Every year Moscow is transformed into a glorious winter wonderland at the annual Russian Winter Festival. Visitors to the city can enjoy ice skating, warm drinks, charming markets and cozy troika rides over the festive period. Visit Moscow over the New Year to discover an exciting variety of magical activities on offer as part of the festival. Apart from the opportunity to explore something completely different from any kind of Christmas market you may have seen before, there are a million and one reasons to check out the festival. Read on to discover your festive city break in Moscow this winter.
Where to catch the festivities
When winter officially hits, you can take part in a cultural adventure in the city of Moscow. From the 25 December to 5 January, one of the most delightful seasonal events in Russia takes place. This annual festival coincides with the festive celebrations over Christmas, New Year, and ‘Svyatki’, the Orthodox Christmastide feast. It celebrates Russian culture with food, drinks, song, dance, art, craft, games and activities. You'll find plenty of things to see and do as you tour the city. See below for the best spots to catch the event highlights.
Revolution Square hosts the Christmas Village during this time and is a great place to go to buy local goods. Stalls sell crafts, traditional clothing and accessories, festive ornaments, food and drink. Keep a lookout for handmade valenki, the traditional Russian winter footwear for snug feet.
At Izmailovo Park there are daily folk dancing displays and concerts, giving you a taste of older traditions. Check out the ice skating rink and sledging areas if you’re in the mood to try your hand at a fun winter sport! A highlight, however, has to be the charming troika rides that are offered in the park. If you hop on a troika, you’ll be snuggled up under a blanket and driven around in the three-horse led sleigh, one of the most iconic images of Russia. You can warm up after festive activities with some authentic vodka, bagels spread with jam or honey, and warm pancakes. While you’re at Izmailovo Park, keep an eye out for Ded Moroz (Father Frost) and his grand-daughter, Snegurochka (Snow Maiden).
Over at famous Gorky Park, the Russian Winter Festival activities continue with another ice rink for skating or hockey, and even cross-country skiing if snow falls. Ice sculptures are a major draw here, as individuals and teams of artists work to produce astonishing artworks. Over the years, the ice sculptures have included animals, cathedrals, a giant valenki and an enormous ruble coin.
Moscow has plenty of other festive activities to offer over winter. On New Year’s Eve for example, the city will dazzle with street parties and fireworks over the stunning skyline. You can also join in on the traditional Svyatki celebrations from 7 January with the Russian Orthodox Christmas and continue through to Stariy Noviy God (Orthodox New Year) on 13 to 14 January (date to be confirmed).
Stay warm with Radisson Blu
No matter your plans for a Russian winter experience, be sure to stay comfortable and warm at the elegant Radisson Blu Belorusskaya Hotel, Moscow. Don’t just have an enchanting time at the festivities, be enchanted by your hotel too!