A Guide to Visiting the Kremlin, Moscow

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With its cultural and historical significance, it is little wonder the Kremlin is one of the most visited sights in Moscow. This UNESCO World Heritage sight has long been the centre-point for Russia’s most defining historical and political events, making it a must-visit stop for those interested in Russia’s long history and future.  Visiting the architectural complex and all of the sights inside can be a minefield of sorts, with so much to see and do! For those interested in maximising their experience, here is your ultimate guide to visiting the Kremlin, including all of the must-know information and the great sights inside the Kremlin walls!

Moscow

Getting In

There are two entrances to the Kremlin, however neither of these are accessible from Red Square. The main entrance is located through the Kutafya tower and is where most visitors queue to enter. The second entrance is much less used, however can be found through the Alexandrovsky gardens. This second entrance is the quickest entrance to the Armoury chamber and the Diamond Fund.

As the Kremlin is at the top of every visitor’s to-do list and is one of the most frequented attractions in Moscow, it is important to arrive early to avoid queues, or at the very least limit the time you spend in one! The Kremlin opens at 10am and the ticket office opens an hour earlier – this is by far the best time to arrive and enjoy the Kremlin with less queues and crowds inside.

Moscow

Take your time

The Kremlin may be geographically small, but it is condense and culturally enormous. I would recommend dedicating at least half a day to visiting the Kremlin, especially if you plan on entering the cathedrals and palaces inside.

Moscow Moscow

The Fast Track Route

You can buy tickets for the architectural complex of the Cathedral Square and the Armoury Chamber online for the same price (500RUB/$10 per person) and it is much quicker to purchase your tickets online. If you don’t, you’ll have to queue twice: once to purchase your tickets and once to go through security to enter the Kremlin.

To save time on the day of your visit, be sure to purchase in advance!

Moscow

What to See: Armoury Chamber & Diamond Fund

Don’t miss the Armoury Chamber and especially the Diamond Fund. The Diamond Fund is the collection of Russia’s state jewels. Inside you’ll see uncut diamonds, crown jewels, blocks of gold and the world’s largest sapphire. Equal in value to the Crown Jewels in London and Imperial Crown Jewels of Iran, it is a must visit in Moscow.

Moscow Assumption Cathedral

Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral is the most important church in Russia. It is where the Russian emperors and tsars were crowned and is where and patriarchs are buried. It remains to this day the main cathedral in Russia, making it a priority for many people visiting.

Moscow Ivan the Great Bell Tower Complex

Ivan the Great Bell Tower Complex

With 21 bells and beautiful gold-adorned domes, this bell tower is a striking sight. For a long time it was the tallest building in Russia and remains the tallest in the Kremlin.

Moscow

Grand Kremlin Palace

The Grand Kremlin Palace was formerly the tsar’s residence and is now the residence of president of Russia. It is beautifully ornate on the outside, but even more impressive on the inside. It is not easy to visit, tours are hosted on the basis of an application from an organization, addressed to the Head of the Commandant’s service of the Federal Guard Service of the Russian Federation.

Moscow

Tsar Cannon and Bell

The Tsar Cannon forms part of the artillery collection in the Kremlin. Once located on Red Square, it now stands in Ivanovskaya Square in the Kremlin. Don’t miss the Tsar bell which is equally as imposing and symbolic.

Visitors Information:

Opening hours: 

The Kremlin is closed on Thursdays. It is open every day of the week except Thursdays from 10am to 6pm. The ticket office is open an hour earlier at 9am and closes at 4.30pm.

Price for Tickets:

500 RUB

WOW Contributor

Story & images by World of Wanderlust contributor Faye Bullock.

The Inside Scoop: I’m Opening a Dessert House!

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There’s a strong chance you may have seen an article or two (or three!) about my new dessert venture and if not, you’re in the right place to find out more! Those of you who have been following my blog for the past few years will know there is nothing I love more than travel… except for sweets! With a self-confessed stage 5 sweet tooth, I have been triple tasting all of the world’s best desserts, ice creams, gelatos, cakes, and all sorts of treats I can get my hands on. So to come home and start a dessert house (there’s not a savoury item on the menu at all!) will hardly come as a surprise to many of you!

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust

The Inside Scoop: Charlie’s Dessert House

The idea for Charlie’s came about around 6-8 months ago, when my boyfriend and I began talking about how I could spend more time at home next year whilst still travel blogging half of the year. This meant that I wouldn’t be able to get a traditional job (working for someone else) as I wouldn’t have the freedom to come and go as I pleased, which I anticipate will be every few weeks or so to escape on an adventure!

