Sustainable City Guide to Moscow
SUSTAINABLE CITY GUIDE | MOSCOW
BY ALISA KOZ
Sustainable City Guides are quick handbooks to help you have a perfect afternoon or day in cities around the world! A group of talented influencers have all chipped in with their favorite haunts.
The Moscow Sustainable City Guide has been written by Alisa Koz, a Moscow native currently living in Spain. Her dreamy photos are straight out of a movie, and I love her timeless, romantic style and no-nonsense advice.
WELCOME TO MOSCOW
When we talk about Russia, sustainability is not the first thing that comes to mind. Instead we have vivid pictures of snowy Siberia, poker-faced people drinking vodka, and bears wondering the streets. Despite of what western movies and YouTube suggest, it isn’t quite true.
Russia keeps growing as a tourist destination, and the World Cup of 2018 was a great push towards breaking stereotypes! For those of you planning to visit or just curious I’ve prepared a Green City Guide to Moscow.
Start your day with a happy stomach. Many Russians would agree with me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! The majority of restaurants offer a variety of porridges, eggs cooked in different ways, toasts and typical cottage cheese pancakes. For vegans I recommend to try Guriev style or millet porridge on coconut milk with pumpkin!
My favourite places to begin the day are Conversation cafe, Breakfast cafe, Cook’kareku, Buloshnaya and Bulka. The last two offer more of a traditional experience. Basically, if you stay downtown there’s no problem in finding a good breakfast place! Coffee is not a problem either, we run on it.
Be prepared to walk a lot! The city is big and has plenty of things to see! Let’s say you start in the heart of Moscow - The Red square. From there, whichever direction you take, if you walk for an hour straight you’ll still be in the city center!
If you are not lucky with the weather (totally possible in an unsteady continental climate), you have several options to move around.
TAXI OR BUS
Very cheap compared to Europe and the US. We have Uber, but I prefer another app called Gettaxi. When possible, go for public transport though. This way you don’t only save the environment, but your time as well: traffic in Moscow can be terrible. Buses have a special lane, and some of them are electric now!
Are a lot of fun, and if you take the route A of the Boulevard Ring you get to see main boulevards, some squares and old railway stations. Our trams are not as modern as those in Geneva but they have their own charm.
Can’t say for sure how sustainable it is but I swear the Moscow metro is the most beautiful in the world! Don’t let passengers’ sad faces trick you: central metro stations are like a museum. Take an excursion if you have time and don’t worry, it’s clean and safe underground.
Depending on the weather you can use public bicycles and electric scooters from May to October. There’s a special app that shows you on the map where the stations are. First 30 minutes are free, so you can simply switch bikes every once in awhile and ride fees-free.
I’m not kidding. Okay, it’s only partially true! Some places downtown, where the Muscovites and guests of the capital go out, at night you can spot young people riding horses and offering to take a picture or go for a ride. Foreigners get very surprised, and I understand them. But those poor horses are not happy, so please don’t support this strange, actually illegal, activity.
WHERE TO EAT & SHOP
I bet you’d be starving after an intense sightseeing program!
Here’s where I head to when in Moscow:
Very authentic Indian cafe Moscow-Delhi. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Danilovsky market will blow your mind! It has about 30 food corners?! Also you can buy everything from veggies and nuts to different types of Russian fish and cheese! Don’t forget cash, cards are accepted but not everywhere. Other places with similar concept are Tsentralny market, Vokrug Sveta, and the newest one, Depo, which said to be the biggest foodmall in Europe, but I stay loyal to its smaller competitors.
Mendeleev bar serves the best cocktails and throws the best Berlin style parties! The entry is hard to find, it’s hidden in the back of a colourful Chinese eatery. There’s a dress code, but don’t worry. As long as you don’t wear shorts and tank tops you’ll be fine. Other bars I can’t wait to come back to are Belka Gastrobar, Noor Bar, Suzuran and Ketch Up, which specialises on burgers but drinks are very good too. Best local and imported beer is at Beermood!
Buy organic beauty and skincare products at Mapteka - a legendary pharmacy open since 1914. Shops like Natura Siberica, Lush, Organic Shop and The body Shop you can find all over the city. Just please read the labels because the bigger a company gets, the more greenwashing happens there! My personal favourite clean beauty shop is Biozka Concept Store. They sell ZAO Makeup, a cruelty-free cosmetic brand offering refills and bamboo cases for their products. Also don’t leave without visiting the first Zero Waste Shop in Russia! It’s located in Flacon, a creative space with many more cool shops. Charge your phone because you’ll be taking pictures!
The only thing that can beat my love for food is thrifting. I have to admit that St. Petersburg has better vintage shops than Moscow, but the capital runs bigger events! Like Vintage Marketplace, that is The Thing for fellow eco-fashionistas. Usually it takes place in historical buildings downtown. You will have high chances to bring back home vintage treasures from the times of the USSR.
Svalka is a flea market that is open every day. There you can find everything from vintage clothing to furniture. Vintage Voyage offers premium vintage clothes through all decades. And of course Charity Shop Msk that collaborates with Fashion Revolution Russia. They have four shops where you can also donate unwanted clothes (in case you need more space in your suitcase). All the earnings go towards helping to those in need.
I hope I made you interested in visiting the city that never sleeps! Whether you plan your trip in summer or winter - I promise you will love Moscow as much as I do.