An Exclusive Chauffeured Tour of Moscow’s Sites at Night

Cities are different at night. They have a contrasting kind of buzz. They also look magical when lit up. On my recent visit to Moscow I did a chauffeured night tour with Moscow Private Tours. I was keen to get a nocturnal perspective on the city. I was also hoping to enjoy the main sites without fighting through the tourist crowds.

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 1

On the evening of my tour, my personal guide picked me up at my hotel with a chauffeured car. We headed to our first stop, the Bolshoi Theatre. The early 19th century building is renowned for its dramatic neoclassical architecture. But it can be difficult to truly appreciate during the day in summer when it attracts tourists in droves. Even during quieter winter months, its appearance under a dank grey daytime sky perhaps does not do it justice.

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 2

In contrast, at night the Bolshoi Theatre is completely lit up. As I approached it on my tour, I was struck by how the lighting brought out the bright white facade, as well as the indulgent gold detail. It was better than a postcard and I took plenty of snaps.

We moved onto St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. There was a jovial, playful atmosphere as the Kremlin Square was hosting a winter fair. Local families and young couples were out enjoying the rides and sipping on mulled wine. I marveled at how lighting on the domes of St Basil’s Cathedral brought out its bright red, yellow, green and blue colors.

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 3

Meanwhile, my guide told me some fascinating anecdotes about the cathedral’s history. For example, she explained how Ivan the Terrible, who financed the cathedral, blinded its architects after they had finished so they would never create one more beautiful. Suddenly, St Basil’s had a more menacing air on this cold winter night.

Another highlight was our tour of some of the most imposing Stalinist skyscrapers in the city. These dizzyingly tall, formidable buildings were constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. They quite simply have to be seen at night to be fully appreciated. One of the most famous is now Moscow State University. It is the only time I can recall a building actually making me gasp. I had goosebumps but it was nothing to do with the cold.

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 4

For some reason the towering gothic looking building made me think of Gotham City. My guide’s commentary provided a suitably solemn soundtrack. She explained how thousands of prisoners from the Gulag helped construct the buildings. And how Stalin was inspired by the Empire State Building and wanted to send a message to the world about Russia’s greatness. It was an atmospheric, fascinating moment in the tour.

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 5

By the end of my three-hour night tour, I felt infinitely better informed about Moscow’s architecture and history as if I had been trawling about the sites for several days. But I had not had to battle through the tourist crowds or suffer blistered feet. So if you find yourself in Moscow and are looking for an alternative, exclusive and informative city tour than this is it.

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 6

A private Moscow night tour for one person is 7900 roubles (about $139)

An Exclusive Tour of Moscow at Night 7

Sherelle Jacobs

Sherelle Jacobs is a regular contributor on LuxeInACity.com, a luxury travel blog curating hotels, spas, restaurants, boutiques, products as well as once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.