One of the more relaxing ways to enjoy the sights of Moscow is to take a river cruise tour on the Moskva River, which runs through the centre of the city. The Moscow river cruise navigates some miles of river, taking around 3 hours for a round trip. The tour takes the visitor past some of Moscow’s most famous and historic sights.
Most visitors will want to take a closer view of the Kremlin on dry land. However, a river cruise means they can avoid the busy nine-lane ring road surrounding the palace and get a good and unimpeded view of the impressive fortifications and perspective of the Kremlin Palace and Cathedrals.
Once past the Kremlin, the boat gently glides alongside the famous Red October Chocolate Factory, with the red-cheeked healthy child image on the side of the factory, famous in Communist times.
St Peter the Great
Just beyond the factory, the boat passes the modern 317 foot high statue built in anticipation of the rebirth of the Russian nation. The St Peter the Great statue commemorates one of Russia’s national heroes. The statue is one of the largest in the world, and probably one of the most garish and ostentatious. To most non-Russian eyes, it looks as though it belongs in a Disney theme park!
Gliding Past Gorky Park
Past glimpses of some of Moscow’s huge brick Stalin era skyscrapers, the boat next tours the edge of Gorky Park, made famous by the book and movie of the same name.
From the water’s edge, boat travellers can spot a particularly strange sight; one of the USSR’s last spacecraft (a copy of the US Space Shuttle) built just before the collapse of communism. It is now used as a theme park ride in Gorky Park’s Amusement Park.
Moscow’s River Boats
Although the boats are obviously a little old and sometimes used by working locals, tourists enjoy the best view from the open top deck. The boats are comfortable and seat a couple of hundred people.
Downstairs is a small bar area, selling quite possibly the most affordable beer in the whole of Moscow.
A nice departure from the usual boat tour is the lack of annoying multi language running commentary. Instead, you might be lucky to catch a few merry Russians dancing to the unobtrusive 1970’s disco piped through the boat. The sight lends a somewhat surreal air to the experience.
Likewise, watch out for the young men tying the boat up at each stop, flirting outrageously with each of the female ticket staff.
The Stolichnaya Shipping Company, founded in 1933 operates the tour. It costs around £6 ($10) each way to travel the full length of the route. In this most expensive city in the world, the tour is a bargain. No wonder over 1 million tourists get their bearings of Moscow courtesy of the Stolichnaya Shipping Company.