Where to go for a weekend in the Moscow region

Family weekends in the Moscow region: gingerbread men, slides, animals and Konduki

In summer, we want to spend every weekend interesting: to discover new beautiful places, study the traces of unseen animals, swim and try, for example, kalach with stewed goose. Preferably with the whole family.

I will tell you where near Moscow you can see kangaroos and lemurs, where you can make your own gingerbread or brew soap, where you can jump on trampolines and test your courage on hanging trails or ride on huskies, and where you can find museums of, it seems, everything – from streetcars to gramophones. And, of course, another win-win for kebab and swimming enthusiasts.

Six ways to spend a family weekend near Moscow that will suit adults and children with a variety of interests.

A museum weekend in Kolomna – making gingerbread, making soap and tasting Soviet lunch

At different ages, children appreciate different things in museums. Teenagers can be interested in the impressive history, but the younger students and preschoolers will be delighted if some exhibits can be touched or even tasted. In old Kolomna cozy almost two dozen museums for all tastes: from the Museum of streetcars to a private collection of samovars (House samovar) and gramophones (Kolomna gramophone).

On the square of the Two Revolutions stands the Church of St. John the Evangelist. Its 67-meter bell tower offers a view of the Kremlin, the suburbs and modern districts of the city. Photo: Nikita Markov

Kolomna Local Lore Museum in the manor complex of the nineteenth century and the Museum of Military Glory in the Memorial Park, where artifacts such as a chain mail of the XIV-XVI centuries and the Crimean War cuirass are collected, will tell about the history of the city and region.

You can combine a tour with a theatrical tasting of local specialties in the Kolomna Pastila and Kalachnaya museums, and at the same time buy delicious souvenirs there – a pasty cake in a smart box or kolomna stewed goose. Choose a tour, designed for children of the right age, and sign up for it in advance – many are held at a certain time, and the number of seats is limited.

It was customary not to eat the handle of kolache, but to throw it away. Hence the expression “to get to the pen”: when things are so bad that the pen has to finish eating. Photo: Nikita Markov

The Lazhechnikov estate, where the author of “The Ice House” spent his childhood, now recreates the atmosphere of a merchant family of the XVIII-XIX centuries. And in the museum-residence of Artkommunalka, Erofeev and others – the spirit of the Soviet communal apartment. It is located in the building, where Venichka, who was expelled from the Kolomna Institute, used to work as a loader in the wine department. The museum, decorated as a communal apartment of the 60s, holds lectures, exhibitions and theatrical tours with tea “Tea with elephant” and lunch a la the USSR. For adults – nostalgia, for teenagers – exotic.

There is an old merchant’s shop in the museum of fragrant joy: even children can make soap by themselves or ask their parents to buy ready-made soap in an antique box.

The opening of the museum-residence in Kolomna December 1, 2011 was dedicated to the day when Nikita Khrushchev visited the exhibition of avant-garde artists in the Manege on December 1, 1962. Photo: Nikita Markov

Interesting theatrical master classes for children, this time on making gingerbread, take place at the 10 Bunnies Museum. If your child is allergic to any ingredients, you can ask for a safe alternative to the ingredients.

Toy lovers will have a good time in the museum of favorite toys with dolls, cars and bears made in the XIX-XX centuries in Russia and abroad, and in the House of porcelain and ceramics with a collection of ancient porcelain dolls.

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How to get there: there are 110 km from Moscow to Kolomna. The trip by car or by bus from the subway station Kotelniki along the Novolazanskoye Highway will take you about an hour and a half. The trip by local train from the Kazanskiy railway station will take 1 hour 50 minutes by the express train or 2 hours 20 minutes by the normal train.

Staying places: the hotel complex “40th Meridian Yacht Club” is located on the bank of the Oka river – in good weather you can walk along the well-groomed territory and make a barbecue, and in bad weather you can take a steam bath and swim in the pool.

