Moscow for First-Timers

Moscow for First-Timers will bring you to the Futuristic Megacity and living Museum. Learn some crazy facts about Moscovites and the horrendous traffic problems you will encounter when visiting Moscow.

Here are some crazy facts about Moscow for First-Timers.

  • With a population of around 12.5 million. Moscow is the largest city in Europe and the northernmost megacity in the world.
  • Back at the beginning of WW2. Sir Winston Churchill was heard to have remarked. That Moscow and indeed Russia was “a Riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an Enigma.” Some still say his words have a ring of truth 83 years later.
  • It took until 2011 for a Russian President to sign into Russian Law that beer was an alcoholic beverage. I wonder what it was before_
  • Because of the horrendous traffic issues. There are some very wealthy Muscovites buying ambulances and beating the traffic jams with their sirens wailing.
  • Moscow was founded in 1147. It has been the center of Russia’s political power for 680 years. First as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Then during the ascension of the Tsardom, who established the Russian Empire in 1721. After the fall of the Tsars, it became the capital of the Soviet Union. Since 1991 it has served as the capital of the Russian Federation.

Moscovites believe if you whistle in their house, then all their money will fly out of the window.

  • Russians do not need a subject and a verb when completing a sentence. For example Dog or Was Walking makes up two complete sentences.
  • Moscow has more resident billionaires than any other city on earth

Is Moscow Safe For First-Timers & Tourists alike?

Russia, and Moscow in particular, is still weighed down by out-of-date assumptions from the global community. While we all know Moscow is steeped in centuries of fascinating history. With full of elegant architecture and world-class attractions. Many foreigners tend to view Moscow with trepidation thanks to myths and misconceptions.

Sure, a city-run for decades by a secretive, oppressive regime only to emerge as a prominent player in global capitalism is battling some severe growing pains that are far too complex to get into here.

But how does all this affect the average First-Timer & Tourists?

Since the decline of the Soviet era. Russia has worked hard to shed its closed-off image and become an international tourist destination. The incredible history and attractions have always been there. Now modern Moscow is packed with international class hotels, world-recognized restaurants, and continually improving the tourist infrastructure.

Many first-time visitors still express safety concerns. Like any large city, crime exists in Moscow. Crowded areas like markets and walking streets can attract pickpockets and scam artists.

However, there’s little evidence of violent crimes directed explicitly towards foreign visitors. So with your usual ‘city smarts,’ you should be as safe as in any other big European city.

Here is some advice for Getting Acquainted with Moscow for First-Timers.

If you’re a first-time visitor to Moscow, just a few days’ visits are guaranteed to leave you in awe.

A million miles an hour metropolis, whose city streets reflect a blend of Imperial decadence, Soviet austerity, and vibrant, contemporary energy will entertain, enthrall and inspire.

Make no mistake, Moscow is a massive city that can appear endlessly chaotic to overwhelmed first-time visitors. Some instantly revel in the unpredictability. While others take a few days to comfortably adjust to a pace of life and a culture they’re thoroughly unused to.

The MotoDreamer Experience

If suppose you are contemplating signing up for the Moscow for First-Timers Motorcycle Tour. Or sign up for either the Mother Russia or St Petersberg Tours with MotoDreamer.

In all cases, your first day starts with a tour guide meet and greet. He will give you a rundown of Russian customs and rules to make your interactions with the locals a much more pleasant experience.

Moscow for First-Timers City Attractions

On the second day on the MotoDreamer tours expect a guided city tour visiting Moscow’s must-see highlights.

Image displaying Moscow's Red Square with the St Basil's Rainbow Domes and The Kremlin nearby. This image shows
  • We are starting with the magnificent Red Square. Home of St. Basil’s Cathedral’s rainbow-hued onion domes and the mighty Kremlin nearby.
  • The Kremlin is an incredible museum as well as serving as the highest office in Russia.

This was where dozens of world-altering decisions were made.

  • We’ll also experience a little of the wealthy side of modern Moscow with a gawk at the luxury shop fronts of the GUM department store.
  • No visit to Moscow is complete without a ride on the Moscow Metro. Some of the underground stations are so ornately decorated that they’re more like miniature palatial halls than everyday commuter stops.
  • You’ll also stroll down Arbat Street, a one-kilometer-long, pedestrian-only cobblestoned stretch of the ancient road. Yes, it’s touristy, but its architecture and atmosphere are so beautifully preserved.
  • It’s an experience all the same. As you’re regaled with street performers and tempted into cozy little cafes and pretty little stores selling souvenirs and antiques.

Suppose you’re planning to stay in Moscow a little longer. In that case, we highly recommend an evening cruise along the Neiva River.

This image shows the impressive Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow at night with it's eight colossal pillars showcasing the building's entrance. Image on subscription via FreePik.

Take in an opera or ballet performance at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre.

After wandering through the sprawling, eco-friendly greenery of Gorky Park, see the creative youth hangout. That’s now home to the unique open-air Muzeon. Moscow’s main open-air gallery of contemporary art and sculpture.

This image shows the Idillic Lake within Gorky Park. This is the final image for this article titles Moscow for First-Timers. Image via subscription og FreePik

For the best bargains on souvenirs, arts, crafts, vodka, and more. Head to the Izmailovsky Flea Markets on the city’s eastern outskirts. You will find it on the grounds of the Izaailovo Kremlin. A curious modern miniature reproduction based on several much older regional Kremlins, with a somewhat tacky but enjoyably whimsical atmosphere.

What about Motorcycle Touring in Moscow for First-Timers?

Today, Moscow ranks as one of the most traffic-congested cities in the world. As Moscow’s middle class grew, so did the number of cars on the road and the rise of car-centric culture.

The Russian government has announced ambitious plans to tackle congestion. This includes the M11 motorway between Russia and St Petersburg, which opened in late 2019.

According to officials, it has already reduced the number of accidents along the bustling route by at least three-fold. It is set to continue bringing down accident numbers and ease congestion, combined with other rules restricting heavy vehicle traffic.

Needless to say, city riding in Moscow requires razor-sharp concentration.

The monstrous size of the city is a source of confusion in itself. Now also combined with local motorists notorious for their impatient attitudes.

Luckily, our latest MotoDreamer tour limits time spent riding in Moscow to an absolute minimum. On our first day of riding, we depart Moscow as early as possible to avoid the peak hour scramble. (Moscow has the dubious honor of the world’s most extended morning rush hour, stretching from 6:30 am to 10 am).

We avoid main arteries into the city’s commercial zones, sticking to secondary roads as much as possible. Once we leave the outskirts of the city, the traffic lightens considerably and becomes far more orderly. 

This continues until we reach St Petersburg. Whereas expected the volume of traffic rises again. The rest of the riding experience on our Russian motorcycle adventure tour is surprisingly light.

MotoDreamer is a big believer in using the quieter roads. And supplying us riders with an abundance of incredibly scenic rural backroads.

If you’re number one priority visiting Russia for the first time is to ride. You absolutely must spend some time learning about the history and culture of Moscow before setting out for the countryside.

This exciting metropolis offers something for absolutely everyone, mind-blowing Moscow is now an experience not to be missed.

If you find this article full of value and loaded with full-on information then check out these next two, also, Russian focused articles:

St Petersburg-ideal Motorbike Touring Destination. 

Motorcycle Adventures in Mother Russia 


Written by: Fiona Davies (extreme pillion rider and adventure travel writer)

Edited for SEO optimization by Mike Bowley at

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