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hidden cities • 6 days, 5 nights

Red Square to Star City: Space & Soviet History in Moscow

hidden cities • 6 days, 5 nights

Red Square to Star City: Space & Soviet History in Moscow

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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Urban Exploration
from $2,920 USD per person
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Trip Overview

From the tunnels that run beneath the bustling streets of Moscow to the rocket-packed pavilions tucked away in public parks, relics of Soviet-era Russia can be found throughout its capital. We’ll explore nuclear bunkers, visit a city devoted to cosmonautics, and stroll through Red Square, learning about the region’s political history from the revolution to the end of the Cold War. We’ll also try our hand at Soviet arcade games and chat with cosmonauts to get a sense of the daily joys, sorrows, and preoccupations of Russians under the communist regime—learning about both the Soviet era’s great achievements and reign of terror. Between deep historical dives, cosmic revelations, and sobering discoveries, we'll take some time to recharge, visiting a Russian banya, attending a classical concert, and chowing down at a popular Soviet canteen. Those wishing to continue exploring can join us for a three-day extension where we’ll delve deeper into the devastation caused by the Red Terror and head to the countryside by train.

  • Explore Star City and observe a cosmonaut-in-training
  • See a simulated space mission and enter a control room
  • Spot Soviet-era architecture
  • Explore nuclear bunkers from the Cold War era
  • Sample Russian and Soviet cuisine


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Trip Leaders

Anna Simakova
Born and raised in Russia, Anna is an experienced guide who’s been leading trips across the country for over a decade. She holds degrees in linguistics and translation from Moscow State University, and possesses a deep knowledge of the history of Obninsk, a city far from Moscow where her grandparents were sent to work in the world's first nuclear power plant in 1954. With a steady stream of fun facts and anecdotes, Anna loves sharing her beloved country's astonishing landscapes, hidden city corners, and incredible cultural diversity with curious travelers.
Léo Vidal-Giraud
Léo has been leading trips in and around Moscow since 2014, and is widely renowned for his knowledge of 20th-century Russian history. He first came to Russia as an exchange student exchange, but after finishing graduate school, decided to permanently move to Moscow, where he feels even more at home than in his country of origin. Beyond Russian history, Léo is a self-styled gourmand who’s deeply familiar with Russian gastronomy.

Additional Info

Pricing & Single Accommodations

The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy. If taking the countryside extension, the total trip cost per person is $3,700  based on double occupancy.

For those traveling solo, single accommodations can be provided, subject to availability and the latest Covid-19 guidelines, at an additional cost of $365 ($510 if taking the extension). Please contact us to request a single room.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins in the afternoon on Day 1. We recommend you arrive in Moscow by 1 p.m. on this day, so you can check in and settle in at the hotel before we meet for an introductory tour of the city and welcome dinner. Our trip ends the morning of Day 6. If departing Moscow directly after this trip, we recommend departing anytime on this day. If you’d like to continue on the optional extension, this concludes in Moscow the morning of Day 9 following an overnight train ride from Galich. You'll be back in Moscow around 6 a.m.; if departing by air on this day, we recommend booking flights departing after 9:30 a.m. If you'd like to extend your trip, we’d be happy to provide suggestions for places to stay and things to do in the area on your own.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking one to three miles over the course of each day, climbing stairs, and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. There is a relaxed canoe trip on Day 8 and an optional hike on Day 7, which will span about five miles (mostly flat) across a potentially snowy and muddy forest floor. If conditions are snowy, we’ll provide proper footwear and equipment. 

  • Accommodation throughout the trip in comfortable boutique hotels. The extension also includes two nights in a comfortable sleeping compartment of a long-distance train and one night at a manor house in the countryside.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Transportation throughout the trip. Transportation will be by foot, taxi, and public transit.
  • Experienced local guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • An invitation letter to supplement your visa, if applicable.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Moscow has to offer!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance through Global Rescue.
  • Transportation to and from Moscow.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a Russian visa, if applicable.
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Trip FAQ

Moscow is known to have warm, dry summers and cold, dry winters, with temperatures sometimes dipping below -20°F. From mid-April to September, the temperature is warm and mild, ranging from 60 to 85°F.

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Upcoming Departures

  • May 16–May 21, 2022
    from $2,920
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