We were on a three hour hike on a small island off the coast of Tasmania when he asked me what I love more or just as much as travel. Other than him (aww!), that is sweets. I love, lovey, love sweets.

On that three hour hike we began to brainstorm ideas. I told him that I had already dreamt of one day opening a bakery or dessert cafe that specialised in just sweets and calling it “Charlie’s”, following my love of Roald Dahl books and in particular, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.

Over those few hours (and for days to follow – I wouldn’t shut up about it!) we refined the idea further and further and eventually decided that I would sell bakery items during the day (cupcakes, cakes, macarons, fudge, florentines, eclairs, etc. etc.) and switch to a late night dessert house in the evenings. Thus we decided on a day menu (all day breakfasts) and night menu (all night desserts).

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust

Daily Bakery Goodies

The one thing I enjoy just as much as travel is being in the kitchen baking. Any sweet treat – you name it – I’m there. Having been living  out of a suitcase for the past 3.5 years, this is a passion of mine I have had to set aside and I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting it has been being back in the kitchen preparing recipes for the menu + bakery items!

I decided early on that I wanted Charlie’s to have a distinctly different vibe from day to night. During the day I wanted customers to feel like they have stepped in to a dessert heaven: faced with a variety of colourful treats and a tempting day menu that gave you all the more reason to visit and revisit to try more from the selection.

Thus from 10am (8am on weekends) you will find a wide variety of bakery items on offer – cupcakes, cakes, macarons, eclairs, slices, fudge, truffles, etc. These are best accompanied by our drinks menu selection – more on that below!

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust

The Menu: Day & Night

As mentioned earlier, I really wanted Charlie’s to transition from day to night with ease. Thus we have gone for a Black & Gold colour palette (unlike the traditional pastels of many bakeries and sweet treateries!) We have also decide to go for light and bright during the day, with a huge reduction in lighting of the evenings (think fairy lights – and lots of them!)

This change is also reflected in the two menus – all day breakfast (opening – 3pm) and all night desserts (6pm – close). Between those times you’ll still be tempted by a huge drinks list (below) and colourful selection of pastry items (more photos below!)

The Breakfast Menu features a selection of smoothie bowls, which I have found are a great healthy menu alternative whilst still being sweet and delicious (dairy & refined sugar free!) Then there are the hot menu items like French Toast, Pancakes and Belgian Waffles which are most certainly not for the health conscious, but great for a weekend indulgence whilst catching up with friends!

The Late Night Dessert Menu has two sections – cold selections and hot selections. On the cold side you have classics like Banoffee Pie, Meringue Smash and Tiramissu pots. Then on the hot side you have my all time favourite Apple Crumble recipe, 3/4 Baked Warm Cookie Sundae, and so so many more (see the full menu here!)

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust

And Then There’s the Drink Menu…

A little earlier I mentioned the drinks menu and booooooy do we have some great surprises for you. On my travels through New York City I discovered the “Freak Shake” craze and really wanted to bring this back to Tasmania. Those shakes are absolutely jam-packed of sugar and colour, but for Charlie’s I wanted to tone it down a notch so that you didn’t have to roll out of the door and didn’t have to pay a whopping $20-$30 a pop! No thank you!

Instead, we have priced our regular milkshakes at $4, supershakes at $7 (pictured above) and healthy smoothies (no dairy, no sugar) at $7. There are standard flavours on the menu, but you’ll also find seasonal specials on offer each month!

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Opening a Dessert House | World of Wanderlust

Charlie’s Dessert House will open in September 2016 at 74 Charles Street Launceston, Tasmania.

To keep updated with all our tasty treats, please follow along @charliesdesserthouse on Instagram or /charliesdesserthouse on Facebook. For the full menu, please visit the website! I really (really, really) hope to meet you guys in store!! xo

OPENING HOURS:

Closed Mondays

Tuesday-Thursday 10:00am ~ 10:00pm

Friday 10:00am ~ 11:00pm // Saturday 8:00am ~ 11:00pm // Sunday 8:00am ~ 10:00pm

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

10 Lakes in Europe you MUST Visit

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There’s something so serene about visiting a lake, especially when they’re as gorgeous as these top picks in Europe! From the gorgeous villas of Lake Como to the absolute serenity of Lake Saimaa in Finland, here are the most beautiful lakes you must visit in Europe!

Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust

1. Lake Como, Italy

The first time I saw Lake Como was from a taxi window. My boyfriend and I had just stepped off the train from Switzerland and could sense the change of pace immediately. No longer were we in sleepy villages, but instead experiencing the full vibrance of Italy – gelato, outgoing locals, and gorgeous little towns full of life! Lake Como was everything I had imagined and more – stunning lakeside villas, vibrant towns, and most important of all… exceptional gelato!

Read more: A Quick Guide to Lake Como

Lake Bled Slovenia Lake Bled Slovenia Lake Bled Slovenia

2. Lake Bled, Slovenia

I first visited Lake Bled on my year of solo travels, which began and ended in Europe. I had never previously visited Slovenia, but images online were the only convincing I needed to book a train there ASAP. Lake Bled is undeniably the most known lake in Slovenia, but you’ll also find many beautiful lesser-known lakes in the country. If there’s one country that will shock you with its dramatic scenery – this is it!

Lake Garda Italy Lake Garda Italia

3. Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda in Italy is another of Europe’s most beautiful lakes and a very well known destination in Italy. The distinct Italian architecture is evident everywhere you look, giving an immediate time warp appeal to those travellers who like to feel like they’ve stepped back in time (you can count me as one of those!)

(Images 1 2)

Annecy_France Annecy_France

4. Lake Annecy, France

If there were ever a town as pretty, charming and picturesque as Annecy, I’m yet to find it. This year I visited Annecy with my boyfriend and we both agreed it is the most beautiful town we have ever visited. Its just an added bonus that the town (and lake) exist in France – meaning outstanding food to enhance your visit even more!

Read more: A Quick Guide to Annecy

Hallstatt Hallstatt Lake

5. Hallstätter See, Austria

There’s probably no prettier lakeside village than Hallstatt. In fact, I’m sure of it. This gorgeous little village is commonly regarded as one of Austria’s best destinations to visit – both in the summer and winter town (a layer of snow on the rooftops adds to the romance!)

Read More: Austria’s Best Kept Secret: Hallstatt

Lake-Geneva

6. Lake Geneva, Switzerland

When I visited Geneva a few years ago, I was surprised by how big a city it was. The best way to escape the city I found, was to head down to Lake Geneva (which is huge, by the way) and wander around the lake’s edge.

(Image: Supplied)

Lake Bohinj Slovenia

7. Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Another stunner from Slovenia is the highly photographed Lake Bohinj. This lake is the largest lake in Slovenia, measuring a sizeable 318 hectares. The scenery around the lake is jaw-dropping to say the least so be sure to allow for a night or two to explore the area!

(Image by Jess Damen)

Lake Obersee via Flickr

8. Lake Obersee

The Obersee (meaning upperlake) is the larger of two parts that make up Lake Constance. Deep in the south of Germany and bordering Austria, this lake is undeniably one of Europe’s most beautiful. One of the most popular activities on the lake is to take a boat ride to see the beauty of the lake from the water – the surrounding scenery will astound you!

(Image by Thomas Gerhard)

Samaii Lake Finland Saimaa Lake Finland

9. Lake Saimaa, Finland

As one of my personal favourites in all of Europe, Finland is absolutely full of natural beauty everywhere you look. Lake Saimaa in the southeast of Finland is one of the most beautiful places to find yourself in Autumn, when the colours of the surrounding trees really come to life (though I’m sure it is beautiful any time of year!)

Loch Ness Scotland

10. Loch Ness, Scotland

Although not the prettiest lake in Europe, Loch Ness is a must visit for any of those interested in visiting the legendary lake where the loch ness monster is said to reside! I found the boat cruise a real hoot on my travels through Scotland and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

10 Must Visit Bakeries in New York City

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Levain Cookies

Levain Bakery

If you arrive early you can usually avoid the line that forms outside this small but incredibly popular bakery that now has a number of locations in the city.

What to get: The cookies are incredible here so don’t leave without a collection of your fave flavours.

2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, at 117th Street, New York

Doughnut Plant

Regardless of whether you want a regular ol’ donut or a fancy pants colourful creation, you’ll find all that your mind can imagine and more at doughnut plant. There are a few around town so be sure to map your closest location before heading off for a hike around town!

What to get: A selection of doughnuts – the prettiest ones, of course!

Numerous locations throughout New York City (W 23rd Street is the most central)

Molly’s Cupcakes

This cute little yellow cupcake store is a delight to visit not only for its food, but also the cute interior. The pies and ice creams are also really (like, really, really) good!

What to get: Ugh, where to begin. Pick your favourite flavour & you won’t regret it.

