Day 1: The centre of Russia's capital
Your romantic escapade in Moscow begins with the city's major historical sites to immerse yourself in historic tsarist Russia. The itinerary starts at Red Square, overlooked by the imposing Kremlin and Bolshoi Theatre. From there, head to the famous Tretyakov Gallery. This remarkable museum will reveal Russia's soul through the centuries. Admiring the beauty of the graceful icons and modern paintings will give you a better understanding of how Muscovite society has evolved.
In the evening, make your way to Metropol, a legendary hotel with a unique architectural style. This exceptional building, located in the middle of the city's most prestigious neighbourhood, Tverskoy, celebrates Muscovite Art Nouveau. Charged with history and decorated with hundreds of antiques and artwork from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it plunges guests in a universe of traditional luxury. In your suite, a surprise awaits: treats by pastry chef Atilla Szabo, accompanied by a bottle of champagne. Gaze out the windows and take in the views of Moscow's historic centre. At dinnertime, enjoy a gourmet meal by chef Andrey Shmakov. End your marvellous evening in this hotel with a nightcap in the cosy Chaliapin Bar, where a mixologist will serve you a cocktail created exclusively for couples.
10 Lavrushinskii Péréoulok Street
+7 (495) 957-07-01
2 Teatralniy Proezd
+7 (495) 266 01 70
Day 2: Tsaritsyno Palace and botanical garden
The next morning, wander off the beaten path and be amazed by the hidden gems tucked away in this gigantic city. After years of neglect and long restauration projects, Tsaritsyno Palace is finally open to the public. Visiting this neo-Gothic building designed by architects Vasily Bajenov and Matvey Kazakov is an absolute must. Between the pergolas and pavilions, meander around and soak in the Russian spirit that permeates the estate, once the residence of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. The country's most noble families and renowned writers such as the twentieth century's Aleksandr Solzhenitsy have expressed their admiration for this place that is as romantic as it is mysterious. Take a stroll through the park full of squirrels, hares, ducks and swans that would be right at home in a fairy tale. Then, choose one of the restaurants on the estate, where you can savour a sophisticated meal of typical Russian dishes.
After cultivating your taste for the finer things, step out for some fresh air at the Moscow State University Botanical Garden, once known as the “apothecary garden”. It is hard to imagine that such a haven of peace exists so near to Prospekt Mira, the city's longest and busiest avenue. The entrance is hidden from the many passers-by: you must first traverse a building at no. 26/1 before buying a ticket to access Moscow's oldest botanical garden.
This timeless space was created by Peter the Great in 1706. Hand in hand, ramble down the lovely paths lined with centuries-old trees, then rest on a bench for a contemplative break. After lunch on a restaurant terrace, you can discover the Palm House, where under the greenhouse walls carnivorous plants, unusual ivies and more than 860 orchid species make up a flamboyant collection of greenery. If per chance you happen to cross the Luzhkov bridge, fasten a padlock to one of the metallic trees to lock in your love at the heart of eternal Russia.
1 Dolskaya Street
+7 (495) 322 44 33
Aptekarsky Ogorod Botanical Garden
Prospekt Mira, 26
+7 (495) 680 67 65
Day 3: Doctor Zhivago and two-hundred-year-old bath houses
For your final day together, go back in time at the Mosfilm film studio. The guided visit of Moscow's Hollywood will give you a closer look at a neighbourhood that provided the backdrop to Doctor Zhivago and other masterpieces during the Soviet era. In this magical atmosphere, you can marvel at the costumes, a collection of vintage cars and replicas of the monsters used in film adaptations of Russian fairy tales. With a bit of luck, you may even see screenwriters, directors and actors in action on set.
In the afternoon, it is time for a banya. A stop in one of these wellness venues is a must if you want to experience a true Russian tradition that is like a combination of a Finnish sauna and a Turkish bath. Most bath houses in Moscow date back before the revolution to the time when rich shopkeepers were the patrons. An excellent choice is Sanduny, the oldest and most popular banya known for its historic setting. As you enter these two-hundred-year-old bath houses, you will be struck by the splendour of the lounge areas that feature a mix of Art Nouveau and Rococo styles. For a little more privacy, you can book a private room. Stretch out along a bench in the steam room and let expert hands give you a vigorous massage with a venik. Russians use these bundles of birch branches to clean the skin and help the green fragrance penetrate the pores. After this treatment, you will feel relaxed and invigorated.
There's one last stop on your itinerary: the observation deck of the Academy of Sciences. Try and find an empty spot near this building where you will have a spectacular panoramic view of the multi-coloured rooftops of the St Andrew's Monastery, the Moskva River bridges, the main building of the Moscow State University, skyscrapers, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. It's the perfect occasion to toast your weekend with a glass of vodka as you watch the sun set over the city of tsars.
1 Mosfilmovskaya Street
+7 (499) 143-95-99
14 Neglinnaya street,
+7 (495) 782-18-08
Academy of Sciences observation deck
32 Leninsky Prospekt