A Moscow river boat trip is definitely a great choice when it’s hot, sunny, and you’ve seen a lot of the city on foot already!
Just imagine how cool it is to slowly drift across the beautiful Moscow River, enjoying Moscow from a totally different perspective!
Yve, Judith, Raphael and I planned to meet at Kievskiy metro station one sunny Saturday afternoon in May to do this boat trip. Three of us arrived on time but somewhere there was a communication gap so Yve had the time wrong and only arrived an hour later. Luckily it was a beautiful day so we sat at a coffee shop just across from the metro and waited for her to join us.
OK, there are basically two types of Moscow river boat trips. One is called “river tram” or “river shuttle”, and the other is more like a tourist cruise.
The shuttle follows a typical route through Moscow River, from “Kievskiy Vokzal” to “Novospasskiy Bridge” and back, with several stops on the way. The cruise boats usually do not stop, and the entire trip may take up to two hours. We opted for the shuttle as it was 4 times cheaper than the cruise and follows the same route.
We crossed the busy highway and got onto the boat at the pier across the road from Kievskiy metro station.
The first thing we passed was “Sparrow Hills”. In summer, the hills turn entirely green, and you can clearly see the building of the Moscow State University rising straight up in to the sky. You’ll also see grass-covered beaches filled with bathing Muscovites. People actually sit along the river bank sunbathing and swim in the dirty river.
At least the air actually feels a little bit fresher than the exhaust polluted city air we breathe in every day. Well for a bit because a lot of people sat smoking on the deck while drinking a cold beer.
On our right we passed by “Gorky Park” , the Russian “Disneyland”. The place is filled with all kinds of rides. Right on the river bank there is a huge space shuttle – it’s called “Buran”, and was the first of a kind in Russia.
Unfortunately, it was also the last one. When Perestroika began, the Soviet space program was severely cut, and “Buran” was returned to the hangar to be utilized later.
Towering in front of us was the Peter the Great Monument. It was designed by the Georgian designer Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate 300 years of the Russian Navy, which was started by PeterI of Russia. At 94 metres, it is the eighth tallest statue in the world. In November 2008, it was voted the tenth ugliest building in the world by Virtual Tourist and unfortunately you can even see it from the Kremlin. In 2010, it was included in a list of the world’s ugliest statues by Foreign Policy magazine.
I do agree with them.
On the right just after the monument is the “Red October” chocolate factory
They make the tastiest Russian chocolate I’ve ever eaten! Nothing compares to “Alenka” chocolate, it has a little girl in a headscarf on the wrapping.
One of my highlights of the cruise was The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour that appeared on our left hand side. Built in 1860, it was later destroyed by Stalin. To show everyone the “new”, “free” Russia, Bolsheviks built a swimming pool right on the ruins of the church! Fortunately, the new Russian government allowed its restoration, and the cathedral was re-opened in 2000. It’s the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world!
We also cruised past The Kremlin. It was absolutely magnificent seeing it from the river! We could see the State Kremlin Palace, Archangelsky Cathedral and even the Ivan the Great Bell Tower!
We also had a glance at St. Basil’s Cathedral on the Red Square.
We got off the cruise boat close to Taganskaya metro station. It was supposed to be close by but we got a bit lost on our walk toward the metro and it took us nearly an hour to find it. Luckily it was a sunny day so we didn’t really mind walking through the streets of Moscow.
Every time I have had visitors I have made sure to take them on this river cruise for a spectacular view of the city!