228 Bleecker Street, New York

New York Bakeries to Dry

Best Bagel Coffee & Restaurant

If you come to New York and don’t get yourself a bagel for breakfast…. did you even come at all!? One of the most known shops in town (that consequently attracts a line) is Best Bagel, with a couple of locations throughout town.

What to get: Rainbow bagels, of course!

225 W 35th St, New York 

Make my Cake

Nothing beats Southern food and especially Southern cakes (after all, Hummingbird Cake is their speciality!) Make my Cake are true specialists in cakes made to order, so if you’re in town for a special celebration you won’t find a better cake maker!

What to get: Cakes made to order

121 St Nicholas Ave, New York

Almondine Bakery

If you’re hanging out for a croissant as good as the ones served in France, then look no further than Almondine Bakery (and go for the almond croissant, its a winner every time!)

What to get: The almond croissant

85 Water St, Brooklyn, New York

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Straight out of Paris, Dominique Ansel has built a very reputable name for himself here in New York City, thanks to a range of unique and intricate creations that you won’t find elsewhere (although nowadays you can find the copy-cat-cronut popping up at other bakeries).

What to get: The cronut, DUH! They usually sell out around 11:00am so come first thing!

189 Spring St, New York

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes are renowned across America, especially after their ingenious creation: The Cupcake ATM machine. Yep, you read correctly. Their stores are just as cute, pink, and above all delicious!

What to get: Cupcakes, surprise surprise!

780 Lexington Ave, New York

Magnolia Bakery

Commonly regarded as the sole bakery responsible for starting the cupcake revolution, Magnolia Bakery is a must visit in New York for at least one cupcake (though I’d recommend purchasing a box of 6 and trying a few flavours). The hummingbird cupcake is my all time favourite, though the red velvet comes in at a close second.

What to get: Hummingbird Cupcake

Grand Central Station (Lower Food Court)

Lady M New York

Lady M

One of the more delicate patisseries in town, Lady M has an ever-changing selection of cakes and pastries in a colourful range of sweet tasting goodness.

What to get: Perfectly crafted pastries

West 10019, West 58th Street

Dana’s Bakery

30 minutes from New York City over in New Jersey you will find Dana’s Bakery – an extra inclusion because I just couldn’t leave it out! Unfortunately their New York story has closed down, but you can also order them online and have them delivered to your hotel.

What to get: A 12 pack selection – don’t miss the churros and s’mores!

27 Utter Ave, Hawthorne, New Jersey

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Sneak Peek: The World of Wanderlust Book is here!

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If you had have told me four years ago that I would travel the world for a career and write a book about it, I would have flat out thought you were crazy. Today I received my first official copy of my first published book, “World of Wanderlust: How to Live an Adventurous Life“. Looking back at the past 3.5 years since I started my blog, it is hard to really believe that those years actually happened, because so much has been packed in to so little time!

When I began blogging a few years ago I wanted to create a space on the internet for people who, like me, were travel obsessed and and just as excited about planning their getaways as they were actually taking them. I wanted to create a little hub on the internet that was solely devoted to fuelling wanderlust through beautiful imagery and real-life stories. I wanted to encourage, inspire and inform readers so that they would travel to more places, more often.

(P.S. I made the cake for my new venture, Charlie’s Dessert House opening in September!)

World of Wanderlust the book! World of Wanderlust the book!

Now, a few years and 60-something more countries under my belt, it is hard to believe what has happened to me, a small town girl from Tasmania, in such a short space of time. To describe my feelings as I opened the express post package today in any other word than grateful would be overdoing it. Because first and foremost above all else, I am grateful. Grateful for the chance to explore so much of the world and grateful for the chance to share it with you all in this colourful, exciting, just downright beautiful book!

World of Wanderlust the book! World of Wanderlust the book!

So, what to expect for my book? Before you commit to buying the book I figured it would be a good idea to tell you a little more about it. What it is, why it is what it is and why you need it on your coffee table to flick through for instant inspiration!

The book is a compilation of my favourite photographs, places, things I’ve learned on the road and most of all endless inspiration to get you packing your bags and taking a trip. It is fun, girly, colourful (like me!) and absolutely packed with all-things-travel.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to my Editor, Sarah, the entire team at Penguin Random House Publishing, my contributing photographers Faye Bullock and Emma Kate Codrington, and of course YOU! Thank you for being such loyal readers of my blog and journey – I hope my adventures continue to inspire your own – be they abroad or in your own backyard. 

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Almost Spring Giveaway!

