Contrary to what one might think of a city with over 12 million people, Moscow is a very green city with a lot of parks. In area of parkland per inhabitant, Moscow ranks first in the world among other megapolises, and over 40% of Moscow territory is protected open green space. In the last decade, the preservation and upkeep of green spaces around the city has become a top priority, leading to the redevelopment of many parks and solidifying their place in the culture of Moscow’s residents. Now, according to the official list, there are 135 dedicated green spaces in the city.
Moscow’s parks are remarkably diverse, so pick your destinations wisely.
Some parks are good places to walk, run, admire nature, or just breathe in some fresh air. The Losiny Ostrov (Elk Island, and yes, there are Elk) National Park, the Izmailovsky or Golyanovsky Parks, located in Sokolniki, the Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park (which contains a spring from which visitors can safely drink, a rare find in the city), or the Timiryazevsky Park are great options for these types of green spaces.
Other Moscow parks are interesting as historical and cultural places: Zaryadye Park (the most modern park near Red Square), the Muzeon Art Park (a sculpture park with, primarily, pieces from the Soviet Union), VDNKh Exhibition Park (which is practically a visit to the USSR in itself), and the Ostankino Park (an old, sprawling manor estate) are all great options to consider when planning a trip to some of Moscow’s most culturally-important green spaces.
Furthermore, there are more thematic Moscow parks like Victory Park (a World War II memorial complex), the Apothecary Garden (a botanical garden founded by Peter the Great, himself), or the Northern Riverboat Station Park (The Park of Five Seas), to name a few. Other park complexes have grown out of old manors and palaces.
Our categorization of these types of parks is subjective and for the benefit of our travelers. In some parks, for example, many different elements are connected and can make for a complete and interesting foray into some of the city’s green spaces. Planning a trip into one of the city’s many beautiful parks, followed by a cruise on the Moscow River, a trip to the Aquarium, or maybe some ice skating or sledding (in the winter, of course) will certainly make a day in Moscow complete.
As Moscow tour guides, we focus more on parks of historical or cultural significance, those with the most to show and tell. Do not feel limited to them, however. Remember, our excursions are crafted according to your desires. Below are the Moscow parks we most often recommend in our sightseeing programs.