I traveled to Moscow for 5 days with a very tight budget. This is what I did:
Moscow on a budget was a dream some years ago. The Russian capital was one of the most expensive cities in the world and travelers had to consider taking at least 100 EUR per day in order to keep just move around. However, due to the devaluation of the rubble and the arrival of more western tourism offers such as Airbnb, Couchsurfing or Free Tours, travelers going to Moscow can enjoy this city on a budget.
For this trip, I decided to try several free tours, not eating on restaurants and enjoy the large amount of cultural activities Moscow has to offer.
Accommodation in Moscow on a budget
Accommodation is usually the biggest spend of money when traveling to a city and although Moscow has some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, travelers can visit Moscow on a budget and stay in places for as much as 0 EUR
Couchsurfing in Moscow
The couchsurfing community in Moscow is huge. It is not only a way to safe some costs in accommodation but also learn more about the city from a local perspective.
Couchsurfing is a free platform in which local people from Moscow can host you or show you around completely free. Take just into consideration that most locals willing to host, will just offer you their couch, you will have to respect their daily schedules and they might be far from the city centre.
Hostels and Airbnb in Moscow
Youth hostels and Airbnb are also a good way to save some cash when traveling in Moscow. For travelers with a very tight budget, you can easily find some for less than 10 EUR a night.
However there are some tips I would totally recommend you to take into account:
- Book a hostel with a kitchen
- Get an accommodation close to the Red Square
- Read their review when it comes to social life and cleanness
Read more: How to use Couchsurfing like a pro
Top 3 places to visit in Moscow for free
Transit around Moscow metro stations
Moscow is known for having the most beautiful train stations in the world. These are little subterranean palaces former Russian leader Stalin, decided to construct for their citizens. In his mind, each person residing in Moscow should be able to enjoy the same architectural beauty, the rich Russian oligarchs used to see. They called these “palaces for the people”.
In my opinion, the most beautiful metro stations in Moscow are:
- Prospekt Mira
Visit the Red Square and Lenin’s Mausoleum
The Red Square is one of the most iconic places in the world and you can simply wander most of its most known buildings for free.
Some of the best activities you can do at the Red Square should be visiting the St. Basil’s Cathedral, take a look at GUM (Moscow’ largest shopping mall) and of course take a look at Lenin at his Mausoleum.
Visiting Lenin’s Mausoleum is completely free and although the visit is extremely short and you can’t take any kind of pictures, it is one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve been doing traveling.
Other free activities you can do around the Red Square are:
- See the change of guard every hour at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier next to the entrance to the Kremlin
- Do a free tour in Moscow
- Enjoying the large amount of street performers in the area surrounding the Red Square.
Enter the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Famously known for being the place where Russian president Vladimir Putin goes from time to time, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is an architectural beauty any of you can’t miss during an stay in Moscow.
It is one of the most beautiful churches in Russia and is definitely worth a visit no matter what time of the day.
You might be even able to find out what time does the mass start and respectfully take part in an orthodox mass ceremony. I did that and it was definitely one of the most interesting experiences I had in the city.
Moscow has a lot of free places for travelers on a budget. Beside the three mentioned before. Travelers can also enjoy some hours at following locations and not spend one single cent:
- Take a look to the Gorky House Museum
- Take a photo of the Seven Sisters of Moscow
- Visit the Gorky Park during a sunny day
- Attend a free concert at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory
Read more: How I saved 16.000 USD for my dream travel
Where to eat on a budget in Moscow
Food in Moscow is relatively cheap if you compare it to other European cities. Additionally, travelers in Moscow can find the places where locals eat without much difficulty.
For five days I was eating in Moscow like a local and this is what I found:
- Local bakeries are great for a good and local big breakfast
- Cooking at the hostel might sound cheap, but western products tend to be a little bit more expensive. If you are planning to cook, cook like a local
- Supermarkets have small food courts in the back, where locals can get homemade food for 1/3 of what it cost in a restaurant.
- If you are hungry around the Red Square, there is a delicious food court at the first floor of the GUM shopping mall
- Always take a bottle of water with you
- Drink with the locals at the Kruzhka bar in the Myasnitskaya Street and get 3 liters of beer for only 10 EUR
Best Free Walking Tours in Moscow
Of course, without free tours, traveling in Moscow on a budget would not be possible. These give you a very interesting glimpse of the city and its citizens, but at the same time, it will keep you on a budget.
Although these tours are absolutely free, it is polite to tip your guide. They do these tours without a salary and their money comes from a certain percentage of the tips you give them.
- Moscow Free Walking Tour
- Free Moscow Metro Tour
- Free Moscow Soviet Tour
In order to find where they start and if there is a reservation necessary, simple use google to find out more about them.