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Hello lovelies! As I begin typing this I can’t help but to think a giveaway on the blog is so overdue. It has been a busy first six months of the year with so many trips to so many corners of the globe, but I now find myself with a couple of weeks down time & figured this is the perfect chance to spoil you guys with an (almost) Spring Giveaway!

Here in Australia the cherry blossoms have just begun to bloom (those in the photograph are from my farm garden – to pretty!) and the days are finally getting longer. With a mild case of the winter blues, I can’t tell you how excited I am for my favourite season of all to arrive – SPRING!

To celebrate my favourite season (and any reason for a giveaway really), I’ve teamed up with the talented Jenny from Couture Printery to give away a series of three bespoke World of Wanderlust prints (read below to enter!)

Spring Giveaway | World of Wanderlust prints! Spring Giveaway | World of Wanderlust prints! Spring Giveaway | World of Wanderlust prints! Spring Giveaway! | world of wanderlust Spring Giveaway | World of Wanderlust prints!

How to Enter:

First of all, how gorgeous are these prints!?

We have x3 sets of x3 prints to give away.

To win a pack of three prints (x1 “Believe”, x1 “Paris”, x1 “Wanderlust”) just submit the following:

Post a photo of your favourite place in the world to be in Spring to instagram including @worldwanderlust and @coutureprintery in the caption with the hashtag #WOWSPRINGGIVEAWAY (so we can find your entry!)

The three prettiest/most wanderlusty photos will win these three pretty print sets!

Competition open to all countries – worldwide.

Competition ends 1st September. Winners will be announced here.

WINNERS:

@verenawandert

@ataleofmanycities

@katebumstead

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Where to eat, play and stay in Moscow

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Moscow is a beautiful city which is bound to thrill. With its fascinating history, iconic sights and enviable shopping scene, you’ll never run out of things to do. For those seeking an exciting break in a city that never sleeps, look no further than Moscow. This extensive guide features the best places to eat, play and stay in Moscow!

Moscow

Where to Eat: The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit features as number 18 on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The dishes served inside are exquisite, the cocktail list is imaginative and the views over the Moscow skyline are hard to beat. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, with playing cards on the tables, a human-sized pepper grinder used to garnish your food and rabbits decorating the interior. Just like the rabbit hole, once you descend into the magical world of the White Rabbit you won’t ever want to return to normality.

Smolenskiy Passazh, Smolenskaya Square, 3, Moscow, Russia

Turandot

This is Moscow at its most extravagant. Spread over 14 rooms, it includes homages to Louis XVI, the Ming Dynasty and imperial Russia, the interior of this ornate restaurant would look more fitting as an extension of the Louvre. Inside the Chinese and Japanese menu of Dim Sum and sashimi surprise and please diners.

Tverskoy bul’var 26/5, Moscow

Moscow

Vogue Café

Vogue café is perfectly situated in the heart of Moscow’s shopping area attracting a string of fashionable Muscovites who come to lunch and socialize in between shopping. The menu is expansive serving everything from light salads to delicious cakes.

ul. Kuznetskiy Most, 7/9, Moscow, Russia

IMG_8959

Bridge Brasserie

Bridge Brasserie is one of the trendiest places to grab a coffee in Moscow. Whether you choose to sip your coffee on the sunny terrace or in the elaborate interior you won’t be disappointed. In the daytime it functions as a café but come the evening the basement turns into a chic bar and nightclub, attracting Moscow’s most fashionable crowd.

ul. Kuznetskiy Most, 6/3, Moscow, Russia

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Cafe Pushkin

Cafe Pushkin is a favourite among locals who return time after time for the menu of Russian classics served by suited waiters. Named after the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, this book-lined café has become somewhat of an institute in Moscow.

Tverskoy Blvd, 26А, Moscow, Russia, 125009

Bolshoi

A couple of minutes away from the prestigious Bolshoi theatre you’ll find this wonderful restaurant. Everything on the menu is delicious, but the desserts in particular are things of beauty. If you need a pitstop among sightseeing in the area, this restaurant comes highly recommended.

ul. Petrovka, 3/6, стр. 2, Moscow, Russia

Where to Play: Park Hyatt Conservatory Lounge & Bar Terrace

If rooftop bars are your thing, then this one should be at the top of your Moscow list. The chic outdoor terrace has terrific views over the Bolshoi and Red Square and has become the trendiest spot in town for fashionable Muscovites who come early to ensure a seat and stay well into the night.

