Why Moscow should be your next travel destination and what it will cost you

Published Jun 30, 2024


IOL Business was invited to attend the first BRICS Tourism Forum held in Moscow last week.

The main purpose of this trip was to investigate the tourism business sector ties between Russia, South Africa and other BRICS nations.

The other purpose of the trip was to also investigate Moscow as a tourist destination for South Africans.

Is Moscow safe?

So let's get straight to the point then: Is it safe to travel to Moscow, was my main concern, given the issues surrounding Ukraine. 

The answer is a resounding YES! The city has not changed much as a result of the conflict.

Most Russians will say that living in the city of Moscow has not changed much when it comes to security and safety and also when it comes to food shortages and the quality of life.

A number of people that I interviewed did note that the price of food has increased incrementally over the last two years.

Why go Moscow?

The city is without a doubt stunning in the Summer. Its climate is very similar to Cape Town’s weather in Spring. The temperatures range from 15 to 22 degrees on average.

The sun only goes down at around 11.30pm in Summer and this allows you to feel as if you have double the amount of time in the day to not only work, but also explore and immerse yourself in the city.

There is also a large amount of security in Moscow with police, cameras and military personnel patrolling the area at all hours of the day.

It also allows you to feel very safe if you want to walk the city and save on taxis, trains (around R15 per train ride) or electric scooters. Though personally, I would never say no to travelling on their electric scooters as it's not only fun, but also cheap (around R91 per trip) and convenient.

What will flights cost

Flights to Moscow are by no means as expensive when compared to other destinations in Europe.

A flight to Moscow directly from Cape Town with Emirates (the airline I used) could cost you around R9,100 for an economy flight one way. A return ticket could cost you around R17,000.

It should be noted that there are other airlines that may be cheaper, so looking around is vital to finding a cost-effective option for you.

If you compare this flight to other major European cities it is quite fair.

A flight with Emirates (1 July to 31 July)
Cape Town - LondonR19,500 return
Cape Town - ParisR18,000 return
Cape Town - AmsterdamR19,700 return

Where should go in Moscow?

The Red Square is arguably the most important tourist attraction in Moscow. The square is filled with centuries of history, and if you have been reading Russian history throughout your life (like I have), it will fulfil those images you can only dream about.

The Red Square and the outside of the Kremlin and St. Basil's can be viewed free of charge.

St. Basil's Cathedral. Picture: Vernon Pillay

If you would like to enter beyond the walls of the complex, you will have to pay around R106. This fee will allow you to visit several cathedrals and gardens within the Kremlin.

The next place that has to be on your bucket list is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The church is a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few hundred metres from the Kremlin.

The church was built in the 19th century and is without a doubt awe-inspiring. It highlights the ability of what humans can create and took 40 years to be built.

The venue has been the place of several significant events in Russian history, such as the canonisation of the Romanovs in 2000.

Admission to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is free.

The next place that should be on your list if you are a history buff or art lover is the State Tretyakov Gallery. Located in the heart of Moscow, the gallery is considered the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. It has approximately 2,000 works of art on display.

The State Tretyakov Gallery entrance fee ranges between R53 to R106.


The nightlife in Moscow is unparalleled, especially when compared to South African clubs and bars.

Gipsy is one of the largest clubs in Moscow and has a very relaxed nightclub experience.

The club tries to maximise their space, using the tall ceiling, balconies, and multiple levels to their advantage. Gipsy is not a traditional bar and has state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems that will put many SA clubs to shame.

Entrance to the club is around R640 but this club will give you a wristband that will allow you to get R640 worth of drinks for your night out. Drinks at the club are around R210 per drink, depending on what you want.

*This trip was paid for by the Moscow City Tourism Committee.