See the animals – visit lemurs and long-eared pheasants in the Sparrow Bird Park

In spite of the name, not only birds live in the park, though there is no lack of birds: there are domestic – pigeons, geese, chickens, pheasants and peacocks of different species, exotic – more than 70 species of parrots, toucans and other tropical dwellers.

There are 23 cottages on the territory of the recreation center “Vorobyi”. There are both small twin rooms and two-bedroom suites with a veranda and fireplace. Photo: Vorobyi Park

Sparrows has a total of 437 species of fauna: there are also fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, from common hares to llamas, Bennett’s kangaroos and lemurs. The pets are so beloved by visitors that when the park was closed during the pandemic due to restrictions, area residents sent bird food, fruit, and money (more than a million in total) to the Sparrows to help the owners feed the animals.

On the territory of the park there is a nursery of ornamental plants and a “Park of stones”, where rocks from all over Russia are collected.

How to get there: you can get to the park by car from Moscow, 95 km along Kievskoe or Kaluzhskoe highway. By public transport it will take a couple of hours: by train to Obninskoye station from Kievskiy railway station and then by bus “Obninsk – Kamenka” from bus station at 11:25, 15:00 and 17:50.

Where to stay: the optimal variant is the hotel Ivolga on the territory of the park, on the bank of the Istya river. The entrance to the park is free for guests and so is breakfast at the Pelican Café, whose specialty is the omelet made from the ostrich egg. If there are no rooms there, you may stay overnight in Obninsk – room for two will cost from two thousand and higher.

Get to know the history of Russia – pass the quest on the secrets of the Kremlin and visit the fairy tale in Rostov

Rostov, founded in 862, is one of the oldest cities in Russia, first mentioned in the “Tale of Bygone Years”. The city, which now has a population of slightly over 30,000 people, was once a major political and religious center, and the famous Rostov Fair once attracted people from all over Yaroslavl province.

The main attraction of the city is the restored white-stone state museum-reserve Rostov Kremlin, “depicting” Moscow of the 16th century in the Gaidai comedy “Ivan Vasilievich changes his profession”.

The 60-meter-high Assumption Cathedral, founded in 1508, is considered the oldest surviving urban structure. Photo: Nina Garanina

Get acquainted with the history of the Kremlin is possible during an informative and entertaining quest game “Mystery of the Rostov Kremlin” for children from 8 to 16 years old (details – by phone on the museum site).

In the museum art studio “Green Lane” there are workshops for adults and children (6+) on the ancient art craft of Rostov – enamel art. Another interesting master-class – bell ringing, where real bell ringers teach the techniques of ringing.

If you want to know the history of the Kremlin by yourself you can walk around the territory and look from the fortress walls on Lake Nero, where Peter I once planned to build, but did not build his first fleet. And also to watch a documentary about the terrible Rostov tornado in 1953 and drink tea with herbs in the tea room of the Metropolitan’s Garden, which was laid out by Metropolitan Jonah in the late 17th century.

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There is a version that on the idea of Rostov Metropolitan Jonah ensemble of the Kremlin was supposed to resemble a paradise garden, surrounded by walls and with a pond in the middle. Photo: Nina Garanina

With pre-schoolers and elementary school children, it’s worth visiting the cozy, tiny Lukov Sloboda Museum, where they tell the story of Rostov onions and drink tea with onion buns, and the People’s Academy of Uchi Dvor – to watch a story about Emelya and taste pike cutlets.

How to get there: there is 206 km from Moscow to Rostov (about 3 hours by car). The quickest way to get there is by train from Yaroslavsky station – 2,5 hours by express train, the usual way takes an hour longer. Bus from bus stations “Northern Gates” and “Central” is 3,5 hours.

Where to stay: for example, in the guest house Tsarevna-frog not far from the Kremlin and Lake Nero. In the same building there is a restaurant “Ivan-Tsarevich” and a small museum of Tsarevna-frog with entertainment programs for children on Russian fairy tales and master classes, where you can make, for example, figurine of a frog.