4 Neglinnaya Ulitsa, Moscow, Russia

Moscow

O2 Lounge, Ritz Carlton

This is the place to come for the most quintessential Russian experience with a menu of over 400 different types of vodka and unbeatable views over the Kremlin. The rooftop terrace at the Ritz is spans the whole of the top floor and features a vast outdoor area, a glass-domed interior and Moet & Chandon sun loungers.

Tverskaya Street 3, Moscow 125009 Russia

Moscow

Strelka

Strelka is Moscow’s hippest bar with a terrace overlooking the Moscvo river, an incredible drinks menu with lots of trendy concoctions and live DJs at the nightclub below. This is where the young and trendy locals come to party.

Bersenevskaya nab., 14, к. 5, Moscow, Russia

Red October Chocolate Factory

This was once a chocolate factory creating Red October chocolates for chocolate lovers in Moscow, now it’s an art space with multiple bars, clubs, coffee shops and exhibition spaces all within the grounds of the former chocolate factory. Extremely popular with young hipsters, this place comes to life on evenings and weekends.

Moskva River

The Moskva River runs all the way through central Moscow and is a beautiful place to stroll in the city. Walking along the river banks you’ll pass the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour as well as a couple of beautiful bridges. The views from the river are sure to delight especially under the amber sunset glow.

Moscow

Parks

Contrary to what people might think, Moscow is a very green city with tree-lined avenues and big parks. Many of the gardens are centrally located such as Alexandrovsky Park and Gorky Park. Others are further out but still worth the trek, especially the Arkhangelskoe State Museum-Estate, which houses formal gardens and a grand estate.

Where to Stay: Hotel Baltschug Kempinski

Many of the rooms at the Baltschug Kempinski have breathtaking views over St Basil’s cathedral and Red Square, which are only a stone’s throw away from the hotel. Baltschug Kempinski is an elegant hotel with beautiful interiors and flawless service. The best thing about it? You can enjoy a romantic dinner on the summer terrace whilst the sun sets over St Basil’s cathedral in the not so far distance.

Moscow

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

The Ararat Park Hyatt is a slick and modern hotel in the center of Moscow. It is a mere few minutes from the Bolshoi and the most prestigious shopping areas GUM & TSUM. Inspired by the Armenian restaurant that once stood in its place, it features an Armenian fine dining, as well as a Japanese restaurant. The rooftop terrace is famous throughout the city for its killer views and cocktail menu.

A Quick Guide to Siena, Italy!

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Having visited Florence a number of times (that city is just too darn beautiful not to return when given the chance), on this trip to Italy I was on a mission to explore more of the Tuscan region in the North of Italy – both in towns & their distinct cultures. Travelling South from Florence, I soon arrived in the medieval town of Siena – a city so well preserved that it feels like a time warp of sorts, surely convincing other visitors, not just myself, that we have stepped back a few centuries to truly see what life must have been like in medieval times. As pretty as a film set, Siena soon revealed itself to be much more than a postcard city steeped in history – but also home to very proud people, evident through conversation, street cleanliness, and food offerings (this is Italy after all!) To aid in making the most of your visit to Siena, here is a complete but Quick Guide to Siena!

Guide to Siena Italy

Introducing Siena!

Before its final defeat by Florence, Siena was an independent city-state brought to wealth through successful banking. Whilst all Italians are known for keeping a strong hand on longstanding traditions, the Sienese keep one particular tradition very close to their hearts, known as the Palio race, conducted each year in summer. The race attracts locals and tourists alike for an incredible festival-like experience where neighbourhoods of Siena race against one another in the Piazza del Campo. However the race is not in any way put on for tourists visiting, as it is to this day taken very serious by locals (so be prepared for a little chaos and an abundance of crowds!)

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What to See and Do in Siena

Piazza del Campo

At the centre of town you will find Piazza del Campo, a uniquely round-shaped piazza which hosts the twice annual Palio race (in summer time). From here you are within walking distance to all of the attractions listed below, and will find it is near impossible to drive within the city, so best to park outside and make a day of it exploring the sights on foot!

Palazzo_Publico_Siena

The Palazzo Publicco

Located on the Piazza del Campo is this historical building which served as the City Hall of Siena for more than 800 years. Be sure not to miss Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous frescos displaying “good and bad government” and if you dare, begin the climb to the top of the Torre del Mangia! There are more than 400 steps to reach the top, but the views over the city are said to be incredible (no, I did not dare!).

Siena Cathedral

The Duomo

Another sight for the eyes is the mesmerising Siena Duomo. The facade of the cathedral is incredibly intricate and full of detail, however the interior is yet another marvel in itself. The black and white striped columns give this cathedral a luxurious feel, with no expense spared in displaying the historical wealth of Siena. Be sure not to miss “The Library” room for an incredible ceiling (pictured below).

