide down an ice slide opposite the Kremlin!
As now a tradition, Tverskaya street (Тверская улица) and Tverskaya square (Тверская площадь) become one of the most popular places for festive celebrations every year. From 13 December 2019 to 12 January 2020, one of the main streets of the capital will host a fair with cultural and entertainment programmes. Guests will see dance and ballet performances with participation of famous choreographers as well as music shows.
For stunning light installations, head to the “Boulevard Ring”: Tverskoy boulevard (Тверской бульвар), Tsvetnoy boulevard (Цветной бульвар), Strastnoy boulevard (Страстной бульвар) amongst others.
Best ice rinks of the capital include those in Gorky Park (Парк Горького), VDNKh (ВДНХ), Kolomenskoe (Коломенское), Moscow Hermitage Garden (Сад «Эрмитаж»), and opposite Triumphal Arch of Moscow (Триумфальная Арка).
St Petersburg in winter absolutely dazzles. Just check out Nevsky Prospekt (Невский Проспект) for its fairy lights! There are markets on Moskovskaya Square (Московская площадь), Pionerskaya Square (Пионерская площадь), Gatchina Palace (Большой Гатчинский дворец) and outside the Church of the Savior on Blood (Спас на Крови). Buy local honey, vareniye (jam) made of different berries and traditional Russian clothes such as varezhki (gloves) and valenki (winter shoes).
As for the ice rinks, New Holland (Новая Голландия), St Petersburg’s hip new regenerated arts district and Krestovsky Island (Крестовский остров) are some of the best. Once the canals are frozen, you will also find a number of ice-skating parties popping up along the shores.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!