Swimming and barbecue at Romantsevskie Mountains near the village of Konduki

Despite the name, there are no real mountains here. In the twentieth century, the Ushakovskie quarries near the village of Romantsevsky were active in coal mining. In 1996, mining was stopped, and the mounds of rocks remained, as well as almost three dozen huge pits with water, which because of the salts in the dumps took a bright azure color. The water is clear, and the bottom is mostly sandy, so it’s safe to go in.

Now Konduki with its Martian, as they often write in reviews, landscapes have become a popular place for recreation. Both families and large groups come here, so there’s sure to be plenty for kids of all ages to play with.

At the end of July 2022 there was a large-scale action to clean up the area in Konduki. Now it is even more pleasant to rest on the banks of the blue lakes. Photo: Regional Fund “Tourism Development Agency of the Tula region”.

You won’t find any rentals nearby and need to bring tents, sleeping bags and other tourist equipment.

How to get there: there are 256 km from Moscow to Konduki. The simplest and the fastest way to get there is by car from M4 “Don” through Bogoroditsk (about 3,5-4 hours). Another way is to take a bus to Bogoroditsk from the bus station “Krasnogvardeyskaya” and from Bogoroditsk take a bus to Konduki.

Where to stay in Konduki: usually go here with overnight stays in tents, but if the weather suddenly goes bad, it’s most convenient to spend the night in Tula – there are many options from hostels costing from 1300 ₽ for two to hotels from two thousand rubles.

Swimming, jumping, climbing and sliding – to the family recreation park TsYPark

You can come to the amusement park near Istra near Moscow for the whole day: fenced green territory of two hectares gathers almost all children’s favorite entertainment – a mini-farm, two rope parks of different levels of complexity, climbing wall, trampolines, large and small pool and an all-season slide – even in summer you can slide down it on tubing skis.

For those who are tired of running and jumping there are swings, cosy hammocks, suspended rocking chairs, chess tables. You can have a snack or a good meal in the cafe (there is coffee for parents, and soups with vegetable sticks for children), or you can barbecue, renting a gazebo with charcoal.

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Ticket to the park is single, you can take the whole day – from 10:00 to 20:00 or evening. Entrance at weekends is more expensive than on weekdays.

How to get there: by car from Moscow along Novaya Riga, Volokolamskoye, Pyatnitskoye, Leningradskoye highway, or by a train from Riga station to Istra, then a cab will take about 10 minutes.

Where to stay: If you come for a couple of days, you can stay overnight at one of the numerous hotels or guest houses of Istra, for example, near the museum and exhibition complex “New Jerusalem”.

Learn about the history and traditions of different peoples and spend the night in an ethno-house – in the ethnographic park-museum “Etnomir”.

The creators of the largest ethnographic park-museum in Russia call it a model of the real world. On 140 hectares there are objects telling about the traditions, crafts, cuisine and everyday life of different countries and regions.

For example, in the Tatar farmstead they recreated the house and outbuildings of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and in the Park of Peoples of Siberia and the Far East – Nenets tents and dugouts of Kumandins and ritual poles of Buryats.

Besides there are theme weekends with contests and quests, workshops where you can bake bread or forge a coin, a mini-farm and huskies, who drive all comers on a dog sled.

How to get there: by car along Kievskoe or Minskskoe highway or by train from Kievskoe railway station to Balabanovo station and then by cab 25 – 30 minutes (30 km).

Where to stay: There are 14 ethnic hotels in the park: for example, “Derbent”, “Nepal”, “India” or “Belarus”, and in the warm season you can find small ethnic cottages for one family with chargrills nearby.

Useful tips

1. If you go to the nature or choose the hotel outside the city, don’t forget the repellents, so that your rest won’t be spoiled by itchy bites.

2) Book restaurants and excursions in advance – it’s crowded in summer. If possible, choose weekdays to travel, as it will not be so crowded.