The Pinacoteca

For the art lovers out there, you’ll find a full collection of national works inside the Pinacoteca Nazionale. This museum shares the history of Siena, with a specific focus on late medieval and Renaissance works.

The Palazzo Salimbeni

As banking has been so prominent in creating such a thriving city as powerful as Siena, you might find it interesting to visit the Palazzo Salimbeni, built in 1472 and the headquarters for the banking corporation responsible for Siena’s great wealth and prosperity. Even if you don’t enter the building itself, the exterior is well worth a visit!

The Palio Race

If you happen to chance your visit over the running of the Palio race (twice in summer), it would be a shame not to witness the event! Tourists should be aware that this is by no means a show for tourists – the crowds are large and often chaotic, so prepare yourself for the action!

Siena Jazz Festival

Another great summer event is to attend the Siena Jazz Festival. Even if you don’t like (or think you like) Jazz music, it is well worth experiencing for the atmosphere!

Climb the Torre del Mangia

If you dare, you could climb the 400+++ steps to the top of the city tower – but with so many steps it is most certainly not for the faint hearted!

Guide to Siena Italy

Off the Beaten Path

Visit a Winery

To get a full taste of Tuscany (both literally and figuratively), an absolute must experience for the region is to visit a local winery. Just outside of Siena you will find a wide variety of wineries – best to ask a local where you’ll find your preferred wines and go from there (after all, spontaneity is all part of the adventure!)

Sample Regional Food in Siena

During my time in Siena I had a great range of Sienese food typical to the region. As a vegetarian, my favourite was the bruschetta! I also found Sienese almond cookies to be delicious and of course you MUST try panforte!!!

Visit Montestigliano Olive Estate

For the foodies out there, be sure to wander beyond the city walls and visit nearby Montestigliano Olive Estate. Trust me when I say it will be a lunch to remember!

Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust
Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust Palazzo_Publico_Siena
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Highlights of Italy – Where to visit in Tuscany

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A Quick Guide to Pisa

A Quick Guide to San Gimignano

I flew to Tuscany on a direct route with Qatar Airways. Flying from Australia, this meant just two flights to reach the Tuscan region: Melbourne – Doha & Doha – Pisa. I would highly recommend this route for travellers interested in basing their trip in Tuscany, a region that warrants at least one, but up to three weeks to discover. With thanks to Qatar Airways for welcoming me to experience Tuscany on this new direct route!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Quick Guide to San Gimignano, Italy!

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If I could pick just one place in Tuscany that left me speechless, it would be the quaint, charming and incredibly unassuming little town of San Gimignano. Preserved so well that it makes you feel as if you have stepped through a time machine, this town is bursting with character and some of the friendliest locals you will encounter on your travels through Italy (though in fairness, most Italians are full of character!) To make the most of your time here, be sure to follow this quick guide to San Gimignano!

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Introducing San Gimignano

Located southwest of Florence, this small Tuscan town on a hilltop can be reached in an hour by road, making it the perfect day trip from Florence. The town has managed to retain its medieval charm and is so well-kept that you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve taken a stroll back in time!

Aside from the gorgeousness, you’ll also find some of the world’s best gelato here (quite literally – be sure to read below!), very friendly locals, and some of the best views in all of Tuscany from the many towers. The town itself is very small, making walking the best way to get around. It is by walking that you will also discover the charm of the small cafes and boutiques, with plenty of wine tasting on offer throughout the streets!
San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Things to See & Do

Although relatively small in size (both geographically and by population), San Gamignano has a range of things to see and do to warrant a half day visit; more if you want to immerse yourself in the lively night scene and book an overnight stay. Whilst most of these attractions you will stumble upon just by walking the narrow streets, this list will help you ensure you check off all the must see sites before taking time to wander at leisure, popping in to small wine tastings and boutiques as you pass the afternoon by.

Piazza del Duomo

As the main square of San Gimignano, it is nearly impossible to come here and not stumble upon it – making for a great central starting point. Surrounding the square are thousands-of-years-old towers, so be sure to set aside a few euros to climb the stairs of one and take in those mesmerising views of the rolling hills and terracotta roofs.

Torre Grossa

The most popular tower to climb (and the tallest) is the Torre Grossa, priced at a reasonable 5 euros for entry. The entrance fee includes a visit to Pinacoteca Civica, a small but worthwhile painting gallery.

