Your guide to the Russian Winter Festival in Moscow

Every year Moscow is transformed into a glorious winter wonderland at the annual Russian Winter Festival. Visitors to the city will be able to enjoy ice skating, warming drinks, charming markets and cozy troika rides over the festive period.

If you visit Moscow over the New Year you’ll discover an exciting variety of magical activities on offer as part of the Russian Winter Festival.

Where to catch the festivities

When winter hits you can take part in a cultural adventure in the city. From the 25 December 2017 to 5 January 2018, participate in one of the most delightful seasonal events taking place in Russia. This annual festival coincides with the best 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 will find plenty of things to see and do around the city, especially in Izmailovo Park, Gorky Park and Revolution Square.

oscow, Russia - December 14, 2011: Christmas tree on Red square, around Spasskaya Kremlin tower and St. Basil's Intercession (Pokrovskiy) cathedral.

So why take part?

Apart from the opportunity to explore something like you have never seen before, there are a million and one reasons to check out the festival.

Moscow, Russia - December 14, 2011: building of GUM - main universal shop and skating ring on Red square at night.

Revolution Sqaure

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.

Izmailovo Park

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).

Troika horse and sleigh in Russia on the snow

Gorky Park

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, skating-rink on Red square with St. Basil's (Pokrovskiy) cathedral. Moscow, skating ring on Red square with St. Basil's (Pokrovskiy) cathedral. In winter Red square changes in a big skating-rink, remaining from December till April, - this is a new Russian tradition. Recorded 08.03.2011.

Moscow has other festive activities to offer over winter. On New Year’s Eve, the city will dazzle you with street parties and fireworks over the stunning skyline. You can also join 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.

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.

Want to know more about what to see in Moscow? Read our guide.

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