3. Keep in your phone photos of documents that give the right to preferential treatment – student IDs, birth certificates of children (the ticket price often depends on age), certificates of multiple children.

4. Do not worry if you do not have time to buy a souvenir in the museum – the most popular souvenirs are sold in specialized stores, and on the walking streets.

5. The weather in the middle zone changes quickly, it is better to take both hats that protect you from the sun and raincoats.

“Tourist Omnipotence Ring: 40 places for recreation in the Moscow region and the surrounding area

There are plenty of places for weekend trips in the Moscow region and neighboring areas.

My husband and son and I often go on short trips. We have already been to Kolomna, Voskresensk, Ozera, and Zaraisk, have appreciated the city parks of Vidnoye and Domodedovo, have camped in Lukhovitsy and Nikola-Lenivets, and often go to Tula and Ryazan for a day.

We asked the readers of Tinkoff Journal for suggestions on where to go from Moscow without spending half a day on the road. We collected the most interesting tips in this article.

These are stories of readers from the Community. Collected in one material, carefully edited and designed by the standards of the editorial office.

Zaraisk

I can recommend Zaraisk – the city is well preserved from the old times and has its own flavor. The ancient Kremlin is interesting to visit. Another thing I’d recommend is to walk around its outskirts and get some fresh air.

Zaraisk is a beautiful place and my home town. It has the only Kremlin in Moscow region, which was completely preserved, and now it has been restored and renovated. There is an excellent museum with rare exhibits and a cathedral with an icon of Nicholas the Wonderworker.

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There’s also great nature, an equipped embankment, beach, boat station and picturesque dam, a place for walks in the Bespyatovsky Grove, a wonderful rose alley along the main street, a recreation park, and more.

Except that this year they have torn up the whole central part of the city again: they are redoing the roads and sidewalks. You can only go by car to the Kremlin and the outskirts. The site is worth a visit all the same.

Serpukhov

For example, you can get to Serpukhov by train – the road will take from one and a half to two hours, depending on which station to depart from. You can also get to Serpukhov by bus and car – so, probably, will be the fastest.

In recent times, the city has been transformed, some points completed and restored, so it’s nice to be there. There are old cathedrals, houses built in the 20th century, a new park and a lot of other things.

There is also a wide variety of places to eat in Serpukhov – from cafes to restaurants. I recommend the Sebastia restaurant.

Konstantinovo and Kolomna

Konstantinovo is a museum-reserve of Yesenin. This village is not far from Ryazan on the steep, picturesque bluffs of the Oka. There you understand why Yesenin so loved the village. By the way, the museum itself is also not bad. You can get there by car – the road will take less than two hours.

On the way to Konstantinovo you can stop in Kolomna: take a walk in the Kremlin and go to the marshmallow factory. On the way back to Konstantinovo, on the way to Kolomna, you can stop for a walk through the Kremlin and visit the marshmallow factory, where you will be told about the sweet and shown how it’s made, as well as treated in a colorful interior or garden – the place of tea-drinking depends on the season.

On the way back you can buy real Lukhovitsy cucumbers in Lukhovitsy.

Recently I was in an eco-tree and a crocodile farm near Kolomna. It’s an interesting place, I highly recommend taking a tour of their mini zoo. We were thrilled with the crocodiles and all sorts of reptiles. The mammals were a little pathetic: it seemed that some were not enough space. However, they looked good and moved actively.

Serednikovo

Serednikovo estate near Zelenograd is a wonderful place for family vacations. Lermontov wrote “Mtsyri” in this place.

Entrance costs 100 R, adults are offered inexpensive tours. Children can play on the playground.

On the territory there are open areas and wooded places with descent to the pond. When we were there it was hot outside at +26 … 28 ° C, but it was cool. It takes about two or three hours to walk and have a little picnic.

You can get to the place by car – taking into account traffic jams, it will take about an hour and a half. Another option is to take a train to Firsanovka station of the Leningrad direction and then take a cab.