Market Day

If you chance your visit to coincide with market day (Thursdays), you will find yourself amidst a colourful and lively atmosphere with a chance to sample local fruits and delicacies as you wander from one store to the next. The market is held in Piazza del Duomo, the cities main square.

Walk the streets

But most importantly of all: task yourself with simply wandering the streets, meandering in and out of small alleyways off the main shopping streets and discovering the picturesque beauty of this small Tuscan town.

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Where (and what) to Eat!

There’s a reason so many visitors flock to San Gimignano beyond the postcard prettiness, and it comes in the form of the world’s best gelato (yes, it was actually awarded such a title). The owner, Sergio, is a master of gelato and has twice one the sought-after title of Gelato Champione, and believe me when I say the flavours are life-changing. I had the pleasure of meeting Sergio and discovering his two prized flavours: Crema di Santa Fina (cream with saffron and pine nuts) and Raspberry & Rosemary sorbet. Despite the unusual flavour combinations, let me tell you these are two choices you will not regret (especially when eaten together – in the aforementioned order!!!)

As far as great wines go, you’ll find some of the best here in San Gamignano and surrounds. Nearby Poggio Winery is a great choice for the flavours of Tuscany.

Be sure to try the local Pecorino cheese and don’t be afraid to try a few (you’ll walk it off one way or another!)

If you’re touring around Tuscany with the comfort of a hire car, you might want to consider a visit to nearby La Roccaia Winery, a short drive outside of town and offering fantastic local wines.

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Towns & Cities to Visit Nearby

Siena

Florence

Volterra

Monteriggioni

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San_Gimignano

More on Tuscany:

Highlights of Italy – Where to visit in Tuscany

You can’t go to Florence & not see these 20 attractions

A Quick Guide to Pisa

A Quick Guide to Siena

I flew to Tuscany on a direct route with Qatar Airways. Flying from Australia, this meant just two flights to reach the Tuscan region: Melbourne – Doha & Doha – Pisa. I would highly recommend this route for travellers interested in basing their trip in Tuscany, a region that warrants at least one, but up to three weeks to discover. With thanks to Qatar Airways for welcoming me to experience Tuscany on this new direct route!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Checking in: Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

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The Ararat Park Hyatt is a slick and modern affair. On my recent visit to Moscow, I was able to see just why this is one of the most popular hotels in the city. Situated in the heart of the Russian capital, I found myself within walking distance of all the top attractions: the Red Square, Kremlin, and St Basil’s Cathedral were all just a short walk away. Here’s how to make the most of your stay in Moscow when choosing the Ararat Park Hyatt!

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Ararat Park Hyatt’s Heritage

Inspired and named after the Armenian restaurant that once stood in its place, it features Armenian fine dining in the Café Ararat restaurant, a chapel and Armenian interior details throughout such as glass beavers which are said to be a token of good luck.

The hotel is located in the heart of Moscow, across the road lies the famous Bolshoi theatre and the most prestigious shopping malls GUM & TSUM. It’s only a few minutes walk from Red Square and the Kremlin making it an obvious choice for those who are visiting Moscow to see its famous landmarks.

Moscow Moscow

Inside the Hotel

As with much of Moscow, this hotel is a glamorous and opulent affair. For starters, the rooms are beautifully designed with mirrored walls and marble details… leaving me with an impression of what life must have been like as a Russian aristocrat in the time of revolts and revolutions. My personal recommendation would be to stay in one of the Winter Garden suites, where you’ll have your own private rooftop terrace overlooking the modern-day Moscow skyline. Bliss!

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Conservatory Lounge & Bar Rooftop Terrace

The Ararat Park Hyatt is home to one of the city’s most famous rooftop bars which is open to the public and consequently attracts a fashionable crowd of Muscovites. Thus, even if you don’t stay here it is well worth your while to pay a visit to the rooftop terrace. You’ll be mingling with locals and guests alike, who come here for the breathtaking views over the Kremlin (and to socialize over the vodka-based cocktails!)

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The Ararat Park Hyatt Dining Experience

For breakfast there’s a buffet offering fruits, smoked salmon, caviar, fresh breads and bircher muesli or an à la carte menu with an even wider selection of breakfast dishes. The American pancakes served with honey butter and maple syrup are delicious and come personally recommended.

First time in Moscow? Don’t miss:

7 Coffee Shops you Must Visit in Moscow

Top 10 Things to do in Moscow for First Timers

Moscow Bucket List

World of Wanderlust contributor Faye visited Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow as a guest, however opinions and photos remain that of the author!

WOW Contributor

Story & images by World of Wanderlust contributor Faye Bullock.