1. Best for being in the thick of it: Tverskaya
The city’s main artery, Tverskaya is a busy thoroughfare lined with high-street shops and busy cafés.
Head west down one of its side streets to reach Patriarch’s Ponds, a smart district spilling with stylish boutiques, popular restaurants and lively bars attracting a fashionable Muscovite crowd. Along these streets, you’ll also come across Bulgakov House, a museum dedicated to famed Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov.
Hip and happening: Golden Apple Boutique Hotel. Within this 19th-century mansion you’ll find chic and minimalist interiors, brightened up with lively splashes of colour. The neat rooms are kitted out with designer pieces including Philippe Starck lighting, and there’s a modern gym too.
Glamorous rooftop cocktails: The Ritz-Carlton Moscow. Treat yourself to a stay at one of the city’s most exclusive hotels. Head up to the modish 12th-floor O2 Lounge and sip on creative cocktails as you soak in the gorgeous views of the Moscow skyline.
Bulgakov House © Nikolay Sachkov/Shutterstock
2. Best for culture and great shopping: Petrovka
Home to the world’s most famous ballet company, the Bolshoi Theatre is an unmissable sight in Moscow – make sure you book tickets for performances well in advance.
Branching north from the theatre is Petrovka, an elegant, boutique-dotted street home to TsUM, a smart shopping centre attracting well-heeled residents with a penchant for designer fashion labels.
Don’t miss the 14th-century High Monastery of St Peter, one of the city’s most beautifully preserved buildings topped with onion domes.
Superb location: Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel. In an enviable location on ulitsa Petrovka, the Marriott boasts bright, sophisticated interiors. The entrance opens up onto a large foyer with gleaming marble floors, while rooms are tastefully furnished. The fitness centre is particularly good, with a well-equipped gym, swimming pool and saunas.
A classic by the Kremlin: National Hotel. Bang opposite the Kremlin, the National affords gorgeous views of Moscow’s most sought-after attraction right from the breakfast room. Interiors are classically furnished, with glittering chandeliers, dark crimson rugs and antiques. You’re in the thick of the action here, across the road from Red Square and a short walk from the Bolshoi Theatre.
Bolshoi Theatre © dimbar76/Shutterstock
3. Best for a taster of old Moscow: Kitay-gorod
Pretty Kitay-gorod is one of Moscow’s most attractive areas, its quaint lanes peppered with Russian Orthodox churches topped by golden domes.
It’s also one of Moscow’s best-preserved districts, packed with Neoclassical buildings and exuding a laid-back, unaffected vibe. The nightlife here is happening too, with restaurants and cafés morphing into alternative clubs at night.
Chilled vibes: GoodMood Hostel. This pleasant hostel with bare-brick walls and splashes of colour has a fun and welcoming atmosphere, and is a stone’s throw from the area’s many restaurants and bars. The cosy dorm rooms have privacy curtains and reading lamps, and bathrooms are attractive, with colourful tiles and stylish sinks.
Travel back in time: Metropol. Step back in time as you cross the threshold of this grand Art Nouveau hotel with sumptuous interiors decorated with priceless antiques, works of art and rich stucco decoration. Peer across to the Lubyanka Building, which once housed the headquarters of the KGB.
Nikolskaya Street in Kitay-gorod by night © Sergey Kelin/Shutterstock
4. Best for a quiet getaway: Chistye Prudy
Chistye Prudy translates as “Clean Ponds”, although there’s actually only one pond on the leafy boulevard.
It’s largely a residential area attracting an alternative crowd, with cafés tucked away here and there, and an English-language cinema popular among expats. When the sun’s out, locals come to enjoy a pleasant stroll and an ice cream. In winter, you can don your ice skates.
Style on a budget: Fasol Hostel. This stylish hostel tucked away on a quiet side street offers attractive dorms with privacy curtains, reading lights and individual plug sockets. At breakfast, mingle with other travellers over a bite at the communal table.
Cool and artsy: Moss Boutique Hotel. This hip boutique hotel offers cosy, tastefully designed interiors with quirky works of art by contemporary Russian and foreign artists embellishing the walls. In the rooms, natural wooden finishings add a feeling of warmth, while stylish bathrooms have glass-fronted rain showers.
Chistye Prudy © Katsiuba Volha/Shutterstock