Then we drove to Zelenograd to the central beach with fountains, bathing, shade, and playgrounds with boats. In the end I appreciated the successful combination of the two places.

Polenovo

Polenovo is the estate and museum-reserve of artist Vasily Polenov. The places there are picturesque, and the architectural style is not typical of our region. In short, a colorful place – the artist will not live in a bad place.

To get there, you need to go in the direction of Tula by car within two hours. On the way you can have breakfast at “Mark and Lion” bakery, and I recommend buying real organic products at the farmer’s fair.

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Not far from there is the Dvoryaninovo estate, which belonged to Andrei Bolotov. He was a scientist, philosopher, writer and agronomist, and was fond of biodynamic farming. With his light hand, organic farming still thrives in these parts: no chemistry and careful attitude to the land. You shouldn’t go there on your own, but you can go with Polenov and Kalanchaya for company.

We were in Tula last summer. We were charmed by the well-maintained center and the number of people involved in city life. And the city embankment and space “Iskra” evoked a separate delight.

Borovsk

Borovsk is an interesting and authentic city. I recommend to see there an interesting monument to Tsiolkovsky and his museum-apartment, soulful graffiti. Also Borovsk is full of spirituality and Old Believers, and in the “Tea house on the High” you can taste white kvass.

A few towns at a time

Solnechnogorsk. Lake Senezh and an unexpectedly landscaped, “as in Norway”, path along its shore, at the end of which there will be wonderful donuts waiting for you. We go there by “Lastochka” from Leningradsky vokzal or Khimki.

Konakovo has a beautiful pine forest and a wild beach on the bank of the Volga – even in the season there are not so many people there. There are no cabs in town, but there are authentic teenagers who hang out on the pontoon bridge and jump right off it into the river. As well as to Solnechnogorsk, we go there by “Lastochka” from Leningradsky station or Khimki.

Istra has nice hilly terrain and a good gastrodvorek in the center. There is also a laconic and inspiring monastery, but the entrance for visitors is open only till 19:00. To Istra you take an electric train from MKD-2 station.

Yakhroma. Here everything is obvious: skiing in winter, bicycle in summer. Around the hills and the Moskva River canal, whose empire was filled with the blood of “Dmitlag” prisoners. Go by electric train from Savelovsky or from MCD-1 stations.

Sergiev Posad is a showcase of the ROC and the Lavra as a shopping center in a bad way. On the other hand, the city itself is neat, cozy and with an interesting landscape. We go by “Rex” or an ordinary train from Yaroslavsky or Rostokino platforms.

Noginsk – Pavlovsky Posad – Orekhovo-Zuevo. These places are known as the center of pre-revolutionary industry on the Klyazma River and the cradle of Russian soccer. You should go there for the red-brick factory architecture and quiet, landscaped in some places Klyazma. Any of these towns can be reached from the Kursk train station in one of Moscow’s most authentic train directions, Gorky. Everything else has already been said in the book “Moscow – Petushki”.

Mozhaisk and Borodino Field. Only once you are there do you understand the scale of the famous battle and the strange cyclical nature of our country’s history: the steles erected to honor the War of 1812 are riddled with bullets and shrapnel from 1941. I also recommend to visit the local reservoir with ancient churches on its banks.

Ruza – Istra – Kotikovo. There is a cascade of reservoirs in the west of the region. To bathe in each of them is a task for every tourist. If you have a tent, a kettle and a guitar, the coast can easily become a festival of bardic or underground songs.

Egoryevsk is the most non-pops area, but at the same time it is one of the most accurate historical centers of the region with landscaping, low storeys and its own “Big Ben”.

The Great Ring of the Moscow railroad. In this trek you will have only two allies: dementia and courage. But when you will close this ring of tourist omnipotence, such fine places as Iksha, Alexandrov-2, Voskresensk and Stolbovaya will remain with you forever, and also – six-car trains, ladders in a car and desperate dachniki.

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